We all know that the intelligence world is a secretive one. For decades books have been written and movies have been made about these shadow like organizations. We all kind of have a vague idea about what they do, and off course our James Bond like fantasies. In the coming days I will try to paint a clearer picture about what they actually do, but first let us ask this question:

What actually controls your countries intelligence service(s)? (Europe only)

 

Do you know? I think it is important to get a better understanding on how certain legal bodies control our intelligence services. In this article I will shed some light on this particular question and create some clarity. This article is based on a study done for the European Union.

Firstly, what legal bodies do we actually have? A quick summary:

  • Parliamentary oversight, a parliament that has the power to intervene and to oversee surveillance measures.
  • Expert oversight, group of independent experts familiar with the surveillance world.
  • Data protection authorities, group of experts safeguarding the right to the protection of personal data.
  • Executive oversight, ministers and the president/prime minister have key decision positions.

 

What states actually have a legal framework for their intelligence agencies? Find your country and be your own judge.

 

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We here see that two EUROPEAN countries don’t even have a legal framework controlling their intelligence agencies. Most countries have a form of regulation but these are general regulations. Only a few countries actually have detailed regulations that state how their intelligence agencies are to behave. What this specifically means is a whole world on its self. Therefore I will add a link to the research report here.

Next to legal frameworks I would like to show you how many countries have parliamentary oversight, parliamentary oversight meaning: a parliament that has the power to intervene and to oversee surveillance measures.  I am a citizen of Holland and I believe in democracy, how important it then is to have a parliament, elected by all citizens and not only the cabinet that has power? Let’s see how our Europe is divided.

 

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Also interesting I believe, are the DPA’s (Data Protection Authorities). Who is advocating you when it comes to your privacy? Are you dependent on the voice of your neighbors and yourself or are you supported by a group of experts? The  results might just be very interesting…

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Isn’t this fascinating? I believe it is! In the aftermath of the terrible attacks in Paris I believe we must be strong and not make rash decisions, especially considering WE already have minimal control over our intelligence agencies. What do you think about all of this? Again I would advise you to take a look at the official report but some conclusions can be made.