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A Dangerous Convergence: The Inevitability of Mass Surveillance in European Jurisprudence

Recent Grand Chamber judgments in Big Brother Watch and Others v. United Kingdom and Centrum för Rättvisa v. Sweden held that some aspects of the UK’s and Sweden’s domestic surveillance regimes violated Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). Despite the findings of violation due to insufficient safeguards, the Grand Chamber asserted that “bulk interception is of vital importance to Contracting States in identifying threats to their national security” and “no alternative or combination of alternatives would be sufficient to substitute for the bulk interception power” (BBW ¶ 166; CFR ¶ 365). As has already been discussed on EJIL: Talk!, the judgments normalize mass surveillance regimes for decades to come (see here). An Emerging Convergence: Procedural Fetishism In this post, I do not discuss the judgment in detail or repeat the same argument about the normalization of mass surveillance (although I strongly agree with it). Instead, I suggest that ECtHR’s approach in Big Brother Watch…

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The Luxembourg Court Rules on the Difference between States and Countries as International Law Actors

On 23 September 2020, the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) in Case T-370-19 Kingdom of Spain v. European Commission rendered a judgment that will surely become an important footnote in any textbook of public international law dealing with treaties and subjects. In this case, the GCEU ruled, among others, on whether certain acts…

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The EU Judiciary After Weiss – Proposing A New Mixed Chamber of the Court of Justice: A Reply to Our Critics

A few weeks ago, we published a proposal, in the form of a Position Paper, for the creation of a Mixed Chamber at the Court of Justice as a means, in part, of addressing the issues highlighted by the May 5th Weiss decision of the German Constitutional Court. This Chamber, to be composed of sitting members of the…

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Could International Law Stop a No-Deal Brexit?

At the time of writing – less than 3 weeks until the current ‘Brexit day’ of 31 October 2019 -  all options relating to the UK’s departure from the European Union appear to be on the table. Leaving with a deal, ‘crashing out’, not leaving at all, or anything in between seem equally possible. Much attention has been…

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Human Rights Regulation in the Tech Sector? The European Court of Justice’s Facebook Decision and California’s AB5 Gig Economy Bill

BigTech may well be the new BigPharma where local, national, or regional human rights-based litigation and human rights-based regulation is concerned.  While the recent exchanges between US presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg signal a looming antitrust showdown, recent regional judicial and local legislative developments concretely demonstrate the human rights-based trajectory of…

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