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17th year reporting on civil liberties and the state in the European Union (updated 1.3.15) Editor: Tony Bunyan
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Round-up of news stories from around the EU: In the News Digest
UK: INQUEST Report: "Stolen lives and missed opportunities": The deaths of yound adults and children in prisons (link)
Inside story of Edward Snowden: FILM: CITIZENFOUR (Channel 4 News, link): ""An eye-opening, Oscar-winning expose of the dangers of government surveillance. You will never again think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser or profile." Available to watch on the Channel 4 website for five more days."
EU-USA TRADE DEAL (TTIP): Transatlantic trade deal text leaked to BBC (BBC Scotland, link) and see: Document: European Union Trade in services and investment: Schedule of specific commitments and reservations (pdf)
UK: Police corruption, racism and spying conference on film (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "On Friday 5 and Saturday 6 February 2015, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group held the 'Police corruption, spying and racism' conference at Conway Hall, London. The video footage from many of the sessions are now available to view online via Vimeo and are embedded below."
UK: Institute of Race Relations: Fighting for the soul of the voluntary sector - Everyone should read a recent report by the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) on the ways in which neoliberal policies are destroying the purpose and politics of voluntary groups (IRR, link): "The cost of not facing up to this situation, and taking a stand, will, the report concludes, be very high indeed. Fight or Fright is not a passive critique of the sector but a call to arms."
Israel's Africa policies 'an exercise in cynicism' - South African intelligence accuse Israel of "fuelling insurrection", selling arms and "appropriating" African resources (Aljazeera, link):
"Secret documents obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit expose a deep disdain by South Africa's spies for their Israeli counterparts, with intelligence assessments accusing Israel of conducting "cynical" polices in Africa that include "fuelling insurrection", "appropriating diamonds" and even sabotaging Egypt's water supply."
See: Document 1 (36 MB, link) and Document 2 (60MB, link)
CSE monitors millions of Canadian emails to government: Critics question how long data is stored and what it's used for (CBC News, link):
"Canadas electronic spy agency collects millions of emails from Canadians and stores them for days to months while trying to filter out malware and other attacks on government computer networks, CBC News has learned. A top-secret document written by Communications Security Establishment (CSE) analysts sheds new light on the scope of the agencys domestic email collection as part of its mandate to protect government computers."
Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press rlease, pdf): clarifies if USA soldier opposed to Iraq war can get asylum in EU
"In August 2008, an American soldier, Andre Shepherd, sought asylum in Germany. He had left his unit, which had been stationed in Germany since April 2007, after receiving an order to return to Iraq. Mr Shepherd believed that he should no longer participate in a war he considered unlawful and in the war crimes that were, in his view, committed in Iraq.
See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)
European Parliament Study: The Juncker Commission and new institutional and legitimacy set up What main issues and challenges? (pdf):
"The Juncker Commissions legitimacy and effectiveness in is being assessed connection with on the one side its composition, its organisation and functioning, and on the other side with its capacity to enhance legitimacy in the exercise of the EUs competences and enhance and its input efficiency."
EU: Frontex, poison or antidote to the tragedies in the Mediterranean? (Migreurop, link):
"As Malta receives millions of Euros to fund maritime border control operations in collaboration with Frontex, members of the FRONTEXIT campaign denounce the security obsession blinding Europe and leading to increasing numbers of deaths."
UK: Six years and still waiting: the legal implications of blacklisting (The Justice Gap, link):
"The construction industry blacklist has appeared regularly in the media since it was discovered in 2009 following a raid by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Over 40 of the UKs largest contractors held a covert database of trade unionists who had complained about unpaid wages or safety on building sites through an organisation called The Consulting Association."
And see: Every Man a Capitalist: The long history of monitoring unsuitable workers in the UK (Statewatch database)
Update III on detentions and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco (No Borders Morocco, link):
""As part of the so-called European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU and its member states fund surrounding countries to control their borders and effectively prevent migrants from reaching European territory. As an "Advanced Partner" in the ENP, Morocco is complicit in creating a buffer zone externalising the EUâs inhumane border regime to Northern Africa. To gain advanced status, Morocco signed a so-called "Mobility Partnership" including readmission negotiations, and receives "assistance in implementing the strategy to combat illegal migration" (EU/Morocco Action Plan, para 48) from the EU. The large-scale detention and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco show what this combat looks like in practice."
See: EU/Morocco Action Plan (pdf)
Frontex budget: 17 million increase puts agency on "cruising speed"
The 2015 budget of EU border agency Frontex has been increased by 16%, from 97 million to 114 million, with the largest share of the extra funding going towards Joint Operations at Sea Borders. According to the agency's Work Programme for 2015, published in December 2014, the budget is on "cruising speed".
'Joint Operations and Pilot Projects at Sea Borders' receives the largest share of the 114 million budget, with 31 million or 27% of the total. In 2014, Joint Operations at Sea Borders was allocated 25 million. According to the Work Programme: "Strengthening the Member States' operational capacity to cover increased operational areas and implementation periods will enhance the tackling of irregular migration on routes identified by risk analysis.
GCHQ-NSA SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Civil Liberties MEPs restart discussions on surveillance programmes and go to Washington in March (Press release, pdf): ""The Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and rapporteur on the US NSA and EU member states' surveillance programmes, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), presented his working document on the follow-up of the inquiry on electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens on Tuesday 24 February."
See: Working document on on the Follow-up of the LIBE Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens (pdf) and Final: Report on the US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs (pdf): Rapporteur: Claude Moraes MEP
See also Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance: June 2013 - ongoing
Greek Authorities Start Evacuating Amygdaleza Migrant Detention Center (Greek Reporter, link)
"Greek authorities have started evacuating the Amygdaleza migrant detention center last Friday, saying they have released 100 migrants by Tuesday, while 980 remain in the premises. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis had pledged to close down the Amygdaleza facility within 100 days, citing inhumane living conditions, following the suicide of a Pakistani national."
UK: The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (pdf) received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015. The draft code of practice was presented to Parliament on 12 February 2015 for approval by Parliament. The Code of practice for officers exercising functions under Schedule 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in connection with seizing and retaining travel documents (pdf) will come into force on 13 February 2015.
"Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 coming into force: Code of practice for police and border officials on seizing travel documents: The code of practice is issued under paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015... It includes:
i. the procedure under which the Secretary of State may designate immigration officers and customs officials ("Border Force officers") to exercise functions under Schedule 1;
ii. the training to be undertaken by persons who are to exercise powers under Schedule 1;
iii. the exercise by police, and Border Force officers of their functions under Schedule 1;
iv. the information to be provided to a person subject to the exercise of powers under Schedule 1 and when and how that information should be
v. the process of reviewing the decision to authorise retention of travel documents within 72 hours of taking the documents."
See also Statewatch Observatory: UK laws (Acts of Parliament): 1988 - ongoing
UK: Conference: Challenging state and corporate impunity: is accountability possible? (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (link): "the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool are hosting a third event to bring people together from a range of organisations to discuss how to hold state and corporate institutions to account." 19 June, 2015 9:00am to 5:00 pm. Location: 33 Finsbury Square London, EC2A 1AG: Speakers include:
Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) - What is the role of researchers in supporting movements for state accountability?
Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group)
Deborah Hargreaves (High Pay Centre) - How do we challenge corporate abuses of power when this power is increasingly concentrated in elites?
Ewa Jasiewicz (Fuel Poverty Action) How do we work for state and corporate accountability under conditions of austerity?
Stafford Scott (Tottenham Rights)
Will McMahon (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool) - Linking academic research to social movements.
Spy cables: Greenpeace head targeted by intelligence agencies before Seoul G20 - South Koreas intelligence service requested information about South African activist Kumi Naidoo in runup to leaders meeting in 2010 (Guardian, link) and see Document (pdf):
"The head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, was targeted by intelligence agencies as a potential security threat ahead of a major international summit, leaked documents reveal.Information about Naidoo, a prominent human rights activist from South Africa, was requested from South African intelligence by South Koreas National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the runup to a meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul in 2010.... Greenpeace is one of the worlds best known environmental groups, combining lobbying with high-profile direct action protests. South Korean intelligence may have been concerned about possible disruption at the summit. Told this week of the approach, Naidoo described it as outrageous."
EU-PNR: European Parliament: Draft Report: on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (pdf) by Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope.
"Currently, of the 27 Member States of the European Union, only the United Kingdom has a fully fledged PNR system whilst 5 others (France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands) use it in limited ways or are testing its use." [emphasis added]
See Explanatory Note page 40-42. This includes:
"III. Inclusion of intra-EU flights: Your Rapporteur is convinced that the inclusion of intra-EU flights would bring clear added value to any EU PNR scheme...[this extends the Commission proposal and was put forward in the Council by the UK supported by other governments]
IV. Targeted v. 100% collection: The Rapporteur supports 100% coverage of flights for the obvious efficiency and security benefits. There is also evidence to suggest that criminals could avoid particular flights under a targeted system."
Taken together all passengers on flights in and out of the EU and on all flights between EU countries would be placed under surveillance.
For Background see: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise" and Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): 2011 ongoing
EU: European Commission: Commission Decision of 30.10.2014 requesting an opinion of the Court of Justice pursuant to article 218(11)TFEU on the competence of the Union to sign and conclude a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore (COM 8218-14, pdf)
The European Commission has asked the EU Court of Justice how competence over international trade issues is divided between the EU and its Member States as regards the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore. This case will have an impact upon the EU/Canada trade agreement which was recently agreed (CETA), the EU/US agreement under negotiation (TTIP) and other planned treaties besides.
EU: Council of the European Union: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EIXM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 6131-15, pdf). See also: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EXIM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation (pdf)
Concludes that there is a great variation in Member States' use of SIENNA - Europol's channel for EU information exchange - which is not connected in most Member States to its case management system and "Due to low prioritisation in several Member States, the implementation of the Prüm Decisions is still not as advanced as it should be" and
"One obstacle ....(is) the rules for entering data in the Europol Information System (EIS), the limited user community and the fact that EIS data is normally not easily accessible on a larger scale in operational police work. This also leads to a vicious circle where the volumes of data in EIS are too small for Member States to invest in resources and solutions to increase their use of it."
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Joint Declaration on a Mobility Partnership between the Republic of Belarus and the European Union and its participating Member States (LIMITE doc no 6114-15, pdf):
"To enhance Signatories' efforts to fight further irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, to strengthen the implementation of the integrated border management, including through further improvement of border surveillance, border management capacities and cross-border cooperation, according to Integrated Border Management (IBM), which, among others, include the enhancement of international, interservice and intra-service cooperation; to strengthen the security of travel documents, identity documents and residence permits, anti-corruption measures at the borders and to fully cooperate on return and readmission....
To enhance the security of identity documents as well as to facilitate the authentication of citizens through development and introduction of the necessary for this purpose fingerprints searching systems as well as of the multifunctional electronic identification cards" [emphasis added]
UK: Two ex-Foreign Secretaries in trouble: Sir Malcolm Rifkind resigns as ISC chairman and will step down as MP - Tory MP will resign from Commons at May election after quitting as head of parliamentary security committee, over cash-for-access claims (Guardian, link)
Malcolm Rifkind clings to chairmanship of Commons intelligence committee - Conservative MP at centre of new cash for access allegations insists he has done nothing wrong, echoing stance of Labours Jack Straw (Guardian, link): "Both Rifkind and Straw have referred themselves to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, but no inquiry will be complete before the election. .... Labour members of the ISC are likely to remain loyal to Rifkind, but the senior Labour backbencher Tom Watson said: If the chair of the intelligence committee no longer has the confidence of the prime minister, then he should not continue as chairman."
Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary when the CIA rendition scandal broke see: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006: On the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
GREECE: ECRI report on Greece: (fifth monitoring cycle) Published on 24 February 2015 (pdf): "There has been a strong increase in the levels of incitement to racial hatred, in particular in the context of public discourse, including from representatives of political parties. Hatred is usually directed against immigrants, but also against Roma, Jews and Muslims. This situation is not adequately addressed and there is widespread impunity for acts of hate speech and insufficient official condemnation."
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Joint survey by European regulators on website cookie usage finds improvement in information but cookies still being set without consent. (Press release, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: EU-USA: SWIFT: Legal Service Opinion (2009): Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations between the European Union and the United States of America for an international agreement to make available to the United States Treasury Department financial messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism and terrorist financing (doc. 11009/09 RESTREINT JAI 397 USA 43 RELEX 574 DATAPROTECT 42) - Legal basis (pdf) "RESTRICTED" document now Declassified.
European Parliament: Background documents for Interparliamentary Committee Meeting: "Smart Borders Package: European challenges, national experiences, the way ahead" (pdf)
International State Crime Initiative and Transnational Institute: "Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation" (link) by Louise Boon-Kuo, Ben Hayes, Vicki Sentas, Gavin Sullivan:
"Building peace in permanent war, the title chosen for this ground-breaking report, perfectly illustrates the paradox of terrorist listing and its pernicious impact on contemporary armed conflicts. Intra-state conflicts are asymmetrical in nature, with internationally-legitimised state actors opposing non-state armed groups (NSAGs) often labelled or legally proscribed as terrorist organisations. National and international blacklisting regimes were allegedly introduced as legal instruments to prevent violent extremists from carrying out terrorist attacks and incentivise a behavioural change towards de-radicalisation. Instead, such regimes have been found to exacerbate conflicts by encouraging state repression of unarmed dissidents and thus fuelling radicalism."
