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News digest: 16 October 2012

Drones should be included in arms reduction treaties, says medical charity (The Guardian): "A global medical charity is calling for drones to be included in international arms limitations treaties, arguing that on top of the physical harm they wreak they also inflict psychological harm – both when they strike and by causing innocent people to live in fear." See: Drones: The physical and psychological implications of a global theatre of war (pdf)

EU greenlights military back-up for Mali (EUbusiness): "European Union foreign ministers on Monday approved moves to "urgently" plan for a possible military mission to help Mali reconquer its vast arid north from rebels and Islamist extremists." See: Council conclusions on the situation in Mali (pdf)

EU: Cookie identifiers and IP addresses that single out individuals should be classed as 'personal data', says EU privacy watchdog (Out-Law.com): "Information that can lead to individuals being "singled out and treated differently" should generally be classed as 'personal data', an EU privacy body has recommended." See: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: Opinion 08/2012 providing further input on the data protection reform discussions (pdf)

EU: Google privacy policy rethink demanded by EU (BBC News): "Google is to be told by the EU to change the way it gathers personal information if it is to avoid "high risks to the privacy of users""

EU-USA: US to EU: data laws could 'cripple' law enforcement (EUobserver)

European collusion in human rights abuse (Institute of Race Relations): "How is it that Muslim citizens accused of support for terrorism are not charged but extradited, while far-right supporters of terrorism roam free?"

GERMANY: Reality of violence against police hard to prove (Deutsche Welle): "A police officer's work is becoming ever more dangerous - at least that's what politicians and many officers say - and they're backed up by frightening images in the media. But statistics tell a different story"

GERMANY: With a database, Germany tracks rise of Neo-Nazis (NPR): "Germany last month established the first centralized neo-Nazi database, similar to those that existed for decades for Islamic and leftist extremists"

GREECE: Golden Dawn attack theatre goers (Athens News): "An Athens theatre will on Friday make another attempt to premiere a controversial play after Golden Dawn members, Orthodox priests and religious extremists prevented a performance of it on Thursday night." See also: Greek police seek prosecution of rightist lawmaker (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Mayor vows to fight racism (Ekathimerini): "Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said on Monday that he intends to run for re-election in June 2014, when the next local authority elections are due, and emphasized that one of his key concerns is fighting the rise of racist violence by members of far-right organizations"

IRELAND: Border victims group to meet with Taoiseach (Belfast Telegraph)

MACEDONIA: Opposition mounts against Macedonia defamation law (Balkan Insight): "Critics united in a joint front against the draft say that if the law is enacted without change, the internet in Macedonia may soon resemble that in North Korea or Iran, where internet providers block or filter certain web sites and censor journalists' texts and readers' comments. The draft law has passed the first reading in Macedonia's parliament"

MACEDONIA: Rights groups sue Macedonian minister for homophobia (Balkan Insight): "Macedonia’s Social Affairs Minister, Spiro Ristovski, faces legal conflict with rights organizations after condemning gay adoption"

NORTHERN IRELAND: DNA records retention challenged in Belfast test case (BBC News): "A legal challenge to the retention of DNA samples by police in Northern Ireland could have repercussions across Europe, Belfast High Court has heard"

NORTHERN IRELAND: MLA Anna Lo left 'sickened' by National Front leaflets (Belfast Telegraph)

PORTUGAL: Protests in Lisbon over new austerity budget (EUobserver) See also: Portuguese anger over 'enormous' tax hikes (euronews)

SALZBURG FORUM: Dacic in Hungary with region's police ministers (Tanjug): "Serbia's Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic met on Thursday, as part of a Salzburg forum, with police ministers from Central and Southeastern Europe, who are reviewing ways of improving security cooperation at Matrahaza, a spa in Hungary"

SPAIN: Purveyors of death flourish in Spain during crisis (Inter Press Service): "At the height of the economic and financial crisis, the Spanish government is promoting the export of weapons, creating concern among civil society organisations that say commercial interests are prevailing over the law and human rights." See also: Statewatch analysis: UK: Brothers in arms (pdf)

Swiss army prepares for euro unrest (EUobserver): "The Swiss army is preparing for possible internal civil unrest as well as waves of refugees from euro-countries as the economic crisis drags on"

UK: 2011 riots detective: "We're still arresting around 100 people per month" (Info4 Security): "The lead detective for the Metropolitan Police’s operation in relation to the 2011 London riots, Operation Withern, has said that the Met are still arresting around 100 people a month over 14 months after the disturbances"

UK: Consumer watchdog calls for rights holders to publish details about online piracy spotting systems (Out-Law.com): "Ofcom should force rights holders into publishing most of the details about how their systems for identifying cases of online copyright infringement work, a consumer watchdog has said"

UK: Experts urge government to protect freedom of information law (Bureau of Investigative Journalism): "The government may clamp down on public access to information through reforms to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, experts warned during a public conference in London on Tuesday"

UK: High Court judge hears how policeman 'joked' about rape with child molester (This is Wiltshire): "A policeman who sent sordid emails to an angling chum who turned out to be a child molester is fighting to save his career at the High Court"

UK: Manchester police shooting: Man jailed for wearing t-shirt which mocked deaths just hours after killings (The Daily Mirror)

UK: MoD staff and thousands of military officers join arms firms (The Guardian): "Senior military officers and Ministry of Defence officials have taken up more than 3,500 jobs in arms companies over the past 16 years, according to figures that reveal the extent of the "revolving door" between the public and private sector"

UK-USA: 'Waterboarding of the mind': Computer hacker Gary McKinnon to find out if he'll be extradited to the US as mother slam appeal process (The Independent): "Computer hacker Gary McKinnon will finally find out whether he will be extradited to the United States following a lengthy legal battle which his mother has likened to a “waterboarding of the mind”"

USA: FBI exempts massive database from Privacy Act protections (Electronic Privacy Information Center): "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has exempted the FBI Data Warehouse System, from important Privacy Act safeguards. The database ingests troves of personally identifiable information including race, birthdate, biometric information, social security numbers, and financial information from various government agencies"


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