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EU: New report: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
Market Forces focuses on the development of EU security policies and budgets through the 2007-13 period and their successors, which were launched in 2014 and will run until 2020. These include the ESRP, which funds research to develop new technologies for law enforcement, border control, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection and leans heavily towards technologies and techniques initially deployed or favoured by military forces: drones, data-mining tools, large-scale surveillance systems, biometric recognition and automated behaviour analysis tools. It also explicitly seeks to develop dual-use technologies for both civil and military use.
The report also analyses the Internal Security Fund (ISF), distributed to EU Member States to enhance the powers of law enforcement and border control agencies (including through numerous new surveillance and analysis systems). The aim albeit not yet realised is that EU funds pay for both the development of new technologies and their subsequent purchase at EU or national level, creating a self-fulfilling loop of supply and demand. Despite warnings and public concerns over the direction of the EUs security strategy, the journey towards a world of ubiquitous public-private surveillance and control systems continues, for the time being, largely unabated.
EU: Copyright Directive: new Estonian compromise proposals on controversial press rights and upload filters
The Estonian Presidency of the Council has proposed new compromises on the forthcoming EU Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market, including a number of options for Member States to discuss on the controversial articles 11, on "neighbouring rights for press publishers", and 13 - on mandatory upload filters for online platforms.
See: Presidency compromise proposal regarding Articles 1, 2 and 10 to 16 (11783/17, LIMITE, 30 August 2017, pdf)
EU: Spycops under the spotlight at European Parliament; campaigner deceived into relationship refuses to pay police legal bill
Police spies targeting campaign groups across Europe are the focus of a European Parliament event on 6th September, where MEPs will hear from activists directly affected by undercover police, along with experts on state surveillance.
Among those speaking is Kate Wilson, deceived into a relationship by undercover officer Mark Kennedy. The unmasking of Kennedy as a spycop in 2010 triggered a spate of revelations about undercover police activity and behaviour, and Kennedy himself is known to have operated in at least a dozen European countries. I have been the subject of systematic surveillance and violations of my intimacy, my right to privacy, and my bodily integrity, for at least the last 18 years by police forces that are cooperating across European borders, Ms Wilson comments.
International Organisation for Migration to help Libyan authorties take migrants back to "hell"
The International Organisation for Migration, which since July 2016 has been the UN's migration agency, has met with authorities in Libya "to discuss an initial workplan and the establishment of a coordination body to facilitate rescues at sea," having already "provided computer literacy classes and lifesaving equipment to Libyan authorities as part of a wider intervention to strengthen the Governments humanitarian capacity."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-31.8.17) including: IOM to support Libyan "rescues" at sea; Italy reportedly pays for anti-migrant militias in Libya
UK: Number of EU citizens detained in UK up by 27%, figures show (The Guardian, link):
"The number of EU citizens detained for suspected immigration offences has risen by 27% in the past year alone, Home Office figures have revealed.
The statistics emerge after the Home Office admitted mistakenly sending out 100 letters to a number of EU nationals living in the UK, telling them that they had to leave the country or face deportation.
The statistics for the first quarter of 2017, released by the immigration minister, Brandon Lewis, after a parliamentary question, show that 3,699 people were held under the Immigration Act in 2015, which rose by 1,000 in 2016 when Britain voted to leave the EU.
The figure is on course to rise again this year, with the number of EU citizens detained up 16% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter last year. "
Bulgaria will Join an Agreement on the Automated Exchange of DNA Data (Novinite, link):
"The agreement will be signed by Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Reports BNT.
The signing of the agreement is an expression of the will of the countries to establish police cooperation in the fight against public security threats related to the prevention, detection and investigation of crimes as enshrined in the Southeast European Convention on Police Cooperation.
The competent authority for implementing the agreement on the Bulgarian side is the Ministry of the Interior."
Unite asks barrister to examine worker blacklisting collusion claims (The Guardian, link):
"Britains biggest trade union has commissioned a barrister to examine allegations that union officials colluded with a covert blacklisting operation financed by major firms to prevent certain workers from being employed.
The move has been ordered by the head of Unite, Len McCluskey, and follows calls by blacklisted workers to set up an independent inquiry into the claims of collusion, which is alleged to have spanned at least 20 years to 2009.
The barrister is to scrutinise documents that were disclosed in a high court lawsuit that led to construction firms apologising and paying compensation amounting to around £75m to 771 blacklisted workers.
Some documents appeared to show that trade union officials had passed information to the blacklisters, including private warnings not to hire specific workers they deemed to be politically awkward. Individual workers were labelled militant or a troublemaker by union officials, according to the files."
Interpol helped Harvard educated professor get tortured in Turkish prison (Stockholm Center for Freedom, link):
"In yet another sign of the abuse of the Interpol system by Turkish government, Harvard-educated Turkish professor was extradited to Turkey to endure torture and ill-treatment in notorious Turkish prison despite he was under the United Nations (UN) protection in Bahrain.
Murat Acar, 46-year-old medical doctor who was working as a professor and consultant at King Hamad Universitys Radiology Department in Bahrain, was whisked away to Turkey on trumped up coup plotting charges filed by Turkish government. Acar who suspected the government may target him sought the UN help and was granted humanitarian protection. However, Bahrain police disregarded his status, raided his house to detain him. He was turned over to Turkey by the Interpol section of Bahrain police."
USA: Transfer of Military Hardware to Police Could Lead to Abuses (Human Rights Watch, link):
"The United States Department of Defenses program to provide military equipment to police departments curtailed by the Obama administration has been given a second life under President Trump.
Originally created to assist police in the war on drugs of the 1980s, the program was cut back in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Police in Ferguson were widely criticized for using military hardware in heavy-handed efforts to intimidate and disperse protestors days after police fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old African American, Michael Brown.
While the Trump Administration is arguing much of the equipment is entirely defensive in nature, the equipment now being greenlighted includes projectile weapons, such as rifles and other firearms."
See: Militarization Makes Police More Violent (CATO Institute, link): "When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday the Trump Administrations repeal an Obama-era rule limiting the distribution of certain military equipment (such as tracked vehicles, camouflage uniforms, high-powered rifles, bayonets, and grenade launchers), he dismissed concerns about police militarization as superficial. The evidence suggests otherwise: militarization makes police more violent."
Study: a small percentage of terror fatalities occur in US and Europe (Muslim Village, link):
"Terrorist attacks have riveted attention in the United States and Europe, but those regions accounted for only a tiny percentage of fatalities from such attacks last year, a new report has found.
The report issued on August 23 from the University of Maryland and based on its Global Terrorism Database found that Western Europe and North America accounted for less than 1 percent of the 34,676 people killed in terror attacks in 2016, while they accounted for less than 2 percent of all attacks.
Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen suffered the most frequent and deadly attacks, which were concentrated by region in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, the study found.
Attacks by the Islamic State extremist group and its affiliates, while much feared in the West, were heavily concentrated in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and other Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African countries, the report found."
EU: Schengen database logs 70 mn pieces of data in five months (ANSA, link):
"BRUSSELS, AUGUST 24 - The Schengen Information System (SIS), the European Union database that supports border control operations, has collected 70 million pieces of data in just five months, since April when systematic EU external border controls were put into place to combat terrorism and irregular migration, according to figures released by the spokesman for the European Commission.
As a result, alerts have increased "exponentially" for individuals in the system that manages passage between EU borders, not necessarily for terrorism or serious crimes but also for common crimes or other judicial reasons.
In some countries, the number of consultations and instances of using the database for research have quadrupled."
EU: Databases and interoperability: brief report from eu-LISA industry roundtable
"The event was attended by 55 representatives of industry alongside the staff of eu-LISA, EASO, and Frontex, convening to discuss the various concepts of interoperability introduced by the European Commission in 2016, considered by the High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability for the past year and currently being studied by the Agency and its stakeholders with a view to implementation in the coming years."
See: eu-LISA roundtable: A single search portal and shared BMS for Europe: Moving forward with concrete implementaton (pdf)
UK: How not to support a victim of human trafficking: a demonstration by the Home Office in R (FT) v SSHD (Free Movement, link):
"The Upper Tribunal overturned several decisions concerning the grant of Discretionary Leave to Remain to a victim of human trafficking in FT, R (on the application of) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKUT 331(IAC). The background to the case is that of the Home Office failing to appropriately identify the individual concerned as a victim of human trafficking, and subsequently unlawfully placing him in immigration detention for four years.
