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From Oversight to Undersight: the Internationalization of Intelligence

Jelle van Buuren
Journal 20 November 2014

Due to the globalization and nodalisation of intelligence – resulting in hybrid intelligence assemblages – well-known problems related to overseeing intelligence are deteriorating. Not only does the international cooperation between intelligence services contribute to this problem, but especially the internationalization of intelligence collection meaning that as a consequence of technological and market transformations intelligence collection has become footloose and can be conducted remotely. In that way it leaves any idea of national sovereignty or the national protection of civil rights increasingly obsolete. Instead of oversight by institutions the real counter-power in post-democratic constellations seems to be practised by whistleblowers and investigative journalists. Sousveillance or undersight therefore seems to be the most important current oversight mechanism.

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