Special Investigative Measures (SIM) are used across European countries to fight serious crime, terrorism, and avert dangers to state security. They are performed in secrecy, without the knowledge of the target, and when improperly used they endanger fundamental human rights, including the right to privacy (Art. 8 of the European Convention for Human Rights – ECHR), the freedom of information and expression (Art. 10), the right to a fair trial (Art. 6) and freedom of religion (Art. 9). These rights are cornerstones of democracy; their infringement
undermines the rule of law and the citizens’ trust in the state. For these reasons, democratic countries require their police and security services to obtain judicial warrants before using SIM. A rapidly growing jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) sets high standards as regards the duty of Courts to scrutinize the use of secret surveillance by state authorities and to strike a fair balance between two competing state responsibilities:
ensuring public safety and protecting individual rights and liberties.

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