Council of Europe report on mass surveillance

In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the Council of Europe produced a report on mass surveillance noting that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was deeply concerned about the “mass surveillance and large-scale intrusion practices hitherto unknown to the general public and even to most political decision-makers. The report further noted the “lack of adequate legal regulation and technical protection at the national and international level; and/or its effective enforcement. It pointed out that a number of Council of Europe member states were affected by the US mass surveillance activities, including via partnership of their national intelligence agencies with their US counterparts in the bulk collection of data, from people for whom there is no suspicion of any wrongdoing. The report emphatically declares: “The surveillance practices disclosed so far endanger fundamental human rights, including the rights to privacy (Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)), freedom of information and expression (Article 10, ECHR), and the rights to a fair trial (Article 6, ECHR) and freedom of religion (Article 9) – especially when privileged communications of lawyers and religious ministers are intercepted and when digital evidence is manipulated). These rights are cornerstones of democracy. Their infringement without adequate judicial control also jeopardizes the rule of law.”