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    ISSN 1756-851X
    19 August 2019
 

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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"."

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."

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."

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

  • Greece’s New Government Is Cracking Down on Anarchists, Drug Dealers and Refugees
  • Italian law increases penalties related to protests and criminalises NGOs’ rescue of migrants at sea
  • EU border force Frontex accused of allowing abuse of migrants

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."

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

"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)."

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."

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

  • Italy and Malta want compulsory relocation mechanism
  • UK Home Office rejects demands for a time limit on migrant detention
  • European Commission takes Hungary to court over laws criminalising support for asylum-seekers

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."

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."

“Video lie detector” for travelers: Patrick Breyer sues EU for keeping the iBorderCtrl project secret (.patrick-breyer.de, linnk):

"The EU is funding the development of a “video lie detector” to detect deception by immigrants through video recordings of their faces. Because the EU is keeping information on this scientifically highly controversial project secret, civil liberties activist and Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament, Dr. Patrick Breyer, has filed a complaint with the EU Court of Justice."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7-25-7.19)

EU coalition of the willing agrees new migrant ‘solidarity mechanism’ (euractiv, link):

"Fourteen member countries of the European Union have agreed to a new “solidarity mechanism” proposed by Germany and France to allocate migrants across the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (22 July). in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signalled a clear intention to move forward with a new system. (...)

Italy’s Interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting."

See: Full-text: Réunion informelle sur les migrations en Méditerranée (Paris, 22 juillet 2019): Chair’s summary (pdf)

EU plans for Artificial Intelligence (AI): Get ready to meet you friendly "digital assistant"

- "
a digital assistant should be required to be able to explain its reasoning, and undergo an ethical audit."

The Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in July under the Finnish Council Presidency discussed a report on: Artificial Intelligence and law enforcement (pdf)

EU PNR extended to internal flights and only a matter of time before PNR is extended to sea, rail and road traffic too

The Council of the European Union: Monitoring the implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/681 on use of passenger name record (PNR data - State of Play and Way Forward (LIMITE doc no: 6300-19, pdf).

European Union plans borderless query of facial images (link):

"In the Prüm Treaty, the police search for biometric data among EU Member States is significantly simplified. Under Austria’s leadership, the extension is now being examined for facial recognition. A corresponding Council decision could already be taken next year.

The European Union wants to make it much easier for the police to cross-check biometric data. This concerns mugshots or photographs that are stored in police databases after identification by the police."

EU: Disembarkation scheme - Member States asked to agree to allow landings by "private rescue vessels in the closest safe harbour"

A draft Note on: Commitments by Member States for predictable temporary disembarkation scheme (pdf) agrees to set up:

"a more predictable and efficient temporary mechanism in order to ensure swift and dignified disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea by private vessels in closest safe harbour."

This is a France-Germany proposal which is not supported by Italy

Human Rights Watch letter to Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (HRW, link):

"I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to ask you to order both an investigation into unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials and a halt to such actions.

In an interview with Swiss television SRF on July 9, you acknowledged unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials to Bosnia Herzegovina and admitted that in some instances force is used. This contradicts previous denials by Croatian officials, but is consistent with the findings of Human Rights Watch, the UN Refugee Agency, and other organizations."

Green New Deal – panacea or problem? (IRR News, link):

"As the notion of a Green New Deal rapidly spreads as an answer to capitalism in US and UK media and political circles, our lead article in July 2019 asks if Green capitalism can propose a real solution to the ecological crisis and the human crises of poverty, austerity, immigration and racism.

Green capitalism and the large scale investment in environmental technologies ‘neither breaks with neoliberalism, nor can potentially reverse environmental disaster’, argues Jerry Harris, an authority on global capitalism, in his lead article on ‘The future of globalisation’."

Informal Justice & Home Affairs meeting , Finnish Council Presidency: Including: AI and law enforcement, migration and internal security plus documentation

Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (Finnish Council Presidency, link);

"On Thursday 18 July, the home affairs ministers will discuss in their working sessions the future of EU internal security and migration policy. During the working lunch, they will address artificial intelligence. In the afternoon, the ministers will hold a political debate based on a fictitious hybrid threat scenario with the aim of highlighting hybrid threats from the internal security angle." [emphasis added]

Greek Hotspots: Deaths Not to Be Forgotten (Pro Asyl, link):

"In an extensive policy paper, the team of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) in Greece has observed that in numerous cases of refugee deaths at the hotspots on Greek islands, the Greek authorities have undertaken little or no investigation, turning the hotspots into an institutional gray zone."

Greek Council for Refugees: To the Supreme Court Prosecutor: Complaint on Push-Back Incidents in the Region of Evros during the months of April - June 2019 (pdf):

"Complaints during the past two years

For the past two years, complaints on push-backs from the region of Evros have continuously been brought to our attention. We are aware that, at least, three such complaints have come to the prosecuting authorities’ knowledge
(...)

Incidents against Turkish citizens during the past 2 months: At least from 27-4-2019 and onwards, GCR has received continuous complaints on push-backs perpetrated against primarily Turkish nationals, cited."

EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs meeting focuses on "battlefield information and PNR", migration and border policy, and access to electronic evidence

Outcome of proceedings of the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting (Bucharest, 19 June 2019) (LIMITE doc no: 10430-19, pdf)


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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