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The STOA study on Mass Surveillance is being presented to the LIBE Committee

This post is also available in: frFrançais (French)

23 April 2015 – On April 23rd, during a meeting of the Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has been presented the STOA report entitled “Mass Surveillance: Technology foresight, options for longer term security and privacy improvement” published in January.

The first part, dealing with the risks and opportunities resulting from the actual network services and applications, has been presented by Stefan Schuster, director of the project. The second part, addressing future perspectives and improvements options towards security and privacy, has been defended by Patrick de Graaf, consultant specialised in cybersecurity.

The study focuses on:

  • An individual approach based on raising awareness of users to good practices in order for them to secure their data, through encryption methods for instance;
  • A collective approach aiming at establishing a European system more respectful of networks’ security and the protection of users’ data.

Recommendations have been unveiled to the members of the committee, in particular concerning a specific European certification regime or a European “cloud”.

The presentation of the report was followed by MEPs’ interventions willing to speak about underlined societal questions such as: privacy, the lack of citizens’ trust to state authorities, the establishment of security standards or European (encryption) norms.

Still, the regulating approach at the European level questions the equilibrium that must be reached between security measures and the respect of rights and fundamental freedoms. Jan Philipp Albrecht, vice-chairman of LIBE committee and member of The Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA), wanted to emphasise the impossibility to guarantee a 100% secure environment, due to the constant evolution of technologies, as well as the total lack of legal regime of sanctions toward security systems’ loopholes. He also criticises the fact that some critical infrastructures’ providers cannot even have access to what is inside their devices, mostly produced in China or the United-States, undermining these systems’ reliability.

More generally, Mr Albrecht protests against any form of mass surveillance which is only strengthening the feeling of insecurity in Europe. “It is not legal; it is not in line with the fundamental right of data protection to just surveil everybody!”

During the same meeting, members of LIBE have also received a first communication from the European Commission concerning the use of drone in civil aviation. Louis Michel (ALDE) rightly pointed out the intrusive potential of drones and calls the Commission to set up a “clear, precise and predictable regulation” in order to avoid any disproportionate infringement to privacy.

Calendar: The launching of an “Aviation Package” has been announced for end of 2015. A first proposal will be presented to the committee LIBE on June 4th 2015. The deadline for deposing amendments has been fixed to June 12th, and the text should presumably be adopted in September. To be continued…


The STOA study can be consulted more in details on:

PART 1 (EN)

PART 2 (EN)

LIBE Committee’s reunion in web streaming:

Compte AEDH