European police neglecting right-wing extremism
An online platform set up so that Europe's police forces can exchange information on right-wing extremism is "not being used much", says a recent report by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). This is despite the rise to prominence of far-right parties and movements across Europe - in Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.
Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosts a 'Europol Platform for Experts' on right-wing extremism which is supposed to be used by police officers to "to share knowledge, best practices and non-personal data on crime." The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's Report, published at the end of November 2014 and covering the period from December 2012 to mid-October 2014, says: "The EPE facilitates contact and exchange of best practice between Member States' experts. The platform meets as required. For the time being it is not being used much by Member States and Europol."
Europol failed to provide any further details on the use of the platform - for example, how many meetings it has held and how many messages have been exchanged through it - despite repeated requests from Statewatch.
EU: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (and the CJEU) TO BE EXEMPT FROM HAVING TO DEPOSIT DOCUMENTS IN EU ARCHIVES - WHY?:
See: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC/Euratom) No 354/83, as regards the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the European University Institute in Florence Adoption (13 February, pdf): The Council to adopt is position stating:
"The Commission proposal will make it obligatory for all EU institutions to deposit their paper historical archives at the European University Institute in Florence. The purpose of the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the EUI is to provide access to these archives from a single location, to promote their consultation and to stimulate research into the history of European integration and the European institutions."
However, the same document say the adoption is to be based on document no: 6867/13 (pdf) which will apply to all EU institutions except that:
"the specific nature of the activities of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Central Bank (ECB) justifies their exclusion from the obligation set out in this Regulation to deposit their historical archives at the EUI. The CJEU and the ECB may deposit their historical archives at the EUI on a voluntary basis." [emphasis added]
NB: "the historical archives of the Union are preserved and are made available to the public wherever possible after the expiry of a period of 30 years"
It also seems odd, in the light of the changes made in the Lisbon Treaty Article 15.1 which extends the Regulation on public access to EU documents to all EU agencies and bodies too that this proposed Regulation does not appear to cover them as well.
EU: Council of the European Union working towards its position on the:Data Protection Regulation:
Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev2-14, pdf) with 84 Footnotes including Member States' positions.
The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no:5627-rev1-15, pdf) with 137 Footnotes including Member States' positions.
German Delegation proposals: Consent (LIMITE doc no: 14703-rev1-14, pdf) and Right to be forgotten: dispute settlement (LIMITE doc no: 6031-15, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union:
CHILD SUSPECTS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (LIMITE doc no: 5952-15, pdf) Includes Multi-column document: Commission proposal, Council position, EP Orientation Vote and "compromise" position.
LEGAL AID:Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings = Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 6177-15,pdf) Council developing its position before entering "trilogue" discussion s with European Parliament. With Member States' positions
VISA CODE: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) - State of play after the first examination of the articles and suggested way to move forward (pdf)
CYPRUS: Racist attack and violence against migrant by the police (KISA, link)
"KISA publicly denounces a new incident of racist violence, inhuman and humiliating treatment against a migrant by members of the police. More specifically, according to a Cypriot citizen that witnessed the incident, two policemen called a migrant walking in front of them to stop and when the migrant turned towards them one of the two policemen hit him so hard on the face that the migrant fell to the ground. Then the policemen handcuffed and arrested him without any resistance or action from the migrants side."
Brussels: ODYESSEUS Network: 2015 Summer School: EUROPEAN UNION LAW and POLICY on IMMIGRATION and ASYLUM, 29 June 10 July 2015 at the UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES: "The aim of the Summer School is to provide its participants with an comprehensive understanding of the immigration and asylum policy of the European Union from a legal point of view. The programme is organised by the Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe, founded with the financial support of the Odysseus Programme of the European Commission and coordinated by the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles."
NSA-GCHQ: The Great SIM Heist - How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle (The Intercept, link)
"AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the worlds cellular communications, including both voice and data."
The article notes that "the intelligence agencies accessed the email and Facebook accounts of engineers and other employees of major telecom corporations and SIM card manufacturers in an effort to secretly obtain information that could give them access to millions of encryption keys... In effect, GCHQ clandestinely cyberstalked Gemalto employees, scouring their emails in an effort to find people who may have had access to the companys core networks and Ki-generating systems."
- CNE Access to Core Mobile Networks
- PCS Harvesting at Scale (STRAP 1 document: STRAP 1, 2 & 3 are classified documents above TOP SECRET, SECRET, CONFIDENTIAL & RESTRICTED)
- "Cyberstalking": DAPINO GAMMA CNE Presence Wiki - DAPINO GAMMA Gemalto Yuaawaa Wiki
See also: Google opposes plan to let FBI hack any computer in the world (The Telegraph, link)
And: European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft (The Intercept, link): "The European Parliaments chief negotiator on the European Unions data protection law, Jan Philipp Albrecht, said the hack was obviously based on some illegal activities." Member states like the U.K. are frankly not respecting the [law of the] Netherlands and partner states, Albrecht told the Wall Street Journal."
EU: New information on undercover policing networks obtained by German parliamentary deputies
New information on the 2014 activities of European police cooperation groups and networks has been published by the German government, in response to questions from Die Linke parliamentary deputies. The answers include information on the work of Europe's secretive undercover policing coordination networks. However, the government claims - as it has done in the past - that many of the questions cannot be answered publicly, due to the need for confidentiality.
The questions concern a number of groups and networks, including:
- The European Cooperation Group on Undercover Activities (ECG);
- The International Working Group on Police Undercover Activities (IWG);
- The Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW);
- The International Specialist Law Enforcement (ISLE) project;
- Europol's 'Focal Point Dolphin'.
UK blatantly obstructing EU free movement rights with red tape (Free Movement, link): "The UK is now blatantly obstructing EU free movement rights. As of 30 January 2015, a new Form EEA(FM) has been introduced for family members of EU nationals and of British citizens exercising Surinder Singh free movement rights. It is 129 pages long. The old version, called the EEA2, was 37 pages long. By comparison, the paper versions of forms for non EEA [European Economic Area] nationals applying as family members under UK domestic immigration rules are a grand total of 35 pages, and that includes all the interminable detail required for Appendix FM applications (VAF4A and VAF4A Appendix 2)."
See the 129-page form: EEA (FM) Version 01/2015: Application for a registration certificate or residence card as the family member of a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national (pdf)
Serbia: Asylum seekers and migrants left in cold (Medecins Sans Frontieres, link): "Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe are being left stranded in forests and abandoned buildings in Serbia in harsh winter temperatures without sufficient food or shelter, according to international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF teams are providing them with essential relief items and urgently needed medical care. At the same time, MSF is calling on the Serbian authorities and European Union member states to provide the asylum seekers with aid and protection."
See also the MSF photo collection: Gallery: Transit denied: stranded in cold Serbia (link). One response to the increasing number of migrants and refugees attempting to reach central and northern Europe via Hungary has simply been to try to stop them. See: Serbia Border Crisis: Germany Sends Police To Stem Kosovo Refugees Seeking Asylum In European Union (International Business Times)
GUANTANAMO: Australian David Hicks 'relieved' after terror conviction quashed (BBC News, link): "Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has expressed relief after a US court quashed his terrorism conviction. The Australian pleaded guilty at the base in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism. But a US court struck the conviction down on Wednesday, saying the charge was not a war crime and so should not have been heard at a military court."
See also: The collapse of Guantanamo's military commissions (Al Jazeera, link): "The news that the US Court of Military Commission Review has dismissed the conviction against David Hicks, the first prisoner convicted in Guantanamo's much-criticised military commission trial system, calls the future of the entire system into doubt."
And: Bad lieutenant: American police brutality, exported from Chicago to Guantánamo; How Chicago police condemned the innocent: a trail of coerced confessions (The Guardian, link)
UK: Monitoring the police: Latest news from Netpol (link)
The February 2015 newsletter of the Network for Police Monitoring looks at police attempts to set 'pay-to-protest' conditions; the use of anti-social behaviour dispersal powers beyond limits set by the law; police monitoring in Manchester and more. See also: The Network for Monitoring Monitoring (link) and Met police 'pay to protest' proposal rejected by campaigners (The Guardian, link)
UK: Revealed: Police arrests on Twitter and Facebook (politics.co.uk, link): "Over 355 people have been charged or cautioned for messages on social media, many of them for causing 'offence', new research has revealed.
"A report by Big Brother Watch found 6,329 people had been charged or cautioned under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and the Malicious Communications Act 1988, both pieces of legislation which precede the emergence of Facebook or Twitter."
See report: Careless Whispers: How speech is policed by outdated communications legislation (Big Brother Watch, pdf)
Spain: Leaked memo warns staff to keep an eye on gay people (Pink News, link): "A leaked memo that was shared to Madrid metro staff urged them to be vigilant went checking gay peoples tickets." See also: Madrid Metro suspends employee who ordered surveillance of gay passengers (El País, link)
USA: Quibbling over torture: perspectives on "enhanced interrogation techniques"
"Much of the controversy over the recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) Detention and Interrogation (D&I) Program (SSCI Study) has focused on the CIA's use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) on certain detainees. Background information on what, when, why and how EITs were used (and what restrictions currently apply) provides context for this examination of current perspectives on the use of EITs by U.S. government agencies. The Appendix provides a non-exhaustive list of ten EITs approved for use by the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) in January 2003, with brief guidelines on their use."
SWEDEN: Authorities waiting for EU PNR Directive to upgrade passenger surveillance systems
Police seeking information on airline passengers in Sweden have to receive it by fax or collect it from airlines in person, but are apparently waiting for EU legislation on PNR before setting up digital databases.
UK: Government concedes polices on lawyer-client snooping were unlawful (Reprieve, link): "The UK Government has today conceded that its policies governing the ability of intelligence agencies to spy on lawyer-client communications were unlawful, in response to a case brought by two victims of an MI6-orchestrated rendition operation."
See also: After Brit spies 'snoop' on families' lawyers, UK govt admits: We flouted human rights laws (The Register, link)
CANADA: Anti-petroleum movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say (The Global and Mail, link): "The RCMP has labelled the anti-petroleum movement as a growing and violent threat to Canadas security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper governments new terrorism legislation."
The leaked report: Criminal Threats to the Canadian Petroleum Industry (pdf)
And see: 9 weirdest things about this RCMP intelligence report on the "anti-petroleum movement" (Press Progress, link)
European court confirms Poland's complicity in CIA rendition (euobserver, link):
"A European Court of Human Rights ruling that Poland allowed a secret CIA jail on its soil became final on Tuesday (17 February) after the court rejected an appeal request. The Strasbourg court last July found the Polish government had colluded with the CIA to establish the secret detention facility at the Stare Kiejkuty military base. The court said Poland had failed to launch a proper investigation into human rights violations on two individuals who had been tortured at the CIA prison camp in 2002 and 2003." and see:
Polands complicity in CIA torture programme confirmed as European Court rejects Warsaws appeal (BIJ, link) and ECHR Press Release (pdf)
And see Statewatch Observatory on EU-CIA Rendition and detention
UK-GCHQ:Thousands sign petition to discover if GCHQ spied on them - Privacy International campaign comes after tribunal rules that sharing between US and UK of intercepted communications was unlawful (Guardikan, link)
Sign up: Did GCHQ illegally spy on you? (link) and see Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance
INCREASING RESILIENCE IN SURVEILLANCE SOCIETIES (IRISS): Recommendations to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on access rights, in the context of the European data protection reform (pdf):
"The right of access to personal data is a central feature of European data protection law. It is, arguably, the most important of the so-called ARCO data protection rights (access, rectification, cancellation, opposition) because, if one cannot discover what is held about oneself, it is not possible to exercise the remainder of these rights. Furthermore, the right of access to personal data is essential to uncovering illegal and illegitimate surveillance practices.".
European Parliament: PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: Draft reports: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) and Legal Affairs Committee (pdf). See: Commission proposal (pdf)
EU: UNICEF report: Childrens rights in return policy and practice in Europe (pdf): "A discussion paper on the return of unaccompanied and separated
children to institutional reception or family"
NETHERLANDS: DATA RETENTION: Dutch DPA opinion about post-ECJ data retention bill: disproportionate infringement of private life (link):
""The Dutch DPA notes the government holds on to a general data retention obligation. The Dutch DPA therefore concludes the infringement of the private life of virtually all Dutch citizens is too big and disproportionate.
It furthermore finds that 3 other preconditions have not been met that remain important, even if the data retention obligation were to be restricted. These are:
1. the need to inform people that their data have been accessed after a criminal investigation has been finalised;
2. transparency on the use of retained data, for example through the release of statistics on the number of times data have been accessed;
3. the need to introduce exemptions for those bound by a duty of professional confidentiality."
See also: Dutch DPA says government's data retention plans still illegal - Watchdog wants legislation canned (The Register, link)
EU: "FORCED RETURNS": Frontex quarterly report (FRAN: Frontex Risk Analysis Network): statistics on irregular migration (2MB, pdf) shows there were 74,262 "forced returns" in the last recorded year (p61).
EU: CJEU: Advocate General (AG) Sharpston: Opinion: 12 February 2015, Case C.554/13 (pdf): The AG says that if an undocumented person is suspected of a criminal offence then the authorities do not need to wait for the legal process to be completed in order to deport the person
CoE: Survey on European prisons - The economic crisis hampers improvement of conditions in European prisons (link) and see: Penal statustics (pdf) and Executive Summary (pdf)
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them (pdf): "FRA research has highlighted the risk that domestic EU Member State legislation on the facilitation of entry and stay may lead to the punishment of those who provide humanitarian assistance..."