...six years later, on 15 August 2013 was he referred to the National Referral Mechanism for the purpose of identifying him as a potential victim of trafficking. Yet this did not stop the Secretary of State making two decisions in 2014 finding that the applicant was not a victim of trafficking, which ended outreach and financcial support that had been provided for him. Even after a later decision in 2014 that the applicant was a victim of trafficking, no further leave was granted to him, his deportation was pursued, and no steps were taken to reinstate his support."
See the judgment: The Queen on the application of FT (Anonymity Direction Made) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (pdf)
UK: Gross Misconduct Alleged against Avon & Somerset Police Inspector following death of James Herbert in 2010 (INQUEST, link):
"Inspector Justin French of Avon and Somerset Constabulary will face a gross misconduct hearing concerning the death of 25 year old James Herbert. The hearing will take place in public at the Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters. A publicity notice from the Force and details of the venue can be found here.
James Herbert died on 10 June 2010 following his detention by officers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. He was restrained by officers and members of the public and driven 30 miles in handcuffs and two lots of leg restraints to Yeovil Police Station. He was removed unresponsive from the police van and transferred to a police cell. An ambulance was called and James was transferred to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The inquest into James Herberts death concluded in April 2013 and found serious failings. Full information on the conclusions of the inquest can be found here."
IRELAND: No lawful basis for compulsory public services card, expert says (Irish Times, link):
"There does not appear to be a lawful basis for making it compulsory for people to obtain a Public Services Card (PSC), a data protection expert has said.
Solicitor Simon McGarr said there appeared to be a compulsion being levied on individuals, frequently some of the most vulnerable people in society that was forcing them to get one of the cards, which critics claim represents a national ID card being introduced by stealth.
The Government has insisted the card is not compulsory, lacks many of the characteristics of a national identity card and is designed for the purpose of safely, securely and efficiently providing public services.
However, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty last week said the cards were mandatory to receive payments from her department and that others would also make it mandatory."
EU-POLAND: Merkel backs Brussels in row with Poland over courts (Reuters, link):
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday threw her weight behind the European Commission in its row with Warsaw over freedom of Polands court system.
The previously reticent Merkel, speaking in Berlin, said she took the issue very seriously and would talk about it with Commission President Jean-Claude Junker on Wednesday.
In July, the Commission, the European Unions executive, gave Warsaw a month to address its concerns about ongoing reforms it sees as interfering with an independent judiciary.
Warsaws reply on signalled that the ruling nationalist and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party had no intention of backing down and even doubted the Commissions right to intervene."
GERMANY: Jenetric handed role in 'smart borders' project at Frankfurt Airport (Planet Biometrics, link):
"German biometic firm Jenetric has revealed that its technology will be used at a EU-led "smart borders" project.
The company's fingerprint scanner LIVETOUCH quattro has been used in a pilot project at the Frankfurt Main airport for several months, noted the firm.
For the integration into the border control system, Jenetric cooperated with the German Federal Police and the IT security company secunet Security Networks."
TURKEY-SPAIN: 'I thought I was safe in Europe' (EUobserver, link):
"The arrest of a Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.
Armed police arrested Dogan Akhanli on Saturday (19 August) morning at his hotel in Granada, Spain, handcuffed him, and drove him for questioning at a regional HQ.
The 60-year old writer was later freed, but is not allowed to leave Spain until judges have decided whether to extradite him to Turkey. "
EU: Well Into the Third Act: The Way Forward on Public Access to EU Documents (European Law Blog, link) by Maarten Hillebrandt:
Review of: Public Access to Documents in the EU, by Leonor Rossi and Patricia Vinagre e Silva, (Oxford/Portland, Hart Publishing, 2017, ISBN 9781509905331); xxxviii + 340pp.; £49.00 hb.
"On 7 February, the EU celebrated a remarkable anniversary. Exactly twenty-five years ago on that day, the Heads of State and Government (HSG) of the European Communitys then twelve Member States took the bold leap forward by signing the Maastricht Treaty. Another leap forward lay tucked away in one of the Treatys accompanying texts, even when the Member States representatives did not realise it at the time of signing. Declaration 17, attached to the Maastricht Treaty, recognised the positive relation between transparency and democracy, and professed an intention to take steps to advance such transparency. Thus began the First Act of a transformative development called Access to Documents."
GERMANY: Interior Ministry shuts down, raids left-wing German Indymedia site (Deutsche Welle, link):
"Germany's Interior Ministry on Friday banned and ordered raids on a portal popular with leftist readers and activists. Possibly the last posts from linksunten.indymedia.org - commemorations of a 1992 far-right mob attack on apartments where foreigners lived in Rostock-Lichtenberg and reports of racist graffiti on a memorial to a young woman killed by neo-Nazis in the United States - went live the previous night.
The site was closed for "sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country," saidInterior Minister Thomas de Maizière, adding that the operation of the site was now "a criminal offence."
He said authorities were treating linksunten.indymedia.org as an "association" rather than a news outlet, which would help officials get around constitutional protections on freedom of expression. De Maizière said at least two people constituted an association - the site has up to seven administrators - and the ban would not affect the international award-winning Indymedia network."
UK biometric commissioner slams police for face recognition at carnival (Planet Biometrics, link):
"Paul Wiles, UK Biometrics Commissioner has spoken out over the use of facial recognition rechnology at the Notting Hill Carnival.
In a public statement, Wiles said that while this technology has the potential to be a really useful crime fighting tool, that "we are not there yet".
"It [face recognition] needs to be properly tested and evaluated if it is going to be effective and it will need to be handled carefully by the police and the government if it is going to be trusted by the public"."
Press release: Metropolitan Polices use of Facial Recognition Technology at the Notting Hill Carnival, 2017 (23 August 2017, pdf)
See also: UK govt steams ahead with £5m facial recog system amid furore over innocents' mugshots (The Register, link): "The UK Home Office has put out to tender a £4.6m ($5.9m) contract for facial recognition software despite the fact its biometrics strategy and retention systems remain embroiled in controversy."
And: Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group replaces the National DNA Database Ethics Group (gov.uk, link): "The remit of the BFEG expands beyond that of its predecessor and includes ethical issues associated with all forensic identification techniques including, but not limited to, facial recognition technology and fingerprinting."
UK: No charges for police in Newcastle-under-Lyme Taser death (BBC News, link):
"No charges will be brought against three police officers over the death of a man who had been Tasered.
Adrian McDonald died after his arrest at a flat in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 2014.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) asked prosecutors to consider charges against three officers following its investigation.
But the Crown Prosecution Service said there was "insufficient" evidence for a "realistic prosecution"."
EU deadline passes for Poland to comply on court reforms (euractiv, link):
"Poland has missed an EU deadline to respond to concerns over controversial court reforms by the right-wing government, which Brussels fears will erode judicial independence, a Brussels spokesman said on Sunday (28 August)."
GREECE: EU states begin returning refugees to Greece (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"European Union member states like Germany, UK and others to send asylum seekers back to where they first sought refuge, despite the continued economic strife in Greece.
European countries are poised to begin the process of returning refugees to Greece, as migrants seeking reunification with their family members mostly in Germany step up protests in Athens.
In a move decried by human rights groups, EU states will send back asylum seekers who first sought refuge in Greece, despite the nation being enmeshed in its worst economic crisis in modern times.
Germany has made nearly 400 resettlement requests, according to officials in Berlin and sources in Athens leftist-led government. The UK, France, the Netherlands and Norway have also asked that asylum seekers be returned to Greece....
In the last couple of days, more than 1,100 news refugees and migrants arrived on the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea. Local authorities watch with sudden increase of new arrivals with concern, wondering whether the phenomenon has to do with the improved weather conditions or with President Erdogan letting the EU Turkey deal go burst due to his feud with Germany."
UK-EU-BREXIT: Confidentiality and access to documents Position paper (pdf):
"This paper outlines the United Kingdoms (UK) position on confidentiality and access to documents, relating to information obtained by the UK and the European Union (EU) whilst the UK was a Member State. On the matter of confidentiality and access to documents, the Government will continue to take into full account the interests of all parts of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as considering the priorities of the governments of Gibraltar, the other Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies....
The UK considers that both parties should agree how access to documents regimes will work after withdrawal. The aim would be for the UK and the EU to have equivalent protections and obligations after withdrawal to those in Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 and the related Union legal acts, in relation to documents received prior to the UKs withdrawal."
Britain will not exclude possible EU oversight of Irish border (euractiv,link):
"Britain will not rule out the possibility of the European Union retaining oversight of customs controls at UK borders after it leaves the bloc,as the country seeks ways to keep unhindered access to EU markets following Brexit."
