UK hosts European Intelligence Oversight Conference

Published on 28 October 2022

Organisations which oversee the work of the intelligence agencies across Europe gathered earlier this month in London for the annual European Intelligence Oversight Conference (EIOC).

Sixteen countries were represented at the conference, which took place in the UK for the first time. Discussions centred on accountability, transparency and the development of technology.

The UK’s Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Sir Brian Leveson, said:

“Cooperation across the oversight community remains beneficial for us all.

“Although there are obvious limitations in what we can discuss, we can learn lessons from each other and enhance the work that we do.

“The discussions at this year’s conference were particularly interesting, as we all strive to strike the balance of becoming increasingly open about our work while safeguarding national security.”

With a clear focus on technological advancements at this year’s conference, the Norwegian Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Intelligence and Security Services (our Norwegian oversight counterparts) led the discussion, alongside Professor Dame Muffy Calder, Chair of the UK Technology Advisory Panel (TAP), on how oversight bodies can build technological competence. Dame Muffy also explained some work being led by the TAP on ways to measure privacy intrusion. Other discussions focused on how we can improve understanding of our work and how sensitive intelligence is protected under the different statutory frameworks in each country.

For their respective intelligence agencies, all organisations at the conference have a responsibility to ensure that operations are lawful. While the specific responsibilities and ways of working differ from country to country, the group shares a common mandate.

The next European Intelligence Oversight Conference will take place in autumn 2023.

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