High price paid by asylum seekers on reaching Europes affluent nations - Institute of Race Relations questions commitment to human rights after analysis of people who died in detention (Guardian, link): "Analysis by the London-based Institute of Race Relations thinktank found that the highest numbers of deaths of asylum seekers and migrants were in some of the most affluent countries, with the UK having the third largest death toll, during a period mostly governed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition."
GREECE: Joint statement by Amnesty International and Greek Council for Refugees: New government's announcement of ending the policy of indefinite detention a step in the right direction (pdf):
"The Greek Council for Refugees and Amnesty International welcome the announcement by Giannis Panousis, the Deputy Minister for Public Order that the authorities will cease to detain third country nationals held under return orders indefinitely. The Deputy Minister for Public Order made the announcement two days ago in his first policy speech before the Greek Parliament."
EU: European Parliament: Draft report on Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (pdf): The Draft Report prepared by Rapporteur Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL) calls for coherence of the EU's internal policies on ICT and its external actions. ICTs in all policies should advance human rights.
EU: The European Union and State Secrets: a fully evolving institutional framework in the wrong direction (2) (ASFJ, link):
"In a passionate intervention before the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) on January 8 the European Ombudsman has denounced the fact that: For the first time in its twenty year history, the European Ombudsman was denied its right under Statute to inspect an EU institution document, even under the guarantee of full confidentiality, as part of an inquiry This power to inspect documents is fundamental to the democratic scrutiny role of the Ombudsman and acts as a guarantor of certain fundamental rights to the EU citizen.
The case concerned Europols refusal to give access to a Joint Surpervisory Body (JSB) report on the implementation of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement (known as SWIFT agreement)."
See: Ombudsman's speech: Europol-TFTP (pdf)
A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE: Google boss warns of 'forgotten century' with email and photos at risk - Digital material including key historical documents could be lost forever because programs to view them will become defunct, says Vint Cerf (Guardian, link)
"Piles of digitised material from blogs, tweets, pictures and videos, to official documents such as court rulings and emails may be lost forever because the programs needed to view them will become defunct, Googles vice-president has warned....
The warning highlights an irony at the heart of modern technology, where music, photos, letters and other documents are digitised in the hope of ensuring their long-term survival. But while researchers are making progress in storing digital files for centuries, the programs and hardware needed to make sense of the files are continually falling out of use."
EU leaders want tighter border controls (euobserver, link):
"Tighter border control checks on travel and ID documents of EU nationals leaving or entering the EU are also on the cards as leaders called for the European commission to revise the so-called Schengen border code....
The EUs counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, at a European Parliament civil liberties committee in late January, told MEPs to "never let a serious crisis go to waste.... But civil liberty defenders warn of a power grab by governments and law authorities for the sake of creating a perception of greater security. The point was driven by one EU-funded study that found that out of the 88 legally binding rules in the EU counter-terrorism portfolio, 50 had yet or are not fully transposed into national law as of 2013."
European Parliament: Study: Cross-border parental child abduction in the European Union (4.5 MB, 415 pages, pdf): "a jointdecision reached through the active cooperation of specialised national courts within the EU is proposed. This involves special judicial training with language and intercultural skills for international family disputes."
USA: CRS report: DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, and Grants (pdf): "Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the fundamental building block for an individuals entire genetic makeup. DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement investigations because each persons DNA is different from that of every other individual (except for identical twins). DNA can be extracted from a number of sources, such as hair, bone, teeth, saliva, and blood."
MACEDONIA: Mass Surveillance Endangers Freedom of Expression in Macedonia (pdf)
Counter-terrorism policy and re-analysing extremism (IRR, link):
"edited transcript of a talk given by Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are coming: Islamophobia, extremism and the domestic war on terror, in January 2015, shortly after the Paris killings....The situation we find ourselves in is not entirely new.
Most of what weve seen over the last few days is familiar from the Rushdie affair, from the moment after 9/11, the moment after 7/7, the moment after the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2006. Now with the attack on Charlie Hebdo, we see narratives emerging that, in their essentials, are exactly the same: the clash of values, the idea that on their side is extremism and violence and on our side is liberalism and modernity. So, once again, we are trying to find a place to stand between these two camps of militarised identity politics and the question for us, as anti-racists,"
Statewatch Analysis: Bringing the Panopticon Home: the UK joins the Schengen Information System (Word file): by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"Over two hundred years ago, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham devised the concept of the 'Panopticon': a prison designed so that a jailer could in principle watch any prisoner at any time. His theory was that the mere possibility of constant surveillance would induce good behaviour in prison inmates. In recent years, his idea for a panopticon has become a form of shorthand for describing developments of mass surveillance and social control."
EU: MEPs break deadlock on airline passenger bill (euobserver, link). The European Parliament voted for a Resolution on anti-terrorism (pdf) with the following Amendment (pdf) which, contrary to the headline, shows there is still a very long way to go, in particular the amendment::
"urges the Commission to set out the consequences of the ECJ judgment on the Data Retention Directive and its possible impact on the EU PNR Directive; encourages the Council to make progress on the Data Protection package so that trilogues on both EU PNR Directive and Data Protection Package could take
place in parallel. " [emphasis added]
And see: Press release: Passenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say (pdf)
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Lampedusa: another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means (link):
"I am appalled by the news of over 300 migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. This is another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means. These deaths, which follow those of 29 migrants who died of hypothermia, put into question the decision to end the full-scale search-and-rescue mission Mare Nostrum in 2014, said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).... It is a question of life or death and all European states must stand in solidarity with countries of origins, Southern Mediterranean countries, and all those who are forced to flee conflict and persecution, Ms Brasseur declared."
The International State Crime Initiative and the Transnational Institute invites you to the launch of the report: Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation (pdf): Tuesday, 24 February 2015, 5:45pm for 6pm launch start, GO Jones Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS London, United Kingdom
EU burying heads in the sand as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy (AI, link) and Watch - Up to 300 migrants die in tragedy off Lampedusa; Amnesty International hits out (Independent.mt, link):
"The U.N. refugee agency says as many as 300 people are now unaccounted-for in the latest tragedy among migrants crossing the frigid Mediterranean.
The spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Carlotta Sami, says survivors have confirmed the existence of a fourth rubber boat that left Libya on Sunday. In a statement, the UNHCR says that means some 300 people are missing. Earlier, the agency cited survivors as saying 203 people had died in the crossing."
Strage di migranti a Lampedusa, i testimoni: oltre trecento morti. "Costretti a partire sotto la minaccia delle armi" (Massacre of migrants in Lampedusa, witnesses: three hundred dead. "Forced to leave under the threat of arms") (R.it, link):
"Found two other rafts on which there were only nine refugees: the other occupants may have been swept away by the waves. The survivors say they were forced to embark by the smugglers with weapons in hand. The bodies will arrive in Porto Empedocle. UNHCR: the victims are 232. Then one of the survivors said: was fourth boat with a hundred other people. Gentiloni: Triton's mission "is not enough" [translation]
European Parliament: Plenary session Press release: Passenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say (pdf) :
"To protect the EU against terrorist attacks and yet safeguard citizens rights, MEPs advocate de-radicalisation programmes, stepping up checks at Schengen area external borders, and better information exchange among EU member states, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They urge member states to make faster progress on the Data Protection Package, so that talks could proceed in parallel with those on an EU Passenger Name Record proposal and thus deliver a full set of EU data protection rules.
The joint resolution was approved by 532 votes to 136, with 36 abstentions."
Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism (The Intercept, link):
"Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? Thats the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only and obtained by The Intercept...
Arun Kundnani, a professor at New York University, said that enlisting communities in the way the administration suggests in the guide, leads a range of non-policing professionals to cast particular suspicion on Muslim populations and profile them for behaviors that have no real connection to criminality.
Kundnani also questioned the science behind the rating system. Theres no evidence to support the idea that terrorism can be substantively correlated with such factors to do with family, identity, and emotional well-being, he said."
LInk to Document (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Regulation on Data Protection: One-Stop-Shop
UK: British delegation: To: Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) Subject: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no 5572-15, pdf): "We thank Ireland, the French and German delegations and the Presidency for the papers they have submitted. We have studied these and appreciate their constructiveness, outlining possible qualitative and quantitative filters that seek to prevent an EDPB being overloaded by cases."
Irish Delegation (LIMITE doc no 5545-15, pdf)
Austrian delegation (LIMITE doc no: 5571-15, pdf)
General Data Protection Regulation - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 5315-15, pdf) From German and French delegations
EU: Council of the European Union: New Directive on the "Free movement" of personal data between law enforcement agencies
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (LIMITE doc no 15391-14,145 pages, pdf) With 615 Member State positions
EU: Council of the European Union: Judicial response to terrorism = State of play and next steps (LIMITE doc no: 5917-15, pdf)
UK: INQUEST: Deaths in Mental Health Detention: An investigation framework fit for purpose? (pdf):
"On Wednesday 11 February, in parliament, INQUEST launches a ground breaking evidence based report Deaths in Mental Health Detention: An investigation framework fit for purpose? The report is based on INQUESTs work with families of those who have died in mental health settings and related policy work. It identifies three key themes: 1. The number of deaths and issues relating to their reporting and monitoring. 2. The lack of an independent system of pre-inquest investigation as compared to other deaths in detention. 3. The lack of a robust mechanism for ensuring post-death accountability and learning."
European Parliament: Draft Opinions: Committee on Constitutional Affairs for the Committee on International Trade on Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (pdf): "to create a mandatory transparency register to be used by all European institutions in order to have a full overview on the lobbying activities associated with the TTIP negotiations."
- Committee on Legal Affairs for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the proposal for a Council regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutors Office (pdf)
- Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan (2014/2151(INI)) Committee on Legal Affairs (pdf)
ECHR: Court: Poland and Belgium want new Grand Chamber hearings on key terror judgments (link): "Next week, judges will consider requests from Poland and Belgium for new Grand Chamber hearings into court judgments concerning terrorism and secret rendition."
EU: European Commission:State of Play: Readmission and "facilitation": International agreements in the process of negotiation DG HOME European Commission (pdf)
USA: National Security Strategy, February 2015 (pdf)
"Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security interests must begin with an undeniable truthAmerica must lead. Strong and sustained American leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples. The question is never whether America should lead, but how we lead....
We will protect our investment in foundational capabilities like the nuclear deterrent, and we will grow our investment in crucial capabilities like cyber; space; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance....We have not and will not collect signals intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent or to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies."
European Parliament: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program:: Legal opinion on the European Ombudsman's access to documents concerning Europol's activities under the TFTP Agreement (pdf)
EU's Intelligence Centre (INTCEN): Overseas embassies to have new intelligence "security attaches": No new mandate for EU intelligence centre (euobserver, link): "the bulk of its work is based on classified briefs which it receives from around 10 member states national intelligence agencies. It also collates information from the EUs overseas embassies, which are to have new security attaches, from the EUs civilian and military crisis missions, and from the EUs joint police and border control agencies - Europol and Frontex. It hoovers up open source information from the internet."
The European External Action Service is responsible for running 139 EU Delegations and Offices operating around the world.
See: Statewatch Analysis: Secrecy reigns at the EUs Intelligence Analysis Centre (pdf)
Joint call: No to the wall of shame in Calais! (Migreurop, link): "Is France going to have its very own Ceuta and Melilla in Calais, 12 years after the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp? The growing number of migrants who have been in the Calais area for a few months is leading our rulers to take a dangerous step that contravenes migrant freedom and respect for their rights." and in French (link)
Mission plage pour EUBAM Libya (Bruxelles2, link): EUBAM operation turns into an expensive holiday camp?: An article by Nicolas Gros-Verheyde
Highlights that the expensive EUBAM mission to Libya to improve border controls in the north African country is ineffective due to the security situation which forced its personnel to retreat to Tunisia and Malta last July. Gros-Verheyde notes that 26m euros were allocated for the mission's first year of operation (ending in May 2015), and that around 12m euros would be made available for subsequent years (between 12m and 14m euros) in spite of lower numbers of staff involved. The mission is supposedly continuing from abroad, to keep contacts with its counterparts with a view to returning to Libya when it will be possible through "telework"
He cites EU diplomats as ironically referring to the mission as "the beach in Tunis". The mission's goals are to improve border controls at its northern (sea), western and southern borders, with fighting terrorism and crime listed as further purposes. The article also notes the considerable funds allocated to this mission in relation to the overall budget for PESC (external and security policy) which is 16 m euros and that OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office) has opened an investigation into the
We stand with Shaker Aamer (link):
"We Stand With Shaker is a new campaign calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, a legal British resident, with a British wife and four British children, who is still held at Guantánamo, even though he has twice been approved for release by the US authorities -- under President Bush in 2007 and under President Obama in 2009. In addition, the British government has been calling for his return since 2007."
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Council of the European Union: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government - Draft statement of the Members of the European Council (LIMITE doc no 6010-15,, 6 February 2015, pdf): including:
"adequate measures to be taken to detect and remove internet content promoting terrorism or extremism, including through greater cooperation between public authorities and the private sector at EU level, working with Europol to establish internet referral capabilities"
and Draft Council Conclusions on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no 5897-15, 6 February 2015, pdf): including: "Exploring the possibility of creating a Round of Eminent Persons from Europe and the Muslim world, to encourage more intellectual exchanges and promote wider thematic dialogues on the roots and ramifications of terrorism and radicalisation on our societies." and "Reinforcing, within the existing parameters, the role of EU INTCEN [Inteligence Centre] as the hub for strategic intelligence assessment at EU level, including on counter-terrorism."
