As a fast-growing group of scholars sees it, the recent revelations of warrantless domestic spying and 'data mining' by federal agencies should come as no surprise at all. They say a public-private merger of government and commercial interests has created an expanding and ever-more-encompassing net of surveillance.
Proponents promise that, post-9/11, increased surveillance will bring security, which is why legislation like the Patriot Act is essential to clearing a path for it. Critics decry the transformation of the information age into an era of pervasive spying. The conflict means that academic research and publishing on the subject are flourishing.