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Archive - August 2019
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August 2019

GREECE: Gov't council decides on seven measures to respond to migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Responding to a spike in migrant arrivals from neighboring Turkey, the government’s Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) has decided on seven measures to ease the pressure on the Aegean islands and curb the influx. (...)

Also on the cards is an increase in police patrols to locate migrants whose asylum applications were rejected but are still in the country. (...)

The efforts of the coast guard in the Aegean will be bolstered with the procurement of 10 speedboats that will be dispatched to intercept suspected smuggling vessels heading towards Greece from neighboring Turkey."

Comment: The latter sounds like a policy of official "push-backs".

Greece resumes migrants deportations to Turkey (keeptalkinggreece., link):

"Greece says it is restarting deportations of migrants to Turkey in an effort to deal with the increasing number of illegal crossings in recent weeks (...)

The minister told private Skai television that 75,000 migrants in Greece were currently having their asylum applications reviewed, including 9,000 whose applications had been rejected but were appealing the decision.

Many of the 50 refugee camps in Greece are squalid, overcrowded, rife with disease and home to unaccompanied minors, according to The Times."

GREECE: 547 migrants land on Lesvos in largest single-day arrival since 2015-2016 (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Thirteen boats with 547 migrants arrived at the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos from the Turkish coast on Thursday afternoon, in what is the largest number of arrivals in one day since the migration crisis of 2015-2016, local media reported on Friday.

Of the total number of people who landed on the northern beach of Skala Sykamias, 177 were men, 124 were women and 246 were children. Most of them are families."

And see Aegean Boat report for: August 2019: Total number of refugees on the islands: 25,610.

Arrival August 3,171
Total arrivals this year 10,476
Boats August 83
Total Boats this year 295
Transfers August 839
Total transfers this year 7,407
Total refugees on the island: 11,801

GREECE: 547 migrants land on Lesvos in largest single-day arrival since 2015-2016 (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Thirteen boats with 547 migrants arrived at the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos from the Turkish coast on Thursday afternoon, in what is the largest number of arrivals in one day since the migration crisis of 2015-2016, local media reported on Friday.

Of the total number of people who landed on the northern beach of Skala Sykamias, 177 were men, 124 were women and 246 were children. Most of them are families."

Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown - Ankara is moving against Syrians in the country - and the European Union bears responsibility (theatlantic.com, link):

"ISTANBUL—Under the cover of night, Turkish police officers pushed Ahmed onto a large bus parked in central Istanbul. In the darkness, the Syrian man from Damascus could discern dozens of other handcuffed refugees being crammed into the vehicle. Many of them would not see the Turkish city again. (...)

In a deeper sense, the backlash also exposes the long-term consequences of the European Union’s outsourcing of its refugee problem. In March 2016, the EU entered into a controversial deal with Turkey that halted much of the refugee influx to Europe in return for an aid package worth €6 billion ($6.7 billion) and various political sweeteners for Ankara. Preoccupied with its own border security, EU decision makers at the time were quick to reassure their critics that Turkey constituted a “safe third country” that respected refugee rights and was committed to the principle of non-refoulement."

UNICEF sounds alarm over lone migrant minors in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The number of unaccompanied migrant minors staying in overcrowded reception centers on the Greek islands exceeds 1,100, the highest level since the peak of the refugee crisis in early 2016, UNICEF said Thursday, calling on European countries to do more to protect vulnerable children."

EU split on migration widens (euobserver, link):

"Illegal immigration poses an ongoing political crisis for the European bloc and politicians' failure to act has left Europeans reportedly more concerned about immigration than climate change.

Will November's change of leadership in the European Commission help improve its track record on the humanitarian emergency?"

Council of the European Union: Press conference on Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust (link); "For more information, please see the Eurojust invitation letter." (pdf, link)

German journalists demand more protection from far right (DW, link)

"The German government is not offering enough protection to journalists who appear on far-right "death lists," according to an open letter signed by media organizations. Several such lists have been discovered recently.

Six German journalist and activist organizations have sent an open letter to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer asking for more protection from far-right terrorists in the country.

Recent police raids on far-right networks have uncovered several lists of journalists and left-wing politicians, apparently as potential targets."

On International Day of the Disappeared: IOM Notes Plight of Families of Disappeared (IOM, link):

"On International Day of the Disappeared, IOM pays tribute to the families and loved ones of each person included in the Missing Migrants Project records – a total that today approaches 33,000 men, women and children.

No matter the context of the disappearance, the agony of even one disappearance can have deep effects on those left behind. Families missing a loved one are relentless in their faith that they will return someday, and unless they have certainty of the fate of that person, their lives become defined by an ambiguous loss between hope and grief."

Sweden bans facial recognition technology in schools (New Europe, link):

"The Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) has issued a ban on facial recognition technology in schools after one of the country’s high-school students attempted to use the controversial software to keep track of attendance."

Migrants jump fence at Spain's enclave in Africa (euobserver, link):

"Around 250 people tried to jump over the fence at Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta early on Friday 30 August. Only 153 managed to cross, reported the Spanish authorities."

Updated | Stranded migrant vessel receives water and food as standoff enters second day (Malta Today, link):

"Journalists onboard the Eleonore said the rescued migrants had spent the night with ‘far less than one sq.m per person’" Ship receives food and water outside territorial waters."

Spanish coastguard rescues 208 migrants crossing from Africa to Spain (news.trust.org, link):

"MADRID, Aug 29 (Reuters) - More than 200 migrants were rescued on Wednesday by the Spanish coastguard as they attempted to make the crossing from Africa to Spain, rescue services said on Thursday.

The rescue comes at a time when Spain is preparing for the arrival on a Spanish warship of 15 migrants from an Italian port following a prolonged standoff between Italian authorities and a Spanish-registered private rescue boat."

From Rome to Athens, squatting is under attack (pressenza.com, link):

"In July of this year New Democracy came to power in Greece with a promise to crack down on immigration and the networks of solidarity surrounding refugees. In the last few weeks they have started to put this process into action suggesting that they are ‘cleaning up Exarcheia’, evicting the squats that many refugees have made their temporary home. This is just one of a number of rule changes that effects this particular district of Athens since the new government came into power in July. The first stage was to recommend legislation to end the academic sanctuary law, a law that protects students protesting and, for the most part, means academic campuses are out of bounds to police. This next stage will mean the attempted systematic emptying out of 23 refugee anarchist squats throughout the Exarcheia district of Athens, potentially making thousands of refugees homeless."

Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage (Guardian, link):

"From Trump to Orbán, politicians are winning votes by stoking age-old hatreds. Where does this fear of migrants come from? By Suketu Mehta.

The west is being destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants. In country after country, the ghosts of the fascists have rematerialised and are sitting in parliaments in Germany, in Austria, in Italy. They have successfully convinced their populations that the greatest threat to their nations isn’t government tyranny or inequality or climate change, but immigration."

Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the Rule of Law? (ICJ, link):

An opinion piece by Massimo Frigo, ICJ’s Senior Legal Adviser for Europe and Central Asia. This Op-ed was first published in the EU Observer:

"Since he became Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini has repeatedly vowed to close Italian harbours to migrants, including refugees, and NGOs, making it the central objective of his migration policy."

Death of a 15-year-old boy in Greek reception centre after failure to implement protection measures (ICJ, link):

"Following the killing of an Afghan boy in the Moria reception center in Greece, the ICJ calls on the Greek authorities to effectively implement measures of protection prescribed to Greece this May by the European Committee on Social Rights.

According to information by the UN High Commissioner for refugees, the 15-year-old Afghan boy was killed and two other boys injured after a fight broke out at the Moria reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos.

The safe area at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre, RIC, hosts nearly 70 unaccompanied children, but more than 500 other boys and girls are staying in various parts of the overcrowded facility without a guardian and exposed to exploitation and abuse."

Switzerland: Suspension of Dublin transfer to Croatia due to summary returns at border with Bosnia-Herzegovina (EDAL, link):

"On 12 July 2019, the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland ruled to suspend the transfer of an asylum applicant to Croatia under the Dublin Regulation 604/2013 (the Dublin Regulation) due to the current situation of summary returns at the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina (E-3078/2019, 12 July 2019)."

UK: Notting Hill Carnival: New Data Reveals Crime Should Not Be The Story Of The Weekend (Huffington Post, link):

"An investigation into the policing of UK festivals has revealed arrest rates at Notting Hill Carnival are almost identical to Glastonbury, suggesting controversial crime narratives surrounding the London event are misplaced.

More than a million people will take to the streets of west London this weekend for the world-famous celebration of Caribbean music and heritage, as colourful floats and sound-systems parade the streets.

But Notting Hill organisers have long claimed the focus on crime by the media and police unduly taints what should be a gem in the country’s cultural calendar."

UK: BREXIT: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament (BBC News, link):

"The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen's Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his "very exciting agenda".

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October."

See: House of Commons Library briefing paper: Prorogation of Parliament (pdf): "This briefing paper explains what it means to "prorogue" Parliament, under what authority it is done, and what its consequences are. It also provides historical and international context for prorogation, and explains its relevance to the Brexit process."

Italy grounds two planes used to search for migrant boats (The Guardian, link):

"Italy has grounded two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – are operated by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been flying reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

For the past month neither has been able to take to the skies after the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”."

And see: Dozens feared dead after boat capsizes off Libya coast (Al Jazeera, link): "Rescue operation under way as Libyan coastguard says it rescued 60 people after the Europe-bound vessel capsized."

UK: Serco slammed over profits drive at arms trade show while trying to evict asylum seekers fleeing war (Daily Record, link):

"The firm evicting hundreds of asylum seekers from their homes has been condemned over plans to exhibit at a controversial arms trade show.

Serco, which holds the Home Office contract to house about 300 people in Glasgow, has dozens of defence contracts around the world.

The private multinational will be touting for business at DSEI 2019 next month in London’s ExCeL arena."

AYS SPECIAL: Outsiders’ perspective - The Bosnian Frontier (Are You Syrious, link):

"The passage between Bosnia and Croatia is one of the most difficult on the Balkan route. Usually people cross it on foot, walking and sleeping in the woods, far away from urban centres, invisible and silent. Because of the continuous and increasingly violent expulsions by Croatian border police, those who arrive in Bihac and Velika Kladuša remain blocked in this area for months in a temporary status, constantly attempting the long mountain walk that connects the two cities to the Croatian border. ‘The game’ is all a matter of chance and few make it at the first attempt. We met people who have been trying for a year and could count more than 20 attempts…"

MEDITERRANEAN: Military vessels accused of scrambling emergency communications in the Libyan SAR zone [Ong. La Mare Jonio: «INTERFERENZE MILITARI ZITTISCONO I SEGNALI DI SOS DEI MIGRANTI»] (Bocche Scucite, link):

"The Mediterranean mission ship is reporting a blockage of reception equipment in the Libyan rescue area. And in silence, the number of cases of shipwrecks being sent back to Libya is increasing.

...From the ship, the operators reiterate that "now the European military command and coordination centres do not relay the reports of vessels in distress as they should do, through the radio and messaging communication channels provided for by maritime law and the international SAR protocols, but seem to talk only with the Libyan authorities."

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden (Common Dreams, link):

"The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech."

"Discover, identify and interfere": The MUROS from Meckenheim (link):

"A German company builds special vehicles with surveillance technology. They film demonstrations, wiretap telephones or coordinate swarms of drones at EU external borders.

In the EU security research project ROBORDER, European border authorities are testing various drones for controlling land and sea borders."

EU: Centre for European Reform: The EU’s Security Union: A bill of health (link):

"The Security Union has had a mixed record. In two years, the EU has achieved more on thorny issues like border controls and counter-terrorism than in the previous decade. It has also led to the EU’s actions on security and migration becoming more open and accountable. But the Security Union’s use of technology and data to prevent incidents before they happen risks upsetting the delicate balance between public security and personal liberty. For example, plans to fight cyber crime may clash with the fundamental right to free speech; and some EU counter-terrorism measures, like tracking suspects, can endanger the fundamental right to be presumed innocent – and hence the rule of law."


Barred by EU, Refugees, Migrants Still Coming to Greek Islands (thenationalherald, link):

"There are more than 75,000 in detention centers and camps in Greece, including more than 22,700 on islands near Turkey and the numbers keep swelling if slower than before, leaving the government unable to handle the number of asylum applications."

France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters (AI, link):

"From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area."

German right-wing extremists planned 'hunt' of migrants: reports (DW, link):

"A police report seen by German media has found that extreme right protesters explicitly tried to violently chase down foreigners. Disagreement over whether such a "hunt" took place nearly toppled the German government."