UK: Government plans to give the security and intelligence agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software"
- the code applies to "any interference (whether remotely or otherwise)"
- to "locate and examine, remove, modify or substitute equipment hardware or software"
- to "enable and facilitate surveillance activity by means of the equipment" (p5)
In language strikingly similar to GCHQ;'s 4Ds (pdf) "Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive" the Home Office Security Minister said on 6 February 2015 the purpose was to: identify, track and disrupt the most sophisticated targets.
See: Codes of practice under Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000:
- Equipment Interference Code of Practice (pdf)
- Interception of Communications Code of Practice (pdf)
- Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Consultation: Equipment Interference and Interception of Communications Codes of Practice (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"The adoption of such sweeping new surveillance powers should be the subject of primary legislation and not sneaked through in a Code of Practice under RIPA 2000 - which is not limited to terrorism and serious crime but covers all crime. They would allow the intelligence and security agencies to access any computer or smartphone not just to carry out surveillance but also to alter and/or change the content..
The wealth of examples from the Snowden revelations concerning GCHQ, the finding of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal of the unlawful data exchange with the NSA, the judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union in April 2014 that the Mandatory Data Retention Directive was unlawful since it was adopted in 2006 (and we still await any response from the European Commission) and, DRIPA 2014 which legalised the gathering of IP address - confirms the view of seasoned observers that governments are not in control of their intelligence and security agencies, that the agencies will use all available technologies even if there is no legal basis, and that when court judgments find against present practices the law is simply changed to make the "unlawful lawful"
And what guarantees are there that that these new surveillance powers will only be used against terrorists and serious organised criminals and that "function creep", which has happened time and again since 2001, will not see them used against all suspected crimes?"
See on law enforcement agencies use of "remote access" Statewatch analysis: EU agrees rules for remote computer access by police forces but fails, as usual, to mention the security and intelligence agencies by Tony Bunyan (pdf) and EU: Welcome to the new world of the interception of telecommunications (Statewatch database)
See also: Security services capable of bypassing encryption, draft code reveals (Guardian. link)
The Guardian view on GCHQ: snooping beyond the law: Editorial: Intelligence swapping with the Americans had been breaking the law for years. Without Edward Snowden, it still would be (link) and: GCHQ: 7+ years of spying on lawyers/clients heralds mistrials claims (undercoverinfo, link)
See also: GCHQ: IPT Ruling on Interception (link)
GCHQ: UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful for seven years - Regulations governing access to intercepted information obtained by NSA breached human rights laws, according to Investigatory Powers Tribunal (Guardian, link):
"The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britains GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.... The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established in 2000 that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UKs intelligence agencies. It said that the governments regulations were illegal because the public were unaware of safeguards that were in place. Details of those safeguards were only revealed during the legal challenge at the IPT."
See: IPT Judgment (pdf) and IPT Order (pdf)
and see: Enemy within GCHQ monitoring declared unlawful; and their sister organisations? (undercoverinfo, link)
and GCHQ-NSA intelligence sharing unlawful, says UK surveillance tribunal (Privacy International, link): "While we welcome todays decision, Privacy International and Bytes for All disagree with the tribunals earlier conclusion that the forced disclosure of a limited subset of rules governing intelligence-sharing and mass surveillance is sufficient to make GCHQs activities lawful as of December 2014. Both organisations will shortly lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights challenging the tribunals December 2014 decision."
EU: European Parliament: Request for a legal opinion on the European Ombudsman's access to documents concerning Europol's activities under the TFTP Agreement (pdf)
UK-GERMANY: Britain 'threatens to stop sharing intelligence' with Germany - British intelligence officials have threatened to stop sharing information if Germany presses ahead with a parliamentary inquiry into British and American spying, a German news magazine claims (Daily Telegraph, link)
See: German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal (Wikipedia, link)
UK: Detention of mentally ill people in police cells needs to end, say MPs - These people are not criminals, says home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz of the more than 6,000 detained last year (Guardian, link).
See Home Affairs Select Committee report: Policing and mental health (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Interpol: interoperabilty with MSs, JHA-Relex Outcomes and Overstayers in the EU
LEAs accessing multiple databases: Interpol project on interoperability - A practical development for enhanced police cooperation within EU Member States (LIMITE doc no: 10094-14, pdf):
"The current development aims at striving towards one search or one input being valid for several systems and thus saving time for the police operator as well as increasing the police efficiency (also in order to carefully allocate human and financial resources). Those developments which need be taken into consideration for pilot projects and can serve as a starting point include the following:
- UMF2 (driven by Europol where INTERPOL is involved)
- Siena (developed by Europol) ¡V Extension in EU countries;
- IXP (information exchange platform) ¡V concept developed by Europol;
-.link users worldwide by INTERPOL
JHA-RELEX: Summary of conclusions of the meeting of the JHA-RELEX Working Party (JAIEX) on 3 June 2014 (LIMITE doc no: 11006-14, pdf)
Overstayers in the EU: methodology of gathering statistics; preventive measures; penalties (LIMITE dco no: 5194-15, pdf): The Council Presidency is looking at the harmoinsation of laws on dealing with people who overstay their visitors permint and who may enter the EU through one Member State and exit through another "without an appropriate sanction" . In 2013 there:
"were 344,888 detections of illegal stay in the EU....The overstayers detected in the EU are third-country nationals who have exceeded the authorised period of stay, most of them being short-stay visa holders"
How the government makes you into a terrorist without ever arresting you (CAGE, link): By Asim Qureshi:
"In this piece, Asim Qureshi Research Director at CAGE takes us through how a routine stop under Schedule 7 and its specially engineered questions, can lead to oppressive civil orders leaving the individual having been declared guilty without judicial oversight, left to prove their innocence. Further, concerns about the implementation of the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill which seeks to arbitrarily impose orders under the elusive idea of extremism.
EU: EUROJUST: Foreign Fighters: Eurojusts Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response: Updated Report (pdf)
EU: PNR & DATA PROTECTION: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: [Press Release] Statement on the EU PNR system (CNIL, link): "The members of the Article 29 Working Party discussed this issue at their plenary meeting of 3 and 4th February on the basis of the analysis contained in the groups previous opinions..... The Article 29 Working Party recalls that it is not in principle either in favour of or opposed to PNR data collection schemes. However, such an interference with the fundamental rights would be permissible only if its necessity was to be demonstrated and the principle of proportionality respected. "
UK: Police will need judges permission to access journalists phone and email records - David Cameron accepts recommendation for judicial oversight of police use of anti-terror powers to snoop on reporters (Guardian, link):
"Sir Anthony May, the interception of communications commissioner, said police forces did not give due consideration to freedom of speech and Home Office guidelines do not sufficiently protect journalistic sources."
See: Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office: IOCCO inquiry into the use of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to identify journalistic sources (pdf)
This decision still leaves open the question of the surveillance of communications between lawyers and their clients, doctors and other professionals' guarantee of privacy:
See: Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf) which says:
"3.73 However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist
3.74 Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]
New research resources available on undercover policing
The Undercover Research Group (URG) has launched a new website, with the aim of "enhancing public understanding of political policing and undercover surveillance". The pages have been published to coincide with Domestic Extremist Awareness Day, launched by the UK-based Network for Police Monitoring.
UK: Police under scrutiny after seeking to obtain names of people who wanted to attend university debate - Special Branch concerned about public meeting at university to debate fracking, new documents show (Guardian, link) FOI requests lead to more information on the Special Branch's role:
"Kent Police emailed the university to say :Kent Police Special Branch are charged with assisting in the maintenance of public order, and to that end, senior management have tasked me to liaise with Christ Church in relation to specific security questions.
NETHERLANDS: FORCED RETURNS: CoE: CPT report: Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit to the Netherlands carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 16 to 18 October 2013 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)
See: Press release: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on forced return flight from the Netherlands (link)
European Parliament: Fair trials for children: MEPs amend rules to establish strong EU-wide standards (Press release, pdf)
"Draft EU rules to ensure that children suspected or accused of a crime are assisted by a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings in any EU country were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs also made sure that children will be individually assessed by qualified staff, can be heard and state their views in a trial and are kept separate from adult inmates, even, in some cases, after they are 18 years old."
UK: House of Commons Justice Committee: Joint Enterprise: Joint enterprise: follow-up: Government Response to the Committees Fourth Report of Session 201415 (pdf) response to: Joint enterprise: follow-up (pdf)
USA: Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports Border Security: Immigration Inspections at Ports of Entry (pdf) and H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015: Report in Brief (pdf)
USA-NSA-FBI:SPYING ON THE REST OF THE WORLD: New rules on surveillance of "non-US persons": NSA: (U) USSID: Supplemental Procedures for the collection, processing, retention and dissemination of Signals Intelligence information and data containing personal information of Non-United States Persons (pdf) and the FBI (pdf) The NSA conducts surveillance and the CIA and FBI use the products.
Although the FBI does not conduct "signals intelligence activities" it does handle "signals intelligence information in.. finished intelligence products" and "The FBI will disseminate personal information of non-US persons collected pursuant to Section 702 of FISA" (Foreign Intelligence and Security Act). There are lots of very general caveats such as the information will only be used if: "the information is relevant to an intelligence requirement or an authorized law enforcement activity"
See also: White House New Data Spying Policy (Cryptome, link): "Statement by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco: Update on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reform and Issuance of PPD-28."
Background: Statewatch analysis: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the world but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Dublin III & children, Handbook on THB and VIS extension countries
DUBLIN III: Unaccompanied children: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 as regards determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection of unaccompanied minors with no family member, sibling or relative legally present in a Member State (LIMITE doc no: 5108-15, pdf) Council Presidency suggested changes and with 22 Footnotes giving Member State positions.
As above: Preparation for the first informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 5587-15, pdf): Council working on its negotiating position
Handbook on trafficking in human beings - indicators for investigating police forces (LIMITE doc no: 14630-rev1-14, pdf): "The procedures for the identification of potential trafficking victims, which were created in the field by a synergistic blend of police intelligence - some acquired through international cooperation - and information supplied by the NGOs which provide assistance to victims, are therefore fundamental in identifying possible trafficking victims."
VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM to be extended to include Ukraine and Russia: VIS - time frame concerning the roll-out in the last regions - Approval of the final compromise (LIMITE doc no: 5731-15, pdf):
"The VIS will be launched on 23 June 2015, for region 17 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine). The notification by Member States is no longer necessary as all Member States have already notified their technical readiness... The VIS will be launched on 14 September 2015, for region 18 (Russia). Pursuant to Article 48(3) of the VIS Regulation, the Member States who have not done so yet should transmit their notification of readiness at the latest by 1 March 2015...In December 2014, eu-LISA concluded that the VIS Biometric Machine System (VIS/BMS) would be able to support the VIS roll-out for region 17 and beyond," [emphasis added]
UK-EU: OPT-IN: Council of the European Union: Council implementing Decision on the putting into effect of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on data protection and on the provisional putting into effect of parts of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on the Schengen Information System for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (5481-15, pdf): The UK is about to participate partly in the Schengen Information System (draft decision to be adopted soon). No surprise, UK opts into police cooperation aspects of SIS II:
"As from 1 March 2015, SIS alerts defined in Chapters V (alerts in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes), VI (alerts on missing persons), VII (alerts on persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure), VIII (alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks or specific checks) and IX (alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings) of Decision 2007/533/JHA, as well as supplementary information and additional data, within the meaning of Article 3(1)(b) and (c) thereof, connected with those alerts, may be made available to the United Kingdom in accordance with that Decision." [emphasis added]:
EU: European Commission: Detailed: Annexes: ANNEXES to the Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (codification) (COM 8-2015, ANNEXES, pdf). Including "Standard form for refusal of entry at the border" which says on page 13:
"X is considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of one of more of the Member States of the EU."
See also the Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)
And see: New measure implementing SIS II: Very detailed, from Commission SIRENE Manual ANNEX to the COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (53 pages, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government - Draft statement of the Members of the European Council (LIMITE, 5853-15, 2 February 15, pdf):
"Europeans have reacted with deep sorrow and strong unity to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. These attacks targeted the fundamental values and human rights that are at the heart of the European Union - solidarity, freedom, including freedom of expression, pluralism, democracy, tolerance and human dignity. All citizens have the right to live free from fear whatever their beliefs. We will safeguard our common values and protect all from violence based on ethnic or religious motivations such as xenophobia, anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim intolerance and racism.
This also means fighting the enemies of these values."
European Parliament Study: Trends in differentiation of EU Law and lessons for the future (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex: "This analysis examines the development of differentiated integration connected to the EU legal order, and raises questions for the future."
No, were not all Charlie Hebdo, nor should we be (Open Democracy, link) by Ben Hayes: "I respect your right to show solidarity with the victims of this horrible crime by reposting those drawings, but only if you respect my right not to do so because I happen to find them bigoted and incendiary."
European Parliament events suspended after security crackdown - MEPs will not be able to host events for external visitors until the security threat level is downgraded. (European Voice, link)
EU: PROBATION Framework Decision: Only 16 MS implemented EU law on probation & parole by Dec 2011 deadline: Is it time to sue the others? See: Implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions with a view to the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions (pdf)
UK: POLICE EXPLOIT LAW TO COLLECT 18 MILLION FACIAL IMAGES: Innocent people' on police photos database (BBC News, link):
"Police forces in England and Wales have uploaded up to 18 million "mugshots" to a facial recognition database - despite a court ruling it could be unlawful. They include photos of people never charged, or others cleared of an offence, and were uploaded without Home Office approval, Newsnight has learned...
