Secret Global Surveillance Networks’ is a major PI report, based on an unprecedented international collaborative investigation carried out by 40 NGOs in 42 countries.
Secret Global Surveillance Networks: Intelligence Sharing Between Governments and the Need for Safeguards
Intelligence sharing is one of the most pervasive, and least regulated, surveillance
practices in our modern world. It is facilitated by rapidly changing technology that
has allowed for the collection, storage and transfer of vast amounts of data within
and between countries. The privacy impacts of these developments are significant.
In this report, Privacy International offers a set of recommendations aimed at
addressing the legality and oversight gaps of intelligence sharing arrangements.
What Do We Mean by Intelligence Sharing?
Intelligence sharing is one form of intelligence cooperation between states, which
may also include operational cooperation, facilities and equipment hosting, training
and capacity building, and technical and financial support.
Governments share intelligence in various ways. Pursuant to an intelligence sharing arrangement, a government might, inter alia:
Access “raw” (i.e. unanalysed) information, such as internet traffic intercepted
in bulk from fibre optic cables by another government;
Access information stored in databases held by another government or jointly
managed with another government;
Receive the results of another government’s analysis of information, for
example, in the form of an intelligence report.
All forms of intelligence sharing raise concerns for privacy and other human rights.
But the risks posed to these rights is particularly acute where a government can
directly access information acquired or held by another government. Those risks
are amplified by the increasing scope and scale of surveillance conducted by
intelligence agencies, which has also given rise to a new scope and scale of sharing,