a1 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
I develop a game-theoretic model of an interaction between an antiterrorist agency and a terrorist organization to analyze how the probability of a terrorist attack varies when the level of privacy protections changes. I derive two implications. First, privacy and security from terrorism need not be in conflict: when accounting for strategic interactions, reducing privacy protections does not necessarily increase security from terrorism. Second, and more important, the antiterrorist agency will always want less privacy. The very agency whose expertise affords it disproportionate influence on policy making will prefer a reduction in privacy protections even when that reduction harms security from terrorism. The analysis has implications for understanding the relationship between government powers and civil liberties in the context of terrorism prevention and times of emergencies more generally.
(Online publication February 22 2011)
I thank Josh Cohen, Xiaochen Fan, Jim Fearon, John Ferejohn, Jim Kuklinski, Terry Moe, Mattias Polborn, Milan Svolik, APSR Coeditor Gary Cox, the coeditors of APSR, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions. All errors are mine.