The growing importance and normalisation of intelligence politics has entailed a whole range of captivating processes, from litigation to legislation, from oversight reports to political processes. In Spotlight, we keep checking in on key developments as they unfold and give context to European intelligence news.

The Pegasus scandal in Poland – between old problems with state surveillance and the current rule of law crisis

The abuse of state surveillance in Poland can only be tackled by establishing independent oversight institutions capable of providing effective legal remedies for victims.

Finnish intelligence overseers’ right of access supersedes Originator Control

The Originator Control principle does not prevent the Finnish Intelligence Ombudsman’s access to all material relating to the national intelligence authorities' cooperation with NATO.

Confronting a blunt Tool: Perspectives on Israel’s mass surveillance litigation

This “Israeli Snowden moment” might tip the scale towards greater proportionality in the laws concerning bulk data collection.

Dutch watchdog orders bulk datasets held by intelligence services to be deleted

The Complaints Department of CTIVD has used its binding authority for the first time. Though the Dutch secret services are now compelled to delete unlawfully held data, weaknesses of the oversight system are evident.

The EU’s Proposed Data Act: Regulating International Flows of Non-Personal Data

The U.S. government has consistently denied deploying its foreign intelligence apparatus to benefit U.S. companies. The Data Act proposal proceeds on the premise that it does.

Five things you didn’t know about Germany’s foreign intelligence reform

An account of 5 critical changes that merit careful scrutiny from the international community.

Privacy risks of (automated) Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

The privacy interference in the current practice of ‘automated OSINT’ can no longer be perceived as ‘minor’ and begs for a legal debate and sufficient legal safeguards.

Update on the Dutch “Dragnet-Act”: One step forward, two steps back?

A second Amendment Proposal prepared by the government is feared to fundamentally threaten effective oversight.

U.S. and European Surveillance Law Regimes: Time to Adjust the Contrast?

Basic requirements for a more lasting transatlantic data transfer architecture.

France’s tepid intelligence reform

Draft law to introduce new data analysis capabilities.

CJEU rulings v. French intelligence legislation

The Conseil d'État deliberately misinterpreted the EU Court.

Beyond Europe: the political economy of bulk data collection

South Africa’s mass surveillance ruling offers an opportunity for fresh debate.

Brexit highlights the EU and UK data protection regimes

The consequences for large-scale intelligence collection and civil liberties.

A new digital hub for intelligence law and oversight

One searchable database for all documents about intelligence.

The quantum threat: why we need regulation and transparency

The high-stakes game of shaping the internet of tomorrow.

A year in surveillance

A brief overview of the voices on about:intel in 2020.

New hacking powers for German intelligence agencies

The Grand Coalition's draft law can’t keep up with what is already practiced in other democracies.

Palantir is not our friend

Why the EU must kick its addiction to US technology.

A strange war

How France abandoned its secular foundation to build an anti-terrorist republic.

Spain’s digital future rests on learning from past errors

The Spanish government’s new Digital Agenda should think of security, the economy, and privacy as interconnected.

Can MI5 agents get away with murder?

The Security Service’s secret policy on participating in crime.

France’s second try at the Intelligence Act

What the French Parliament needs to discuss in its upcoming legislative debate.

Greece: Technology-led policing awakens

Hellenic police and border authorities are bulking up on surveillance.

Covid-19 tracking apps, or: how to deal with a pandemic most unsuccessfully

Are tracking apps really the solution or do they just add surveillance creep into democratic societies?

Try harder, Bundestag! Germany has to rewrite its foreign intelligence reform

What the German Constitutional Court’s decision on the BND Act means for the future of surveillance and end-to-end oversight in Germany.

The Polish surveillance regime before the ECHR

After ignoring the Constitutional Tribunal’s call for greater oversight and safeguards, Polish surveillance law is bad news for human rights.

The Club de Berne: a black box of growing intelligence cooperation

An in-depth account of how this notoriously secret club has expanded over the years.

Digital technologies in peace operations

As conflict moves to the cyber realm, peace efforts must, too.

European metadata retention: news from the EU court

An analysis of the AG’s opinion on data retention and access to metadata at the court in Luxembourg.

Years of MI5 lawbreaking expose failure of UK surveillance safeguards

The only thing worse than secret services with sweeping surveillance powers is secret services with sweeping surveillance powers that are left unchecked by a toothless oversight system.

Update pending: intelligence oversight needs oversight intelligence

Seven ideas for how to close the gap between high-tech intelligence and low-tech oversight.

Austrian government’s hacking law ruled unconstitutional

Why the Constitutional Court of Austria scrapped government spyware & street surveillance.

Casual attitude in intelligence sharing is troubling

The Dutch secret services share data with foreign services far too easily. Better legal and internal safeguards are essential.

Hardwired bias: how data-driven policing exacerbates racial discrimination

New report by the European Network Against Racism shows ostensibly neutral police tools could disproportionately impact and further disadvantage racialised communities.

FRAgile liberty: why we brought Sweden before the Strasbourg court

One of the counsels for the applicant in Centrum för Rättvisa v. Sweden at the European Court of Human Rights explains the case against the Swedish bulk collection regime and what the pending judgment means for civil liberties in the digital age for all of Europe.

Why we’re launching about:intel

Editors-in-Chief Thorsten Wetzling and Eric Kind explain why we started about:intel and what we are trying to achieve with it.