Statewatch In the News - Archive 2004

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December 2004

Liberty: ID Card Bill - 2nd Reading Briefing (link)

UN finds bugging device at Geneva headquarters (link) More on UN bug from Cryptome (link)

EU Presidencies 2007- 2020 These are presented as groups of three ("troika") - that is, each will chair Council meetings for six months but will work with the other two governments during the term (pdf)
Marine Corps deploys Fallujah biometric ID scheme (link to the "Register")

Finnish security police charged with illegal snooping (EDRI)

November 2004

Paris: The lawfulness of detentions by the United States in Guantánamo Bay: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly): 17 December 2004 (pdf)

The Human Rights Act has not lived up to expectations (Economist, link)

Europol Director post still unfilled after five months (pdf)

Privacy International: Privacy and Human Rights 2004 - international survey and country reports (link)

UK: Government looking at integrating ID card with health card (link to the Register)

EU: Commission 4th report on citizenship (COM 695, main report) Commission fourth report on citizenship (Annex, pdf)

Privacy International, press release on mobile cameras (link)

Belgium: Vlaams Block branded racist (now Vlaams Belang) (link)

UK: Body scanner at Heathrow airport reveals "graphic" naked images of passengers (link)

October 2004

Northern Ireland: Guidelines on use of CS "incapacitant" gas (Pat Finucane Centre, link)

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission - wins protection for people under threat

German police sentenced over deportation death (link)

Germany Imposes Draconian Internet Tax On Citizens (link)

Jesuit Refugee Service Europe: Detention in Europe - Observation and Position Paper 2004 (pdf)

European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC): European Court of human rights to hear first Chechen cases - press release (pdf)

USA: ACLU Case, Federal Court Strikes Down Patriot Act Surveillance Power As Unconstitutional (link)

UK: The Campaign for FOI in the UK has announced training courses on the FOI Act in readiness for the Act's coming into force on 1 January 2005 (link)

Arms sales: EU arms controls are not strong enough to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Saferworld, Oxfam, Pax Christi and Amnesty International as part of a coalition of 55 European NGOs warned today. They said there were major loopholes in the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, which must be strengthened without delay. The call comes as the NGOs launch a report called 'Taking Control: The Case for a More Effective EU Code of Conduct' (link)

September 2004

EU: European Commission publishes Communication on "Preventing and Combating Corporate and Financial Malpractice" (pdf)

USA: FBI swamped by terror tapes: Struggling bureau has more than 120,000 hours of wire-tapped conversations awaiting analysis (Guardian link) and full-text of US Department of Justice - Office of Inspector General Report (pdf)

"Its all for your own good" - interesting article on the surveillance society and what it might mean by Paul Lashmar in the Guardian (link)

UK: Person detained as "terrorist suspect" for three years released: Guardian (link)

OECD: The economic effect of terrorism (Working Paper) (pdf)

US-EU: European Cooperation With the United States in the Global War on Terrorism. William P. Pope, Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Remarks to the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Europe and on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights Washington, DC September 14, 2004 Text of speech (link)

Northern Ireland: Loyalist admits Finucane murder: A man accused of murdering a Belfast solicitor more than 15 years ago has pleaded guilty to the charge (link to BBC News) Press release from the Finucane family and NGOs (link)

USA: Non-lethal weapons: Long Range Sound Cannon in US  In Iraq  Specifications (thanks to Cryptome)

Future French electronic ID card to include two biometrics

Sweden to start issuing biometric passports and e-ID cards in 2005

UK: Privacy International Response to Home Office Discussion Paper: Reconciling Security and liberty in an Open Society (pdf, link)

August 2004

Sweden to start issuing biometric passports and e-ID cards in 2005

USA/Iraq: Two reports on Abu Ghraid: Schlesinger report (link) and Fay report (link)

Corporate Watch: "Identity Crisis: The government's plans for compulsory identity cards are finally coming under the spotlight, with two anti-ID campaigns being launched in September. As activists prepare to turn up the pressure, we unmask the corporations propelling New Labour's drive towards a surveillance society".

