Surveillance by intelligence services - Volume I: Member States’ legal frameworks

This report, drafted in response to the European Parliament’s call for thorough research on fundamental rights protection in the context of surveillance, maps and analyses the legal frameworks on surveillance in place in EU Member States.

Focusing on so-called ‘mass surveillance’, it also details oversight mechanisms introduced across the EU, outlines the work of entities tasked with overseeing surveillance efforts, and presents the remedies available to individuals seeking to challenge such intelligence activity.

Protecting the public from security threats and safeguarding fundamental rights involves a delicate balance. Brutal terror attacks and technological innovations making possible large-scale communications data monitoring have further complicated the matter, triggering concerns about violations of the rights to privacy and data protection in the name of national security protection. The Snowden revelations, which uncovered extensive and indiscriminate surveillance efforts worldwide, made clear that enhanced safeguards of these rights are needed.

By demonstrating the complex considerations involved, this report underscores how difficult it can be to address what are often seen as competing priorities, and contributes to the continuing debate on how to best reconcile them.