Greek police raid Athens squats and arrest migrants (Guardian, link):

"About 100 people held after new prime minister vows to bring ‘order’ to Exarcheia area.(...)

Dozens of officers cleared four sites in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of the capital. Helicopters flew overhead and the neighbourhood was flooded by police during the operation.

The conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office as prime minister last month, had vowed to bring “order” to the district, promising regular police patrols."

No End in Sight for Child Refugees In Greece (link):

"Greece has been condemned for years by human rights organisations and even the European Court of Human Rights for failing to protect these children and allowing them to live in an environment manifestly unsuitable for children.

Europe is also to blame, having found Greece legally responsible for their treatment of child refugees this year, and making a legal decision that Greece had breached Europe’s human rights convention forbidding inhuman or degrading treatment, their ‘consequence’ for the Greek authorities was a paltry 4000 euros to be paid to the kids."

GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s digital agenda over the next mandate is set to be marked by a series of broad-ranging reforms, from artificial intelligence and data protection to cryptocurrency regulation and digital tax. EURACTIV talked to Greek MEP Eva Kaili about how she hopes the EU’s digital agenda over the next five years will play out."

Nearly 900,000 asylum seekers living in limbo in EU, figures show (euobserver, link):

"Backlog of claims persists despite number of arrivals almost halving in two years.

Eurostat figures have revealed a backlog of 878,600 requests at the end of 2018, with Germany having the largest share of pending requests (44%), ahead of Italy (12%). The figure comes despite the number of migrant arrivals in Europe practically halving in the last two years.

Factors leading to the continuing backlog include new laws from right-leaning governments and an increase in the number of rejections, leading to lengthy appeals processes.(...)

The rejection rate for asylum requests in Europe has almost doubled in three years, from 37% in 2016 to 64% in 2019. In Italy, rejections were at 80% at the start of 2019, up from 60% the previous year as the populist government also removed key forms of protection."

See also: Asylum applications in the EU+ up by 10 % in the first half of 2019 from the same period in 2018 (EASO, link)

The European Union Is Worried That 300,000 People Could Flee Libya If Things Get Any Worse (Buzzfeed, link):

"An internal report from the EU's Operation Sophia, obtained by BuzzFeed News, warns that the number of potential refugees at sea could require "an immediate intervention."

That prediction was made in the latest semiannual report from Operation Sophia, the EU's military mission aimed at halting people from being smuggled across the sea into Europe. But, according to the report, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, the mission is drastically unprepared for such an event."

Comment: The report also shows the low effectiveness of Libyan rescue efforts and that they only answered the phone in 50% of cases.

OPINION: So used are we to a borderless Europe we’re not ready for the coming shock (Guardian, link)

"The UK has enjoyed the privileges of the single market. Things are tougher outside it. (...)

The argument gets more traction than it deserves because of a confusion about borders. In particular, there seems to be a common assumption that the absence of checks on goods crossing frontiers is the default state of the world and that the existence of border controls is a weird aberration.

The assumption is false. As even a cursory glance at border arrangements across the globe reveals, border controls are entirely normal: it is their absence that is the aberration."

EU: Leaked document: EU Commission mulls new law to regulate online platforms (netzpolitik.org, link):

"The EU Commission is considering the creation of a new authority for the regulation of online services. This is part of a possible legislative proposal by the Commission to regulate platform companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Under the proposed scheme, the e-Commerce Directive is to be replaced by a new law, the Digital Services Act, according to a leaked Commission note. (Click here for full document.). (...)

The seven-page note gives only a rough outline of the Digital Services Act. It mentions the need for harmonised guidelines on how platforms should moderate speech and handle illegal content across the EU, stating that the Commission’s recommendations for tackling illegal content should become mandatory."

GREECE: No End in Sight: The mistreatment of asylum seekers in Greece (pdf): Report by 13 NGOs:

"This report finds evidence of sweeping human rights violations of displaced people and refugees on mainland Greece and the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos, violations that could amount to cruel and unusual treatment and torture. As a result of the so-called Containment Policy, bought into effect following the EU-Turkey Statement in 2016, thousands are currently trapped on the islands without access to shelter, healthcare or education, including many women and children.

Those living on the islands, often in severely overcrowded camps, face dire living conditions, including unhygienic conditions and inadequate housing and bathing facilities."

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS): Undercover Policing & Trade Unions Conference, London - November 16, 10:30-17:30 (link):

"We’re pleased to announce our Trade Union Conference on Saturday November 16th in London.

The one-day event will increase understanding of the impact of political policing on trade unions and movements for social change since 1968.

Over three thousand workers were blacklisted, over one thousand organisations were spied on by undercover police, and tens of thousands of citizens have files held on them by Special Branch."

Russia, United States attempt to legitimize killer robots (pressenza.com, link):

"Russia and the United States are continuing their losing fight against the inevitable treaty that’s coming for killer robots.

Most states participating in the diplomatic talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems have expressed their strong desire to negotiate a new treaty to address mounting concerns. At this week’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting, Jordan joined the list of 29 states urging a ban on killer robots, in order to retain human control over the use of force."

What happens when trafficking survivors get home (euobserver, link):

"For years, international media have been full of horrifying stories of Nigerian women and girls trafficked to Libya and Europe for sexual and labor exploitation.

The world now also knows very well that many refugees and migrants seeking to reach Europe instead find themselves trapped in Libya in slavery-like conditions, and that for women and girls those conditions often involve sexual violence or exploitation."

Inside Europe: Turkey extends deadline for Syrian refugees (DW, link):

"Turkey hosts around 4 million Syrian refugees. But in a recent opinion poll over 80% of Turks said they want the refugees to leave the country. The government appears to be getting the message. In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and home to around a million Syrians, a looming deadline for all unregistered refugees to leave the city has been extended to October. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul."

Captain Who Rescued Migrants At Sea Refuses Paris Medal, Calling It Hypocritical (link):

"The captain of a controversial ship that saved migrants in the Mediterranean Sea has refused to accept a medal for her work. (...)

In a Facebook message published Tuesday night, Klemp announced that she was rejecting the Grand Vermeil Medal, which the city of Paris awards for bravery. She told Mayor Anne Hidalgo that the city was brimming with hypocrisy."