Biometrics Commissioner Alastair MacGregor QC said he was concerned about the implications of the system for privacy and civil liberties. Speaking in his first interview, he told Newsnight that police forces had begun setting up a searchable database of police mugshots last year, without telling either him or the Home Office. Almost every police force in England and Wales had now supplied photographs, he said....
Mr MacGregor said he also had concerns about the reliability of facial recognition technology. "If the facial recognition software throws up a false match, one of the consequences of that could easily send an investigation off into the completely wrong direction,"" [emphasis added]
"Facial images" are a biometric along with DNA and fingerprints. See Office of Biometrics Commissioner (link) and 1st Annual Report (pdf)
Background: EU-UK: Major victory in the European Court of Human Rights: ECHR finds that the UK practice of keeping the fingerprints and DNA of people not convicted of an offence is a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR Convention (Statewatch database)
European Ombudsman: Commission "revolving doors" Response to the Ombudsman's Recommendations (pdf):
"The Ombudsman welcomes the progress made by the Commission in the important area of avoiding conflicts of interest and increasing transparency. Our inquiry will be kept open until the Commission publishes the information on senior EU officials leaving the institution, as required this year by the new Staff Regulations. We expect the Commission to publish the maximum details in line with our recommendations. The Ombudsman encourages the Commission to publish this information regularly, and not just annually."
Ombudsman Press Release: "Revolving doors": Ombudsman will step up supervision of senior EU officials (link) and Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry based on complaints 2077/2012/TN and 1853/2013/TN against the European Commission (link)
EU: SYSTEMATIC SCHENGEN CHECKS & RISK PROFILING: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting: Riga: Joint Statement following the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 and 30 January (pdf):
"We consider that beyond the current efforts to make full use of existing Schengen framework, a targeted proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code is a necessary step to reinforce external borders by making it possible to proceed to systematic checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on the common risk indicators"
See: Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)
/European Parliament: STOA Study: Ten technologies which could change our lives: Potential impacts and policy implications (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Speech of Commissioner Jourova: Informal JHA council in Riga (30 January 2015, pdf) and DG Home Commissioner (migration, police cooperation. immigration and asylum, internal security and security research) Speech of Commissioner Avramopoulos: Discussions on fighting terrorism at the informal JHA council in Riga (pdf)
European Parliament: Press release: MEPs give their views on measures to tackle terrorism (pdf):"Anti-terrorism measures, including the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal, the role of EU police agency Europol, improving information exchange, preventing radicalisation and the upcoming European Agenda on Security, were addressed in a debate with home affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday. A resolution is to be put to a vote at the 9-12 February plenary session, ahead of the 12 February European Council dedicated to anti-terrorism measures."
EU: European Parliament: Draft Report: on the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2013, and the European Unions policy on the matter (dated 28.11.14, pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Is readmission linked to development? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"In recent years, the EU has been negotiating Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with a number of Asian countries. These agreements replace the previous development policy agreements which the EU had with the countries concerned. Compared to the previous agreements, the PCAs include go into greater
detail about the EU's cooperation with the countries concerned, including the addition of further topics for cooperation."
USA: Feds had a hand in PRISM, too (The Register, link) and see: Department of Justice report on FBI (2.5 MB, podf)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia 29-30 January: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf) including: "strengthening Europol's role in the monitoring and analysis of social media communication on the internet."
Europol to become the EU's "thought police"? See: Chief constable warns against drift towards police state Greater Manchesters Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the polices job to define what counts as extremism (Guardian, link): "The battle against extremism could lead to a drift towards a police state in which officers are turned into thought police, one of Britains most senior chief constables has warned."
See also:Counter Terrorism Coordinator: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf)
Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says (VICE, link):
"Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News. The island was used as a "transit location" for the US government's "nefarious activities" post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff.
There was no permanent detention facility such as the CIA facility in Poland, he told VICE News in a wide-ranging interview. His intelligence sources indicated to him that the island was however home to "a transit site where people were temporarily housed, let us say, and interrogated from time to time."
SWEDEN: Office plants computer chips under workers skin instead of ID cards (The Independent, link):
"A new Swedish office block is implanting the workers inside of it with computer chips under their skin, rather than issuing them with ID cards. The small radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are pushed under the skin in the hand, and can then be used to open doors or use the photocopier.
The chips have been offered to the 400 people that have signed up to the Epicenter hi-tech office block in Sweden.... Those behind the chips hope that they will eventually become common enough to be used to pay for sandwiches in the canteen, or even replace passwords and PINs to get into computers. They can also be programmed to hold contact information and communicate with smartphone apps."
EU: Police cooperation: another angle on the surveillance debate (Open Democracy, link): "Meet Bahar Kimyongür, a political activist arrested, detained, and released in three European countries on an unsubstantiated charge. His case shows citizens are disarmed when they are reduced to a name in a database. "
EU: Money-laundering: European Parliament press releases: Money laundering: company owner lists to fight tax crime and terrorist financing (pdf):
"The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest",
such as journalists, under a Parliament/Council deal endorsed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees on Tuesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to help to fight money laundering, tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved."
EU-USA: Semi-transprency on TTIP as Brussels hide behind Washington (Wobbing.eu, link): "Some more light is shed on negotiations for a EU-US trade and investment agreement. Good, but not good enough the EU-Ombudsman says."
EU: Ombudsman: How to make the Commission's expert groups more balanced and transparent (pdf): "The Ombudsman calls on the Commission to establish a legally binding framework for all expert groups, including a definition of what balanced representation in different groups should look like. She also recommends measures to reduce potential conflict of interest situations and to publish more information about the work of the groups. The Commission should reply to her proposals by 30 April 2015."
EU: JUSTICIA Network statement: Joint Statement on Legal Aid (pdf): "The future directive on the right to legal aid must be seen as inter-connected and aligned with the directive on access to a lawyer. Legal advice and representation is rendered meaningless unless the accused person has the means to privately engage a lawyer or is supported through legal aid."
CoE: CPT report: Report to the Bulgarian Government on the visit to Bulgaria carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf):
"The Committee notes that the vast majority of its long-standing recommendations, some of them dating back to the very first periodic visit to Bulgaria in 1995, remain unimplemented, for example as regards ill-treatment (both in the police and prison context), inter-prisoner violence, prison overcrowding, material conditions of detention in investigation detention facilities (IDF) and prisons, prison health care, staffing levels, as well as discipline, segregation and contact with the outside world. The CPT is of the view that urgent and effective action must now be taken to address all these concerns."
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Apologists for terrorism: dissent and the limits of free expression (link): "Freedom of thought, expression and inquiry is under renewed threat from governments which, paradoxically, claim to be fighting to preserve freedom of expression in Europe."
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR): President Spielmann presents the results for 2014 (Press release, pdf) and Annual Report 2014 (pdf) and see: Violations (link):
"By the end of 2014 the number of pending cases stood at 69,900, a decrease of 30% compared with the end of 2013 (100,000 applications pending). The working methods adopted since the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 have proved effective, in particular the single-judge system and the introduction of a new section with responsibility for filtering."
Mediterranean: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal: Papers from 'C4' defence and security conferences
The 'C4 Coloquim' is an "annual academic collaboration" that that discusses papers from the military studies academies of France (CHEM), Spain (CESEDEN), Italy (CASD) and Portugal (IDN) on the theme of "mutual trust and stability" in the Mediterannean, described as "the ultimate objective of the C4."
2012's theme was "The consequences of the Arab spring", with papers covering:
- Illegal immigration
- Defence cooperation with north African countries
- Assistance in state building
- Aid to economic and social development
EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise"
A leaked European Commission note (pdf) sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.
The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) voted against the proposed PNR Directive in April 2013, but EU officials and national politicians have repeatedly demanded agreement on the legislation.
These calls reached a crescendo following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, with politicians and officials claiming the attacks made clear the necessity of an EU PNR system. As Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, said to the LIBE committee yesterday (27 January) during a session on counter-terrorism: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."
EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme for 2015 (138 pages, pdf) and EUROPOL: Work Programme for 2015 (65 pages, pdf)
Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence: Europe Or Die (VICE News, link): "Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers. VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out."
See: Watch: :"The Human Cost of War in the Central African Republic" (link), Read: "Asylum Seekers in Australia Could Soon Be Headed to Cambodia" (link) and Read "Guards Break Barricades and Jail Dozens as Refugees Continue Mass Hunger Strike Against Australia" (link)
And see: Spanish official lauds Moroccos exemplary immigration policy (Morocco World News, link): ""Ybanez noted that Morocco has adopted a new policy which takes account of the new challenges of immigration regarding the respect of human rights of immigrants and refugees, and the need to promote regional cooperation to counter this phenomenon."
EU: Money-laundering and terrorism: Draft "compromise" between the Council and the European Parliament: Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (pdf)
Does not seem to take into account criticisms made by the Meijers Committee regarding the potential the text provides for discrimination: Note Meijers Committee on the proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (COM(2013) 45 final) (pdf)
SURVEILLANCE: Experts Unmask 'Regin' Trojan as NSA Tool (Spiegel Online): "Just weeks ago, SPIEGEL published the source code of an NSA malware program known internally as QWERTY. Now, experts have found that it is none other than the notorious trojan Regin, used in dozens of cyber attacks around the world."
CANADA: SURVEILLANCE: Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads (The Intercept, link):
"Canadas leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION..."
See also: LEVITATION documemt (pdf): "We see about 15 million FFU [Free file upload sites] events a day... What do we need? A list of suspect documents - A list of FFU URLs referring to these documents - A list of IPs downblaoding these URLs."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Press release): The EU as a beacon of respect for data protection and privacy (pdf):
"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said, "It is high time that we in Europe think about our response to rapid change and challenges, including threats to our security. That response will have ramifications for us and for the next generation that is growing up online today. We must not forget that we cannot have security without privacy so that we preserve the rights and freedoms that Europe holds dear. Our solutions for security must also treat individuals with dignity and respect - and not suspicion or surveillance. The goal for my mandate is for the EU to speak with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant." [emphasis in original]
EU: NIS: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - State of play and work ahead (LIMITE doc no: 5257-15, 145 pages, pdf): Multi-column document showing the Commission proposal, and the Council and European Parliament positions.
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation:
General Data Protection Regulation - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 5315-15, pdf) From German and French delegations
Pseudonymisation (LIMITE doc no: 14705-rev1-14, pdf) German delegation: "The German delegation proposes taking the idea of pseudonymisation of data another step further, in order to encourage the use of pseudonymisation and make it more attractive to controllers while further improving the protection of data subjects."
UK: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill: STOP THE CTS BILL (link) and Petition (link)
EUROPOL: Report on the annual accounts of the European Police Office for the financial year 2013 together with the Office's replies (16471-14, pdf) including on page 14:
"The EIS contained 245,142 (186,896 last year) records at the end of 2013 with an increasing proportion of person records (the most important and valuable variety of records from a law enforcement point of view)." [emphasis added]
EU: Holocaust denial and hate crime: Can the EU and its Member States do more? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The European Commission has chosen today, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to release its first report on Member States' implementation of the EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law....The Commission cannot be criticised for holding off on bringing infringement proceedings, since it cannot do so until the end of this year. After that point, this legislation will be another EU measure which the Commission ought to enforce vigorously by means of infringement proceedings if it is, as it claims, committed to ensuring the full implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice."
See also: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (pdf)
European Parliament Studies: The European Council and the Council: perspectives on new dynamics in EU governance (pdf): "The study identifies the institutional dynamics associated with the new intergovernmentalism and traces the consequences for institutional design and inter-institutional relations". and Looking ahead: pathways of future constitutional evolution of the EU (pdf)
EU Transparency Register: ALTER-EU: New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver (link) and Link to Report: "This new research, published by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), shows how the voluntary approach to EU lobby transparency regulation fails to provide citizens with an accurate picture of the lobby scene in Brussels. Some of the main groups that are actively lobbying the EU institutions have still not registered in the EU's Transparency Register. These include:
Financial lobbyists such as Standard & Poors, City of London Corporation and Credit Suisse;
Law firms such as Covington & Burling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer;
Major corporations such as Electrabel, Anglo American and Generral Motors."
European Parliament: Counter Terrorism: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Agenda for meeting on 27 January 2015 (pdf). See also Working Documents:
Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third-country nationals crossing the EU Member States' external borders (pdf): "The rapporteur believes that granting access to security forces would make the EES more useful and effective, which would, in turn, help to improve the management of the Schengen Area." See Commission: Proposal (link)
Registered Travellers Programme (pdf): ""The original Commission proposals provided that a set of 36 data items would be retained per traveller. The study suggests that, in fact, 26 data items would be sufficient for the RTP (and the EES). No access for law enforcement was foreseen in the original RTP proposal and the
study does not find reasons to propose it...
"Following the different opinions on the Smart Borders Package, namely from the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Meijers Committee, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, commenting on a wide range of issues including the proportionality and practical feasibility of the proposals, the compatibility of the Smart Borders Package with basic data protection principles has not been sufficiently demonstrated."
