Public Support for State Surveillance

European Journal of Political Research, Forthcoming

52 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020 Last revised: 6 Nov 2020

See all articles by Conrad Ziller

Conrad Ziller

University of Duisburg-Essen

Marc Helbling

University of Bamberg

Date Written: March 18, 2020

Abstract

This study examines citizens’ support for state surveillance, contingent upon factors related to policy design and the context of implementation. While most people want to live in a secure environment, we argue in this study that the support of policies to reach this goal depends on their necessity, extensiveness, and reliability. Results from survey experiments in four European countries show that citizens are ready to approve the introduction of far-reaching state surveillance that includes measures of facial recognition and motion detection. Public support is further enhanced if these measures are to be targeted at potential criminals, rather than at all citizens (i.e., policy extensiveness), as well as if a safety threat is salient (i.e., policy necessity). Concerns about data security reduce support (i.e., policy reliability). While these conditions matter for the support of specific policies, they do not influence how trustworthy citizens consider government and other political authorities to be.

Keywords: Surveillance, political support, terrorism, data security

Suggested Citation

Ziller, Conrad and Helbling, Marc, Public Support for State Surveillance (March 18, 2020). European Journal of Political Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3556953 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3556953

Conrad Ziller (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Marc Helbling

University of Bamberg ( email )

Feldkirchenstrasse 21
Bamberg, 96045
Germany

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