UK: Peterloo massacre: hundreds attend anniversary memorial in Manchester (Guardian, link)
"Actors Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake spoke in memory of civilians killed and injured by government troops in 1819."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-20.8.17)
IRELAND: Newton Emerson: Identity cards are coming for us all - UK-Irish identification likely alternative to policing already overwhelmed borders (Irish Times, link):
"he UK governments position paper on Brexit and the Border points to an identity card system, and recalls the intriguing fact that Britain and Ireland considered parallel systems only a decade ago.
The paper, published this week, offers to maintain the Common Travel Area and the rights of British and Irish citizens to live and work in each others countries."
UK-EU-BREXIT: EU citizens will not need visas to visit UK after Brexit, say sources (Guardian, link)
"Post-Brexit system will allow EU citizens to enter freely, but to work they will need to comply with new immigration restrictions."
UK-EU-IRELAND: British government proposals: Northern Ireland and Ireland: Position paper (pdf)
And see: UK Brexit position paper opposes Irish border posts (BBC, link)
UK: Undemocratic, unlawful and discriminatory: civil liberties and race relations groups slam Mets plan for controversial facial recognition technology at Notting Hill Carnival (LIBERTY, link):
"Civil liberties and race relations groups have demanded the Metropolitan Police Service abandon plans to deploy cameras equipped with facial recognition technology at this months Notting Hill Carnival.
The coalition which includes Liberty, Privacy International, StopWatch and Black Lives Matter has written to the Met, warning that scanning the faces of thousands of attendees and capturing their images has no basis in law, could lead to discriminatory policing, and represents a gross violation of carnival-goers privacy.
No law, no oversight
The police intend to monitor crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival using cameras equipped with facial recognition technology.
The biometric software scans the faces of passers-by, creating maps of unique facial characteristics that are as uniquely identifying as fingerprints. The scans will be measured and compared to images on an unknown database, the origin of which has not been disclosed by the Metropolitan Police.":
See: Letter ti the Met (pdf)
EU: The Commission's transparency register strategy is extremely worrying (theparliamentmagazine.eu, link):
"Regardless of who you talk to, everyone agrees: a strong register is important. But when it comes to practice, things start to look a lot bleaker, writes Margarida Silva.....
The Commission's proposal attempts to limit the scope of the register to organisations that perform direct lobbying (i.e. meetings, calls, emails), instead of retaining the current definition that also includes indirect lobbying, such as providing advice on who and how to lobby.
And while the Commission's aim to make the register more manageable is fair enough, this strategy is extremely worrying. Exempting indirect lobbying from the register could create a massive obstacle for proper scrutiny, and might distort what is really happening in Brussels."
UK: West Yorkshire police officers back front-line Taser call (BBC, link):
"More than 90% of West Yorkshire police officers want to see Tasers routinely issued to colleagues on front-line duty, according to a new survey.
The poll, carried out by West Yorkshire Police Federation, found 1,417 of the 1,563 officers asked backed the idea.
A second survey of 5,939 people in the county found 86% supported the proposal."
See also: CPS make decision over criminal charges in Adrian McDonald Taser death inquiry (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, link):
"Three police officers will NOT face criminal charges in connection with the death of a Huddersfield man.
Adrian McDonald, 34, of Dalton, died on December 22, 2014 after he was tasered by officers called to a house in Newcastle-under-Lyme following reports of a burglary. It later emerged he was a guest at a birthday party. "
Controlling the killer robots (ips-journal.eu, link)
"We are in danger of sleepwalking into a situation where the decision to kill is ungoverned by our normal combat laws. We need to keep a human in the loop."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.8.17) including: Deportation by EU states of 29 Nigerian, Togolese in leg chains; deaths at French-Swiss-Italian borders
EU-AFRICA: Three EU Countries Deport 29 Nigerians, Togolese in Leg Chains (This Day, link):
"Three European nations Sweden, Norway and Spain in the wee hours of Tuesday deported 29 Nigerians and two Togolese male nationals to the country in dehumanising leg chains.
The flight, which landed at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, at 6.45 a.m., was operated by Privilege Style aircraft with registration number EC-IZO.
The passengers onboard the flight included 27 Nigerian males, two females and two Togolese males who were deposited in Nigeria, just as the flight took off at 8.30 a.m. to Ghana from Nigeria."
Swedish opposition proposes paying migrants 30% less (New Europe, link):
"Swedish statistics suggest migrants and asylum seekers are overrepresented in unemployment figures. Government and opposition have proposed controversial solutions to address the challenge at hand.
The Swedish government wants to limit low-skilled migration. The center-right opposition in Sweden is now proposing a 70% pay rate for young people up to 23 and migrants who have arrived over the last five years."
UK: Court of Appeal judgment on joint enterprise and trials of vulnerable defendants (Youth Justice Legal Centre, link):
"Five defendants, in two joined applications to appeal, challenged their convictions for joint enterprise murder. The appeals also raised issues as to how young or vulnerable defendants are dealt with by the court. Whilst the applications to appeal were all dismissed, the court made important comments on the training of practitioners representing children and vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts, and announced that changes will be made to the Pre Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH) form in order to ensure that the practice directions involving vulnerable defendants are properly considered. The Court also emphasised the need for new counsel taking on appeal to consult fully with the original trial counsel and solicitors, following the McCook guidelines."
Judgment: R v Grant-Murray and Henry; R v McGill, Hewitt and Hewitt  EWCA 1228 (pdf)
ITALY: Change can start from us: Roma women in Italy fight for their rights (OpenDemocracy, link):
"If being Roma in Italy isnt easy, the situation for Roma women is harder still.
Saska Jovanovic is a Roma woman who came to Italy from Kosovo after the war in the former Yugoslavia. She studied electrotechnical engineering and works as a cultural mediator.
Roma women are the most exposed to discrimination and the least represented and visible, she told me.
They are discriminated [against] three times: as women, as Roma and inside our communities in all areas which are relevant for independent and dignified life such as education, healthcare, employment."
FRANCE: Police and protesters clash at planned nuclear waste site (RFI, link):
"Police in north-east France used water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades on Tuesday against demonstrators protesting plans to store nuclear waste at a site in Bure. Protest organisers said over 36 people were injured, six of them seriously.Two police officers were also injured.
Over 300 protesters joined the demonstration - some helmeted and wielding stones, sticks and shields, according to the authorities.
Officials say demonstrators threw stones and at least one Molotov cocktail at police who respoded with water cannon, [tear] gas and stun grenades."
And see: Hulots anti-nuclear credentials called into question as protest turns violent (EurActiv, link)
EU: Ongoing deaths at the French-Swiss-Italian borders
"After travelling to Ventimiglia where 12 border deaths were recorded in just a few months, we head back to Como where migrants keep trying to cross the inaccessible border with Switzerland, injuring themselves, or losing their lives on trains, and where both attempts and refoulements have reached substantial numbers."
See: The border crossing deaths in Como (Open Migration, link) by Andrea Quadroni and Michelle Luppi
And: The border crossing deaths in Ventimiglia (link): "Only a few months have passed since the closure of the French border at Ventimiglia, but the decision has already caused 12 fatal accidents. Drowned, run over, fallen, and electrocuted, migrants keep dying in their attempts to cross the border or get lost and hurt themselves in dangerous places. This is the first of three reportages by Michele Luppi and Andrea Quadroni about border deaths and includes an interactive map of the places where they have been killed."
USA: US Justice Department Wants To Know Identities Of 1.3 Million Anti-Trump Web Users (IFLScience!):
"The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has formally requested that the IP addresses of 1.3 million people that visited an anti-Trump protest organizing website, disruptj20.org, be handed over along with their contact information, email addresses and content, and photograph uploads.
DreamHost, a Los Angeles-based web hosting provider, has explained in a blog post that the request came through a few months ago, and that they are challenging the request.
The company explain that this information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitutions First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyones mind.
This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.
The website in question is a left-leaning protest nexus. Its primary mission was to disrupt the inauguration of President Trump back in January via peaceful means."
IRELAND: UN Committee against Torture to insist on action from Governement (Irish Examiner, link):
"The Government is coming under pressure to ratify a treaty against torture after committing to it 10 years ago.
The issue is expected to be highlighted in a series of recommendations being published today by the United Nation's Committee against Torture.
The treaty allows for protection against ill treatment not only in prisons but care homes, hostels and police stations."
