Complaint to the EU Ombudsman on EU transfers of surveillance capabilities to third countries

FIDH, together with a coalition of human rights groups, has today called on the European Ombudsman, the EU’s oversight body, to investigate evidence that the EU is supporting surveillance in non-EU countries in breach of its own rules. The complaint outlines how EU bodies and agencies are cooperating with governments around the world to increase their surveillance powers.

We argue that the EU is providing authorities with digital tools of surveillance which have been used and will likely continue to be used by authorities of these countries to circumvent individuals’ freedoms and violate their privacy, data protection, as well as other fundamental rights. As such, we argue that the EU bodies might be in breach of their EU law obligations to respect human rights in their external relations by failing to carry out the necessary human rights risk and impact assessments.

Privacy International, Access Now, the Border Violence Monitoring Network, Homo Digitalis, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Sea-Watch are calling on the European Ombudsman, which is charged with investigating instances of maladministration by EU institutions, to launch an investigation into the allegations.
In addition, we have sent a letter, along with a copy of the complaint and accompanying material, to the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), which is charged with ensuring EU bodies respect data protection rules. We are calling on the EDPS to monitor and prioritise the issue.

The complaint and a letter to the EDPS can be found in the attached documents.

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