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CPDP2014: Democracy, Surveillance And Intelligence Agencies.

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Published on Mar 16, 2014

Organised by CPDP and the University of Passau
Chair: Gerrit Hornung, University of Passau (DE)
Moderator: Caspar Bowden, Independent Privacy Advocate (FR)
Panel: Louise Arimatsu, Chatham House (UK), Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, University of Hamburg (DE), Constanze Kurz, Chaos Computer Club (DE), Peter Swire, Georgia Tech. (US)

The ongoing disclosure of mass-surveillance activities by the US National Security Agency and GCHQ especially, but also involving groupings of European intelligence agencies, has induced an urgent debate on their technological capabilities, implications for their oversight, and the consequences for fundamental rights. Whilst it is important to analyse such specific questions, it is also timely to focus on the effects on society at large. Is the concept of democratic legitimacy challenged by these developments, especially if the surveillance apparatus is so secret (and complicated) that the electorate has no comprehension of its scale or intensity? Further concerns arise when surveillance is conducted unilaterally by a foreign government, irrespective of where people and data are physically located. What are the implications for judicial review and the separation of powers? As these issues are debated differently on both sides of the Atlantic, the panel brings together specialists from both Europe and the US. Issues to be addressed include:

• Secret mass surveillance - an issue of democracy?!
• Different concepts of privacy rights and democracy in Europe and the US
• The role of national and international judicial review
• Can international legal structures guarantee fundamental rights against an overwhelming hegemony of technical surveillance power?

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