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What purpose could mass surveillance in the EU possibly serve?

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The European Parliament commissioned a report on the mass surveillance programs implemented in the European Union. The document lays down the data available regarding five member States (France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden) and ponders about their impact on the economic system.

In the first place, the report ascertains that only four of the above run that type of program (not the Netherlands), but that the United Kingdom allocates a huge budget to it, on an altogether different scale from that of the other countries.

In particular, it questions the aim of this new practice, observing that only the authoritarian regimes responded to the question, whereas the democratic states came up with only vague answers.

Finally, the report underlines - in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations on the methods of the NSA - that the treaties of the European Union allow the Parliament to take up this matter and that its muteness would severely undermine the trust of European citizens in their institutions.

National Programme for Mass Surveillance of Personal Data in EU Member States and their Compatibility with EU Law, European Parliament, October 2013, 79 p.

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