Press Note about Coimbra Event: Judge Pinto de Albuquerque presentation at Global Digital Human Rights Network conference at Coimbra University raised the concern about mass surveillance standards in Europe

On Tuesday, 21 September 2021 former judge of the European Court of Human Rights from Portugal, judge Pinto de Albuquerque discussed his views on the lowering of standards regarding governmental responsibilities for mass surveillance in Europe. He spoke at the conference,  held in the framework of various events of the Global Digital Human Rights Network (GDHRNet) at Coimbra University , during the week of 20 – 23 September 2021. With reference to ECtHR Grand Chamber recent judgments of Big Brother Watch and others vs. the United Kingdom and Centrum för Rättvisa vs Sweden (both on 25 May 2021), Professor Albuquerque was the only judge in the 17 judge Grand Chamber to oppose the endorsement of the legality of bulk electronic surveillance.
During his talk at the conference, he highlighted the need for judicial authorization of mass surveillance and voiced his opposition to such surveillance in principle.
It appears that the European Court of Human Rights is on the route to lowering the standards for privacy protection in the digital domain, opposed to the stand of the Court of Justice of the EU (for example Maximillian Schrems vs. Data Protection Commissioner. C-362/14) prioritizing personal data protection over security considerations of foreign governments. During the discussion, the GDHRNet Chair, Professor Mart Susi from Tallinn University, raised the issue of transposability of offline human rights standards into the digital realm. The scope of privacy in the physical and online dimensions may not fully overlap. GDHRNet ( is EU network of human rights researchers funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology Programme (