Software Agents, Surveillance, and the Right to Privacy: A Legislative Framework for Agent-Enabled Surveillance
In our modern society we rely on information and communication technology for the spee, efficiency and security of many of our daily transactions and interactions. The use of these technologies almost always entails the keeping of electronic records. These are of great interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies since they can be used to profile and monitor (potential) suspects. While this can enhance the security of our society, it may also form a potential threat to privacy and (individual) liberty. Software agents are intelligent computer programs able to perform tasks without direct human supervision. As such, they have the potential to overcome the information overload. In this thesis the use of software agents for surveillance purposes is examined. The goal of the thesis is to determine wether the legal framework for the protection of privacy and liberty in both the Netherlands and the United States is still adequate in the light of agent-enabled surveillance. In particular, the thesis explores wether the right to privacy is still an adequate means of protecting (individual) liberty in a society where software agents are able to overcome the information overload.
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