The need to step up the security of EU information technology (IT) systems and parliamentary oversight of intelligence services in Belgium and Denmark were debated at the tenth Civil Liberties Committee inquiry hearing, held Thursday, on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens.

IT experts advised MEPs on possible technical measures to step up IT security in the EU institutions in order to prevent and remedy unauthorised access and the disclosure or loss of information and personal data.

MEPs also continued exploring various national arrangements for parliamentary oversight of national intelligence activities with representatives of member states' national parliaments. This time Belgium and Denmark were in the spotlight.

The situation in Belgium was discussed with Vice-Chair of the Belgian Senate and member of the Intelligence Services Oversight Monitoring Committee, Armand De Decker, and Intelligence Services Oversight Committee Chair Guy Rapaille. On Denmark, MEPs heard Karsten Lauritzen a member of the Legal Affairs Committee and spokesperson for Legal Affairs, of the Danish parliament (Folketing).

Next inquiry hearing

The inquiry’s preliminary findings, which will feed into its final report, will be set out in a working document to be tabled at the next inquiry hearing, on Monday 18 November, in Strasbourg. This document will focus on the democratic oversight of intelligence services. At this hearing, MEPs will also discuss court cases and complaints about national surveillance programmes, as well as the division of competences between member states and the EU on national security issues.

In the chair: Sophie in't Veld (ALDE, NL)