DCAF Parliamentary Brief - Safeguards in Electronic Surveillance

Electronic surveillance is used across European countries to fight serious crime, terrorism, and avert dangers to state security. It is a covert, intrusive method for information collection, performed in secrecy and without the knowledge of the target; it requires security services to possess special, exceptional powers, which often infringe fundamental human rights, primarily the right to privacy.

Therefore, electronic surveillance is a field where abuse is potentially easy in individual cases, but can inflict harmful consequences for the democratic society as a whole, undermining public trust in the state.

This policy paper provides guidance for Parliamentarians in order to address those issues.


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