NGOs denounce EU’ support to surveillance deployment and privacy violations abroad

Privacy International (PI) and 13 other civil society organisations from Europe and Africa are calling for urgent reforms to EU aid and co-operation programmes to ensure they promote privacy protections in third countries and do not facilitate the use of surveillance that violates fundamental rights. The recent public release of hundreds of EU documents indeed shows how police and security agencies in Africa and the Balkans are trained with EU support in spying on Internet and social media users and using controversial surveillance techniques and tools. The group of NGOs is now calling on the European Commission to stop the diversion of aid funds, to enact strict due diligence and risk assessment procedures, and to agree to transparency, parliamentary scrutiny, and public oversight measures aimed at protecting human rights in non-member countries. According to Reuters, other controversial initiatives included funding a wiretap system in Bosnia and a biometric identification system in Ivory Coast that would accelerate the repatriation of migrants from Europe.