Book Review: Surveillance in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and the Law

Seth Kershner


Pam Dixon is founder and executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization which spotlights privacy issues in world affairs. As editor of the Surveillance in America, she brings together 115 entries written by 42 contributors. Topics covered by this resource include key court rulings, legislation, surveillance programs and initiatives, and efforts (such as encryption) to subvert snooping. A detailed chronology helps place issues in historical context, while bibliographies for each entry spur the reader to read further. The second volume of this encyclopedia showcases primary documents, intended—as Dixon puts it in the introduction—“to help readers understand how surveillance practices and priorities have changed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on American soil” (xxvi). (Given their currency, then, most of the primary documents would be relatively easy to locate online.)

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