Regional and International Benchmarks on Surveillance, Cybercrimes and Computer Crimes (pdf): Co-authored by Arthur Gwagwa and Kuda Hove:

"Surveillance, cyber espionage, cybercrimes and computer crimes transverse various regional and international standards and norms as set by the relevant standard setting, norm sharing bodies as well as security forums. They also implicate technical rules, for example relating to internet protocols and the management of internet infrastructure, critical resources such as internet assigned numbers and letters This report will confine itself to the examination of the standards and norms that have a direct bearing on the exercise of human rights online."

EU: Council of the European Union: Internal Security, Interoperability & Visas and Europol & private partners

Implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy: joint Presidency paper (LIMITE doc no: 10991-19, 87 pages, pdf): "Delegations will find attached a revised version of the joint paper of the outgoing Romanian Presidency and the Finnish Presidency on the implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy."

Interoperability and the visa procedure - Possible implications of Interoperability on the daily work of the consulates - Presentations (LIMITE doc no: WK 8371/2019, pdf): "Delegations will find attached the presentations made by the Commission services, eu-LISA and the Presidency on the abovementioned subject at the Visa Working Party meeting on 10 July 2019."

Europol's cooperation with strategic partners: strengths and possible inefficiencies in cooperation with Private Parties (LIMITE doc no: 10494-19, pdf): "Member States authorities, Europol cooperates with the following partners: Union bodies, third country authorities, international organisations and private parties. This cooperation is regulated in the Europol Regulation Chapter V."

Less "Silent SMS“ from German police, but more secrecy for domestic intelligence (link):

"The blog Netzpolitik.org graphically displays the sending of "Silent SMS“ every six months. This shows the extent to which police forces and secret services use mobile phones as tracking bugs. Because of this „condensation“ of information worthy of protection, the figures for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are classified as "secret."

Migrants in limbo again after landing in Italy (euractiv, link):

"One hundred and forty seven migrants who disembarked on Italy’s Lampedusa island were again in limbo Wednesday (21 August) as a European deal to redistribute them failed to materialise and Madrid said it could hit the Spanish charity with a huge fine for rescuing them."

Greece: Samos: Cruelties - This man is Hisham Mustafa from Aleppo, Al Sfir (Samos Chronicles, link):

"Turkish police transferred him 25 days ago from Istanbul to Syria ( Idleb). He was given no choice but to return to a place where the war continues. In Istanbul he left behind his wife and their three children."

Are You Syrious (19.8.19, link):


"On 21 August 2019, the so-called ‘Orderly Return Bill’ will come into force and change the life of many refugees and migrants in Germany for the worse. There might also be some ‘improvements’, but these are mere cosmetic corrections and cannot obscure the fact that the bill is made to get ‘illegal’ migrants out of the country and make the life of those who remain as uncomfortable as possible. The most serious changes are the following:(...)


"Ahead of tomorrow’s appeal against the conviction of Anni Lanz, a 73-year-old woman convicted and fined with 800 Swiss francs ($820 US) for giving a rough-sleeping frost-bitten Afghan asylum seeker a lift over the Italian border into Switzerland"

German experts discuss migration with Greek officials (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek officials met on Wednesday in Athens with a delegation of German specialists on issues of migration to discuss arrivals of third-country nationals and find ways of collaborating.

According to a Citizen Protection Ministry statement, the focus of the meeting was the process of receiving migrants from non-EU countries, examining their requests for asylum in Greece and returning those who do not qualify."

Syrian migrants in Turkey face deadline to leave Istanbul (BBC News, link):

"Thousands of Syrian migrants have until Tuesday to leave Istanbul or face expulsion from Turkey's biggest city.

Authorities have told unregistered migrants to return to the province they are registered in, as part of a bid to relieve pressure on the city.

But some Syrians told the BBC many were being deported to Idlib, inside Syria, where fighting is escalating."

Surveillance of 5G: Governments plan to change laws (link):

"5G telephony makes communication more secure. Connections, subscriber and device identifiers are partly encrypted, also conventional IMSI catchers become useless. Providers could therefore be forced to install new surveillance technology."

UK: As Brexit looms, UK still hopes to join EU fingerprint exchange network

After a long and rather tortuous process, the UK joined the 'Prüm' network of EU member states' DNA databases in June. Despite the current government's apparent preference for some variety of hard Brexit, the UK is also hoping to connect to other EU member states' fingerprint databases - but first it must pass a data protection and a technical evaluation. Its responses to both questionnaires were submitted to the Council at the end of June for consideration.

UK: The Johnson Government: Working for the Brexit Clampdown (CCSE, link) by Joe Sim and Steve Tombs:

"As the country teeters on the brink of the chaos of an impending no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson’s administration has entered electioneering mode. The administration is following a familiar path that has a history of at least 40 years in the Tory party: first, that attitudes and actions towards the EU are not at all about any ‘national’ interest but are about party interests and, specifically, keeping a Tory Government in power at all and any costs; and, second, invoking a tough on crime, law and order discourse to capitalise on popular anxieties to offer false certainties around security and a sense of protection."

EU: External aspects of counter-terrorism policy: overview of Council working party discussions in first half of 2019

The COTER working party within the Council of the EU is "the main advisory body to the Council in the field of CT [counter-terrorism] and P/CVE [preventing/countering violent extremism] external aspects". A document circulated to delegations by the outgoing Romanian Presidency of the Council at the end of June outlines the work undertaken by the group in the first half of the year, concerning "strengthening the links between the internal and external dimensions of security", "bringing partners with the EU closer together" and "promoting the mainstreaming of the counter-terrorism issue".

People on rescue ship off Italy at breaking point, say doctors (The Guardian, link):

"The medical and psychological condition of people onboard a rescue boat anchored off the Italian island of Lampedusa for 18 days has reached breaking point, doctors have said.

The vessel operated by the Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms has been refused permission to dock by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini. On Monday Open Arms suggested chartering a plane to fly the 107 migrants onboard to Spain.

A group of doctors who visited the vessel last week said sanitary and hygienic conditions were very poor and the boat was not fit to hold such a large number of people."

UK: Statement: Live facial recognition technology in King's Cross (ICO, link):

"Facial recognition technology is a priority area for the ICO and when necessary, we will not hesitate to use our investigative and enforcement powers to protect people’s legal rights.

We have launched an investigation following concerns reported in the media regarding the use of live facial recognition in the King's Cross area of central London, which thousands of people pass through every day.

