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    ISSN 1756-851X
    28 January 2015
 

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EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise"

A leaked European Commission note (pdf) sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) voted against the proposed PNR Directive in April 2013, but EU officials and national politicians have repeatedly demanded agreement on the legislation.

These calls reached a crescendo following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, with politicians and officials claiming the attacks made clear the necessity of an EU PNR system. As Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, said to the LIBE committee yesterday (27 January) during a session on counter-terrorism: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme foir 2015 (138 pages, pdf) and EUROPOL: Work Programme for 2015 (65 pages, pdf)

Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence: Europe Or Die (VICE News, link): "Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers. VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out." See: Watch: :"The Human Cost of War in the Central African Republic" (link), Read: "Asylum Seekers in Australia Could Soon Be Headed to Cambodia" (link) and Read "Guards Break Barricades and Jail Dozens as Refugees Continue Mass Hunger Strike Against Australia" (link)

And see: Spanish official lauds Morocco’s exemplary immigration policy (Morocco Wordl News, link): ""Ybanez noted that Morocco has adopted a new policy which takes account of the new challenges of immigration regarding the respect of human rights of immigrants and refugees, and the need to promote regional cooperation to counter this phenomenon." Scenes in the Vice documentary would suggest that Moroccan (and Spanish) "respect of human rights of immigrants and refugees" leave something to be desired. "

EU: Money-laundering and terrorism: Draft "compromise" between the Council and the European Parliament: Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (pdf)

Does not seem to take into account criticisms made by the Meijers Committee regarding the potential the text provides for discrimination: Note Meijers Committee on the proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (COM(2013) 45 final) (pdf)

SURVEILLANCE: Experts Unmask 'Regin' Trojan as NSA Tool (Spiegel Online): "Just weeks ago, SPIEGEL published the source code of an NSA malware program known internally as QWERTY. Now, experts have found that it is none other than the notorious trojan Regin, used in dozens of cyber attacks around the world."

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Press release): The EU as a beacon of respect for data protection and privacy (pdf):

"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said, "It is high time that we in Europe think about our response to rapid change and challenges, including threats to our security. That response will have ramifications for us and for the next generation that is growing up online today. We must not forget that we cannot have security without privacy so that we preserve the rights and freedoms that Europe holds dear. Our solutions for security must also treat individuals with dignity and respect - and not suspicion or surveillance. The goal for my mandate is for the EU to speak with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant." [emphasis in original]

EU: NIS: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - State of play and work ahead (LIMITE doc no: 5257-15, 145 pages, pdf): Multi-column document showing the Commission proposal, and the Council and European Parliament positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation:

General Data Protection Regulation - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 5315-15, pdf) From German and French delegations
Pseudonymisation (LIMITE doc no: 14705-rev1-14, pdf) German delegation: "The German delegation proposes taking the idea of pseudonymisation of data another step further, in order to encourage the use of pseudonymisation and make it more attractive to controllers while further improving the protection of data subjects."

UK: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill: STOP THE CTS BILL (link) and Petition (link)

EU: Holocaust denial and hate crime: Can the EU and its Member States do more? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The European Commission has chosen today, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to release its first report on Member States' implementation of the EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law....The Commission cannot be criticised for holding off on bringing infringement proceedings, since it cannot do so until the end of this year. After that point, this legislation will be another EU measure which the Commission ought to enforce vigorously by means of infringement proceedings if it is, as it claims, committed to ensuring the full implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice."

See also: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (pdf)

EUROPOL: Report on the annual accounts of the European Police Office for the financial year 2013 together with the Office's replies (16471-14, pdf) including on page 14:

"The EIS contained 245,142 (186,896 last year) records at the end of 2013 with an increasing proportion of person records (the most important and valuable variety of records from a law enforcement point of view)." [emphasis added]

European Parliament Studies: The European Council and the Council: perspectives on new dynamics in EU governance (pdf): "The study identifies the institutional dynamics associated with the new intergovernmentalism and traces the consequences for institutional design and inter-institutional relations". and Looking ahead: pathways of future constitutional evolution of the EU (pdf)

EU Transparency Register: ALTER-EU: New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver (link) and Link to Report: "This new research, published by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), shows how the voluntary approach to EU lobby transparency regulation fails to provide citizens with an accurate picture of the lobby scene in Brussels. Some of the main groups that are actively lobbying the EU institutions have still not registered in the EU's Transparency Register

European Parliament: Counter Terrorism: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Agenda for meeting on 27 January 2015 (pdf). See also Working Documents: Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third-country nationals crossing the EU Member States' external borders (pdf): "The rapporteur believes that granting access to security forces would make the EES more useful and effective, which would, in turn, help to improve the management of the Schengen Area." See Commission: Proposal (link) and Registered Travellers Programme (pdf): "The original Commission proposals provided that a set of 36 data items would be retained per traveller. The study suggests that, in fact, 26 data items would be sufficient for the RTP (and the EES). No access for law enforcement was foreseen in the original RTP proposal and the study does not find reasons to propose it.....Regrettably, the study failed to prove adequately why such systems should be built in the first place, and completely disregarded the Parliament's request to assess and address other options which might achieve the objectives set." See Commission: Proposal (link)

