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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur April 28, 2008

State Surveillance on the Internet – The Swedish Debate and the Future Role of Libraries and LIS

Simon Haikola and Sara Jonsson
From the journal

This article contributes to what we hope will become a vigorous debate on Internet surveillance and privacy issues, ensuring that privacy issues will not be neglected in the future when political propositions on state surveillance are made. The relevant question to ask is not how to protect privacy at all costs, but how a balance can be found between the need of the state to know about its citizens and those same citizens' need for privacy from state intrusion. This paper explores the future role of the library pertaining to the issue of state surveillance. After a short introduction, we present the procedure and theoretical background for the article. The latter is grounded on Foucault's theory on discourse, power and the modern state. We then discuss our two main findings, and finally we relate those findings to the library and its future roles, and to library and information science research and teaching. We find one of these roles to be as instigator of and facilitator and forum for a healthy debate on surveillance and privacy issues.


Simon Haikola and Sara Jonsson were Masters students in Library and Information Science, Swedish School of Library and Information Science (SSLIS) at Göteborg University and Högskolan i Borås, Sweden. Address: Högskolan i Borås, The Swedish School of Library and Information Science (SSLIS), SE-501 90 Borås, Sweden. E-mail: and

Received: 2007-06-30
Received: 2007-09-23
Accepted: 2007-10-01
Published Online: 2008-04-28
Published in Print: 2007-December

© 2007 by K. G. Saur Verlag

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