"Regrettably, the study failed to prove adequately why such systems should be built in the first place, and completely disregarded the Parliament's request to assess and address other options which might achieve the objectives set." See Commission: Proposal (link)
EU: Mass surveillance: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and endangers human rights (Press release, link) and Report (pdf): It calls for
"the collection of personal data without consent only following a court order granted on the basis of reasonable suspicion
credible, effective protection for whistle-blowers exposing unlawful surveillance
better judicial and parliamentary control of intelligence services
an intelligence codex defining mutual obligations that secret services could opt into
an inquiry into member states use of mass surveillance using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights"
See also: Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report - Europes top rights body says scale of NSA spying is stunning and suggests UK powers may be at odds with rights convention (Guardian, link)
USA: SURVEILLANCE: More Cowbells: new NSA leaks reveal extent of spying tactics (ROARMAG, link): "New leaks from the NSA archive, seen exclusively by ROAR, reveal that even the Internets most basic architecture - the DNS database - is compromised." and MoreCowBell Nouvelles révélations sur les pratiques de la NSAE (Le Monde fr, link)
And see: NSA documents (pdf)
MALTA-USA: MEP questions Malta's use of US-supplied border security technology
"German MEP Cornelia Ernst has taken issue over Malta's use of the PISCES border control software, which was donated to the country by the American government in 2004, claiming that Malta's use of the software could constitute a security risk for other EU member states."
"TIP/PISCES is currently operational in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen, and Zambia."
EU police agency Europol reportedly receives information from PISCES systems around the globe.
EU: Schengen Code: Proposal for on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (codification) (20.1.15, COM 8, pdf) and Annex (pdf)
Europol: UK Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee: Inquiry into Counter-Terrorism in Europe: Evidence from Rob Wainwright, Europol Director-General (13 January 2015, pdf)
UK: Last-minute attempt to insert surveillance clauses into anti-terror bill
"It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, you cannot get something enshrined in law and so you hide it amongst the reams of lawyer speak as an amendment. This is what appears to be happening with 17 pages of amendments that have just been put forward as amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill by four members of The House of Lords."
Why trade is not the place for the EU to negotiate privacy (Internet Policy Review, link): "As negotiations progress over the EU-US Free-Trade Agreement (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP), it is natural that somebody will propose addressing privacy differences through trade. But several features of free trade agreements make negotiating data protection in the trade regime a very bad idea for the EU." And see: Ralf Bendrath, 'TTIP and TiSA: big pressure to trade away privacy' (pdf), September 2014
UK: Eric Pickles illegally discriminating against Gypsies and Travellers, the High Court rules (The Independent, link): "Eric Pickles has been illegally discriminating against Gypsies and Travellers by using his ministerial powers to personally decide whether they should be allowed to settle on green belt land, the High Court has ruled." See: Judgment (British and Irish Legal Information Institute, link)
See also, from November 2014: Abandoning Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities the UK way (Institute of Race Relations, link)
EU: "A huge number of migrants": over 19,000 people apprehended during joint police operation Mos Maiorum
More than 19,000 people were apprehended during 'Mos Maiorum', the Europe-wide joint police and border guard operation that took place over two weeks in October 2014. More than a quarter of the people who encountered the authorities were Syrian, according to a leaked copy of the final report.
"Syrian nationals (5088 people) were the most detected irregular migrants, followed by Afghans (1466 people), K-Serbians [Kosovars] (1196), Eritreans (1116), Somalis (641) and Albanians (587)," says the report, authored by Italian officials. 11,046 people requested asylum "during or after their interception".
And see: Mos Maiorum: MEPs "deplore" Council's "buck passing of responsibilities": Two MEPs from the GUE/NGL group of MEPs have written an open letter to critcise the "buck passing of responsibilities" over Joint Operation Mos Maiorum, after being told by the Council of the EU that they should submit questions to the Italian government.
Politicians want inquiry into Barcelona police clashes with party goers (The Guardian, link): "Several opposition parties in Catalonia are pushing for an inquiry into a 2006 clash between police and party-goers, after Catalan public television aired a documentary alleging police torture and a cover-up of the facts in the aftermath of the event."
The "clashes" referred to include allegations of false arrest, false imprisonment, torture and racism, and ultimately the suicide of one of those imprisoned. The documentary is available to view online: English subtitles, Spanish subtitles (links to YouTube). See also: 'Ciutat morta' desata una ola de indignación y la petición de la reapertura del 'caso 4F' (El Periodico, link) and Las afectadas del 4F piden la reapertura del caso al considerar que nunca se investigó (Diagonal, link)
EU: European Public Prosecutor's Office: latest Council and Parliament documents
Includes the European Parliament LIBE Committee's draft interim report and Council documents from December and November on the state of play, outstanding issues and orientation debate.
UK: LONDON: Are You a Domestic Extremist? (Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, link): "Tuesday 27th January 2015 6.30pm - 8pm: Speakers: Jess Hurd, photojournalist; Jason Parkinson, videojournalist; and Shamik Dutta, solicitor for the six journalists challenging the Met's "domestic extremist" database." See also:
- UK NUJ members under police surveillance mount collective legal challenge (NUJ, link)
- UK: February 5: Domestic Extremist Awareness Day (Netpol Facebook, link)
- UK: Files on politicians, journalists and peace protestors held by police in "domestic extremist" database (Statewatch News Online, November 2013)
UK: Policing protest what we can expect in 2015 (Netpol, link): "Prophecy is always risky, but looking back at the policing of protest over the last few years offers some hints about what we can expect in the coming year. Here are seven educated guesses from Netpol for 2015: 2015 The UKs Year of the Protest?... The increasing privatisation of protest policing... But no cuts in the domestic extremism intelligence gatherers... Increased targeting of anti-fracking campaigners... A continuing use of mass arrests... The new social media battle ground... Unlocking the secret files police hold on protesters"
European Parliament: NGOs, media freedom and EU role at the heart of Hungary human rights debate (press release, link)
" The recent clampdown on an NGO, media freedom and the potential for the EU to monitor the fundamental rights situation in member states were among the main issues raised at a public hearing on human rights in Hungary. The hearing took place on 22 January in the Parliament's justice committee with representatives of NGOs, international organisations and the Hungarian government in attendance."
And see: Hungary Wants Strict EU Policy on Immigration (ABC News, link)
EU wants internet firms to hand over encryption keys (euobserver, link): "A top EU official wants internet and telecommunication companies to hand over encryption keys to police and spy agencies as part of a wider crackdown on terrorism. The EUs counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove, in a document leaked by London-based civil liberties group Statewatch, says the European Commission should come up with rules that require the firms to help national governments snoop on possible suspects."
European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): 27 January 2015: Terrorist financing: Agenda (pdf), Proposal for a Regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds (pdf) and Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (91 pages, pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The US Senate reveals the truth on renditions and torture, now its Europes turn (pdf) by Armando Spataro is the Prosecutor of the Republic in Turin, an expert in internal and international terrorism:
"There is a need for a decisive political turn to holistically direct all the governments antiterrorist activity, none of which may claim leadership or impose modes of action that stray from the bounds of the law and respect for peoples fundamental freedoms upon its allies."
EU: Council of the European Union: Internet content: new powers to block to be given to service providers: Examination of the Presidency compromise text on net neutrality (EU doc 5439-14, pdf)
"With respect to the provision of internet access services, the draft stipulates equal treatment of all traffic. However, reasonable traffic management measures are allowed, and the draft sets out the characteristics of such measures. The list of exceptional situations where internet access service providers can implement measures which block or discriminate has been limited to four."
And note the comment in: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf): The power of service providers in "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions...often go further than national legislation.."
EU: Mass confiscation of mobile phones by police after spontaneous anti-racist demonstration
"On Thursday 16 January around 600 people in Leipzig took part in a spontaneous demonstration against racism focused on the murder of Khaled Idris Bahray, a 20-year-old Ertirean refugee who was found stabbed to death two days earlier in Dresden, the capital of the federal state Saxony....
Protesters at the demonstration in Leipzig, which is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Dresden, allegedly pelted police with stones. According the Saxony police the group smashed shop windows and display cases as well. A large number of the protesters escaped when the police attempted to close in. Local journal MOPO24 reported that about 150 protesters had been surrounded. They were searched by the police, stripped of their jackets and photographed. According to MOPO24 all 150 people also had their mobile phones confiscated."
EU: Council of the European Union: Lot of detailed proposals from EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator for: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf), includes "closer alignment of Europol and INTCEN, to make a genuine EU CT threat assessment centre", on Europol's European Information System " less than 2% of current records are terrorism related" , Europol should have a "resident CT task force...acting as a fusion centre for law enforcement and intelligence service data", "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions. These often go further than national legislation.."
See: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator seeks mandatory disclosure of encryption keys by EU internet companies & telcos (link)
EU: Police chiefs want non-EU countries to "prevent irregular migration from happening"
Europol and police forces from EU Member States and beyond have called for "more funds [for] enhanced border control, preventive measures in countries of origin, and joint investigative and analysis teams" to deal with irregular migration, according to a leaked Europol report summarising the proceedings of the 2014 European Police Chiefs Convention. The Convention took place at the end of September 2014, and the report puts particular emphasis on the need for 'buffer states' that take on border control roles for the EU:
"Above all, pre-entry measures such as effective bilateral agreements are key to reducing illegal/irregular migration because once third-country nationals are in an irregular situation in the EU, it becomes more difficult and costly to locate them and address the irregularity. Therefore, it is a policy priority to invest in the country of origin to prevent the irregular migration from happening."
: E U to increase intelligence sharing with Arab states (euobserver, link): "The EU wants to step up security and intelligence co-operation with neighbouring countries to counter terrorist threats.The plan is part of a broader effort discussed on Monday (19 January) by EU foreign ministers to reduce the risk of militant attacks by getting national intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share data and to communicate better with each other and their counterparts in Turkey, north Africa, and Asia." and see:
See also: Press release: High Representative after Foreign Affairs Council (pdf) and background on the role of: EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (Wikipedia, link) CFSP does not come under EU competence. The Council makes its own decisions - which are not subject to shared decision making power with the EU Parliament. In the Council decisions require unanimity.
UK: JOURNALISTS UNDER SURVEILLANCE: Alan Rusbridger: Home Office must not remove right to protect sources - In a speech to members of the defence and intelligence community, the Guardian editor expressed concern over threats to privacy and freedom of speech (Guardian, link):
"Journalism will be changed forever if the Home Office goes ahead with a proposal to remove the right to protect anonymous sources, the Guardians editor, Alan Rusbridger, warned in a speech on Monday. He also expressed concern that the right to confidentiality that lawyers, doctors, MPs, priests and others in the church are supposed to enjoy is also under threat. His comments came the day before the deadline for responses to the Home Office consultation paper on extending police powers.
Journalism, which relies on unauthorised sources for much that is good and valuable, would be changed forever in this country, Rusbridger said. Thats not something to sneak in in a few paragraphs of an obscure Home Office consultation document."
See also: Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf) which says:
"3.73 However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist
3.74 Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]
MASS SURVEILLANCE IS HERE TO STAY, LIKE IT OR LUMP IT: Ex-MI6 chief calls for new compact between internet firms and spy agencies - Sir John Sawers says Snowden revelations shattered informal relationship but cooperation is necessary to prevent attacks (Guardian, link) He says:
"There is a dilemma because the public, politicians and technology companies, to some extent, want us to be able to monitor the activities of terrorists and evil-doers but dont want their electronic activities to be open to such monitoring. The benefit of the debate is that people now understand that is not possible, he said. There has to be some form of ability to cover communications that are made through modern technology.
GCHQ intercepted emails of journalists from top international media (Guardian, link):
Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
Agency includes investigative journalists on threat list
Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media
"GCHQs bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UKs largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agencys intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency."
FRANCE: Surveillance of SMS, phones and Internet
The French Military Programming Law, including its very controversial article on telecommunications surveillance (SMS, phone conversations, Internet), entered into force on 1 January 2015. The law was adopted and published in the Official Journal on 19 December 2013, despite the strong criticism by civil liberties and digitial rights organisations, was left unamended in the legislation. A year later, the French government has given the green light to the implementation of this law through a decree on 24 December 2014.
EU: Drones for maritime rescue only, not to prevent migration (Pressemitteilungen von Andrej Hunko, link): "31 million euros is the cost of new research into the use of drones in the Mediterranean to ward off unwanted migration. The EU Commission is contributing around two-thirds of this. Instead of making risky crossings even more difficult for refugees, the money could be used to simplify entry procedures....., said Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko, in reaction to the European Commissions two replies to a question on this subject.
Hunko had enquired about EU projects SUNNY, CLOSEYE and AEROCEPTOR. These involve drone tests in three regions of the Mediterranean Sea deemed hot spots for refugee crossings, with AEROCEPTOR using aerial police weaponry for the first time."
.See Hunko Press Release (pdf) and European Commission answers: Project SUNNY (link) and Projects Closeye, DeSIRE and Aeroceptor (link)
DENMARK: EU-referendum will leave asylum opt-out untouched
Denmark will hold a referendum on its relations to EU justice and home affairs no later than March 2016, regardless who wins an upcoming election to be held at the latest in September next year, five political parties in the Parliament have agreed. The purpose is to change the present opt-out position to an opt-in like UK and Ireland.
USA-NSA: The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle (Spiegel Online, link): "The NSA's mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars -- a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.... Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it's operated by the NSA's digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.
Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to "remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware." Using a program called Passionatepolka, for example, they may be asked to "remotely brick network cards." With programs like Berserkr they would implant "persistent backdoors" and "parasitic drivers..."
The rule of law on the Internet and in the wider digital world (ASFJ, link) by D. Korff: "This issue paper addresses a pressing question: how can we ensure that the rule of law is established and maintained on the Internet and in the wider digital world?"
