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Intelligence and surveillance in modern society

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Views on the business of intelligence have varied over time in British society, from romantic images of spies and espionage, to allegations of complicity in torture and the sinister construction of a Big Brother society. How and why has the business of intelligence – and our view of it – changed since the turn of the century? With the explosion in availability of personal and public data, and the growing technological capabilities to collect and mine it, what are the ethical and political considerations for our intelligence agencies to consider? By some measures, the British people are now the most surveilled population on earth. How do we define privacy, and how much of a right to it do we have? This paper seeks to address these questions and to chart the changes in the intelligence business since the end of the Cold War.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs series.

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