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Deliverable 6.2. Content and discourse analysis of security and privacy reporting in the European media

: Weitkamp, Jana; Kimpeler, Simone; Friedewald, Michael

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-3364285 (5.3 MByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: dd027089171aaa4a90c15e43c6008f51
Created on: 16.4.2015

Brussels: European Commission, 2014, 224 pp.
European Commission EC
FP7; 285399; PRISMS
The PRIvacy and Security MirrorS: Towards a European Framework for Integrated Decision Making
Report, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()

This report provides results on the media’s coverage of privacy and security issues within the second stage of the PRISMS project. The PRISMS project examines how technologies aimed at enhancing security are subjecting citizens to an increasing amount of surveillance and, in many cases, causing infringements of privacy and fundamental rights. In line with the overall project’s research objectives – to explore the relationship between privacy and security and to learn if people actually evaluate the introduction of new security and security-oriented surveillance technologies in terms of a trade-off – the media analysis as conducted in this work package focuses on analyzing the notions of both privacy and security within the European media. As the influence of events on the media’s reporting is crucial, the revelations by Edward Snowden about the mass interception programs from June 2013 are of high relevance for our research. In fact, they mark a disruptive event that was not foreseeable in the beginning of the project and that has the power to change the whole privacy and security related discourse. To take that into account, an additional sample that represents discourse right after the revelations was analyzed additionally. Together with a small sample that was analyzed during the period of media reporting, the results in this report are based on three samples: The initial (2008-2011) and the monitoring sample (2014) for Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Hungary; and an additional sample for Germany and Great Britain (2013). In the previous report, we had already stated that privacy and security related discourse in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands from 2008 to 2011 is to a vast extent concerned with issues revolving around data and personal information. While the further analyses now show that this proves also true for Italy, in both Denmark and Hungary this dominating cluster of issues was not found. In the same regard, whereas in the other countries discourse from 2008 to 2011 at least partly encompasses a narrative that we chose to call “warning-narrative”, this narrative is absent in Denmark and Hungary. Regarding the notions of privacy and security, although there are variations, there is a tendency of privacy being used most frequently in the sense of privacy of personal data, while security is used more ambigously. What is different between the different countries is the amount of foregrounding the one or the other – we call it privacy or security-centred. In fact, from the six countries analyzed Germany shows to be the only one where discourse from 2008 to 2011 is clearly privacy-centred, with an emphasis on the risks that the concept is subject to and a strong focus on the need for protection. In the UK, on the other hand, discourse is security-centred. The additional sample that represents discourse directly after Snowden’s revelations reveals that these tendencies stay stable in both of the countries: While in Germany, the focus is still on the amount of privacy instrusion that became known with the revelations, in the UK the focus on security – and to be precise, on national security – is even reinforced; although there are variations between the different sources. Issue-wise, in both countries privacy and security related discourse is completely reflected in the sense of interception and spying; the affair and its consequences are clearly dominating. While in Germany, the different sources are quite homogenous in their evaluation of the affair, the British sources differ; especially The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. The sample gained during the monitoring period indicates that the situation is slowly shifting at least partly back to the narratives that were dominant in the respective countries in the time span before the revelations, but that they are still reflected in the aftermath of the affair.

Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development Objective: SEC-2011.6.5-2: The Relationship between Human Privacy and Security