As well as requiring detailed information from the relevant organisations about how the technology is used, we will also inspect the system and its operation on-site to assess whether or not it complies with data protection law."

Germany's Merkel calls for restarting EU migrant rescue mission (DW, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for the resumption of European naval missions to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

Since 2015, tens of thousands of migrants were rescued by European naval ships as part of the bloc's anti-smuggling "Operation Sophia," which suspended activity earlier this year.

"It would certainly be good if today we had Operation Sophia and national navies that would carry out rescues," Merkel said in Berlin. She added that it would help with rescuing migrants as well as combating trafficking."

UK: REVEALED: The 'woke' media outfit that's actually a UK counterterror programme

"A social media network for young people that has been launched around the term “woke” is actually a covert British government counterterrorism programme, security officials have admitted.

A Facebook page and Instagram feed with the name This Is Woke describes itself as the work of a “media/news company” that is engaging “in critical discussions around Muslim identity, tradition and reform”.

In fact, it was created by a media company on behalf of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) at the UK Home Office."

Six EU countries agree to take some of the 147 migrants stranded on Opens Arms ship, Italy says (The Journal, link):

"SIX EU COUNTRIES have agreed to take in some of the 147 migrants stranded on a rescue ship near the Italian island of Lampedusa, Rome announced today.

The mainly African migrants aboard Open Arms had been plucked from boats in the Mediterranean this month with weather conditions encouraging more departures from Libya."

CYPRUS: Arrest of KISA Director reflects wider European trend of criminalising support for migrants (Fair Trials, link):

"Earlier this month, the Executive Director of KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism, a member of the JUSTICIA network coordinated by Fair Trials, was arrested for allegedly “obstructing police work” and “attempting to escape lawful arrest,” after offering assistance to a young man, a foreign national, who was being questioned aggressively by the police outside of KISA’s offices in Nicosia, Cyprus. This is the sixth arrest of KISA’s Executive Director over the past two decades, and it is part of a broader crackdown on NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in the context of rule of law backsliding and shrinking space for civil society in the European Union."

UK: The police know what you’ll do next summer (New Statesman, link):

"...Last month, the Home Office pledged £5m in funding to West Midlands Police to develop a system that will identify individuals at risk of committing future crimes. Elsewhere, Durham police have developed an algorithm for use in custody decisions; Avon and Somerset Police, meanwhile, use predictive technology to map where violent crime might occur.

...The development of machine-learning algorithms, allied with cuts to police budgets, is propelling a version of the future long feared by privacy advocates and revered by technology companies. The question is no longer whether artificial intelligence will dramatically change policing, but how – and for whose benefit. "

Libya: ongoing atrocities reveal the trouble with international military intervention (The Conversation, link):

"Events in Libya show what can happen when international players claim to do good things through military action. To prevent future atrocities, the international community must recognise the absurdity of dropping bombs to protect people while also detaining migrants in the centre of war zones, dealing arms, and preventing rescue missions.

Military intervention does not protect civilians. We should call on the international community to change their callous policies that kill every day. We should demand that they stop fuelling atrocity crimes. And we should support non-violent forms of protection such as unarmed civilian peacekeeping, which have proven effective in Colombia, South Sudan, Kosovo and Sri Lanka.

To support military intervention gives further licence to the militarism of those already fanning the flames of atrocity. This will only result in more of the violence seen in Libya today."

EU: MEDEL statement on the Italian security decree of June 2019 (MEDEL, link):

"The introduction in Italy of draconian measures in relation to vaguely defined violations adds a further dimension to the pressure on volunteers, who already have to face the risk of being subject to investigations for violations of national immigration laws.

The effect is to reverse the order of the values enshrined in the Constitutions and Charters of fundamental rights, prioritizing alleged security reasons over the protection of human lives.

MEDEL has several times recalled the responsibility of all member states and of the European Union, stressing the distance between the current migration policies and the commitment - enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights - towards the human community and the future generations to ensure the enjoyment by everyone of fundamental rights.

The future of Europe and of European democracies depends on this pledge."

Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops (Vice, link):

"Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a "fusion center," a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir."

See: Palantir Gotham User Manual (pdf, as published with the Vice article)

Future of EU criminal law - editorial by Peter Csonka, DG Justice and Consumers (eucrim, link):

"Faced with the evolution of crime, globalisation, and technological innovations, there is a clear need to adapt the Union’s acquis to the actual needs of practitioners and citizens and thus enable appropriate responses to new developments, including those linked to digitalisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A primary challenge is the establishment of a solid EU criminal law framework capable of coherently tackling serious and/or cross-border crime (“euro-crimes”) and other areas of crime in which the approximation of offences or sanctions is essential for the enforcement of EU law (“accessory crimes”) in full respect of Member States’ legal traditions. It is important to strike the right balance between EU action and respect for Member States’ legal traditions, in particular in the area of sanctions. This particular issue of eucrim is dedicated to helping the reader understand how or in what specific areas of sanctions, whether criminal or administrative, financial, or otherwise, the Union can achieve better results."

See also: EU criminal law could cover "crimes relating to artificial intelligence" (Statewatch News Online,1 May 2019)

EU: Europol Strategy 2020+ (pdf)

"Europol has been evolving and growing ever since its inception, from a small group assisting Member States’ investigations mainly on drug trafficking, it is now the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation, contributing directly to the European Agenda on Security by working with and for Member States to combat all forms of serious organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism.

Europol’s Strategy provides the framework for Europol’s work and level of ambition."

See: Europol to become a global criminal information hub (link):

USA: Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant (Vice, link):

"When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,” an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they do need permission from camera owners.

Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage."

IRELAND: Migrant rescues help naval recruiting (Irish Examiner, link):

"The positive publicity surrounding the Naval Service’s role in saving trafficked migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea was responsible for an increase in people joining the force.

That’s according to recruitment figures released by the Naval Service showing the years leading up to the operations and while they were underway.

However, concerns have been raised by Naval Service sources that without such missions, and with still no pay increases coming from the Government, it will prove hard to attract the same numbers as witnessed when Operation Pontus and Operation Sophia were in full flow."

Major breach found in biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defence firms (The Guardian, link):

"The fingerprints of over 1 million people, as well as facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, and personal information of employees, was discovered on a publicly accessible database for a company used by the likes of the UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors and banks.