UK: Sweeping review from the 1970s of Anti-racist witchcraft (Institute of Race Relations News Service, link): "The question of loyalty to British traditions was already under attack thirty years ago in relation to the work of the Institute of Race Relations.
As Britain reels from the fallout from the the Paris killings, the question of British values - who belongs to the nation and how that should be expressed have been placed centre-stage.Those who now greet the Roger Scrutons, Norman Tebbits, Leo McKinstrys and Richard Littlejohns as the leaders of a culture war over British identity should be aware that this is history repeating itself both times as farce."
CIA IN EU: New evidence shows CIA held prisoners in Lithuania (Reprieve, link): "New analysis and previously unpublished documents released by legal charity Reprieve show that the CIA held prisoners in Lithuania in 2005 and 2006, contrary to official denials." See: Reprieve Briefing (pdf) and Dossier (pdf) See Statewatch Observatory on: Rendition
UK: Farewell Magna Carta: the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (IRR News Service, link):"The Bill currently going through Parliament, with virtually no opposition, impinges on basic freedoms and seems calculated to entrench the treatment of British Muslims as non-citizens.", see also CAGE appeal (link)
GERMANY: KHALED IDRIS BAHRAY Another Brick in the Wall of Murdered Asylum Seekers in EU-Germany (Voice, link): !Although the post-mortem examination revealed a number of vicious knife stabs to his neck and chest, the physician and the police at the crime scene officially denied any possible involvement of so called third parties. Instead they assumed the fatal injury to be an open fracture of the collarbone which was said to have been caused by downfall or suicide or else sickness bleeding tendency. Crime scene investigations were thereby delayed for more than 30 hours."
TO ENCRYPT or NOT: Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data - Newly uncovered Snowden document contrasts with British PMs vow to crack down on encrypted messaging after Paris attacks (Guardian, link):"the document from the US National Intelligence Council, which reports directly to the US director of national intelligence, made clear that encryption was the best defence for computer users to protect private data."
On the other hand: European Commission consultation on "mobile health" (pdf) shows most people want health data to be encrypted:
"Data protection: A strong majority of respondents were in favour of strong privacy and security principles in place in order to build users' trust. The most popular security safeguards put forward were data encryption and authentication mechanisms, while responses acknowledged that health data are sensitive and should be encrypted both in transit and at rest".
And: David Cameron in 'cloud cuckoo land' over encrypted messaging apps ban - The prime ministers pledge to give security services access to encrypted communications is crazy, experts say (Guardian, link)
EU: Network and information security (NIS): Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - Preparations for the 1st informal exploratory trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 13848-14,pdf) Trilogue multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council of the European Union positions.
EU: European Parliament: Is synchronized swimming the right approach for the EP (and for the Council)? (ASFJ, link):
"Yesterday there was no political majority in the European Parliament to vote on the Juncker Commission 2015 Programme. Quite shocked Votewatch describe this non event as follows: As this vote has just shown, the European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, will have a hard time building majorities in the European Parliament: the EU legislative was unable to reach a common position with regard to the plans put forward by the Executive for 2015. In a dramatic display of power play, the political groups voted down each others proposals one by one."
EU: Council of the European Union: Traffic data exchange & EU abiding by Fundamental Rights
Exchange of data on traffic offences: Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 16848-14, pdf). This would cover the following offences under Article 2: Scope:
This Directive shall apply to the following road safety related traffic offences:
(b) non-use of a seat-belt;
(c) failing to stop at a red traffic light;
(e) driving under the influence of drugs;
(f) failing to wear a safety helmet;
(g) use of a forbidden lane;
(h) illegally using a mobile telephone or any other communication devices while driving.
Fundamental Rights: Guidelines on methodological steps to be taken to check fundamental rights compatibility at the Council's preparatory bodies (Doc no: 16957-14, pdf). See proposed changes and additions by the Council, for example: "Subject to the principle of proportionality, are the limitations necessary? is it limited to what is strictly necessary [bold text has been deleted]
EU: Council of the European Union: HLWG Asylum & Migration, Foreign fighters and Schengen Code: random checks
The future of the High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) - Contribution to the evaluation by COREPER (LIMITE doc no:16926-14, pdf) Created back in 1998 its remits has continually been renewed and is allowed to hold "ad hoc" meetings".
Report on measures with regard to foreign fighters (EU doc no: 16915-14, pdf): Letter of the Italian Presidency to the President of the European Council
Foreign Fighters: Application of the Schengen Border Code Follow-up (LIMITE doc no: 16880-14, pdf):
"Non-systematic checks on persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law can be carried out on the basis of risk assessment or on a random basis....the Commission recommends to the Member States to: Move towards an intensified consultation of the relevant databases (notably the documents
section of SIS and Interpol's Lost and Stolen Document database), based, where considered necessary, on a risk assessment. [and] Instruct their border guards, in case such consultation reveals a SIS alert on the need to seize a document, to do so immediately and to contact the SIRENE Bureau for further information without any delay." [emphasis added]
EU: Council of the European Union: OAPs organised crime, Internal-external interface and Harmonising public documents
Operational Action Plans 2015 related to the EU's priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime between 2014 and 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 15929-rev2-14,pdf) including list of Member State "Drivers"
Political Security Committee: COSI: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security: Outcomes (LIMITE, 16372-14, pdf): Joint letter from COSI & PSC Chairs. Internal-external interface.
"Public documents" Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 - Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 17105-14, pdf) With Footnotes on each page.
UK-USA: Transatlantic discussions on "homeland security" shrouded in secrecy
In April 2003 the governments of the UK and the US set up a high-level Joint Contact Group to deal with "homeland security" issues such as biometric technology, information-sharing, counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation. Documents recently released by the UK Home Office shed some light on the current interests of the group, but the majority of the information requested by Statewatch has been withheld in the name of "national security".
The work of the US-UK Joint Contact Group (JCG) appears to be largely undertaken by UK officials from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT, part of the Home Office), and US officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The limited information released by the OSCT shows that during its two meetings in 2014 the Joint Contact Group (JCG) focused on "foreign fighters", Syrian refugees, exit checks, AVSEC (presumably aviation security) and the UK's PREVENT programme.
GERMANY: Police investigate death of Eritrean man in Dresden - Murder investigation launched after mans body found in German city where there have been anti-immigrant Pegida marches (Guardian, link):
""Dresden police have launched a murder investigation following the death of an Eritrean man whose blood-soaked body was found outside his home in the east German city. (...) "Police initially said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, saying on Tuesday: 'Up to now there are no indications of foul play.'
"But after a flurry of activity on social network sites and inquiries by a local journalist from the newspaper MOPO24 as well as from members of the 35,000-strong Eritrean community in Germany as to how it could be ruled out so quickly that the man had been the victim of assault, police said a murder investigation had been launched."
See Letter from NGO Human Rights Concern Eritrea to Heiko Maas, Germany's Justice Minister (pdf)
PAGE Festival 2014: Surveillance,Snowden and the Emerging EU State (video link) Leeds Beckett University: Lecture by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director
EU: Detailed response of German government to series of Questions from Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko and others and the Left Party parliamentary group on: Measures to delete Internet content and responding with counter-propaganda (8 pages, pdf) Related to EU G6 meeting of Interior Ministers and "Prior to their October meeting, the ministers of the interior of all EU Member States met for an informal dinner with the Internet companies Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Facebook; the EU Commission was also invited."
EU funding for network developing surveillance, intelligence-gathering and remote vehicle stopping tools
The European Commission is to give significant financial backing to a European police technology network that is currently looking at ways to improve "best practices" across the EU in automatic number plate recognition, intelligence-gathering, video surveillance systems, and remote vehicle stopping.
A spokesperson for the Commission's Directorate-General for Home Affairs has confirmed to Statewatch that the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) will receive 500,000 for its work in 2015, the same amount foreseen in an ENLETS document from November 2014 outlining the network's progress "and the need to improve the use of its potential to full extent."
EU: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) Study: Threat Landscape and Good Practice Guide for Internet Infrastructure (pdf):
"this study details a list of good practices that aim at securing an Internet infrastructure asset from Important Specific Threats. A gap analysis identifies that some assets remain not covered by current good practices: human resources (administrators and operators) for Routing, DNS and Denial of Service, as well as System Configuration and Essential Addressing Protocols for Denial of Service."
EU: European Parliament STOA Study: Mass Surveillance Part 1 - Risks and opportunities raised by the current generation of network services and applications (pdf) and Mass Surveillance Part 2 Technology foresight, options for longer term security and privacy improvements (3.5 MB, pdf)
UK: Surveillance state: Bureau files ECHR case challenging UK government over surveillance of journalists communications (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, l,ink):
"The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is asking a European court to rule on whether UK legislation properly protects journalists sources and communications from government scrutiny and mass surveillance. The Bureaus application was filed with the European Court of Human Rights on Friday. If the court rules in favour of the application it will force the UK government to review regulation around the mass collection of communications data.
UK: Freedom of expression anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes - Campaigners fear draft code of Ripa legislation in UK will allow police sweeping powers to access phone and email records of journalists, lawyers and doctors (Guardian, link): "Critics of Mays safeguards fear that the police will still have sweeping powers allowing them to authorise themselves to access the phone and email records of professionals such as journalists, lawyers, doctors, MPs and priests who handle privileged, confidential information." See: Save Our Sources Petition (Press Gazettee, link)
And see: Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf)
Also: MI6 forced to show how it may snoop on privileged lawyer-client exchanges - Documents passed to civil liberties group Reprieve reveal intelligence agencys attempt to show it stays within the law (Guardian, link): "Commenting on the latest document releases, Cori Crider, a lawyer who represents Belhaj, said: MI6s brand-new eavesdropping policy still has serious problems it still envisages that MI6 will snoop on private legal calls even in cases where it is being sued for torture."
EU-USA: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1148/2013/TN against the European Police Office (Europol) (pdf) presented to the LIBE Committee on 8-9 January 2015:
"The case concerned Europol's refusal to give public access to a document on the implementation of the EU -US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement. in order to ascertain whether Europol correctly applied the relevant rules on access to its documents, the Ombudsman needed to see the document concerned. However, Europol claimed it was unable to allow the Ombudsman to inspect the document, since to do so required the consent of the US authorities and the US authorities had refused to give consent.
According to the "technical modalities" agreed between the EU and the US for implementing the TFTP Agreement, the US has a right of veto on the sharing by Europol with third parties of any information provided by the US. The US made use of this veto in this instance and refused consent. The Ombudsman met with the US ambassador to the EU but the US maintained the veto. Accordingly, although Europol cooperated fully with the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman was unable to inspect the document. The Ombudsman therefore had no alternative but to close her inquiry.
However, she asked the European Parliament to consider whether it is acceptable that an agreement with a foreign government should prevent the Ombudsman from doing her job. She pointed out, in particular, that the provisions of the "technical modalities", unlike the TFTP Agreement itself, had never been sent to the Council or to Parliament for their approval."
See Commission response backing the USA refusal of access (pdf) and and Europol chief takes instructions on document access from Americans (euobserver, link)
EU: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA): Privacy and Data Protection by Design from policy to engineering (pdf):
"This report contributes to bridging the gap between the legal framework and the available technolog-ical implementation measures by providing an inventory of existing approaches, privacy design strat-egies, and technical building blocks of various degrees of maturity from research and development. Starting from the privacy principles of the legislation, important elements are presented as a first step towards a design process for privacy-friendly systems and services."
UK: We have until 20 January to Save Our Sources and stop the police licence to view journalists' phone records (Press Gazette, link) See:
Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf): "3.73 However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist
3.74 Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]
and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act Consultation: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data and Retention of Communications Data Codes of Practice (6 pages, pdf) and Retention of Communications Data Code of Practice (35 pages, pdf)
FBI has its fingers deep in NSA surveillance pie, declassified report shows (The Register, link): "The FBI had, and most likely still has, a much closer involvement with the NSAs mass surveillance programs than previously thought with access to raw foreign intelligence and data on Americans gleaned from the PRISM program. The 231-page report, from the Department of Justices Inspector General, was obtained albeit in a heavily redacted form after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times, a request made possible using key details leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden."
See Document: FBI and Section 702 of FISA (284 pages, pdf))
UK: Snooping state debate: No, Prime Minister (Paul Bernal blog, link) A worrying thought when new powers are on the agenda: "The latest story in the Guardian about surveillance reveals something that is deeply disturbing. It seems that David Camerons enthusiasm for mass surveillance comes from watching TV dramas. As quoted in the Guardian." and see:Does Cameron have any response to terror which doesn't involve the snoopers' charter? (Politics.co.uk, link). Also: David Cameron pledges anti-terror law for internet after Paris attacks (Guardian, link): "In a speech to the Journalists Charity at the Irish embassy on Monday night, the deputy prime minister said: The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.""
See also: What new snooping powers do PM and MI5 want and what are the concerns? (Guardian, link)
UK: Feltham young offenders home rife with gang violence (Guardian, link): "Report by prison inspectors finds scores of street affiliations means officers are constantly trying to keep violent boys apart ." See: Report on an announced inspection of HMYOI Feltham (children and young people) (link) and Report on an announced inspection of HMP/YOI Feltham (Feltham B young adults) (link)
No plan for EU spy agency after Paris attacks (euobserver, link): "Asked if the commission intends to put forward a proposal on turning a little known intelligence unit inside the EU's foreign affairs branch into an intelligence agency, commission spokesperson Natasha Bertuad said No. The commission instead wants to enhance data-sharing at the EU level by making sure its EU intelligence analysis centre (IntCen) works better with other EU agencies like Europol, the EU's joint police body."
