In the DFG-funded TATAS project the theoretical and empirical relationship between trust in government, government transparency, and security surveillance policies is studied by a comparative analysis of the US, Germany, and Poland. The originality of this project rests in asking how these issues are mutually implicated, applying them to questions of international politics, and joining the perspectives of politics and law in answering the core questions.

The research project is structured along three sets of questions: First, how can we theorize the intersection of trust, transparency, and surveillance as a system of concepts? Second, how can we apply these insights to an empirical study of surveillance practices in American and European security policy? The goal here is to empirically study the political and legal context of American surveillance practices, and to understand how these affect legal and political decisions on surveillance practices in Germany and Poland. Third, a final set of questions investigates governance mechanisms that might contribute to policy. We will use the project’s theoretical and empirical insights to evaluate legal mechanisms and policy options that balance needs for trust, transparency, and surveillance.