CS gas: London Medical Toxicology Unit report concern over police use of spray to immobilise people: BBC (link)

Czech Republic: President vetoes European arrest warrant Bill: euobserver (link)

Northern Ireland: The annual report from the Police Service NI on the Terrorism Act 2000 in 2003 gives in Table 21: Number of persons stopped and questioned under section 89 of the Terrorism Act. This shows that the number of people stopped and questionned by the police has dropped from 2,448 in 2002 to 1,368 in 2003 while the number carried out by "Her Majesty’s forces" has risen from 9,873 in 2002 to 10,921 in 2003: PSNI report (pdf)

USA: Senator Ted Kennedy caught up is "watchlists" five times: Guardian (link)

Sweden: The National Police Board has proposed that the rules for registering DNA-profiles should be the approximately the same as for fingerprints. This means that all convicted offenders DNA-profiles will be registered. Today only offenders convicted for certain serious crimes can be registered in the DNA-files. On 1 January 2004, 2.687 persons was filed in the special DNA-register and 195.800 in the fingerprint register. (Ds 2004:35)

IRR News Service: Analysis: who are the terrorists? by Harmit Athwal. 12 August 2004. Discussion of the UK's tough anti-terrorist laws has focused on the low conviction rate for those arrested under their powers. What is ignored is that, of those who are convicted, many are not Muslim but are White Loyalists and/or racists: Who are the terrorists?

July 2004

Netherlands: Two deported Somali killed: expatica (link)

UK: Critical Lawyers Handbook (link)

UK: Government plans to create a national database on all school children: Sunday Times (link)

USA: 9-11 Commission report: Link (7.4MB)

EU: European Commission published first annual report on migration and integration: COM 508 (pdf)

USA: The specifications related to the new US electronic passport. They specifically contemplate a digital photo and an RFID chip: Original draft, 12 April 2004 (1.3 MB, pdf) Modifications, 12 July 2004 (pdf) Questions and answers (pdf)

USA: Keeping the US safe from foreign journalists: International Herald Tribune (lnk)

UK: 76,000 files closed to public: Daily Telegraph (link)

Scotland: Scotland to be testing ground for tagging of asylum seekers Scotsman (link)

UK: Africans targeted in "Operation Gull" by Home Office: Belfast Telegraph (link)

Russia: "Memorial-EHRAC Bulletin: International Human Rights Advocacy." First case bulletin produced by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) at London Metropolitan University working in partnership with the Moscow-based NGO, Memorial, one of the leading Russian human rights organisations. EHRAC facilitates training on human rights law and procedure both in Moscow and in the regions of Russia with placements in Russia, London and Strasbourg.

Wales: Data offences admitted - operator in police HQ access personal files: Data access (link)

UK: Blunkett Warns of Terror 'Sleepers' Threat: Scotsman (link)

USA: Comprehensive list of those held in Guantanamo Bay: List of prisoners (link)

Poland’s Disgrace: How Legal Actions Threaten to “Put Free Journalism Under Lock and Key”: International Federation of Journalists (link)

June 2004

EU: No agreement on head of Europol (link)

EU: The Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union (the 25 governments): Website (link)

Global freedom of information survey - Survey (link)

France: Annual report on the interception of telecommunications in France: Report (link)

USA: Welcome to America: When writer Elena Lappin flew to LA, she dreamed of a sunkissed, laid-back city. But that was before airport officials decided to detain her as a threat to security ... Guardian (link) - thanks to Edward Habsbrouck, see his comments: Comments (link)

EU: Website for new European Data Protection Commissioner launched: Commissioner (link)

UK: Manchester United supporters have been helping Iraqi Kurdish refugees who were wrongly accused of plotting to bomb Old Trafford: IRR News Service

UK: Mark Thomas article in "New Statesman" on ID cards: Mark Thomas (link)

USA: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) file law suit demanding the release of information about detainees held by the United States at military bases and other detention facilities overseas: ACLU (link)

France: Court throws out European arrest warrant request: euobserver (link)

UK: No to ID cards website launched: no2id (link)

Kosovo: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) criticises OSCE report on media: IFJ (link)

May 2004

Europe: Detention in Europe - paper from the Jesuit Refugee Service (April 2004): Detention (pdf)

US: Enormous list of individuals and companies etc whose funds are to be blocked ("frozen"): Funds to be blocked list (link to Cryptome)

US: Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL) under the Patriot Act, dated 21 May: TEL (link, thanks to Cryptome)

Identity fraud - UK Cabinet Office study: Identity fraud (pdf)

Belgium: "Fake proof" passport unveiled: expatica (link)

USA: Report in the New Zealand Herald that 10,000 people are being held throughout the world in detention centres: N.Zealand Herald (link), see also: Guardian article (link)