See: Statement following the publication of the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, on Irelands State Examination (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission): "The UN concluding observations however reflect crucial gaps in Irelands compliance with the UN Convention against Torture highlighted by the Commissions monitoring, these include: Irelands non-ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)... International Protection... conditions of detention... access to justice and remedy for historical abuses... gender-based violence... residential care settings..."
And: UN Committee Against Torture: Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Ireland (pdf)
UK: Police camera inaction? Civil liberties group questions forces' £23m body-cam spend (The Register, link):
"Almost three-quarters of police forces have forked out more than £22m on body-worn cameras, but are failing to properly monitor how the videos are used in court, according to a report released today.
Proponents of the technology argue it will improve transparency in frontline policing, stop police and the public from behaving badly and speed up court proceedings by encouraging earlier guilty pleas.
But civil liberties group Big Brother Watch which compiled its report based on Freedom of Information requests to all 45 UK forces said there wasn't enough evidence that it had a positive impact on policing."
See: 71% of police forces use body worn cameras but cannot show when footage is used in court A Big Brother Watch Report (Big Brother Watch, link) and the report: Smile youre on body worn camera: Part II - Police (link to pdf)
Note: there are similarities here the debate over mandatory data retention in the EU, for which authorities have never been able to provide any comprehensive statistics in terms of convictions obtained or assisted through retained data. The European Commission has even argued that "an undue focus on such statistics can be counterproductive to the effectiveness of law enforcement". See: The EU Data Retention Directive: a case study in the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU counter-terrorism policy (pdf)
Italy-EU search and rescue code could increase Mediterranean deaths, UN expert warns (UN Human Rights):
"Through this new code of conduct, Italy and the European Commission are imposing procedures that could reduce the ability of NGOs to carry out life-saving activities. This could lead to more deaths at sea, and the resulting loss of lives, being foreseeable and preventable, would constitute a violation of Italys human rights obligations, the expert [Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard] said.
This code of conduct and the overall action plan suggest that Italy, the European Commission and EU Member States deem the risks and reality of deaths at sea a price worth paying in order to deter migrants and refugees.
The European Commission is also seeking enhanced cooperation with Libya, investing 46 million euro in support of the Libyan border- and coast guards, including their search and rescue operations.
Ms. Callamard warned that, given the situation in Libya, this funding to retrieve refugees and migrants from the Mediterranean and return them to Libya could mean they were subjected to further appalling violence."
UK: House of Commons Library: Protests around Parliament (pdf):
"This briefing paper provides an overview of the current provisions on protests around Parliament, including a background of previous legislation, and controversies and legal cases arising from different provisions over the years."
UK: Find out how to request your personal information (ICO, link):
"You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request.
This right of subject access means that you can make a request under the Data Protection Act to any organisation processing your personal data. The Act calls these organisations data controllers.
You can ask the organisation you think is holding, using or sharing the personal information you want, to supply you with copies of both paper and computer records and related information."
Tabloid hate is damaging our society. The Suns advertisers must help stop it (Guardian, link):
"Trevor Kavanaghs attack on Muslims is the latest in a line of articles that risk legitimising hatred. Companies must stop using our money to fund them."
Merkel: No EU sanctions on migrant quota rebels (euobserver, link):
"Angela Merkel has refused to link refugee-sharing to the EU budget as she embarked on her campaign to secure a fourth term as Germanys leader.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are blocking the redistribution of refugees via obligatory EU quotas, leaving Greece and Italy to bear the burden of the migration crisis.
Merkel's opponent in the elections, the centre-left SPD partys Martin Schulz, has called for a harder EU line, including cuts in EU funds for the migrant quota rebels.
But Merkel told the Deutschlandfunks and Phoenix radio and TV broadcasters on Monday (14 August) that to pay ransom, that won't work in this context."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.17) including: NGO rescue ships suspend work in Libyan waters; migrants must be able to leave Libyan "hell"
EU: Children on the move in Italy and Greece (pdf, emphasis in original):
"REACH, in the framework of a partnership with UNICEF, conducted an assessment on the profiles and experiences of children who arrived in Italy and Greece in 2016 and 2017, why they left home, the risks children encountered on their journey and their life once in Europe.
The assessment found that refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece come from conflict-ridden countries and areas with poverty; all leave behind a situation where they feel they have no access to their basic rights as a child and do not see any prospects for themselves in the foreseeable future. For many children who have arrived in Italy or Greece, the journey is not yet over, as they aim to join family elsewhere. Others would like to stay in Italy or Greece to continue their education and build a life in the country.
All face challenges in realising their objectives, as access to documentation, including asylum and residence permits, takes longer than they had anticipated and legal pathways are inherently slow. In the meantime, children lose out on education. Often, children do not understand how procedures work and why they need to wait. As a result, children lose their trust in the child reception system and attempt to reach their goals through irregular means, relying on smugglers and putting themselves at risk of abuse and exploitation."
EU: European Parliament briefing: Review of dual-use export controls (pdf):
"Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called dual-use goods are subject to the European Unions export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation recasts the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal introduces a controversial new human security dimension to export controls, to prevent the abuse of certain cyber-surveillance technologies by regimes with a questionable human rights record. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission issued a joint statement on the review of the dual-use export control system in 2014 and the European Parliament has since adopted several resolutions related to the issue."
And see: Open NGO Letter to EU Member States and Institutions Regarding the Export of Surveillance Equipment (July 2017, pdf)
Do we still need human judges in the age of Artificial Intelligence? (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Technology and the law are converging, and where they meet new questions arise about the relative roles of artificial and human agentsand the ethical issues involved in the shift from one to the other. While legal technology has largely focused on the activities of the bar, it challenges us to think about its application to the bench as well. In particular, could AI replace human judges?"
NORTHERN IRELAND: Torture was the norm in the North, says university lecturer (The Irish Times, link):
"A university lecturer who alleges he suffered waterboarding after he was arrested in Belfast in 1978 has said he believes torture was the norm, rather than the exception in the North in the 1970s.
Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill who was then a 20-year-old student at Queens University, Belfast said he believed he was going to die when water was poured over his mouth and nose.
A 1978 statement by Dr Ó hAdhmaill, who was then known as Phelim Hamill, is one of a number of documents uncovered by Derry-based human rights organisation the Pat Finucane Centre which contain allegations of what is now known as waterboarding."
And see: Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture (OpenDemocracy, link)
UK is most corrupt country in the world, says mafia expert Roberto Saviano (Independent, link):
"Britain is the most corrupt country in the world, according to journalist Roberto Saviano, who spent more than a decade exposing the criminal dealings of the Italian Mafia.
Mr Saviano, who wrote the best-selling exposés Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero, made the comments at the Hay Literary Festival. The 36-year-old has been living under police protection since publishing revelations about members of the Camorra, a powerful Neapolitan branch of the mafia, in 2006.
He told an audience at Hay-on-Wye: If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well its Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you its the UK.
Its not the bureaucracy, its not the police, its not the politics but what is corrupt is the financial capital. 90 per cent of the owners of capital in London have their headquarters offshore."
RUSSIA: Five years of Russias Foreign Agent law (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Russias Foreign Agent law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions."
The article notes that: "one of the consequences of the Foreign Agent law has been the development of extensive legal practice in defending the rights of NGOs and their representatives. The wave of administrative cases against Foreign Agent NGOs has led to a professionalisation of a new community of legal professionals, who have now specialised in defending NGOs. For instance, in 2016, the Club of Third Sector Lawyers released a report on Development of Civic Activism: Russian NGOs after Foreign Agent legislation, and the Resource Rights Defence Centre also published a report on the legislation. Every new attack on Russian civil society, whether its a campaign against HIV organisations or pressure on independent polling organisations, attracts attention to the countrys third sector, making it visible and creating opportunities to mobilise and coordinate peoples efforts.
To be a Foreign Agent today means that you have certain achievements, youre recognised as a professional and dangerous opponent who needs to be disarmed. Together with the defamatory labels such as fifth column, national traitor, spy, grant eater and enemy of the people, the Foreign Agent label has become a sign of quality, a marker of belonging to a consolidated, professional community that is actively fighting for human rights."
UK: Brexit and migrants' rights: An in-depth look at migrant report (Migrants' Rights Network, link):
"A new report has explored the barriers to migrants integrating into their local areas, including language and community cohesion issues. Here we speak to some local migrants and authority leaders on their views of the report.
Data released by the Migrant Rights Network last week, looks at the views of 136 migrants in Boston, revealing that two-thirds of them would like to see more done to bring communities together.
