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Surveillance and Privacy in the Ubiquitous Network Society


Bart W. Schermer

University of Leiden; E. M. Meijers Institute for legal studies; Considerati, NL
About Bart W.
Bart Schermer is assistant professor (faculty of law, eLaw@Leiden), fellow and partner at consultancy firm. This publication was made possible by the Secure Haven Project.
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Developments in IT will bring us closer to a ‘Ubiquitous Network Society’. Ubiquitous networking will become a part of our physical world, linking locations, objects and people. This new technological reality will fundamentally alter our notions of privacy, autonomy and public domain. In this article Bart Schermer describes how developments in IT will enable new surveillance applications; what possible risks these new surveillance applications entail; how the notion of privacy will be influenced by these technologies; and how we can protect ourselves in the future. The author argues that the transformation of the public domain as a result of surveillance will ultimately render the idea of privacy as a ‘physical reality’ obsolete. Therefore, we need new mechanisms that help ensure privacy and personal autonomy. In these mechanisms notions of trust and transparency should feature more prominently than they do now.

How to Cite: Schermer, B.W., 2009. Surveillance and Privacy in the Ubiquitous Network Society. Amsterdam Law Forum, 1(4), pp.63–76. DOI:
Published on 30 Aug 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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