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The legitimacy of intelligence surveillance: the fight against terrorism in the Czech Republic and Slovakia

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Abstract

The activities of intelligence services and the expansion of their powers have moved to the center of public debates since the terrorist attacks in Europe. Major discussions have been focused on the mechanisms of mass surveillance, which entail the infringement of individual rights. The purpose of this article is to compare how surveillance powers of intelligence services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia developed in the context of fight against terrorism. Intelligence services in both countries tried to expand their surveillance powers and these attempts have been met with criticism from the political opposition, civil society and courts.
The legitimacy of intelligence surveillance: the fight against terrorism in the Czech Republic
and Slovakia
Free e-print available at:
https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RWDNYGJQTMUIQSNE2JVK/full?
target=10.1080/02684527.2019.1634389
... The package came in a series of proposals from both the Ministry of the Interior and the Slovak Information Service, arguing that the expansion of surveillance rights is necessary to fight terror. These attempts were often problematic from the point of view of democratic legitimacy, making use of both extraordinary legislative process and indirect amendments to laws (Kovanič and Coufalová 2020). ...
Chapter
Slovakia’s democracy has faced intensified challenges from both far-right political actors seeking to gain a parliamentary majority and mainstream political actors engaging in various forms of anti-minority rhetoric. This chapter provides an overview of mainstream measures conventionally associated with Slovak neo-militant democracy, as well as of the institutional landscape that put them into practice. It utilises the concept of militarisation of democracy as a process of defending democracy via rights restrictions, which may backfire and trigger the deterioration of democracy. The first five sections evaluate the rationale and implementation of particular measures from the perspective of their capacity and limitations to contribute to democratisation. The results present a mixed picture, with some measures lacking clear justification, and hence contributing to a tension between militarisation and democratisation. As most of these measures are dependent upon courts interpreting their scope and limits, the chapter presents how the judiciary engages with the process of militarisation of democracy, concluding that the Slovak judiciary has the necessary resources to contribute to the compatibility of militarisation with democracy, though it has not utilised them to their full potential.
... Such guarantees can also contribute to increased protection of human rights. The goal of this chapter is to discuss the barriers against overcoming the culture of secrecy in the area of surveillance (Kovanic and Coufalova 2019) with particular focus on Poland, where debates about the Snowden revelations have not succeeded in making surveillance practices more transparent (Gruszczak 2017). ...
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