EU: Mass surveillance: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and ‘endangers human rights (Press release, link) and Report (pdf): It calls for

• "the collection of personal data without consent only following “a court order granted on the basis of reasonable suspicion”
• “credible, effective protection” for whistle-blowers exposing unlawful surveillance
• better judicial and parliamentary control of intelligence services
• an “intelligence codex” defining mutual obligations that secret services could opt into
• an inquiry into member states’ use of mass surveillance using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights"

See also: Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report - Europe’s top rights body says scale of NSA spying is ‘stunning’ and suggests UK powers may be at odds with rights convention (Guardian, link)

USA: SURVEILLANCE: More Cowbells: new NSA leaks reveal extent of spying tactics (ROARMAG, link): "New leaks from the NSA archive, seen exclusively by ROAR, reveal that even the Internet’s most basic architecture - the DNS database - is compromised." and MoreCowBell Nouvelles révélations sur les pratiques de la NSAE (Le Monde fr, link) And see: NSA documents (pdf)

MALTA-USA: MEP questions Malta's use of US-supplied border security technology

"German MEP Cornelia Ernst has taken issue over Malta's use of the PISCES border control software, which was donated to the country by the American government in 2004, claiming that Malta's use of the software could constitute a security risk for other EU member states." "TIP/PISCES is currently operational in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen, and Zambia." EU police agency Europol reportedly receives information from PISCES systems around the globe

UK: Last-minute attempt to insert surveillance clauses into anti-terror bill

"It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, you cannot get something enshrined in law and so you hide it amongst the reams of lawyer speak as an amendment. This is what appears to be happening with 17 pages of amendments that have just been put forward as amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill by four members of The House of Lords."

EU: "A huge number of migrants": over 19,000 people apprehended during joint police operation Mos Maiorum

More than 19,000 people were apprehended during 'Mos Maiorum', the Europe-wide joint police and border guard operation that took place over two weeks in October 2014. More than a quarter of the people who encountered the authorities were Syrian, according to a leaked copy of the final report.

"Syrian nationals (5088 people) were the most detected irregular migrants, followed by Afghans (1466 people), K-Serbians [Kosovars] (1196), Eritreans (1116), Somalis (641) and Albanians (587)," says the report, authored by Italian officials. 11,046 people requested asylum "during or after their interception".

And see: Mos Maiorum: MEPs "deplore" Council's "buck passing of responsibilities": Two MEPs from the GUE/NGL group of MEPs have written an open letter to critcise the "buck passing of responsibilities" over Joint Operation Mos Maiorum, after being told by the Council of the EU that they should submit questions to the Italian government.

EU wants internet firms to hand over encryption keys (euobserver, link): "A top EU official wants internet and telecommunication companies to hand over encryption keys to police and spy agencies as part of a wider crackdown on terrorism. The EU’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove, in a document leaked by London-based civil liberties group Statewatch, says the European Commission should come up with rules that require the firms to help national governments snoop on possible suspects."

EU: Council of the European Union: Internet content: new powers to block to be given to service providers: Examination of the Presidency compromise text on net neutrality (EU doc 5439-14, pdf): "With respect to the provision of internet access services, the draft stipulates equal treatment of all traffic. However, reasonable traffic management measures are allowed, and the draft sets out the characteristics of such measures. The list of exceptional situations where internet access service providers can implement measures which block or discriminate has been limited to four."

And note the comment in: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf): The power of service providers in "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions...often go further than national legislation.."

EU: Mass confiscation of mobile phones by police after spontaneous anti-racist demonstration

"On Thursday 16 January around 600 people in Leipzig took part in a spontaneous demonstration against racism focused on the murder of Khaled Idris Bahray, a 20-year-old Ertirean refugee who was found stabbed to death two days earlier in Dresden, the capital of the federal state Saxony....

Protesters at the demonstration in Leipzig, which is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Dresden, allegedly pelted police with stones. According the Saxony police the group smashed shop windows and display cases as well. A large number of the protesters escaped when the police attempted to close in. Local journal MOPO24 reported that about 150 protesters had been surrounded. They were searched by the police, stripped of their jackets and photographed. According to MOPO24 all 150 people also had their mobile phones confiscated."

EU: Council of the European Union: Lot of detailed proposals from EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator for: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf) includes "closer alignment of Europol and INTCEN, to make a genuine EU CT threat assessment centre", on Europol's European Information System " less than 2% of current records are terrorism related" , Europol should have a "resident CT task force...acting as a fusion centre for law enforcement and intelligence service data", "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions. These often go further than national legislation.." See: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator seeks mandatory disclosure of encryption keys by EU internet companies & telcos (link)


Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan


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