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Science or Security: The Future of the Free Flow of Scientific Information in the Age of Terror
Journal of Law and Information Science (2007)
  • Geoff Holland, University of Technology, Sydney

Politically or ideologically motivated speech has been the primary focus of much of the recent political, legal, and academic debate on restrictions on speech imposed as a reaction to perceived threats to national and international security. However, restrictions imposed on informing speech as a response to the threat of terrorism raise equally serious concerns. The development of the body of knowledge relies on the free flow of information, including persuasive speech. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks in the US, the issue of censorship of scientific information has been subject of debate in both government and scientific circles. This paper analyses the ways restrictions affect the dissemination of knowledge-based information arising from the censoring of scholarly scientific' journals, and at what point a balance can be found between scientific freedom and national security. Is censorship the most appropriate response to the perceived threat of terrorists utilising published scientific information? Can an objective and rational assessment of the threat of terrorism be made in the current political climate? Consideration is given to alternatives to the implementation of a regime of censorship that could be tailored to limit the burden imposed on research in any trade off between scientific progress and national security concerns.

  • Censorship,
  • scientific freedom,
  • terrorism laws
Publication Date
Citation Information
Geoff Holland. "Science or Security: The Future of the Free Flow of Scientific Information in the Age of Terror" Journal of Law and Information Science Vol. 16 Iss. 1 (2007)
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