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Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Governance & Society

About the event

With the European Parliament Election looming, concerns are mounting over unresolved instances of illegal spyware usage by governments across Europe. The prominent case of Greece’s “Predatorgate” scandal, which erupted in the summer of 2022, vividly illustrates these anxieties. Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis uncovered an attempted wiretap on his phone, revealing broader implications of state surveillance. In the face of inadequate responses from the Greek government and the legal ambiguities surrounding spyware use across European nations, a critical question arises: how can the escalating threat to democracy and the rule of law be effectively addressed?

This unsettling trend of clandestine surveillance not only violates fundamental rights to privacy but also undermines the very essence of democratic governance. The erosion of trust between citizens and their governments is palpable, with each revelation of illicit surveillance further corroding the democratic fabric. Moreover, the proliferation of advanced surveillance technologies has outpaced legislative frameworks, leaving gaping holes in legal protections against invasive practices.

In light of these challenges, the urgency to formulate robust responses has never been greater. This panel discussion, featuring MEPs Petros Kokkalis (The Left) and Sophie in ‘t Veld (Renew Europe), alongside academics Dr. Nikos Erinakis (University of Crete) and Dr. Georgios Samaras (King’s College London), aims to delve into the complexities of this pressing issue.

The panel discussion will be led by Professor Mark Pennington.


Prof Mark Pennington has been Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy since January 2012 and was Head of Department between 2016 and 2020. Prior to joining King’s he taught for 12 years in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mark is currently Director of the Centre for the Study of Governance and Society

Petros Kokkalis is a Greek politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Born and educated in Athens and the US, Kokkalis has a background in political science and international relations. Elected to the European Parliament in 2019, Kokkalis focuses on economic development, trade policy, immigration, and human rights.

Sophie in ‘t Veld is a Dutch politician associated with the Volt party (Renew Europe), having previously been affiliated with the D66 party. Initially elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2004 representing D66, she was re-elected in 2009, 2014, and 2019. Throughout these elections, she served as the top candidate for her party and assumed leadership in the European Parliament since her first election. In 2023, she transitioned from D66 to Volt.

Dr Nikos Erinakis serves as an Assistant Professor of Social and Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Culture at the University of Crete. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of London and Oxford, complementing his studies in Economics at AUEB, and Philosophy and Literature at Warwick, as well as Philosophy of the Social Sciences at LSE. He also holds the position of Director of Research at ENA Institute.

Dr Georgios Samaras serves as Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the International School for Government and Policy Institute, King’s College London. He obtained a PhD in Political Science in 2022 and an MA in Education Policy in 2018 from King’s College London, following a BA in Language and Literature from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2014. He has worked for several years as policy adviser in Greece.

Find out more about the Centre for the Study of Governance & Society

At this event

Georgios Samaras

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Public Policy

Prof. Mark Pennington

Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy

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