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

18 December 2014

Guest Blog Entry: OSCE Crisis Management in the Ukraine Crisis

The Ukraine crisis has dominated the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in 2014. Switzerland had well prepared its second OSCE presidency (after 1996). In cooperation with Belgrade, Switzerland had presented ten priorities in mid-2013. Yet, most of the planned activities suddenly became less relevant with the outbreak of a serious crisis in and around Ukraine. As Chairperson-in-Office, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter at once declared his readiness to assist the conflict parties in finding a solution to the crisis. At their Ministerial Council in 2011, OSCE states had agreed to strengthen OSCE crisis management capabilities. The Ukraine crisis thus was the first real test case for implementation of the Vilnius Decision No. 3 and an opportunity for the OSCE to play a more constructive role than during the Russian-Georgian war (2008) and the crisis in Kyrgyzstan (2010) where political consensus for effective OSCE action had been lacking.

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5 December 2014

LIVE BLOG: 21st OSCE Ministerial Council meeting consolidates role of the OSCE as a forum for dialogue between East and West

The 21st Ministerial Council (MC) meeting in Basel revealed that eastern and western OSCE states have fundamentally differing views on Euro-Atlantic security in general and on the root causes of the Ukraine crisis in particular (see previous blog). The meeting also showed that both sides are not ready to compromise on their respective views. Western states want to firmly uphold fundamental OSCE principles. They believe that the principles and commitments are not up for renegotiation – instead their implementation should be enhanced. The Russian Federation on the other hand continues to refer to the principle of non-intervention in its internal affairs.

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