Germany, France and the UK are moving the EU to continuous, unaccountable, warrantless mass surveillance
Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight).
Asaf Lubin’s summary of the legislation in Just Security shows how the UK Snoopers Charter, Germany’s Communications Intelligence Gathering Act and France’s International Electronic Communications Law all legalise the kind of surveillance that outraged Europeans and their leaders in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Despite the fact that Europe’s high court has already ruled that this kind of surveillance is illegal, parliaments around the EU continue to pass their own Snoopers Charters, in a race to the bottom with autocratic states like Russia and surveillance-happy nations like the USA.
Second, the laws all share a lack of adequate oversight and safeguards from abuse. The U.K. government, for example, has taken pride in solidifying the ‘double lock’ mechanism. However, the law limits the scope of review by the Judicial Commissioners, which means that judges will not be given full authority to assess the merits of proposed surveillance measures. Moreover, in the case of bulk warrants the authorization requests can be formulated in such broad and vague ways that making judicial assessments on the merits of the application becomes essentially impossible. The German Independent Panel, which reviews the surveillance directives, also offers only limited oversight. Not only could this process be circumvented in situations where the Federal Chancellery believes the objective of the measure might be “frustrated or significantly impeded,” but moreover, as was already determined by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, the Panel lacks “sufficient staff or resources to oversee mass surveillance operations.” Even more egregious, the French law does not establish any mandatory pre-authorization or consultation process and only allows for post factum investigations by an administrative committee, conducted on its own initiative and lacking statutory bite.
Deprived of local structured oversight, the laws in essence shift the onus of control from domestic parliaments, commissioners, and courts to European regional bodies, further broadening the gap between the positions taken by the judges in Luxembourg and Strasbourg and those offered at the national level.
A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe [Asaf Lubin/Just Security]
(via Naked Capitalism)
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