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A country in which the government gives the secret or political police extensive powers to control the social, political, and/or economic life of its citizens—whose rights, freedoms, and privacy are drastically limited and who are often under mass surveillance—is usually referred to as a “police state.” Arguing that it acts on behalf of national security, the police state fights against “the enemies of the state” and suppresses and eliminates political dissent and civil liberties. In a police state, the secret police are employed to investigate, monitor, and identify any (real or imagined) opposition to the government in power and any (real or imagined) contestation of the policies and values promoted by the executive. This entry reviews types of police states and the various security forces ...

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