Making transparent invisible surveillance: Digital investigatory measures in the European Union and their compatibility with EU data protection law

Project Details


A European Union that “protects, empowers and defends” is currently in the making under the influence of centrifugal forces. On the one hand, an important building block of the European Security Union (“protect”, “defend”) is facilitation and broadening of law enforcement access to personal data of individuals, that has been originally collected for entirely different purposes. The EU is therefore currently developing new digital investigatory measures, such as the cross-border law enforcement requests for electronic evidence from service providers. On the other hand, the cornerstone of the Digital Single Market (“empower”) are new, strong and robust data protection rules, designed to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights of individuals in the Digital Age.
The contemporary digital investigatory measures are intrusive to fundamental rights. They are often being deployed for momentary political reasons, without seemingly compelling evidence that would demonstrate their added value and justify their raison d’être. This study will measure the use and frequency of certain selected digital investigatory measures and check their (in)compatibility with the requirements of the primary and secondary EU data protection law (Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive 2016/680). The study will create a new data protection compliance framework for digital investigatory measures. It will endeavour to develop objective, number-based criteria.
Effective start/end date1/01/1931/12/22


  • surveillance

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Metalaw not elsewhere classified


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