Dr. Thorsten Wetzling

"Digital Rights, Surveillance and Democracy"

Thorsten Wetzling heads the SNV’s research unit on basic rights, surveillance and democracy. He currently directs the European Intelligence Oversight Network (EION), a collaborative research project to support and challenge intelligence oversight bodies across Europe. He is also a Principal Investigator for the international research consortium GUARD//INT which aims to build empirical and conceptual tools to better understand the limits and potential of intelligence oversight mechanisms. Thorsten is also founder and editor-in-chief of aboutintel.eu – a European discussion forum on surveillance, technology and democracy.

As an expert on international security governance, accountability mechanisms and supervisory technology, Thorsten gave testimony before the European Parliament and the Bundestag on intelligence and national security legislation. In 2021, Thorsten served as consultant for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) regarding its work on government access to personal data held by the private sector and as scientific expert for the Council of Europe and its work on the modernised Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data. Thorsten also engaged in comparative research on law enforcement powers and oversight frameworks for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Thorsten is a member 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. Before working for SNV, Thorsten worked at The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). As Transatlantic Post-Doc Fellow for International Relations and Security (TAPIR), Thorsten also worked at the French Institute for International Relations (ifri), the RAND Corporation in Arlington, Virginia and the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C


Email address: 
+49 (0)30 81 45 03 78 83
On Twitter: 

government access to personal data, surveillance and fundamental rights and freedoms, accountability, and data-driven oversight, international data politics, European security and intelligence cooperation