It includes a number of anonymous comments from migrants in the Boston area and highlights three key areas that could help, including better access to ESOL classes to help students learn English, ending exploitation of migrant workers and building community relationships."
See: Migrants Perspectives on Brexit & UK Immigration Policies (MRN, link):
"The Migrants Perspectives on Brexit and UK Immigration Policies provides an overview of the key findings and recommendations from The Outsider Projects Listening Campaign.
The Outsider Project supports migrants affected by the negative discourse around immigration, and seeks to promote a positive narrative demonstrating the benefits of living in an open society where migration is commonplace. The project has engaged with migrant communities in four locations within the UK Wolverhampton, Oldham, Boston and Barking and Dagenham which were selected based on their majority leave vote in the 2016 EU Referendum and their high non-UK born population."
UK: Nigerian gay rights activist wins UK asylum claim after 13-year battle (The Guardian, link):
"The Home Office has granted refugee status to a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist, ending a 13-year battle over her right to remain in the UK.
Aderonke Apata, 50, says she knew she was gay from the age of 16 and was persecuted in Nigeria. She has been recognised internationally for her human rights work, and recently received Attitude magazines Pride award.
Apate arrived in the UK in 2004 but did not immediately claim asylum on the grounds of her sexuality. Until 2010, lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers were often forcibly removed to their home countries if it was deemed safe for them to live discreetly."
LIBYA: Torture, rape and slavery in Libya: why migrants must be able to leave this hell (Oxfam, link):
"Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.
The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.
Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering."
See: 'You aren't human any more': Migrants expose the harrowing situation in Libya and the impact of European policies (pdf) and: Refugees face kidnap, torture, rape and slavery in Libyan living hell', Oxfam report says (Independent, link)
EU-LIBYA: More NGOs follow MSF in suspending Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):
"Two more aid groups have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, joining Doctors Without Borders, because they felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard.
Save the Children and Germany's Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities. Doctors Without Borders - or Medecins sans Frontieres - cited the same concern when it said on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean operations.
"We leave a deadly gap in the Mediterranean," Sea Eye's founder Michael Busch Heuer warned on Facebook, adding that Libya had issued an "explicit threat" against non-government organisations operating in the area around its coast."
See: Hindrance of humanitarian assistance will create a deadly gap in the Mediterranean Sea (MSF, link): "On 11 August 2017, the Libyan authorities publicly announced the establishment of a search and rescue (SAR) zone and restricted the access to humanitarian vessels into the international waters off the Libyan coasts." And: After MSF, two other NGOs suspend work off Libyan coast citing Libyan ban (Libyan Express, link)
UK: Deportation with Assurances: Flogging a Dead Horse? (one small window, link):
"At the end of 2013, a few months after the deportation of Jordanian terrorism suspect Abu Qatada, then Home Secretary Theresa May commissioned David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation at the time, to review the policy of deportation with assurances, part of the basis of the deportation.
...The review was finally delivered to the Home Office in 2017, shortly before David Anderson QC left the post. It was presented to parliament by current Home Secretary Amber Rudd on 20 July 2017. The delay, explained in the review, allowed Anderson and his co-author Professor Clive Walker QC to take account of some significant recent developments.
Overall, the two authors agree that DWA can play a significant role in counter-terrorism, especially in prominent and otherwise intractable cases which are worth the cost and effort, but it will be delivered effectively and legitimately in international law only if laborious care is taken. The only example they provide that comes close to this, in a policy spanning almost thirteen years, is that of Abu Qatada, the cost and effort of which may be debated. Given the approach of the report, the legal arguments against DWA remain intact. What emerges from their discourse, however, is the impact various aspects of the case law and practices related to the application of DWA have had on the evolution of counter-terrorism policy in general."
See: Deportation with assurances (pdf) by David Anderson Q.C., Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (2011-2017) with Clive Walker Q.C., Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds and: Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of Deportation with Assurances (pdf)
UK-EU: Britain falling behind on counter-terrorism as EU links loosened - Former MEP joins appeal to prime minister to drop opposition to European court of justice (The Observer, link):
"the governments ambiguity on how it intends to fit into Europes rapidly evolving security architecture has left officials wondering what, if any, cooperation will be possible in the future prompting them to raise the possibility that the UK might end up on the outside of Europes counter terrorism apparatus.
An influential Conservative security policymaker, who created an EU counter-terror plan to collect personal data on passengers travelling to and from Europe, has also raised concerns that Britain will not be granted access to critical data unless it accepts a role for the European court of justice."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12..8.17)
EU: Council of the European Union: Letter from SIS II Supervision Coordinating Group Chair to Council Presidency concerning SIS II legislative proposals (pdf) The Letter "underline the following most crucial issues" also raised by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). And it emphasis the need to:
"prepare a prior analysis of the necessity of the introduction of new biometric (facial images, palmprints and DNA profiles) which should clearly explain that the purpose of the system cannot be achieved in a less intrusive way. Additionally palmprints have been introduced for the first time ever in an EU large scale IT system... [and give] an explanation of the necessity and proportionality of the use of such data is even more urgent."
To "better define the access rights and rules" for the European Border Guard Agency teams "involved in return-related tasks" plus the necessity to extend the retention period alerts from "three to five years.".
See also: Commission proposals: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, amending...(COM 881-16, pdf) and Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third country nationals (COM 881-16, pdf)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING INQUIRY: Minded to note, ruling and directions in respect of anonymity applications relating to former officers of the Special Demonstration Squad (pdf):
"The Chairman of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, Sir John Mitting is today publishing a Minded to note, with an explanatory note from counsel, a ruling and directions in respect of the anonymity of 29 former officers who served in the Special Demonstration Squad from 1968 onwards. The Inquiry is processing anonymity decisions in separate tranches; these documents relate to the first and second tranches of anonymity applications. At the end of the explanatory note, Counsel provide information about the third and future tranches. The Inquiry is also publishing open versions of the applications themselves. A list of all 59 documents that are being published today can be found here."
See also: UK undercover police inquiry names three spies who infiltrated leftwing groups (Guardian, link)
Poor prison conditions in Romania prompt German court to refuse surrender (Fair Trials, link):
"In a recent decision (dated 31.03.2017, case no. 2 AR (Ausl) 15/17), the Higher Regional Court of Celle, Germany, refused to surrender a person subject to a European Arrest Warrant from Romania because of the countrys poor detention conditions. The ruling confirms previous jurisprudence by the same Court (see decision of 02.03.2017, case no. 1 AR (Ausl) 99/16).
In particular, the Celle Court found that it could not be guaranteed that the detention conditions the requested person would have to face in Romania were compatible with Art. 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which forbids inhumane and degrading treatment. Referring to the Aranyosi & Caldararu decision issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in April 2016, the German court found that the prison conditions raised concerns with regards to their compatibility with human rights. This jurisprudence validates similar assessments made by the Higher Regional Courts of Bremen, Stuttgart, and Hamm, as well as by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)."
UK: Sex worker robbed at knifepoint faces deportation after contacting police (Politics, link):
"Sex workers have warned that they are unable to go to the police for help, after a victim of crime was threatened with deportation. The Brazilian woman, who was in the UK on a visitors visa, was robbed at knifepoint by five men at a premises in Enfield in the early hours of June 24th.
When the victim called the police, she said their focus seemed to be more on her activities as a sex worker than the attack itself."
UK: On the lethal restraint of young black Londoner, Rashan Charles (OpenDemocracy, link):
"The police claimed that an officer intervened to prevent a young man from harming himself. Video evidence suggests a different story."
USA: Torture Case Heads to Trial Over CIA Interrogation Methods (Bloomberg, link):
"Two U.S. psychologists who helped design an overseas CIA interrogation program failed to persuade a judge to derail a trial over claims theyre responsible for the alleged torture of three terrorism suspects.
The case is over abuses in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks at secret black-site facilities that operated under President George W. Bush. The lawsuit followed the 2014 release of a congressional report on Central Intelligence Agency interrogation techniques that for the first time published the names of the three prisoners and described what they had been through."
UK-IRELAND: Brexit reaches 'silly season', but no one is laughing (The Detail, link):
"Despite speculation of a high tech solution, it seems inevitable that a hardening of the border will mean a hardening of the border.
The city of Derry/Londonderry is among the locations that today straddle the existing invisible Irish border, as was captured in a recent BBC project here.
Any attempt to run a hard border through the lives of those individuals, families and industries will cause major disruption."
