About us

Oversight and intelligence networks:
Who guards the guardians?

The main goal of the GUARDINT project is to collect, assess, and transfer knowledge on intelligence oversight practices in different European countries. What are the potentials and limitations of democratic control of intelligence agencies in their use of digital and transnational surveillance? Due to the expansion of intelligence networks and digital data collection and sharing, the traditional ways to understand and to practice the control of intelligence services have become dated and inefficient. Yet, robust intelligence oversight is crucial for the legitimacy of and public confidence in modern security. The revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent inquiries have highlighted a gap between increasingly transnational, technically sophisticated surveillance practices and largely national, often poorly equipped oversight mechanisms. Closing this gap is a key challenge for democratic societies in the digital age.
GUARDINT is a collaborative research project between partners based at King’s College London, Sciences Po Paris, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung and WZB (Berlin Social Science Centre) and funded by DFG, ANR and ESRC under the fifth Open Research Area call.


Prof. Claudia Aradau

Claudia Aradau is Professor of International Politics in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Her research has developed a critical political analysis of security practices. Among her publications are Politics of Catastrophe: Genealogies of the Unknown (co-authored with Rens van Munster, 2011) and Critical Security Methods: New Frameworks for Analysis (co-authored with Rens van Munster, 2011). Aradau is also Principal Investigator of the European Research Council Consolidator Grant SECURITY FLOWS ‘Enacting border security in the digital age: political worlds of data forms, flows and frictions’ (2019-2024). Read more

Prof. Didier Bigo

Didier Bigo is Professor of International Political Sociology at Sciences Po Paris and Professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, as well as Director of the Centre d’etudes sur les Conflits, la Liberté, la Sécurité (CCLS). He has managed several European research projects FP5, FP6, FP7 and is a regular contributor to European Parliament reports.
His latest publications include: Didier Bigo, Engin Isin, Evelyn Ruppert. «Data Politics» (Routledge, open access). Read more

Prof. Jeanette Hofmann

Prof. Dr. Jeanette Hofmann is a political scientist and heads the group Politics of Digitalization at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. She is Founding Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and Professor of Internet Policy at the FU Berlin. As Principal Investigator at the Weizenbaum Institute, she heads two research groups. She is a member of various advisory committees, including the Expert Group for the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy of the European Commission. Her research fields include democracy and digitization and transnational regulation. Read more

Dr. Thorsten Wetzling

Thorsten Wetzling heads the research of the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung on surveillance and democratic governance. As Principal
Investigator in the GUARDINT project, he focuses on the development of a composite index on intelligence oversight. Since 2018, Thorsten directs the European Intelligence Oversight Network (EION). In 2019, Thorsten helped design and implement aboutintel.eu – a new multi-stakeholder platform for a European conversation on all things intelligence. Thorsten is a member of the advisory board on Europe/Transatlantic of the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin and of the scientific committee of the Cyber and Data Security Lab at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Thorsten holds a doctorate degree in political science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Dr. Leonie Ansems de Vries

Leonie Ansems de Vries is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London and Chair of the Migration Research Group. Her research explores relations between governance, security and resistance in the context of mobility. She is also interested in the question of knowledge production, trust and democracy. She is the author of Re-Imagining a Politics of Life: From Governance of Order to Politics of Movement (2014). She has led a number of research projects, including the collaborative project ‘Documenting the Humanitarian Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean’ (2015-17), academc/artistic projects on migrant experiences and policy research on legal pathways to protection.

Prof. Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche

Professor of law (Human Rights Law, European Union Law) at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche studies the effectiveness of the fundamental rights protection, notably examining the situations of exceptions and considering the conditions of margins. She concentrates her research on the rule of law requirements. Read more

Eric Kind​

Eric Kind is an independent consultant and expert in surveillance law. He is also a Visiting Lecturer at Queen Mary, University London where he teaches on criminal justice and surveillance technologies. Previously, he was Director of a UK coalition of NGOs advocating for reform of the laws and policies regulating investigatory powers. He was the Deputy Director at Privacy International where he broadly worked on issues related to signals intelligence and human rights. He is on the advisory council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, the Open Rights Group and a member of the Independent Digital Ethics Panel for Policing. Read more

Ronja Kniep

Ronja Kniep is a research fellow in the research group Politics of Digitalization at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU). Her research focuses on communications surveillance, intelligence cooperation, intelligence oversight and digital policy. In GUARDINT, Ronja works on the intelligence oversight index, oversight of information sharing, and analyses the justification and contestation of large-scale surveillance in German cases of strategic litigation. Read more

Dr. Emma Mc Cluskey

Emma Mc Cluskey is a Research Associate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Her research has explored the relations between security, mobility, surveillance and democracy. She is author of From Righteousness to Far Right: An Anthropological Rethinking of Critical Security Studies and is co-editor in Chief of the bi-annual journal, Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS). Read more

Bernardino Leon Reyes

Bernardino is a PhD candidate at Sciences Po’s Center for International Studies, where he researches the practices of non-state actors involved in intelligence oversight. His interest lay at the crossroads of intelligence accountability, human rights and inequality. Before joining GUARDINT, Bernardino was a ‘La Caixa’ Fellow at UCL Anthropology. 

Felix Richter

Felix Richter is a project manager in the area of Digital Rights, Surveillance and Democracy at the Berlin-based Think Tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV). He is conducting research on the limits and possibilities of democratic control of digital surveillance and is working on the development of an Intelligence Oversight Index. This index is intended to compare the control of digital surveillance across countries and thus contribute to the further development of comparative research in this field.

Sarah naima roller

Sarah Naima Roller is a research fellow at the research group Politics of Digitalization at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Her research interest lies at the cross-section of political theory and international relations, she studies ideas of accountability inherent to transnational political systems. At GUARDINT, she works on the intelligence oversight index, specifically, she compares modes of intelligence oversight and conceptualizes statistical methodologies.

Mouna Smaali

Mouna Smaali works as a project manager in the area of Digital Rights, Surveillance and Democracy at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV). Her research interest lies in political theory and the history of ideas, often with a connection to contemporary security policy issues and geopolitics. At GUARDINT she researches on the limits and possibilities of democratic control of digital surveillance and measuring and comparison options to determine the performance of intelligence control.

Dr. Félix Tréguer

Félix Tréguer is a postdoctoral researcher at CERI-Sciences Po. His research, blends political history and theory, law as well as media and technology studies to study controversies tied to surveillance and more broadly the digital transformation of the state. He is a founding member of La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group defending civil rights in relation to digital technologies.

Kilian Vieth-Ditlmann

Kilian works at the Berlin-based Think Tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV), where he conducts research on democratic intelligence governance and reform approaches for rights-based and more effective intelligence and surveillance policy in Germany and Europe. He is also engaged in the European Intelligence Oversight Network (EION), a forum for critical, practice-oriented debate on intelligence governance challenges. In GUARDINT he primarily works on the development of the composite intelligence oversight index and the surveillance law database. Read more