European Ombudsman responds to NGOs’ complaint, investigates EU’s facilitation of Africa’s surveillance network

In a win that elevates human rights over government spying, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has opened an investigation into the European Commission’s support for African countries to develop surveillance capabilities.

With little regard for the real-life consequences that surveillance technology poses to human rights, the EU has funded and supported unregulated, state-sponsored surveillance across Africa, said Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy Manager at Access Now. We welcome the European Ombudsman’s investigation into these confounding arrangements, and will continue to direct the public’s eye towards government-support of the global surveillance industry

The investigation, opened on November 30, comes in response to a complaint filed by Access Now, Privacy International, Sea-Watch, BVMN, Homo Digitalis, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) calling for an inquiry into the EU’s financial and logistical support of intelligence gathering and surveillance, as well as wiretapping tech and biometric ID systems to non-EU intelligence and security agencies as part of migration control and surveillance programs.

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