Police state

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A police state is "a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures." [1]

According to the Wikipedia, a police state is "a totalitarian state regulated by secret police; the police exercise power on behalf of the executive and the conduct of the police cannot be effectively challenged. In such regimes there is no significant distinction between the law and the will of the executive; there is no rule of law."


"The best-known literary treatment of the police state is George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which describes life under a totalitarian régime that uses the constant presence of eternal war as a pretext for subjecting the people to mass surveillance, constraining both freedom of action and of thought." [2]

A classic modern police state was East Germany, or the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The East German secret police force, the Stasi (or Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) maintained a close watch over East German citizens, to the point where virtually every residential building, place of employment or place of leisure was home to at least one Stasi informant. [3]

Some say that since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, especially with the passing of the Patriot Act I, the United States is becoming more and more of a police state in that the government now has expanded powers to surveil and detain people it considers potential terrorists without due process.

A proposed new act, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, is feared to be likely to accelerate this process.

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Note: This article is based on a similar article at the Wikipedia.