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Research Paper

Counter-Terrorism, Technology and Transparency: Reconsidering State Accountability

02 Feb 2012
Long read by Quirine Eijkman

In this Discussion Paper, Dr. Quirine Eijkman discusses the use of surveillance, storage of personal information, biometrics, satellite technology and other forms of ICT technology used in the fight against terrorism. Although technology is a powerful tool to fight terrorism, it is also a means for increasing social control by the state. Henceforth, there is a risk that panoptic surveillance - where the few view the many - could develop. Therefore accountability in relation to use of technological counter-terrorism measures such as smart surveillance cameras, biometric devices or the tracking of personal data is discussed in this article. The extra powers that both public authorities and private companies gain through new (surveillance) technologies should be counterbalanced. In this context the role of the state, because of its monopoly to use force and its duty to protect the rule of law, is crucial. By reconsidering how to enforce accountability by the state, the effects of technological counter-terrorism measures could be checked and balanced.

Download the Discussion Paper here.

How to cite: Eijkman, Q. "Counter-Terrorism, Technology and Transparency: Reconsidering State Accountability", The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague 3, no. 1 (2012). DOI: