about:intel exists to facilitate exchange about intelligence law, policies, and practice throughout Europe, promoting understanding and building trust.

Today, we launched in front of 150 select experts from intelligence agencies, oversight bodies, government, and civil society at the International Intelligence Oversight Forum organized by Joseph Cannataci (UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy), building on the leadership and momentum that has been provided and which has encouraged transnational and cross-sectoral dialogue.  

Recent years have witnessed the escalation of national security concerns in national discourses, and the exposition of intelligence agency practice in the public eye. Yet alongside this escalation, discourse surrounding these practices has polarized and coarsened.

Modern intelligence and law enforcement agencies have to deal with a broad variety of security threats. Their mission to keep our societies safe is increasingly complex. International threats prompt closer trans-border cooperation and new technologies implicate both new opportunities as well as new risks. Society has a strong interest in supporting security services that perform their tasks in an effective, thorough and legitimate way.

At the same time, the genuine challenges to appropriate intelligence collection as well as weighing the need for national security and civil liberties should not be left to one sector alone. Regrettably, the space for robust discussion and the exchange of ideas and perspectives remains limited. As a consequence, as legislation and new policies are adopted by European countries, there are missed opportunities for voices outside the ring of secrecy to participate in debate and help shape a more balanced future.

The creation and administration of sound and effective intelligence and security policies does not preclude input of different stakeholders. Rather, we believe, it can help to produce better policy results in this field. Increased involvement by relevant stakeholders and a better public understanding of contemporary security policy is needed. Greater openness and participation in policy-making enhances public confidence and makes legal positions more robust. Strengthened public trust in, and support for, security services ensures greater legitimacy those working for the agencies.

We intend about:intel to contribute towards this goal; to encourage the development of best practices, to exchange ideas and work on common problems, and to strengthen Europe-wide standards for a rights-based framework on the use and oversight of surveillance. We want about:intel to provide an intellectual home for the community of actors working on these issues: researchers, civil society leaders, company representations, intelligence officials, law enforcement officials, oversight staffers, public servants.

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Privacy Preference Center