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    ISSN 1756-851X
    12 December 2018

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Talk by Aidan White (President of the Ethical Journalism Network) at the launch of Statewatch's Library & Archive on the value of preserving written history

At the launch of Statewatch's Library & Archive on Thursday 22 November 2018 Aidan emphasised the importance of preserving history in its original written form - which cannot be digitally manipulated into fake news and views. And to ensure accountability so that past struggles can inform the present and the future. For as Orwell wrote in 1984:

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”.

Aidan's talk (video) and see also: Invitation the launch

IRELAND: High Court strikes down Ireland's data retention regime

The Irish High Court has ruled that Irish law on the retention of telecommunications data contravenes EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-10.12.18) including:

  • UK: Stansted 15: Activists who stopped deportation flight found guilty of 'endangering' airport
  • Appeal by African civil society organisations to their states: ‘’Let us move in our continent’’
  • Syrian aid worker who swam refugees to safety freed from Greek jail

FRANCE: Fourth weekend of Yellow Vests protests: more than 1700 arrested and over 1200 held in custody

More than 1700 people were arrested across France at the weekend following the fourth round of 'Yellow Vests' protests against the government of Emmanuel Macron. Some 400 people were also arrested in Belgium during a "copycat" demonstration, according to RFI.

Travel surveillance: USA calls for global PNR standard and seeks to export profiling software

The USA is pushing for the adoption of an international standard on Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in order to "enhance the global security community’s ability to identify risks, detect and deter terrorism," while the country's Department of Homeland Security is promoting free passenger screening software that should “make real-time prediction[s] with a reasonable response time” of less than a second.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6-7 December 2018, Brussels

See Press release, 6-7 December, Final (pdf)

Main "B" Pts Agenda (for discussion), "A" Pts legislative (for adoption without discussion) and "A" Pts non-legislative (for adoption without discussion).

Amongst documents to be discussed are: Data retention- State of play (LIMITE doc no: 14319-18, pdf) and Reform of the Common European Asylum System and Resettlement (LIMITE doc no: 14597-18, pdf)

EU to process confidential security information“ with Libyan Coast Guard (link)

"The EU Border Agency has massively strengthened its surveillance capabilities. To make better use of this information, it will now be passed to the Libyan Coast Guard. This is legally impossible, now Frontex is pressing for the relevant regulations to be renewed. The navy in Libya, however, is using a Gmail address."

GCHQ Propose A 'Going Dark' Workaround That Creates The Same User Trust Problem Encryption Backdoors Do (TechDirt, link):

"The idea (there's really only one presented here) isn't as horrible as others suggested by law enforcement and intelligence officials. But that doesn't mean it's a good one."

See the article by GCHQ staff: Principles for a More Informed Exceptional Access Debate (Lawfare, link)

SPAIN: Far-right entry into Andalucia's regional parliament welcomed by conservative parties

Vox, a far-right political party, has won 12 seats in Andalucia's regional parliament, prompting the leader of Spain's Popular Party (PP) - the country's chief conservative formation - to say that a potential alliance presents "an enormous opportunity" that he "would not let pass".

BREXIT: Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona proposes that the Court of Justice should declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU

"That possibility continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.11-3.12.18) including:

  • Sea Rescue: A trade union statement
  • EP lawyers back EU plans for migrant centres in Africa
  • CEAS: State of play: International protection, Resettlement, Reception and Return

European Council meeting, 13-14 December 2018: Draft guidelines for conclusions (CO EUR-PREP 50, LIMITE, 26 November 2018, pdf) covering multiannual financial framework (MFF), single market, migration, disinformation, external relations, racism and xenophobia, citizens' dialogues and strategic agenda.

Statewatch Analysis: 'More police’ is not a synonym for ‘more security’ (pdf) by Andreu Merino. Originally published by NacióDigital:

"In May next year the mayoral elections for the city of Barcelona will take place. Candidates for the position have recently intensified their discourse over the perception of insecurity in the city, yet many experts recommend alternative solutions to simply increasing police presence in public places."

EU:  Council: Interoperability "State of play": Planned centralised "Big Brother" database coming your way by 2023

The Council Presidency has produced a Note on: Interoperability: state of play (LIMITE doc no: 14193-18, pdf) which says that: "The Presidency and the co-rapporteurs [of the European Parliament] are committed to reaching a political agreement on this file by the end of December." [emphasis added throughout]

If this objective is achieved: "it would mean that the entry into operations of the four interoperability components (European Search Portal, shared Biometric Matching Service, Common Identity Repository and Multiple Identity Detector) could be achieved by 2023 if the delegated acts and implementing acts included in the interoperability file are all adopted by 2020."

EU greenlights new wave of military projects, secret agents training (euractiv, link):

"Foreign and defence ministers on Monday (19 November) agreed on 17 new armaments and military projects within the PESCO framework, including the development of new weapons systems and the establishment of a training facility for secret agents.

The Joint EU intelligence school will be led by Greece and based in Cyprus and is meant to train intelligence agency staff from around the EU in cooperation with national security agencies and NATO.

According to the list of new projects (pdf link)

UK draft withdrawal agreement - documentation

The UK government has published its proposed draft withdrawal agreement for leaving the EU.

EU: Rebooted Schengen Information System rules adopted by Council

The Council of the EU has adopted three new regulations that will extend the scale and scope of the Schengen Information System II (SIS II). The rules cover the use of the system for police and judicial cooperation; border checks; and "for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals".

UK: ICO finds Metropolitan Police Service’s Gangs Matrix breached data protection laws (Information Commissioner's Office, link):

"An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) use of the Gangs Matrix led to multiple and serious breaches of data protection laws."

EU: ENAAT: (European Network Against Arms Trade): Joint statement The risks of the new EU Defence Fund (pdf): signed by 42 NGOs including Statewatch:

"To conclude, there could be potential benefits from the pooling together military research and development, such as savings from reducing duplication. However, the proposal as it currently stands clearly says it is not substituting EU for national funding and encourages EU Member States to continue increasing their own spending.(...)

In this remembrance period of the First World War, and of the terrible effects of what were disruptitive technologies at that titime, like chemical gas and tanks, we urge the media and EU decision-makers alike to ask whether the establishment of the European Defence Fund is a good way to achieve peace and security."

Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

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