The Public Perception of Cyber-surveillance Before and After Edward Snowden’s Surveillance Revelations



The article contextualizes contemporary cyber-surveillance practices in the light of Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive espionage by intelligences services and shows the results of  an online survey on the public perceptions of privacy in public telecommunication networks in Slovenia. The results relate to types and frequency of victimization; self-reported study on violating of the privacy of others; concern for the protection of one’s own privacy; perception of those carrying out surveillance; the value of privacy; views on abrogated data retention regulation; and awarness of personal data protection remedies.

Despite growing distrust of large internet corporations and – after Edward Snowden’s revelations – Intelligence agencies, the findings indicate a low degree of awareness and care for the protection of personal data. In regard to the perception of primary subjects of surveillance, 56 percent of respondents chose internet corporations as the greatest threat to their privacy, followed by telecommunications companies (25 percent), and shops with loyalty programs (23 percent). According to chi-square and Cramer's coefficient calculations, gender correlation is weak, but men feel more threatened by foreign intelligence services and the Slovene Intelligence and Security Agency. By comparing responses before and after the Datagate affair, we noted that prior to this date, only a handful of people felt threatened by foreign or domestic intelligence agencies. An increased feeling of threat after this date is evident in men as well as women.

Privacy; Personal Data Protection; Public Opinion Survey; Perception of Privacy; The Internet; Social Networking; Snowden; Intelligence Services; Information Commissioner; Data Protection Authority (DPA); Data Retention; Slovenia

p. 33–58
Author biographies

Aleš Završnik

The Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana

Aleš Završnik, LL.D., Senior Expert at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana, Assistent Professor at the Faculy of Law University of Ljubljana

Pia Levičnik

Uni. dipl. iur.

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