Latest Journals

20 May 2014

From Oversight to Undersight: the Internationalization of Intelligence

Due to the globalization and nodalisation of intelligence - resulting in hybrid intelligence assemblages - well-known problems related to overseeing intelligence are deteriorating. Not only does the international cooperation between intelligence services contribute to this problem, but especially the internationalization of intelligence collection meaning that as a consequence of technological and market transformations intelligence collection has become footloose and can be conducted remotely. In that way it leaves any idea of national sovereignty or the national protection of civil rights increasingly obsolete. Instead of oversight by institutions the real counter-power in post-democratic constellations seems to be practised by whistleblowers and investigative journalists. Sousveillance or undersight therefore seems to be the most important current oversight mechanism.

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20 May 2014

Between ‘sousveillance’ and applied ethics: practical approaches to oversight

The issue of the oversight of intelligence and security services is playing an increasing role in the debate on global security issues both among specialists and the broader public. Beyond theoretical debates on intelligence and surveillance ten practical approaches to advance oversight are being developed. Core ideas address the implications of the political supremacy of oversight, the need for revisiting the focus of oversight as well as the possibilities of the proliferation of best oversight practices. Furthermore, suggestions are made regarding the integration of ethics in security research and the creation of space for applied ethics for intelligence practitioners.

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Debate & Blogs

10 September 2014

OSCE helps broker ceasefire agreement and expands the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission on the ground in Ukraine

On 5 September a ceasefire agreement was signed in Minsk to help resolve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The agreement was negotiated within the context of the so-called Trilateral Contact Group that includes senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. The Trilateral Contact Group has held several meetings in the course of the last months, including with representatives of the separatists in eastern Ukraine. The meetings were held in Ukraine but also in Minsk, as a courtesy of the Belarusian leadership. Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine describes in this short interview how the SMM will expand and intensify its activities in order to monitor this ceasefire agreement and how it will report possible violations of it. As defined in the SMM's mandate, the mission "may expand by a total of up to 400 additional monitors." The interview was conducted by Stephanie Liechtenstein, Website Editor of Security and Human Rights on 9 September 2014. (See also our longer interview with Mr. Hug that was conducted on 2 September 2014).

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8 September 2014

Special Monitoring Mission is the eyes and the ears of the international community in Ukraine

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine is currently the only international presence that operates throughout Ukraine – including in the east and south-east of the country where fighting is taking place between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels. Since its inception in March 2014, the SMM has established an impressive network of contacts with all sides in Ukraine and it has become the "eyes and ears of the international community on the ground in Ukraine". Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM explains in this interview how the SMM operates in Ukraine. While he says that the security of the SMM personnel is "the most important parameter in the decision-making process", he adds that "a minimal risk remains." He also explains in the interview how the SMM was able to facilitate access of experts to the crash site of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines jet and points out some of the limitations of a civilian monitoring mission. The interview was conducted by Stephanie Liechtenstein, Website Editor of Security and Human Rights on 2 September 2014.*

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