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Balancing Liberty and Security: Human Rights, Human Wrongs

Balancing Liberty and Security: Human Rights, Human Wrongs. By Kate Moss. Palgrave MacMillan,; 272 pages, $90.

The academic work Balancing Liberty and Security explores the tension between international human rights legislation and the parliamentary system of government in the United Kingdom. The author, Kate Moss, comes from an academic and legal background and accordingly her book focuses on the interplay between the U.K. government and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Moss argues that some tactics used by the U.K. government to deal with terrorism could be construed as contrary to European human rights treaties. She discusses the history and context of the EHCR and the U.K.’s corresponding Human Rights Act and examines their positions on torture, detention without trial, and extraordinary rendition. The text also touches on how civil liberties are challenged by new security technologies such as biometrics and surveillance, as well as by government actions.

Ultimately, this book is most useful to security professionals operating in and for a national government, because issues such as what constitutes torture or rendition would be most applicable to them in a legal context. For nongovernmental security practitioners, this book would be educational but otherwise has minimal utility.

Reviewer: Brion P. Gilbride, CPP, CSSM (Certified in Security Supervision and Management), CPO (Certified Protection Officer), has more than 10 years’ experience in border security issues and is currently specializing in insider threat and vulnerability analysis. He is a member of ASIS International.