Who are we?

about:intel is based at interface, originally known as Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV), a European think tank at the intersection of technology and politics in Berlin. Meet our editorial team.


Problem statement & remedy

The landscape of digital communications, evolving transnational security threats, and sophisticated intelligence capabilities is developing at unprecedented speed, posing challenges for regulators, independent advocates and operational agencies alike. During our project work on intelligence oversight at interface, we noticed that these challenges are often approached within disparate silos with little meaningful interaction among each other. However, weighing the need for national security and civil liberties should not be left to one sector alone. Rather than preclude the input of different stakeholders, we believe that the creation and administration of sound and effective intelligence and security policy requires a plurality of cross-disciplinary perspectives. Dialogue helps promote openness and participation, resulting in a richer debate, and facilitating increased public understanding of, and legitimacy for, balanced contemporary security policy.


Our mission

Against a backdrop of highly-specialised actors in modern intelligence politics that struggle to talk to each other, about:intel seeks to provide a space for sharing, learning, and debate. To that end, we seek to curate a constructive dialogue between all stakeholders, from security professionals to human rights advocates, from business representatives to academics, from individual intelligence overseers to bar associations, and from journalists to lawmakers. In doing so, about:intel aims to

  • inspire an inclusive conversation on intelligence, technology, and democracy,
  • combine specialised contributions by experts in their respective fields with a level of accessibility that appeals to every interested party,
  • promote mutual understanding and respect between the stakeholders,
  • help develop a more attentive and integrated European public sphere around intelligence.


Why European?

In order to meet the challenges that come with European integration, globalized communication technology, a diffuse international security landscape, and cross-border intelligence cooperation, to name but a few trends, about:intel is also a decidedly pan-European forum. A shared legal framework under the European Convention on Human Rights (and for many parts of Europe, the European Union and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights) as well as increasingly close security cooperation means that European actors have both similar problems and an aligned understanding of accountability and rule of law. This allows for a more nuanced conversation around the issues that matter. 


Editorial process & thematic preview

In order to facilitate a heightened degree of national and sectoral cross-pollination which we find so vital when discussing intelligence, about:intel structures most contributions as responses to key discussion questions. This means that experts are invited to comment on the same discussion question for any given topic, emulating a well-moderated conference panel and allowing us to cover as broad a spectrum of insights as possible, always aiming for editorial neutrality, on a whole range of issues. These include the use of artificial intelligence by intelligence agencies, predictive policing, the need for dialogue between stakeholders, the use- and lawfulness of bulk collection, security & intelligence integration, oversight cooperation, export controls on surveillance technology, travel & migration intelligence, facial recognition, vulnerabilities equities policies, Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) & Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT), Internet of Things (IoT), chilling effects, effects of operations, European databases, and many more. 

On top of our curated discussion questions, we have a section called Spotlight where we keep checking in on intelligence law & practice around Europe and give context to intelligence news. Be it litigation, legislation, politics, reviews, leaks and scandals, or stand-alone investigative features, Spotlight is our feed for contemporary intelligence journalism.

If you would like to contribute to any of the discussion topics mentioned above or comment on the state of intelligence law & practice on the national or European level, or if you know someone who might, or if you would like to suggest further pressing issues you would like to see addressed, please contact us at info@aboutintel.eu. about:intel is designed for the long run and input from the audience is therefore very important to us. 



Our primary diversity focus is on a cross-disciplinary multiplicity of perspectives and backgrounds. We are convinced that only a pluralistic conversation on pressing questions such as intelligence oversight, artificial intelligence, and security integration will help create the wider European community from which we all stand to benefit. For most discussion questions, we therefore approach intelligence practitioners, intelligence overseers, representatives from industry, civil society, academia, and government from a range of different countries.

We are also aware of how the perception of what is and could be relevant in the discussion we are seeking to facilitate still tends to be biased along the dimensions of hierarchy, gender, race, and nationality. While we recognize the necessity to include insiders and practitioners in positions of legislative and executive power, we do not, however, seek to reproduce the prevailing mode of intelligence discourse. After all, about:intel is designed to address all facets of present and future debate. We therefore particularly welcome fresh and perhaps different voices from non-dominant groups and backgrounds.