UK: Post-Brexit sanctions law will hit terror group finances (Sky News, link):
"New laws giving the UK beefed up powers to impose its own sanctions against terror groups after Brexit are to be introduced by the Government.
Although modelled on existing EU sanctions, the new Sanctions Bill will make it easier to cut off funding, freeze assets and block access to bank accounts.
At present, the Government must "reasonably believe" a person is or has been involved in terrorism and that freezing their assets is necessary to protect the public.
But under the new plans, ministers would only need to have "reasonable grounds" to suspect a person or group is or has been involved in terrorism and that sanctions are an "appropriate action"."
Ex-MI5 chief warns against crackdown on encrypted messaging apps (The Guardian, link):
"A former head of MI5 has spoken out against curtailing use of encryption in messaging apps despite warning that Islamist terrorism will remain a threat for up to another 30 years.
Jonathan Evans said the terrorist threat to Britain was a generational problem, and suggested the Westminster Bridge attack in March may have had an energising effect on extremists.
But Lord Evans, who retired from the security service in 2013, told BBC Radio 4s Today programme that he would not support a clampdown on use of encryption."
Ex Greek Minister Sentenced for Money Laundering in Siemens Scandal (OCCRP, link):
"Greeces former transport Minister was found guilty on Friday of money laundering involving contracts between Siemens Greek unit and then state-controlled telecoms firm OTE, Reuters reported.
Tassos Mantelis, 72, who served as the transport minister from 1996-2000, concealed 450,000 deutsche mark (about US$ 270,000) he received from Siemens via a third party for approving a contract with OTE, according to a court in Athens.
Mantelis was handed an eight year suspended sentence and fined 50,000 (US$ 58,670), AFP reported."
And see: The Super-Panopticon Scandal of Áthens 2004 Olympics and its Legacy
EU-ISRAEL: MEPs question Israeli institution's involvement in EU-funded interrogation enhancement project
"The Israeli Ministry of Public Security (IMPS) has been participating in the LAW-TRAIN project since 2015. The project aims to enhance police interrogation techniques and receives over EUR 5 million of EU funding under the Horizon 2020 framework programme.
Israel does not expressly prohibit torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment. In fact, the use of torture by Israeli interrogators has been extensively documented in the international and Israeli press, and has been confirmed by international investigators and Israeli interrogators themselves. In June 2016, the UN Committee against Torture denounced Israels use of torture and illegal, abusive techniques during interrogations by police and prison staff.
In the light of the significant resources involved and Israels proven track record of human rights law violations, can the Commission answer the following questions:
1. Did the technical review of the LAW-TRAIN project include an evaluation of the project in the light of the provisions of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (Financial Regulation)?
2. Given that Israels human rights breaches constitute grave professional misconduct within the meaning of the Financial Regulation, how can the IMPS, which through its control of Israeli prisons and police is complicit in these serious human rights violations, be regarded as a suitable participant in Horizon 2020 programmes?"
See: parliamentary question: LAW-TRAIN, Horizon 2020 funding and human rights abuses in Israel (European Parliament, link) and: Prominent Legal Experts Confirm Israels Record of Torture Makes EU-Funding of LAW TRAIN Illegal (ECCRP, link)
See also: LAW-TRAIN: Mixed-reality environment for training teams in joint investigative interrogation-Intelligent interrogation training simulator (CORDIS, link)
Berlin starts controversial test of facial recognition cameras at train station (The Local, link):
"A Berlin train station on Tuesday became the first to test out software that will automatically recognize faces in an effort to fight terrorism. But not everyone sees the project as positive.
Berlins Südkreuz station on Tuesday started the pilot project on behalf of the federal government to use surveillance cameras to test the softwares ability to recognize the faces of passersby. Around 300 people voluntarily registered to be part of the test for six months.
Their names and faces were saved into a database so that when they are picked up by the cameras, computers will compare them back to the database as they come and go through the station. Three different facial recognition systems will be tested out through the project, according to the Interior Ministry."
Hungary is unique after all: Pew research on terrorism and refugees (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"A couple of days ago the Pew Research Center published a survey taken between February 16 and May 8 in 38 countries, asking about the respondents sense of threats to national security. People were supposed to rank eight things they consider to be truly threatening as far as their well-being is concerned. Heading the list were Islamic militant group known as ISIS (62%) and global climate change (61%). Cyber attacks (51%), condition of the global economy (51%), large number of refugees (39%), U.S. power and influence (35%), Russias power and influence (31%), and Chinas power and influence (31%) followed in that order.
The 38 countries surveyed are widely scattered, and naturally their concerns vary according to their particular geographic and cultural settings. For example, South American countries found global climate change a greater problem than ISIS. In European countries the large number of refugees was obviously a greater concern than, lets say, in Vietnam or Chile. But in all countries, including European ones, the fear of terrorism was greater than alarm over the refugees. There was one exception, not just among European countries but on all four continents: Hungary. Hungarians dread refugees (66%) more than they worry about terrorism (64%)."
UK: 6 September, London: Paper Launch Big Data and Policing: An Assessment of Law Enforcement Requirements, Expectations and Priorities (RUSI, link):
"The paper explores the potential applications of big data technology to UK policing.
In recent years, big data technology has revolutionised many domains, including the retail, healthcare and transportation sectors. However, the use of big data for policing has so far been limited, particularly in the UK. This is despite the police collecting a vast amount of digital data on a daily basis. As sophisticated technologies become available at increasingly low cost, effective use of big data will become a top priority for the police and other law enforcement agencies.
There is currently a lack of research exploring the potential uses of big data technology for UK policing. The purpose of this paper is to identify specific ways in which big data analytics could enable UK police forces to make better use of the data they collect, allowing officers to act more efficiently and effectively. "
UK: Migrants and Housing (parliament.uk, link):
"Migration is often cited in public debate as a significant factor in the demand for UK housing. This POSTnote provides an overview of available research on migrants and housing. It examines definitions and data sources on migration and its implications. It also outlines the possible impact of migrants on housing, including variation by tenure type, migrant characteristics and region. Finally, it considers the impact of housing on migrants and local communities."
UK: Police officers interviewed under criminal caution over Taser death of Dalian Atkinson (Birmingham Mail, link):
"A police watchdogs investigation into the death of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson has seen three police officers interviewed under criminal caution.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed its probe into the death of the retired footballer, who was tasered by officers from West Mercia Police last year, is now nearing completion.
But the IPCC said the criminal investigation does not necessarily mean criminal charges will follow.
The 48-year-old was shot by a police Taser outside his fathers house in Meadow Close, Telford, on August 15 last year. He died around 90 minutes later.
Three West Mercia Police officers were served with gross misconduct notices and IPCC investigators say they have spoken to around 15 other police officers as witnesses."
USA: These Are the Technology Firms Lining Up to Build Trumps Extreme Vetting Program (The Intercept, link):
"Back when he was a presidential candidate, in August 2016, Donald Trump promised his followers and the world that he would screen would-be immigrants using extreme vetting, a policy that has remained as ambiguous as it is threatening (his haphazard and arbitrary Muslim ban was the apparent result of that pledge). Today, Homeland Security documents show the American private sector is eager to help build an advanced computer system to make Trumps extreme vetting a reality."
USA: How Peter Thiel's Secretive Data Company Pushed Into Policing (Wired, link):
"Law enforcement accounts for just a small part of Palantirs business, which mostly consists of military clients, intelligence outfits like the CIA or Homeland Security, and large financial institutions. In police departments, Palantirs tools are now being used to flag traffic scofflaws, parole violators, and other everyday infractions. But the police departments that deploy Palantir are also dependent upon it for some of their most sensitive work. Palantirs software can ingest and sift through millions of digital records across multiple jurisdictions, spotting links and sharing data to make or break cases.
The scale of Palantirs implementation, the type, quantity and persistence of the data it processes, and the unprecedented access that many thousands of people have to that data all raise significant concerns about privacy, equity, racial justice, and civil rights. But until now, we havent known very much about how the system works, who is using it, and what their problems are. And neither Palantir nor many of the police departments that use it are willing to talk about it."
We can stop hacking and trolls, but it would ruin the internet (New Scientist, link):
"CYBERTERRORISM fears are through the roof. Ransomware is wreaking havoc on corporations, hospitals and individuals. Printers can be hacked to take down the worlds largest websites. Put simply, the internet is a mess.