Where monoculturalism leads (IRR News Service, link): "As France grieves for those whose lives have been so brutally taken, and more emergency and counter-radicalisation measures are discussed, the future for a peaceful Europe rests on how our leaders diagnose the problems that we collectively face....
Nor is satire free from some of the most harmful ideologies of our times. Cartoonists serve a similar function in society to court jesters, a necessary antidote to hypocrisy, a way of laughing at ourselves. The poor massacred cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were indeed jesters, but jesters tragically blind to the Islamophobic current they served."
EU: Council of the European Union: From: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator To: Delegations Subject: Report on the implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy (LIMITE doc no: 13971-14, 91 pages.pdf): "The European Council requested regular reporting on ongoing activities in the field of combating terrorism in the EU by Member States and supporting EU institutions and the implementation of the EU Action Plan on combating terrorism. This is the update of the last report, issued at the end of 2012."
See also: Report on the implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy (Doc no 15799-add1-rev1-14, pdf): "Delegations will find enclosed an updated version of the implementation of the legislative instruments listed in the Declaration on terrorism of the European Council of 25 March 2004, and subsequent major instruments identified by the United Nations". EU State-by-state adoption of measures.
EU: EDPS: A message from Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor: Big Data, Big Data Protection (pdf)
UK: Joint Human Rights Committee report: Legislative Scrutiny: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (pdf): The Committee expresses doubt as to whether UK data retention powers meet the standards of the Court of European Justice judgment in the Digital Rights case which said mass surveillance was disproportionate. See: Justice 2nd Reading Briefing (link) and Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill threatens access to courts and independence from government (Law Society, link)
And: Anti-terror bill a threat to academic freedom, MPs tell Theresa May (Guardian, link), MPs bridle at plans to make universities monitor 'extremism' (The Independent, link), Chief constable warns against drift towards police state - Greater Manchesters Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the polices job to define what counts as extremism (Guardian, link) and Passport plans spark human rights fears (Financial Times, link)
UK: Police asked to investigate G4S over Guantanamo role (Reprieve, link and see: Activists report security company G4S to police over its 'illegal' work at Guantanamo Bay (The Independent, link)
FRANCE: This map shows every attack on French Muslims since Charlie Hebdo (VOX, link): "Since the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the country's Muslim community, despite universally and repeatedly condemning the attack, has come under a wave of misguided "reprisal" attacks" and see: A Snapshot of Europe Based Anti-Muslim Prejudice Into the New Year (Tell Mama, link)
Paris, 11 January 2015: Joint statement by Ministers of the Interior (pdf) including "screening of travel movements by European nationals" crossing the external borders, "broader consultation" of the SIS and EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) "including intra-EU PNR" (travel within the EU).
See also: David Cameron: snoopers charter will re-appear after Tory election win (Guardian, link) and: Keeping Its Composure: Germany Seeks Calm after French Attack (Spiegel Online, link): "The German government is trying to address the French terror attacks with a sense of calm, with no plans for new terror laws. However, fears are growing that the massacre will boost a disturbing anti-Muslim current in the country.."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: EU General Data Protection Regulation State of play and 10 main issues (pdf) Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht, Greens/EFA: Both Parliament and Council aim for the opening of trilogue negotiations about the final version of the law before the summer break in 2015, and the conclusion of the legislative work by the end of 2015. The Regulation will then be applied in every EU Member State after two years of transition period that allows for everybody to adapt to the new rules and including:
"Transfer of data to third countries: The Parliament insists that companies are not allowed to hand over data from Europe directly to third countries´ authorities. This can only occur under a mutual legal assistance treaty or similar instrument based on European law. This shield against foreign access to European data was already contained in a first draft of the Commission's proposal, but deleted after intensive lobbying of the American government. It was put back by the Parliament after the Snowden revelations. Member States have not incorporated this approach in their version of the chapter on international transfers, but seemingly are open to it."
EU pushing for new anti-terror powers to monitor air travel (Daily Telegraph, link):
" Statewatch, a European civil liberties watchdog, accused the EU of a response as panicked as it is predictable with a shopping list of unworkable, legally questionable measures that will do nothing to prevent the kind of appalling attack witnessed this week.
On the basis of what is now known about the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the need to review existing security arrangements far outweighs the need for any new legislation, said Ben Hayes, a specialist in EU security policy for Statewatch."
Does the EU need more anti-terrorist legislation? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"The Paris attacks were directed at free speech: the foundation of liberal democracy. Of course efforts should be stepped up to prevent such attacks from happening again; but existing laws allow for targeted intelligence gathering and sharing already, The Commissions immediate response reeks of panic. And the direct attack on fundamental democratic principles this week in Paris is precisely the wrong context to consider that new legislation curtailing other fundamental freedoms."
After Charlie Hebdo attack, do spy agencies need more powers? And if it is the case that more surveillance powers are required, what should Whitehall demand in terms of extra oversight (Guardian, link): "The tragic terrorist events in Paris should not be used as an excuse for an extension of the already extensive surveillance powers enjoyed by intelligence agencies."
See also: Terrorism, technology and accountability: Address by the Director General of the Security Service, Andrew Parker, to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) at Thames House, 8 January 2015 (MI5, link)
And Paris damages the case for mass surveillance (Paul Bernal blog, link): "The fundamental problem is that terrorism, by its very nature, is hard to deal with. Thats something we have to face up to and not try to look for silver bullets. No amount of technology, no level of surveillance, will solve that fundamental problem. We shouldnt pretend that it can."
And: The response to the Charlie Hebdo murders is not more untargeted surveillance (Open Rights Group, link)
Italian Reaper Drones To Be Used for Crowd Monitoring (Defense News, link): "As their deployment to Afghanistan comes to an end, unarmed Italian Reaper UAVs are to be used to monitor soccer games and demonstrations in Italys cities, following a deal struck between the Italian Air Force and the countrys police forces."
EU ACCOUNTABILITY GAP: European Parliament: Joint Police Operation "Mos Maiorum" (13-26 October 2014): During this JPO the Commission, the Council and Frontex denied any part in planning it - its was all the responsibility of the Italian Council Presidency (and presumably the Greek Council Presidency which took the decision) plus all the EU Member States who took part.
See: Council put out censored, "partially accessible", version of the operation document deleting the date and all the details of Joint Police Operation (JO): Censored text (pdf) and see: Full-text (pdf)
MEPs tried to find out more: Question to the Council: Subject: Planned joint police operation Mos Maiorum' (EP, link) from: Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL) , Malin Björk (GUE/NGL) , Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL) , Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL) and Reply by the Council (EP link) and see Question: Mos Maiorum joint operation and role played by Frontex: from Silvia Costa (S&D) , Kashetu Kyenge (S&D) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Patrizia Toia (S&D) and the Reply by the Council (link) which simply refers to the same answer as that given to the first question. Thus the replies by the Council are:
"The attention of the Honourable Members is drawn to the fact that the joint police operation Mos Maiorum is being conducted under the responsibility of the Italian State, with the support of those Member States which have decided to participate. The Council as an institution has therefore not taken any decision in its setting up, nor is it in a position to comment on the way it is managed.
The competent courts, along with the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, are responsible for overseeing Member States' application of Union law...."
Background: Statewatch Summary of coverage: (5.11.14): Media and Web coverage: no 7 (pdf) (24.10.14): Media and Web coverage no 6 (pdf), (20.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 5 (pdf), (17.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 4 (pdf), (15.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 3 (pdf), 13.10.14: : Media and Web coverage: no 2 (pdf) and 13.10.14:same day Web-media coverage: no 1 (pdf) and see: "Mos Maiorum": Images and photos of protests (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Legal Services Opinion: CJEU's ruling on the Data Retention Directive (pdf)
See also: Executive Summary: LIBE Questions relating to the judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2014 in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and others Directive 2006/24/EC on data retention Consequences of the judgment (link)
EU: European Parliament Study: Network Neutrality Revisited: Challenges and Responses in the EU and in the US (pdf):
"This analytical study provides background on the debate over network neutrality, including (1) its technological, economic, and public policy aspects, and (2) the implications for European public policy going forward, including the position of the European Parliament on the Telecoms Single Market Regulation that was adopted in the first reading of the European Parliament in April 2014. It includes a comparison between the US, where these issues continue to be debated intensely, and the EU."
EU: Council of the European Union: PRUM exchange of DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration: 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 (pdf) and Conclusions of the 10th Annual meeting of the National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams (25 - 26 June 2014, the Hague) (pdf)
USA-DRONES: Border Patrol Hiding Costs of Ineffective Drone Program (The District Sentinel, link) and see: US Customs and Border Protection's Unmanned Aircraft System Program Does Not Achieve Intended Results or Recognize All Costs of Operations (Office of Inspector General, link)
EU seeks new anti-terror measures after Paris attack (Yahoo News, link): ""Brussels officials said a key aim is to push through a scheme to
share data on all airline passengers despite opposition from some of the EU's 28 member states and the European Parliament."
See also: Key European terrorism legislation may be revised (Statewatch), Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and "Foreign fighters" phenomenon spurs dozens of new counter-terrorism policies (Statewatch database)
EU: European Parliament: Debate: refusal to disclose details of implementation US-EU anti-terror deal (link):
"The EU and the US are able to share information about bank transfers in order to track suspected terrorists thanks to the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement, also known as the Swift agreement. However, as Europol refuses to give public access to an annual audit report on it, there are concerns about whether there is enough democratic oversight of the deal's implementation. The EP's civil liberties committee will discuss it with European ombudsman Emily O'Reilly on Thursday."
And: US gag order on EU police agency stirs controversy (euobserver, link): "he EUs ombudsman, Emily OReilly, told MEPs in the civil liberties committee the situation amounts to giving the US a veto over the democratic oversight of EU institutions. It may well be the case that it contains sensitive data from the US and so should not be released - but we have no way of knowing without sight of the report, she said. It should be pointed out that this is a document from an EU institution."
EU: Council of the European Union: Report and Guide (p24): Report on the exercise of the rights of the data subject in the SIS and Guide for exercising the right of access in the SIS (110 pages, link)
EU: European Parliament: Working documents: Registered Traveller Programme (pdf) and the use of the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) (pdf)
Ferguson Solidarity Tour UK: January 2015 (link): "The Reverend Osagyefo Sekou a leading organiser of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to demand justice for Michael Brown will be visiting the UK in January for a solidarity tour. He will speak alongside Carole Duggan, Marcia Rigg, Janet Alder and other campaigners and activists around the issue of deaths in custody.."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: The EU data protection regulation after 3 years of negotiation (Inside Privacy, link) Good summary although observes that: "This trilogue will not be easy. The Parliament decided early on a position which does not take into account many of the compromises arrived at in the Council after long debates". It is in the nature of secret trilogue meetings between the Council and the European Parliament (the EU legislature) that the parliament does not have to enter negotiations until the Council has adopted its final position - which it has yet to do.
IXMKANDER (Humanity Defense and Brotherhood Association): REPORT OF REFUGEES' DEATH CASES on Boat Disasters Befallen by Immigrants and Refugees (pdf): "Refugees flock to Europe and to the Continent of America (United States of America and Canada) primarily from the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia because of the warfare and violation of human rights by the hand of governments in power in these countries...
This report incorporates results of accidents emerging from deliberate sinking or ordinary sinking during illegal human trafficking, as well as the refugees' death cases. Loss, death and injury cases reported in January and December 2014 are examined in this report."
EU: Council of the European Union: EnviCrimeNet - Intelligence Project on Environmental Crime - Preliminary Report on Environmental Crime in Europe (LIMITE doc no: 16438-14, pdf): "Towards the end of 2013 the EUs Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) tasked the informal Environmental Crime Network (EnviCrimeNet) to report about their activities and to provide a scan in relation to environmental crime in the EU by the end of 2014."
UK: Conference: Police corruption, spying, racism and accountability (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): 6-7 February 2015: Conway Hall: "The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group are holding a unique two-day conference seeking common ground, between families, community workers, journalists, academics, lawyers and affected communities, to understand and challenge the problem of police corruption, spying and racism."
EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] (LIMITE doc no: 16343-14, 158 pages, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "At its meeting held on 2 December 2014, the JHA Counsellors had an exchange of views on the Presidency compromise suggestions included in document 15800/14. The outcome of this exchange of views is reflected in the text in Annex. " With 177 Footnotes including Member State positions.
EU: Council of the European Union: Schengen cooperation with third countries, Migratory flows & Med Task Force and Nuclear transport
Third countries: Local Schengen cooperation between Member States' consulates (Article 48(5), first subparagraph, of the Visa Code) - Compilation of summary reports covering the period 2013-2014 (209 pages, pdf)
Managing migratory flows: follow-up to Council conclusions "Taking action to better manage migratory flows" of 10 October 2014 - Implementation of the actions under the Task Force Mediterranean and the Justice and Home Affairs Council conclusions of October (LIMITE doc no: 16222-14, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) - Action Plan (19 December 2014, pdf) and European Union Maritime Security Strategy (adopted 24 June 2014, (pdf) The former includes reference to search and rescue at sea - though not all Member States agree and this UK statement was not disowned by other Member States: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link).
And: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU Military Rapid Response Concept (pdf): "This document describes the EU's approach to Military Rapid Response and how it could be delivered. This EU Military RR action may either involve EU BGs (Joint Land Centric RR), Single Service RR elements (Land, Maritime or Air), Joint RR (combining EU BG and Single Services RR elements, or combining Single Service RR elements) or any other RR elements offered by volunteered MSs."
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