Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World (City Lights Open Media)
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In light of the recent terrorist threats at U.K and U.S. airports, this book is a timely and provocative read about what governments should and should not be doing to protect us from further terrorist attacks. It is a crucial look at a little-examined aspect of the U.S. -- led "war on terror" -- the move toward the use of mass, globalized surveillance and a "preemptive" model of security, and its effects on democratic values and human rights around the world.

"George Orwell and Michel Foucault together could not have imagined the future that Maureen Webb warns is already here -- a state of global surveillance that challenges all of our most deep-seated expectations of privacy. Highly readable and critically important. Read it to see who's watching you." --David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism

"Through the various 'frozen scandals' of the War on Terror-from extraordinary rendition to torture to warrant-less wiretapping and surveillance-runs a single theme: the Bush Administration's obsessive concern with 'the preemption of risk.'" -- Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror

"Tracking the myriad ways in which governments-aided by advanced technology and profit-hungry corporations-are monitoring and manipulating us, she reminds us that the only predictable consequence of it all is human suffering, with little or no increase in real security." -- Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin professor and author of The Heart of Whiteness and Citizens of the Empire

"This valuable guide makes clear how dramatically civil liberties have been attacked in recent years." -- Christian Parenti, author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq, The Soft Cage and Lockdown America

"In measured, lucid detail, Webb presents a wide-ranging account of the emerging global network of surveillance that is infringing on the personal privacy and civil liberties of people in the United States and worldwide." --Nadine Strossen, Executive Director, ACLU

"This is a compelling book and it should be compulsory reading." --Jeremy Waldron, Professor of Philosophy, NYU and author of The Dignity of Legislation and Law and Disagreement

Customer Reviews:
  • "Illusions Of Security" should be read by every American citizen regardless whether their political philosophies
    "Illusions Of Security: Global Surveillance And Democracies In The Post-9/11 World" by human rights lawyer and activist Maureen Webb offers an eye-opening expose about the secret domestic spying programs that the Bush administration introduced with the passive acquiesce of a Republican controlled congress over the past six years. Even with congress under the limited control of the Democrats, the Bush government is still watching the American public, buying personal data from private contractors and foreign governments. The pretense is that the Bush administration collections this information in order to 'predict' who might be a terrorist. God help you if you are caught up in this web of internal security. Not since the "Watergate Papers" of a generation past has there been so critically important an expose published on what the American government is doing to the American citizenry. Simply put, if our nation is to remain a bastion of democracy, "Illusions Of Security" should be read by every American citizen regardless whether their political philosophies are liberal or progressive, conservative or libertarian, democrat or republican or independent....more info
  • Democracy at its best
    Maureen Webb courageously steps forward to elevate our debate, expressing real concerns about the flipside of security. What are the downsides of enhanced security, what are we really giving up to achieve security, and how will this impact our future democracy are all questions Illusions of Security addresses.

    This is the best book I've found so far, (and I've read numerous others), because it includes all the main points, gives better examples that are not so academic, and because Maureen Webb writes as a real person talking to us as a friend would - not like some professor who clearly knows more than us and wants us to know they know more than us.

    Even though the subjects are complex ones, muddied further by politics, our own fear of terrorists, and politicians who we have become accustomed to just trusting, anyone interested in preserving democracy must face the discomfort of these subjects and at least hear the other side.

    At a time when differing viewpoints have been labeled as treasonous and those suggesting them have been accused of "assisting the terrorists" Illusions of Security illustrates how debate is fundamental to democracy. Beginning with real life events carried out in the name of enhanced security, a reader does not need much imagination to perceive the hazard to real people that government secrecy brings. It also does not take much imagination to realize "it could have been me" that faced those threats.

    Skillfully Maureen Webb takes us through her concerns, showing us the flipside of what we have been told we need for the sake of national security; Presidential secrecy and spying, preemption, global registration, etc. Illusions of Security does a great job of putting the complex ideas and issues of the other side of national security into simple terms we can all understand. Maureen Webb offers solid analogies throughout the text which make it easy to see how this is relevant to today and not something to be dismissed. I would highly recommend this book but encourage you to slow down when reading it, take the time to read and re-read if necessary, and discuss it with friends!
    ...more info