Youre probably familiar with all this hand-wringing. What you might not know is that a solution has been around for decades, and in principle we could apply it tomorrow. Do so, and in one fell swoop we could get rid of ransomware, DDOS attacks and possibly nation state cyberattacks. You might even get rid of trolls.
Even now, this next-generation internet plan is being talked up in the obscure back rooms of internet governance. It is touted as a way of guarding against the potential apocalypse of putting your fridge, your toaster and a billion other gadgets online. Theres just one tiny problem: if its adopted globally, the new regime might just destroy the online world as we know it."
Oligarchs and government control: Pressure on media mounts in V4 countries as the EU watches (Atlatszo, link):
"Pressuring journalists not to speak ill of those in power has become commonplace in the Visegrad countries. While the governments take over or sue newspapers and TV stations, the opposition is reluctant to discuss the issue on the international stage and the EU lacks tools to intervene."
EU: The Commission launches public consultation on cross-border access to electronic evidence (European Commission, link):
"Today the European Commission has launched a public consultation to identify ways to improve access to electronic evidence for the purpose of criminal investigations.
Nowadays, crime very often leaves digital traces that can serve as evidence in criminal proceedings. For most forms of crimes, in particular cybercrimes, electronic evidence can provide significant leads for investigators, and often the only leads. But gathering evidence in cyberspace also brings new challenges for law enforcement and judicial authorities. In particular, because of the cross-border implications: the information may be stored in other countries or may be processed by companies that have headquarters in different countries to the investigating law enforcement and judicial authorities. Present-day solutions often prove unsatisfactory and can even bring investigations to a halt. (...)
With this public consultation the Commission wants to gather input from a broad range of interested stakeholders including: law enforcement authorities, judges, prosecutors, EU institutions and agencies, international organisations, private companies (in particular digital service providers), professional and business associations, civil society, academics and the general public."
See: Improving cross-border access to electronic evidence in criminal matters (link)
Surveillance & Society: Latest issue (link):
"This is our first ever special "Responsive Issue," conceived of as something extra to our usual process of publication. We asked for shorter articles, written in a more punchy and accessible style, to cover specific countries which are moving in an authoritarian direction, and/or transnational issues that relate to the nexus of surveillance and authoritarianism."
See: The Global Turn to Authoritarianism and After (link)
Cleveland Police illegal phone records grab: Officers given £3,000 compensation but journalists get nothing (Press Gazette, link):
"Two former police officers have been awarded £3,000 each in compensation after their phone records were illegally grabbed by Cleveland Police to find the source of leaks to journalists.
But two journalists whose records were also viewed have been given nothing."
Beachgoers watch migrant boat land on Spanish shore (Guardian, link):
"Group of as many as 20 people flee into countryside in Zahara de los Atunes after crossing Strait of Gibraltar."
European Parliament: Mapping the Representation of Women and Men in Legal Professions Across the EU (pdf):
"Upon request by the Committee on Legal Affairs, this study analysis is mapping across all 28 EU Member States the representation of women and men in legal professions. The aim of this study is to identify areas where women or men are currently underrepresented and to analyse the underlying reasons and constraints."
Member states ask for new EU data retention rules (euractiv, link):
"Several EU member states want to include new rules allowing for data retention in a draft privacy bill.
Diplomats from EU countries have been asked to determine whether they want new data retention rules ahead of a meeting to discuss the draft ePrivacy legislation in September.
Estonia, which is leading countries discussions on EU laws until the end of this year, asked national delegations after a meeting in July whether they want to add new rules to the draft bill as a way to require telecoms companies to store consumers personal data for a set amount of time, according to a draft memo that was leaked by the NGO Statewatch."
UK-EU: Judge calls for clarity on status of ECJ rulings in UK after Brexit (Guardian, link)
"Government must specify whether it wants European court of justice rulings to be taken into account, Lord Neuberger says"
A government spokespperson said: However, we want to provide maximum certainty so the repeal bill will ensure that for future cases, UK courts continue to interpret EU-derived law using the court of justice of the European Unions case law, as it exists on the day we leave the EU.
Hungary rights chief denounces data grab bill (euractiv, link):
"Hungarys data protection watchdog on Monday (7 August) lashed out at government plans to centralise personal data and ease rules on allowing official access, calling them a major threat to citizens rights.
The bill, which was filed in parliament late last month, would lead to surveillance without any legal oversight, Attila Peterfalvi, head of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH), told the station Klubradio."
UK: Ditchley Foundation: Drones, remote weapons and other robots: the military, commercial, legal and ethical implications (link):
"The United States and the UK and other rule of law nations need to do more to explain in public the ethical and legal basis for the use of targeted killings, including by drone strikes. It should be possible to arrive at a series of principles that would be permissive but also restrictive enough to have meaning."
EU:Council of the European Union: Military-Law Enforcement Agencies cooperation & INTCEN: Threat assessment
Strengthening military, law enforcement and judicial information exchange in counter-terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 10880-17, pdf):
"This note focuses on measures that could be put in place quickly to improve access to battlefield information of European law enforcement, judicial and border authorities, in particular in view of investigation and prosecution of FTF returnees from Syria, Iraq and Libya and border checks."
And see: 10880-ADD-1-17) (pdf)
Update on the conclusions, recommendations and way forward on the INTCEN and Europol threat assessments mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 6699-REV-2-17, pdf):
"In line with the agreed way forward, INTCEN and Europol first presented their findings at the TWP meeting of 18 January 2017. These latest reportings indicate that the overall picture has not changed significantly, especially due to the short time span from the two previousreports, issued in September 2016."
The West attempts hybrid resistance (link):
"EU and NATO are training for their joint rapid response in the event of a crisis with three coordinated exercises. The simulated threat comes from Russia, hackers, the caliphate, immigrants and globalisation critics...
On 1 September the European Union and NATO will start their shared EU Parallel and Coordinated Exercise 2017 (EU PACE17). This is according to a Council Document published online by the British civil rights organisation Statewatch. The two alliances will test their crisis management structures over six weeks."
Revealed: Police Scotland confirms recruiting nearly 800 informants (The Herald, link):
" POLICE Scotland is facing fresh questions over its covert law enforcement strategies after being forced into confirming the recruitment of 759 informants.
The single force finally published the figure, which amounts to over 20 covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) a month, after a failed court bid to stop the information from being released......
On Monday, after resisting disclosure for over a year, the force confirmed 759 CHIS had been recruited between April 2013 and January 2016. "
EU: Council of the European Union: New powers for eLisa agency
Compared version of the proposed eu-LISA Regulation with Regulation 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 11164-17, pdf):
"The new text in the proposed Regulation, compared with the current one, is marked in bold italics, and the deleted text is marked with strikethrough."
Opinion by the Management Board of eu-LISA on the recommendations of the Commission on changes to the Establishing Regulation of eu-LISA (LIMITE doc no: 10873-ADD-3-27, pdf)
Discussion on the proposed new tasks for eu-LISA (LIMITE doc no: 11182-17, pdf):
"The proposed Regulation mainly aims to enhance the role and responsibilities of eu-LISA with regard to existing and possible new large-scale IT systems on cooperation and information exchange in the area of freedom, security and justice and to enable it to provide support to Member States and to the Commission. This is expected to contribute to rendering border management more effective and secure and to reinforcing security and combatting and preventing crime.
Some of the proposed novelties, in particular as regards the Agency's role in relation to interoperability..." [emphasis added]
The Presidency Note also asks Members States: "What is the opinion of delegations regarding the possible tasking of the Agency to develop, manage and/or host a common IT system by a group of at least six Member States opting on a voluntary basis for a centralised solution assisting them in implementing technical aspects..."
UK citizens to get more rights over personal data under new laws (Guardian, link):
"New legislation will give people right to force online traders and social media to delete personal data and will comply with EU data protection...
The main aim of the legislation will be to ensure that data can continue to flow freely between the UK and EU countries after Brexit, when Britain will be classed as a third-party country. Under the EUs data protection framework, personal data can only be transferred to a third country where an adequate level of protection is guaranteed.
The government has stressed that it is keen to secure the unhindered flow of data between the UK and the EU post-Brexit. But the EU committee of the House of Lords has warned that there will need to be transitional arrangements covering personal information to secure uninterrupted flows of data."
