Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU - Volume II: field perspectives and legal update

This report is FRA’s second publication addressing a European Parliament request for in-depth research on the impact of surveillance on fundamental rights. It updates FRA’s 2015 legal analysis on the topic, and supplements that analysis with field-based insights gained from extensive interviews with diverse experts in intelligence and related fields, including its oversight.

With terrorism, cyber-attacks and sophisticated cross-border criminal networks posing growing threats, the work of intelligence services has become more urgent, complex and international. Such work can strongly interfere with fundamental rights, especially privacy and data protection. While continuous technological advances potentially exacerbate the threat of such interference, effective oversight and remedies can curb the potential for abuse.


  1. FRA Opinions
  2. Part I: The legal framework for intelligence
    • Intelligence services in the EU-28: a diverse landscape
    • Surveillance measures in the digital age
    • Interference with the right to respect for private life
    • Surveillance “in accordance with the law”
    • Legality in case of international intelligence cooperation
    • Surveillance for a legitimate aim: need for ‘national security’ definition(s)
  3. Part II: Accountability
    • An imperative: control from within
    • Oversight framework of intelligence services
    • Features of oversight bodies
    • Stages of intelligence service oversight
    • Oversight of international intelligence cooperation
  4. Part III: Remedies
    • The remedial route
    • Raising individuals’ awareness
    • Remedial bodies’ challenges: access to classified information and necessary expertise
  5. General conclusions