ISCI is a cross-disciplinary research centre working to further our understanding of state crime: organisational deviance violating human rights

'“Digital Blackwater”: The National Security Administration, Telecommunications Companies and State-Corporate Crime'


Laura Finley and Luigi Esposito

Vol. 3, No. 2, State Crime Journal State-Corporate Crime Special Issue (Autumn 2014) (pp. 182-199)

DOI: 10.13169/statecrime.3.2.0182

This article examines the National Security Administration’s (NSA) coupling with major telecommunications companies for mass surveillance of Americans’ communications as a form of state-facilitated state-corporate crime. It addresses the ways that the US surveillance programmes are violating the right to privacy and are excessively secretive, in violation of international human rights laws. Furthermore, given that attacking and defaming whistleblowers is a hallmark of state-corporate crime, this article also examines the treatment of Edward Snowden, the contractor who leaked information about the NSA’s programmes to news media. The article also addresses how this widespread and suspicionless spying is antithetical to democracy, undermining the rule of law and dissuading critical dialogue about public policy and national security. We conclude with an examination of why so many Americans are apathetic about these privacy violations, focusing on the consumerist ideology that promotes widespread acceptance of efforts that allegedly result in greater national security.

state-corporate crime, NSA, Edward Snowden, surveillance, telecommunications