See: Government: A New Data Protection Bill: Our Planned Reforms (pdf) and Research and analysis to quantify the benefits arising from personal data rights under the GDPR (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Prum & Internal Security
PRUM: Implementation of the provisions on information exchange of the "Prüm Decisions" - overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (5081-REV-3-17, pdf):
"The provisions of the "Prüm Decisions" relating to information exchange concern:
supply of information relating to major events and in order to prevent terrorist offences;
automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data and vehicle registration data VRD);
INTERNAL SECURITY: Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: report of the first half of 2017 and programme for the second half of 2017 (LIMITE doc no:10827-17, 64 pages,pdf):
Information exchange and interoperability, the launch of the new EU Policy Cycle, prevention of radicalisation, the EU Cybersecurity Strategy, the revision of the Schengen Borders Code, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), strengthened links between the external and internal security policies, the Entry-Exit System, the Directive on countering money laundering by criminal law, e-evidence and encryption were important priorities under MT Presidency for which important progress was made."
A Schengen Zone for NATO - Why the Alliance Needs Open Borders for Troops (Foreign Affairs, link):
"NATOs member states are willing to defend one another, and they have the troops and the equipment to do so. But quickly getting those troops and equipment to their destination is a different matter altogether. In some new NATO member states, bridges and railroads are simply not suitable for large troop movements. But one thing frustrates commanders even more: the arduous process of getting permission to move troops across borders.
I was probably naïve, admits Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. I assumed that because these were NATO and EU countries wed just be able to move troops. But ministries of defense are not responsible for borders."
And see: Call for military Schengen to get troops moving (Politico, link)
UK: Met police to use facial recognition software at Notting Hill carnival (Guardian, link):
"Civil liberties groups say plan to scan faces of thousands of revellers at London event has no basis in law and is discriminatory....
The Metropolitan police has described the planned deployment as a pilot project intended to look for suspected troublemakers to keep those attending safe.
But critics say the use of real-time biometric tracking has no basis in law and that the plan to deploy it during the carnival is institutionally racist, as it targets Britains main annual African-Caribbean celebration."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.7.17-5.8.17)
Transferring personal data outside the EU: Clarification from the ECJ? (EU law Analysis, link)
"Canadian law required airlines, in the interests of the fight against serious crime and terrorism, to provide certain information about passengers (API/PNR data), which obligation required airlines under EU data protection regulations to transfer data to outside the EU......
for example, SWIFT, the Umbrella Agreement, the Privacy Shield (and other adequacy decisions) the last of which is coming under pressure in any event (DRI v Commission (T-670/16) and La Quadrature du Net and Others v Commission (T-738/16)). Note that in this context, there is not just a question of considering the safeguards for protection of rights but also relates to Treaty base. The Court found that Article 16 must be used and that because there was no role for judicial authorities, still less their cooperation the use of Article 82(1)(d) is wrong. It has, however, been used for example in regards to other PNR agreements. This means that that the basis for those agreements is thrown into doubt."
Ireland's PM in Northern Ireland to tackle Brexit issues (euobserver, link):
"Irelands prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is meeting Northern Irish party leaders on Friday (4 August) to talk about Brexit and the political stalemate in Belfast after a week of political rows with the Democratic Unionist party (DUP)....
Varadkar, who took office in June, said last week that he would "not design a border for the Brexiteers" between his country and the northern part of the island, which is part of the United Kingdom."
UK: Undercover police inquiry names three spies who infiltrated leftwing groups (Guardian, link):
"Public inquiry led by Sir John Mitting is examining use of undercover police officers going back as far as 1968...
One spy operated under the fictitious name of Rick Gibson between 1974 and 1976. He infiltrated Big Flame, a leftwing group, and the Troops Out Movement, which campaigned to end British rule in Northern Ireland....
The second spy used the fake name of Doug Edwards during his deployment between 1968 and 1971. He infiltrated a series of anarchist and leftwing groups, including the Independent Labour party.,,,
The third spy went under the name of John Graham between 1968 and 1969, when he infiltrated protest groups opposed to the US war in Vietnam. He pretended to be a leftwing activist in the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, attending meetings in Kilburn and Willesden in London and going on demonstrations. He also spied on another leftwing group, the Revolutionary Socialists Students Federation."
UK: 'Paracetamol and caffeine mix' in Rashan Charles' throat (BBC News, link):
"A man who died after a police chase in London had a package in his throat containing "a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine", investigators have said.
Rashan Charles was followed by officers in Dalston on 22 July and became ill after putting an object in his mouth.
In a statement, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the package was "wrapped in plastic".
Commissioner Cindy Butts added the police watchdog had not yet been given a confirmed cause of death. Mr Charles' death sparked a number of protests in east London, including one which turned violent. "
See also: Metropolitan Police use force disproportionately against black people in London, new statistics reveal (Independent, link)
"Figures show force ranging from handcuffs to guns used 12,600 times in three months...
The Metropolitan Police used force more than 12,600 times in just three months, with a disproportionate amount of incidents involving black people, new statistics have revealed. Data from Britains largest police force showed force of varying degrees was used 139 times a day in London on average, or once every 10 minutes."
EU "Implementation Plan" on Central Mediterranean will exacerbate "abuse, mislead and expel" process in Italy's hotspots
The EU's plans to limit the number of people travelling across the Mediterranean to Italy are set out in a detailed internal "Implementation Plan" (pdf) believed to be drawn up by the Council that is silent on the right to claim asylum in the EU - aside from ensuring that Italy "speed up examination of asylum applications" and ensure that it can "issue return decisions together with final negative asylum decisions," which is likely to exacerbate existing problems with access to the asylum procedure in Italy's "hotspots".
See: The Central Mediterranean - Alleviating the pressure: Implementation Plan (pdf)
UK: Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Fighting fire (link): by Colin Prescod and Daniel Renwick
"The Grenfell Tower inferno throws up all the contradictions between community self-help and resistance and an uncaring state....
Across the area, public-space land is being reclaimed. Maxilla Walk, on the verge of huge and controversial redevelopment, is effectively an occupied public arts space. The Henry Dickens Community Centre, a stones throw from the burnt out Grenfell Tower, is now an art therapy centre. Bay 56 under the A40 Westway, where Acklam Road meets Portobello Road, is now known around the Grove as the Village and is a central hub in the communitys self-help and aid effort, offering healing activities and care packages. Thousands are engaged in an entirely autonomous aid effort. The state withdrew and went missing in the immediate aftermath of Grenfell. It is not clear how it can come back, and on what terms."
EU: FRONTEX: Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 (pdf):
"Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 including the Declaration of Assurance and the Analysis and Assessment by Frontex' Management Board."
EU privacy watchdog: Privacy shield should be temporary (euractiv, link):
"European privacy watchdogs have received a few complaints about the privacy shield data transfer agreement with the United States since it was brokered one year ago, the EUs top privacy advocate said in an interview...
Privacy campaigners already filed two complaints against privacy shield at the European Court of Justice last year. The threat to the agreement is real. In 2015, the court ruled its predecessor, the EU-US safe harbour agreement, illegal. Hearings on the two pending cases have not started yet.... We can say, We told you so, Buttarelli said.
He declined to say whether the court will knock down privacy shield, but insisted that regardless of what the EU delegation decides next monthit could suspend the deal if EU officials determine that the US is not following the rulesthe agreement should only be temporary."
Data retention: Can the mass retention of data be justified under the planned ePrivacy Regulation?
The Council of the European Union is struggling to find a way to by-pass the Court of the European Union's judgments in the cases of Digital Rights Ireland and Tele2 and Watson which ban the mandatory collection of data of everyone's communications.
The Council is trying to justify mass data retention for the "prevention and prosecution of crime". Council document (LIMITE,11110-17, pdf) asks Member States to consider a "mind map" (see p3).
Now the Council's attention has turned to the planned ePrivacy Regulation: Processing and storage of data in the context of the draft ePrivacy Regulation = Introduction and preliminary exchange of views [LIMITE doc no:11107-17, pdf)
EU Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): A digital Europe needs data protection (Press release, pdf):
"The successful implementation of an EU-wide once-only principle to enable the lawful exchange of data across EU borders depends on ensuring that the relevant data protection principles are respected, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said today, as he published his Opinion on the Commissions proposal for a Regulation establishing a single digital gateway and the once-only principle.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: This proposal is one of the first EU instruments that explicitly refers to the once-only principle, which aims to ensure that citizens and businesses do not need to submit the same information to a public administration more than once. I welcome this initiative, but also recommend that the Commission take into account some key issues related to data protection in their continued development of the once-only principle. Additional clarity on important data protection principles, such as the legal basis of the processing, purpose limitation and data minimisation will reinforce the protection of the rights of individuals. [emphasis in original]
See: EDPS OPINION (pdf)
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