Anti-Terrorism Laws — 20 Years after 9/11

20 years after 9/11, many originally temporary encroachments on civil liberties and privacy remain in force.

German version available here.

Author: Dr. Josef Braml, Secretary General of the German Group of the Trilateral Commission. Foreword by Christine Lambrecht, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Federal Republic of Germany

In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, almost all of the twenty major industrialized and emerging economies (G20) passed anti-terrorism laws that, to protect their citizens, also restrict civil liberties and expand the powers of the executive branch in the name of national security to this day. 

The comparative focus of this study is on national laws and policies of the G20 states and shows that even today, 20 years later, the vast majority of anti-terrorism laws remain in force. Authoritarian states continue to use the "war on terror" as a justification to silence dissidents and unwelcome opposition figures. In democratic states, many of the originally temporary encroachments on privacy, such as telecommunications surveillance or the collection of biometric features, remain in force and have been normalized by being written into permanent law. 

In the so-called "war on terror," many governments created a state of emergency in which civil liberties were systematically rolled back. These findings also serve as a reminder, not least in view of current developments in the fight against the pandemic, that fundamental democratic principles, such as the rule of law, should neither be taken for granted nor be abandoned prematurely and without reflection. 

+++ International Press Coverage +++

Global Insider Newsletter (Politico)

"Die Freiheitsrechte bleiben eingeschränkt" (Tagesspiegel)

"So hat 9/11 das Leben verändert" (Stuttgarter Nachrichten)

"20 Jahre 9/11 - zum Jahrestag der Anschläge" (Bundeswehr-Journal)

Braml, Josef

Anti-terrorism laws and powers

An inventory of the G20 States 20 years after 9/11
Berlin, 2021

Download publication (430 KB, PDF-File)

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