Suprema is the security company responsible for the web-based Biostar 2 biometrics lock system that allows centralised control for access to secure facilities like warehouses or office buildings. Biostar 2 uses fingerprints and facial recognition as part of its means of identifying people attempting to gain access to buildings.

Last month, Suprema announced its Biostar 2 platform was integrated into another access control system – AEOS. AEOS is used by 5,700 organisations in 83 countries, including governments, banks and the UK Metropolitan police."

See: Report: Data Breach in Biometric Security Platform Affecting Millions of Users (vpnMentor, link)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Police ombudsman to pay damages over 2011 Loughinisland report (Irish Legal News, link):

"The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will pay damages to families and survivors over its first report on the Loughinisland massacre.

The police watchdog admitted failings and said it would pay undisclosed damages as part of the settlement announced in the High Court in Belfast on Friday, BBC News reports.

The proceedings were brought in connection with a 2011 report which concluded that there was insufficient evidence of collusion in the 1994 massacre, in which UVF gunmen killed six people and wounded five others.

The report, by former ombudsman Al Hutchinson, was quashed by the High Court in 2012. A subsequent report in 2016 found that collusion between police and the UVF was a “significant feature” of the murders."

UK: Facial recognition in King's Cross prompts call for new laws (BBC News, link):

"There is growing pressure for more details about the use of facial recognition in London's King's Cross to be disclosed after a watchdog described the deployment as "alarming".

Developer Argent has confirmed it uses the technology to "ensure public safety" but did not reveal any details.

It raises the issue of how private land used by the public is monitored.

The UK's biometrics commissioner said the government needed to update the laws surrounding the technology."

And see: London mayor quizzes King's Cross developer on facial recognition (BBC News, link)

Partners in crime? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights (Saferworld, link):

"Migration into Europe has fallen since 2015, when more than one million people fleeing conflict and hardship attempted sea crossings. But deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean have shot up, exposing the ‘fight against migration’ as flawed and dangerous.

While leaders in Europe and elsewhere claim that clamping down on migration saves lives by deterring people from undertaking dangerous journeys, the reality is that European governments’ outsourced migration policies are feeding into conflict and abuse – and reinforcing the drivers of migration.

Drawing on extensive research, this report analyses the European Union’s and European governments’ outsourcing of migration controls in ‘partner’ countries such as Turkey, Libya and Niger. It explores who benefits from this system, exposes its risks and explains who bears the costs. It also provides recommendations for European leaders on how to move toward a humane model for migration that refocuses on EU commitments to human rights, conflict prevention and sustainable development."

Migrant rescue ship heads for Italy after judge overrules Salvini (Al Jazeera, link):

"An Italian court has upheld an appeal by the Spanish rescue ship Proactiva Open Arms, suspending far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's decision to ban the ship from entering the country's waters.

The Italian court ruled that the ban violates international laws in light of the "exceptionally grave and urgent situation due to the protracted stay of the migrants on our boat", Open Arms said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said its ship is now heading towards Italian waters and expects to reach them on Thursday morning. Additionally, it has made new requests to Italy and Malta for a port that will let them disembark the migrants on medical grounds."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.8.19) including:

The Rendition Project: Researching the globalisation of rendition and secret detention (link):

"The Rendition Project is a collaborative research initiative run by Prof Ruth Blakeley at the University of Sheffield (and previously, the University of Kent) and Dr Sam Raphael at the University of Westminster. The Rendition Project is at the forefront of efforts to investigate and understand the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its allies in the "war on terror". Through this website users can access:

Our major report, CIA Torture Unredacted, published in July 2019, presents the combined findings from a four-year joint investigation by The Rendition Project and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It is, without doubt, the most detailed account of the CIA torture programme ever published. The report can be accessed for free on this site, and is supported by other material contained here."

And see: Statewatch Observatory on "rendition"

EU: Interoperability of European Centralised Databases: Another Nail in the Coffin of Third-Country Nationals’ Privacy? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):

"Crucially, databases are compartmentalised; even though in the future all third-country nationals will be effectively captured by at least one database, the data pots are separate from each other. This will soon change; the final step towards an EU ‘Big Brother’ is the interconnection of the different ‘data pots’ under the umbrella term of interoperability. Against this background, this blog post aims at critically evaluating this important legal development from a privacy and data protection standpoint."

British children of Islamic State members will not be brought back to UK: Report (Middle East Eye, link):

"The children of British members of Islamic State who have UK citizenship will not be brought back to Britain from Syria as it would be too dangerous to rescue them, the UK government has reportedly decided.

The decision, made after a cross departmental review, was one of the last acts of Home Secretary Sajid Javid before his promotion to chancellor last month, according to The Times newspaper.

Javid was said to have decided that it was not safe to dispatch military or civilian personnel to rescue the babies and minors from camps in northern Syria."

UK: Tories unveil law and order policy blitz amid election speculation (The Guardian, link):

"Boris Johnson has set out a resoundingly tough stance on law and order ahead of a possible autumn general election, with a trio of announcements on extending jail terms, building new prisons and increasing police stop-and-search powers.

...On sentencing, Johnson announced a review of the policy of allowing some prisoners with a fixed sentence to be released on licence mid-way through their term on condition of continued good behaviour.

The review will also look at potentially longer sentences for violent and sexual offences, and for repeat offenders, and includes £85m in extra funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.

...In another arguably populist pre-election move, Johnson and Patel announced that police would be freer to carry out preventive stop-and-search operations under so-called section 60 powers."

EU: Current text of the proposed Directive on equal treatment between persons: over a decade of discussions and still no agreement

The Member States still cannot agree on the proposed Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, which was proposed by the Commission in 2008. The measure requires unanimity between the Member States and the consent of the Parliament to become law. The Parliament adopted its opinion in April 2009.

Greece’s New Government Is Cracking Down on Anarchists, Drug Dealers and Refugees (Novara Media, link):

"Following a landslide election win last month, Greece’s new centre-right government is cracking down on a “lawless” Athens neighbourhood known for leftwing activism and migrant solidarity networks. With backing from prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, police have used the prevalence of illegal drugs and an alleged terrorism threat to justify a series of raids and evictions across the Exarchia area of the Greek capital. But instead of routing out terrorists and dealers, residents say the authorities are targeting refugee housing, leaving hundreds of vulnerable people with nowhere to go."

