A Reference Handbook

by Pam Dixon


In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked top-secret information about the NSA and its surveillance practices.

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Cover image for Surveillance

August 2020


Pages 350
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Politics and Government
  Politics, Law, and Government/Human Rights and Civil Liberties
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Surveillance: A Reference Handbook offers a comprehensive examination of surveillance in an objective and unbiased manner, and provides valuable data and documents to guide the reader to further research on the subject.

Surveillance: A Reference Handbook examines the practice of surveillance in the United States and beyond, showing how technology has changed our expectations of what is to be kept private. It begins with a history of surveillance and the reasons for it, which contextualizes surveillance in American and international history. It also delves into the problems and controversies that have arisen with surveillance in the digital age, such as the Patriot Act and wiretapping incidences, as well as both proven and proposed solutions devised in order to respect constitutional liberties.

Five chapters follow, in addition to a glossary and index. The perspectives chapter comprises ten original essay contributions, which are followed by profiles of the leading actors and organizations in surveillance policy. The data and documents chapter presents governmental data and excerpts of primary documents on the topic, and the resources chapter provides an annotated list of the key books, scholarly journals, and non-print sources on the topic. The volume closes with a detailed chronology of major events concerning surveillance.


  • Guides readers toward a better understanding of the complexity of surveillance, highlighting pros and cons of the practice
  • Discusses attempts to solve problems concerning surveillance and how those changed and expanded over time
  • Makes a comprehensive but objective review of scholarly books and articles on the topic
  • Showcases a diversity of opinions on the topic of surveillance in a perspectives chapter
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

Pam Dixon is the founder and executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit public interest research group based in the United States. She is a researcher and author who has written many leading privacy studies on medical privacy, data brokers, and other contemporary privacy topics. She has testified before the U.S. Congress and other lawmakers, and her work has been cited by the White House, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and many national and international media outlets. Dixon is author or coauthor of eight books, including ABC-CLIO's Online Privacy: A Reference Handbook.

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