USA: Telecommunications tapping figures from USA for 2003 - far less than in the UK: USA-wiretaps (link)

EU-UK: Evidence by Home Office Minister on the European Arrest Warrant: HoC European Scrutiny Committee (link)

European Court of Human Rights declares McLibel case admissible: McLibel (link)

Russia: Detention centre opened in St Petersburg: St Petersburg Times (link)

April 2004

UK: More than 50 former British diplomats have signed a letter to Tony Blair criticising his Middle East policy: "There is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure": Letter (full-text, from BBC)

UK: ID cards "cannot stop terrorism": BBC (link) and comments from: Royal society (link)

Sniper rifle implants tracking device in skin: Rifle (link)

UK: Police chiefs welcome new power to take fingerprints and DNA from those arrested but not charged without their consent: Press release

UK: Article in the "Register" by John Lettice on a poll that shows the majority in favour of ID cards: Register

EU Commission wants to RFID everything: EDRI

Human Rights Watch report, “Empty Promises:” Diplomatic Assurances No Safeguard against Torture - Terrorism Suspects Sent Back to Countries That Torture: Report (link to pdf)

Netherlands: 7,000 demonstrate against planned deportations: expatica (link)

UK House of Commons committee on European Scrutiny questions legal basis for the introduction of EU biometric passports: Committee report

IRR News Service: "Rally round the flag" by Arun Kundnani, 7 April 2004: In calling for 'integration', Trevor Phillips has taken Britain a step closer to the assimilation policies sweeping Europe. story

Article from Surveillance and Society on privacy and data protection: ‘A Spy in your Pocket’? The Regulation of Mobile Data in the UK by Nicola Green and Sean Smith

ICAO meeting in Cairo: Report by Edward Hasbrouck and see also: Civil rights groups warn of grave dangers in international biometric passport system - Files & Biometric Identifiers on More Than a Billion Passengers to be Computerised and Shared Globally by 2015: Letter to the ICAO and documentation

March 2004

UK: Passports plans for biometric documents (link)

Norway: Phone tapping on the increase (link)

UK: Government ID card plan would allow everyone transctions to be logged in a "audit trail": Guardian (link)

UK: Terrorism Act 2000 charges dropped against man held since 17 June 2002: Guardian (lnk)

UK: Reprieve for asylum appeals: Guardian (link)

USA: FBI pushing for broadband interception powers which would mean providers building in "backdoors" for interception purposes: FBI (link)

EU: "Anti-terrorism and human rights", by Liz Fekete. As the first Guantanamo Bay detainees are 'released', a briefing paper from the Institute of Race Relations reveals how dangerously far the EU has already gone in undermining domestic legal process and removing human rights - all in the name of the War on Terror. An IRR briefing paper on Anti-terrorism and human rights is essential reading for all those concerned to find out more about the international approach to combating terror and how it is influencing EU and British counter-terrorism measures.It provides a detailed examination of the global system of targeted sanctions, set in motion after the events of September 11, and establishes that the US has come to dominate EU policy on combating terror to the extent that a common EU foreign and security policy has been totally undermined: IRR European Race Bulletin (link)

USA and the "war on terrorism", speech by Tom Ridge, Secretary for Homeland Security in Singapore. In it he states that the US-VISIT programme is "transparent" and "objective". The US-VISIT programme will keep life-long profiles (based on information gathered from state and commercial databases) on everyone going to and travelling within the USA for 100 years: Ridge speech (link)

Belgium: It is reported that the Netherlands carried out the first forced deportation flight on Tuesday morning (9 March) since the judgments on four former police officers in the case of Semira Adamu on 12 December 2003. This was a joint flight organised in cooperation with the Netherlands and Luxembourg from Melsbroek military airport taking 40 people back to Tirana in Albania (Belga + Free Belgium), see also: Court case on death of Semira Adamu

France became the ninth EU state to implement the European arrest warrant. on Friday 5 March 2004. See: European Arrest Warrant limps into force: Report and documentation

UK: Judges rule that Belmarsh detainee should be released: Guardian (link)

EU-Canada: Article 29 Working Party on data protection report on transfer of passenger name records (PNR) to Canada: Canada PNR (Pdf)

UK: Childrens Bill: Text of Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link). Section 8 gives cause for concern as databases could be set up to include every child and every parent