UK: Victory for Netpol campaigning as Home Office confirms it has stopped using the term “domestic extremism” (Netpol, link):

"After almost a decade of campaigning for an end to the highly subjective categorisation of campaigners at “domestic extremists”, Netpol has finally received confirmation that the Home Office has decided to stop using the label.

In June, we highlighted a report by David Anderson QC, a former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislation, who had called the ‘domestic extremism’ label ‘manifestly deficient’ and indicated the Home Office was under pressure to abandon it."

UK: North Wales Police response to concern over its handling of hunt saboteurs raises serious questions (The Canary, link):

"On 24 July, North Wales Hunt Saboteurs claimed that North Wales Police (NWP) are “involved in an [operation] with the Flint and Denbigh hunt to get rid of protesters”. The hashtag “#OperationYada” accompanied the claim. Several days later, the NWP Rural Crime Team published a video on Twitter denying that ‘Operation Yada’ existed. But the truth suggests this team tried to mislead the public."

MSF has returned to the Central Mediterranean because people are dying at sea (MSF, link):

"Our new search and rescue ship, Ocean Viking, has launched while European governments are failing to fulfil their basic legal obligations or protect vulnerable people fleeing from north Africa to southern Europe – the world’s deadliest migration route."

Italian law increases penalties related to protests and criminalises NGOs’ rescue of migrants at sea (ECNL, link):

"The new law introduces harsher provisions regulating assemblies taking place in public places or private spaces open to the public (...)

The new law grants new powers to the Ministries of the Interiors, Defence and Transport, who will now jointly be able to restrict or prohibit the entry, transit or docking of ships in the territorial sea, except for military or government non-commercial vessels, for security reasons, when there are reasons to believe that the crime of aiding and abetting illegal immigration has been committed (Article 1)."

See: New Law (Italian, link)

European Parliament: How the General Data Protection Regulation changes the rules for scientific research (pdf) and Briefing (pdf):

"This study comprehensively investigates the promises and challenges associated with the implementation of the GDPR in the scientific domain, with a special focus on the impact of the new rights and obligations enshrined in the GDPR on the design and conduct of scientific research. Furthermore, the study examines the adequacy of the GDPR's derogations for scientific research in terms of safeguarding scientific freedom and technological progress."

European Commission doesn't want to enforce its CRS rules (The Practical Nomad, link):

"In May 2017 the European Commission finally agreed to investigate my longstanding complaint that the lack of adequate access controls or access logging for airline reservation data stored by computerized reservation systems (CRSs) violates the data protection provisions in Article 11 of the European Union's Code of Conduct for Computerized Reservation Systems.

More than two years later, I've finally received the first substantive response to my complaint: a letter from the European Commission proposing to deny my complaint for lack of jurisdiction, on the absurd grounds that data security is not regulated by the Code of Conduct for CRSs."

Cyprus asks Brussels to relocate 5,000 asylum seekers (Politico, link):

"Cyprus has asked the European Commission to help relocate 5,000 asylum seekers to other EU countries as the island nation struggles to accommodate an influx of migrants.

In a letter sent on Monday to Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and other EU members, Cyprus' Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides described the gravity of the migration situation on the island and said that a lack of cooperation from nearby Turkey has made finding a solution more difficult."

Ocean Viking migrant rescue ship 'not allowed' to refuel in Malta (aljazeera.com, link):

"Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee and MSF, started its rescue mission in the Mediterranean earlier this week.

Maltese authorities have refused the Ocean Viking rescue ship to refuel in their harbours while on its search and rescue mission off the coast of Libya, according to SOS Mediterranee, the rescue organisation operating the ship.

According to SOS Mediterranee, which operates the ship with Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, the Ocean Viking was originally allowed to refuel on open waters."

Surveillance of 5G: Governments plan to change laws (link):

"5G telephony makes communication more secure. Connections, subscriber and device identifiers are partly encrypted, also conventional IMSI catchers become useless. Providers could therefore be forced to install new surveillance technology."

UN warns Italy over tough law on migrant rescue boats (euractiv, link):

"The UN voiced concern on Tuesday (6 August) over a law approved by Italy’s parliament that imposes stiffer penalties on NGO migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean, demanding humanitarian work “not be criminalised or stigmatised.

EU: Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law (European Commission press release, pdf)

"The European Commission decided today to refer Greece and Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose the EU rules on personal data protection (the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive, Directive (EU) 2016/680). In April 2016, the Council and the European Parliament agreed the Directive had to be transposed into national law by 6 May 2018.

In the case of Greece, the Commission is calling on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions in the form of a lump sum of € 5 287.50per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Greece or the date of delivery of the judgment under Article 260(3) TFEU,with a minimum lump sum of € 1 310 000and a daily penalty payment of € 22.169,70from the day of the first judgment until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment. As regards Spain, the Commission is calling on the Court to impose a financial sanction in the form of a lump sum of € 21 321per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Spain or the date of delivery of the judgment under article 260(3) of TFEU, with a minimum lump sum of € 5 290 000and a daily penalty payment of € 89 548.20 from the day of the first judgement until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment."

And see: Complaint lodged by Homo Digitalis against Greece for non-compliance with the EU’s data privacy law addressed to the European Commission (Homo Digitalis, link)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Former PSNI chief ‘still furious’ about closure of Historical Enquiries Team (Irish Legal News, link):

"Former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde has said he is “still furious” about the 2014 closure of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which he said should have been allowed to complete its work.

In an interview with The Irish Times, the former police chief, who stood down in 2009, challenged the findings of a 2013 report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary which greatly undermined the unit.

The report, which sparked fierce criticism from Irish nationalists and republicans, said some cases involving the state were being “reviewed with less rigour in some areas” than other cases.

...Sir Hugh said the HET, if allowed to continue its work beyond 2014, would have completed reviews of all 3,500 Troubles-related cases by now.

He also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the proposed new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) due to the passage of time."

EU may extend 'passenger name records' to rail and sea (EUobserver, link):

"The national governments of the EU member states are considering extending mandatory record-keeping of air passenger data to high-speed rail travel and sea traffic.

A majority of states have said in diplomatic discussions that they were in favour of applying the rules from the EU's passenger name record (PNR) directive, currently only applicable to air travel, to other modes of transportation.

...The paper, published on the Statewatch website, said that "the majority of the member states agreed on broadening the scope of the PNR directive".

"The percentages were the following: 83 percent wants to broaden it to maritime, 76 percent to railway, and 67 percent to road traffic," said the document."

