Cyber scares and prophylactic policies: Crossnational evidence on the effect of cyberattacks on public support for surveillance

Amelia C. Arsenault, Sarah E. Kreps, Keren L.G. Snider, Daphna Canetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While conventional terrorism has long been associated with enhanced support for surveillance, scholars have not determined whether variation in the type and outcome of terror attacks, including those emanating from cyberspace, influences public support for these policies. Further, existing studies typically examine public opinion in a single country, thereby failing to investigate cross-national trends in support for surveillance. In this article, we outline a theoretical relationship between cyberattacks and support for surveillance measures and then, through survey experiments conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, explore whether variation in both the type (conventional or cyberterrorism) and outcome (non-lethal or lethal outcomes) of attacks influences support for a range of surveillance tactics. We find that while participants do not base their support for surveillance on attack type or outcome and do not differentiate between surveillance tactics when formulating their preferences, there are considerable cross-national differences in support. Participants from Israel generally responded more favorably to all forms of surveillance, independent of experimental treatment, with British respondents demonstrating high levels of support for CCTV cameras. American respondents, however, were generally less supportive of surveillance measures across treatments, with the differences being most notable in their relative reluctance to support the use of CCTV cameras. These findings have important implications not only for the sustainability of national policies but also for international collaboration to manage emerging risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-428
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • exposure to cyberterrorism
  • exposure to terrorism
  • surveillance policy
  • survey experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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