Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Surveillance, Privacy, and the Law

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Surveillance, Privacy, and the Law

Article excerpt

Surveillance, Privacy, and the Law John Gilliom. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, i994. i8ipp. $i9.95.

Building upon his thesis topic, "The dangers of safety employee drug testing, social control, and the law," John Gilliom's Surveillance, Privacy, and the Law is a thorough and engaging work on the subject of drug testing. Certainly the i980s saw its fair share of writing on drug testing, but not with the critical perspective Gilliom o∂ers. Gilliom's focus is on the cultural climate of the i980s and the hysteria drummed up by politicians and the media about the national drug crisis. He argues that drug testing entered the American workplace with little opposition because of this "crisis mentality," and also because of the "ideological hegemony." Drawing heavily on the work of Michel Foucault, Gilliom proposes that we are moving towards a surveillance society in which more and more forms of social control are being exerted upon us-drug testing being one of them. In Gilliom's words, "In its overall impact, the War on Drugs marked a massive intensification in the government's ability to watch, control, and punish its citizens."

With this at the core, the author examines the construction of the drug crisis in the i980s, the reasons why employers felt testing was necessary, the response of employees subjected to drug testing (including comments by many), and the decisions made by the courts contingent upon the judge's interpretation of the fourth amendment and privacy rights. …

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