See also: EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

Caritas Europa: Position paper: The “criminalisation” of solidarity towards migrants (pdf):

"In a context of stricter migration policies, activities carried out by NGOs and volunteers to ensure migrants get access to basic services and rights when the state is not delivering, are increasingly being portrayed by politicians as colluding with human smuggling and trafficking. A trend has emerged to pose obstacle, demonise, stigmatise, and criminalise humanitarian assistance to migrants throughout Europe, creating a chilling effect that results in discouraging solidarity. We refer broadly to this phenomenon as the “criminalisation” of solidarity, as it extends beyond mere judicial actions."

Refugee rescuers to be fined up to €1m under new Italian law promoted by far-right Salvini (Independent, link)

"Charity says security decree ‘will inflict useless suffering ... putting at risk the lives of vulnerable people.

Refugee rescue boats carrying stranded migrants face fines of up to €1m after the Italian parliament passed a controversial law promoted by Matteo Salvini, the far-right interior minister.

Under the law, boat captains bringing rescued refugees to Italy will face arrest if unauthorised; their vessels could be confiscated; and the owners of the operations face steep fines between €150,000 (£138,000) and €1m (£919,000)."

See: UNHCR concerned at new measures impacting rescue at sea in the Central Mediterranean (link)

European Parliament Studies: Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation (pdf):

"Blockchain is a much-discussed instrument that, according to some, promises to inaugurate a new era of data storage and code-execution, which could, in turn, stimulate new business models and markets. The precise impact of the technology is, of course, hard to anticipate with certainty, in particular as many remain sceptical of blockchain's potential impact. In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchain and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Indeed, many of the points of tension between blockchain and the GDPR are due to two overarching factors."

And see: Annex (pdf)

We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data! (NO PNR, link):

"We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data!

The European PNR Directive (Directive 2016/681) requires airlines to automatically transfer their passengers’ data to government passenger data centers, called Passenger Information Units. Data records are centrally stored and can be accessed by numerous authorities."

EU border force Frontex accused of allowing abuse of migrants (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s border force Frontex has allegedly been turning a blind eye to ill treatment of refugees by guards at EU external borders, according to media reports on Monday (5 August)

A joint investigation by German public broadcaster ARD, non-profit investigative journalism website Correctiv and British newspaper The Guardian also accused Warsaw-based Frontex of violating the human rights of refugees during deportations.

Citing internal documents, the report said Frontex had allowed guards to use dogs to hunt down migrants, as well as to deploy pepper spray and batons, particularly along EU borders in Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece.

The investigation accused local guards of using force or threats to return migrants back across the EU’s external borders, thus obstructing the basic right to seek asylum."

And see: Once migrants on Mediterranean were saved by naval patrols. Now they have to watch as drones fly over Experts condemn move to aerial surveillance as an abrogation of ‘responsibility to save lives’ (Guardian, link) and "The expansion of the deportation machine" (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7-5.8.19) including:

Italy-Malta "Non Paper" wants compulsory relocation mechanism rather than the voluntary one

The Italian and Maltese: Non-Paper (pdf) is presented as being in opposition to the solidarity mechanism and plan to organise orderly relocations and disembarkation in compliance with the law of the sea and the principle of the nearest safe harbour or place of safety.

EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

EU: Council Presidency: Widening the scope of PNR to other forms of transportation in addition to air traffic- discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 10597-19, pdf) suggests that:

"Traffic volumes from both within and outside the Schengen area are increasing. Increasing crossborder travelling entails cross-border crime such as migrant smuggling and irregular migration arrangements, which involves third-country nationals that are smuggled into the EU territories, or narcotic drugs smugglers, terrorists and other criminals. This poses a growing challenge to national law enforcement authorities in combating crime." [emphasis added throughout]

Migration Mobilities Bristol - New thinking on people and movement (migration.blogs.bristol.ac.uk, link):

"Memorials to people who have died and to those missing during migration - Reflections on the first WUN-funded workshop By Martin Preston, University of Bristol:

Memorials form one way in which public memory is created and reproduced (Dickinson, et al, 2010). The shores of Lesvos and the water around it serve as the final resting place for many of those lost. Initiated by ‘Welcome to Europe’ a purpose-made physical recognition of the dead and missing of the ongoing migration ‘crisis’, a monument at the shores at Thermi on the East of the island was destroyed by unknown perpetrators. However the spot remains a focal point to remember those who have died, as happens annually since October 2013."

Migrant crisis: Self-immolation exposes UN failures in Libya (BBC News, link):

"After a horrific two-year ordeal across three countries - being bought and sold by people traffickers and surviving running out of fuel on an inflatable boat while trying to cross the Mediterranean - Mohamed finally gave up hope.

The Somali man's wife Leyla, 21, recalls the day he burnt himself to death after hearing that they were not on a UN refugee list."

Home Office rejects Human Rights Committee’s call for a time limit to immigration detention (HoC, link):

"The Home Office has rejected the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee’s recommendation to introduce a time limit on immigration detention, despite the overwhelming cross-party support."

GREECE: Protest held over Korkoneas release (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A demonstration was held in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia on Wednesday at the memorial of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, shot and killed in 2008 by a police special guard who was released from prison on Tuesday."

EU receives record number of requests for documents (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission has received a record number of requests to publish documents, according to statistics released this week.

EU citizens filed applications to see documents 6,912 times in 2018."

Link to: Report (pdf)

How the media contributed to the migrant crisis (Guardian, link):

"Disaster reporting plays to set ideas about people from ‘"over there’"

Europe’s refugee crisis, or more properly, a disaster partly caused by European border policies, rather than simply the movement of refugees towards Europe, was one of the most heavily mediated world events of the past decade."

Probe opened into Gregoretti coast guard-ship case - EU asks members to take in migrants,Berlin says willing to do so (ANSA.it, link):

"The Siracusa prosecutor's office has opened an investigation regarding the case of the coast guard ship Gregoretti, which has been in the Augusta port since Saturday evening with 115 migrants still onboard. The ship's captain, according to reports, is at the prosecutor's office to be questioned. Meanwhile, the European Commission is contacting member states to understand which countries would be willing to take in some of the migrants."

Italy lets in stranded migrants after striking EU deal (euractiv, link):

"Italy allowed 116 rescued migrants to disembark from a coastguard ship Wednesday (31 July) with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s backing after five EU countries and the Church agreed to share responsibility for looking after them."

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