UK: Civil Contingencies Bill text as amended on 10 February 2004: Bill (link)

UK: Concern at spate of jail deaths: IRR News Service (link)

EU: An international coalition of civil liberties and consumer rights groups are urging rejection of the controversial European Union Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive: EDRI website (link)

February 2004

ECHR: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has found Bulgaria guilty in the death of two Romas: ECHR Decision

UNHCR: Asylum Levels and Trends: Europe and non-European Industrialized Countries, 2003: Full-text (pdf)

US still mining for terror data: Data mining (link to

Article by John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer based in Saudi Arabia (International Herald Tribune): "Terrorism": A world ensnared by a word (link)

UK: An authoritarian state is in the process of construction - without a single terrorist attack in Britain, our liberties are being removed, feature by John Upton, lawyer, in Guardian (link)

EU: Christian groups call for changes to EU asylum directive (link)

UK: Protesters were held unlawfully, court rules - 120 people prevented from attending demonstration against Iraq war at RAF Fairford will claim £3,000 each Fairford (link)

UK: Case set to be dropped against GCHQ mole who blew whistle on US bugging:GCHQ case (link)

Greece: British activist Simon Chapman freed: Activist freed

Germany: Iris scanning to begin at airport: ZDNet (link)

Northern Ireland: Legacy of intolerance: racism and Unionism in South Belfast by Bill Rolston, 10 February 2004 --- What lies behind the recent spate of racist attacks on Africans and Asians in the Village, a Unionist stronghold in south Belfast? (IRR News Service)

France: Lawyers go on strike over 'Anglo-Saxon' criminal justice laws: Independent (link)

UK: Organised Crime Agency to be set up: Press release

Britain spied on UN allies over war vote: Security Council members 'illegally targeted' by GCHQ after plea from US security agency: Observer story (link) The memo requesting interception of communications from Angola, Cameroon, Chile Bulgaria and Guinea prior to the second UN vote on Iraq (which failed) : Memo (pdf)

European Roma Information Office (ERIO) Condemns anti-Roma media campaign in the UK in wake of EU enlargement

Germany: 9/11 terror suspect acquitted: Expatica (link)

Ireland: Irish Human Rights Commission expresses concerns over Immigration Bill: Press release  Opinion (links)

UK: Passport Service trials use of private credit data in ID checks: The government is planning to use databases of personal information from government departments and the private sector to carry out background checks on UK passport holders and applicants: Computerworld (link)

UK: Government proposing to remove legal aid for hundred of thousands of cases involving non-custodial sentences - the chances of miscarriage of justice will increase - again argued on grounds of "cost-saving" not of justice: Independent (link)

January 2004

Kofi Annan's speech to the European Parliament on 29 January 2003 in which he criticises EU asylum policy: Annan (link)

UNESCO have published a: "Comparative legal survey on Freedom of information": UNESCO Survey (pdf)

EU: Irish Presidency statement on the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council in Dublin on 22/23 January 2004: Statement (link)

EU-USA PNR agreement: ACLU letter to EU Commissioner Bolkestein - Northwest Airlines Privacy Violations

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council in Dublin agree to set up 30 million euro fund for joint charter flight to expel refugees: Financial Times (Link)

European Court of Justice: Access to documents decision against the European Commission and the Council of the European Union: Press release

After a number of different seminars and workshops on migration and migrants rights a coalition of European based migrant and refugee groups have united in calling for a "European day of struggles for the regularization (of sans papiers) and for the closure of all detention centers for foreigners". The intention to have such an action day has been expressed in a common declaration. Watch the noborder site for more information on how to become involved in this action day: Noborders site

EU-USA: Discussions between officials on the issue of armed "sky marshals" reached no agreement: EU Observer (link)

European Commission proposal for optional "smart card" vehicle registration instead of paper documents. Interestingly the "lifetime" of the smart card is ten years - the same proposed maximum for EU driving licences (see: EU driving licences to be renewed every 10 years and new security features added each time: Report) - after which the "chip" could be updated: Directive 2003/127/EC (pdf with lots of tehnical detail)

Amnesty report: Allegations of police ill-treatment and excessive use of force in Germany: AI-Germany-police (link)

Amnesty International report: "Human Rights Begins at Home - Recommendations to Ireland's EU Presidency: EU Human Rights

British Computer Society, the professional body for the UK IT industry has joined the critics of the Government's
proposed identity cards:

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