Mateusz Kolaszyński

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Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland



The article aims to present the most important issues related to oversight over surveillance powers in Poland and Slovakia. The word „surveillance powers” used in the study refers particularly to covert techniques and practices of gathering personal data which occurs without the monitored subjects’ knowledge or approval. Such surveillance powers are typically carried out by police services and intelligence agencies, and are more politically sensitive, as well as closely related to core issues of power and security. Oversight over these services and their surveillance powers is the standard in democratic states. Before 1989-1990, there was a similar model of security services in both analyzed countries. During Communism, there was no civil and democratic oversight over police services and intelligence agencies. Under the communist system control over security services was exercised by an inner circle representing the highest levels of the Communist party. Finally, since the early 1990s Poland and Slovakia had to build new systems of control and oversight over surveillance powers. Nowadays, both countries are members of the European Union and the Council of Europe. The basic issue of the paper is to describe how the systems of control and oversight look in Poland and Slovakia in the post-Snowden era.