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To what extent are security agencies accessing our communications and other data? In this video, RALF POSCHER proposes and explains a mechanism by which we can answer this question. Poscher outlines how we can go about constructing a surveillance barometer. This would reveal a society’s surveillance score based on the amount and the intensity of surveillance activities undertaken by security agencies. Providing helpful insight also for legislators and the general public, the barometer’s remit also has the potential to be extended to a supra-national level, e.g. the European Union.


Ralf Poscher is Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law where he is also Director of the Department of Public Law. Previously Dean of the Law faculty at the University of Freiburg, Poscher holds an honorary professorship at that institution. He has also held research professorships in the USA, Japan and France. Poscher’s main research interests include legal theory, constitutional law and national security law. The recipient of a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship from the European University Institute in 2013, Poscher is co-editor of the European Security Research Journal and a member of the Expert Council for the German Ministry for Education and Research on the integration of the social sciences and humanities in civil security research.


Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law consists of three research departments: Criminology, Public Law, and Criminal Law. In the Department of Criminology, research is conducted into which individual predispositions and environmental factors cause people to commit a crime. To this end, long-term scientific studies are combined with behavioral experiments in the virtual reality world. The Department of Public Law deals with the law of public security. It investigates how the legal system can respond to dangers in order to prevent criminal offences and other damage. The Department of Criminal Law conducts research into the fundamentals of criminal law, prohibition norm, and criminal penalties in the context of globalization, migration, and the social and cultural fragmentation of societies. The Institute's focus is on basic research, as well as on application research due to its interdisciplinary legal, social science and psychological research approach.  
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Original publication

Entwicklung eines Periodischen Überwachungsbarometers für Deutschland: Pilotprojekt–Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung von Kriminalität, Sicherheit und Recht, Abteilung Öffentliches Recht, Freiburg i. Br.

Poscher Ralf and Kilchling Michael
Published in 2021

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