News online - current lead stories
us on and
Top 20 stories - for full
contents see: Statewatch News
online or What's New:
lists all items on the website.
of euros for internal security and migration policy
22 EU Member States' plans for
internal security and migration were approved by the European
Commission yesterday, opening the door to billions of euros in
funding from the EU's current seven year budget, which runs from
2014 until 2020. The new budgets follow the EU's previous internal
security and migration budgets, which ran from 2007 until 2013
and paid for transnational databases and police operations, surveillance
equipment, and detention centres, amongst other things.
European Commission press release:
in an open and secure Europe: 1.8 billion to fund Asylum,
Migration, Integration and Security (pdf)
on foreign fighters demands better communication between police,
schools and parents; increased social media and travel controls
A new report from the UK Parliament's
Home Affairs Committee on the "foreign fighters" phenomenon
- a "vast improvement"
in "communication between the police, schools and parents";
- "social media companies"
to suspend users' accounts when "they are given evidence
that users of their services are seeking to promote violent extremism";
- "stricter controls"
on people travelling to "destinations of concern (DOCs)
such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Nigeria"; and for
- no-fly lists to "be strictly
adhered to and shared internationally."
Full report: House of Commons
Home Affairs Committee: Counter-terrorism:
foreign fighters (pdf)
UK: SPECIAL BRANCH SPIES ON MPs: Pollice
continued spying on Labour activists after their election as
MPs - Ex-minister Peter Hain says whistleblowers disclosure
of spying operations during 1990s raises questions about parliamentary
sovereignty (Guardian, link):
"Police conducted spying
operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s,
covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to
the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.....Peter
Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret
files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan
polices special branch. They include Labours current
deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter
Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw."
and See: Why
were special branch watching me even when I was an MP? Peter
Hain: Having active files on MPs who were seen as radical decades
earlier is a fundamental threat to our democracy (pdf):
"these files were still
active for at least 10 years while I was an MP certainly is and
raises fundamental questions about parliamentary sovereignty.
The same is true of my Labour MP colleagues Jack Straw, Harriet
Harman, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, Dennis
Skinner and Joan Ruddock, as well as former colleagues Tony Benn
and Bernie Grant all of us named by Peter Francis, a former
Special Demonstration Squad undercover police spy turned whistleblower."
See also: The
Wilson Doctrine (pdf): "The convention that MPs
communications should not be intercepted by police or security
services is known as the Wilson Doctrine. It is named
after the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who established
the rule in 1966"
EU-PNR: Substantial reservations expressed in:
from the Article 29 data protection Working Party to Claude moraes,
Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) with
"First, the necessity
of an EU PNR scheme still has to be justified. Precise argumentation
and evidence are still lacking in that respect. Further restrictions
should also be made to ensure that the data processing is
proportionate to the purpose pursued, in particular considering
that the report now includes intra-EU flights in the data processing...
the scope of the offences
concerned should be further reduced and the retention period
shortened and clearly justified....
the WP29 insists on the necessity
to present as soon as possible a detailed evaluation of the efficiency
of the PNR scheme. A sunset clause should also be
inserted into the directive to assist in ensuring periodic review
of the necessity of the system....
to reduce the list to the
crimes for which the use of PNR data would effectively prove
necessary for the police investigators and, in any case, to
justify, for each category of crime currently listed, that the
use of PNR data is necessary for the prevention, detection,
investigation and prosecution of these crimes....
at the very least, philosophical
belief, trade union membership, health data and sex life should
be added to the list of data on the basis of which no decision
producing adverse legal effects, such as regarding preassessment
of passengers, must be taken." [emphasis added]
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT:
European Parliament Press release: Civil
liberties MEPs make case for data protection during Washington
"A delegation from the
civil liberties committee visited Washington DC last week to
find out the latest information on issues such as data protection
and legislation on surveillance activities from their American
counterparts. The MEPs also provided updates on the EU's data
protection reform and on counter-terrorism initiatives, including
the passenger name records (PNR) proposal"
See also:Close your Facebook
account if you do not want to be spied on by the USA: EU-US data pact
skewered in court hearing (euobserver, link) Extraordinary
statement by Commission lawyer in Court of European Justice (CJEU):
"A lawyer for the European
Commission told an EU judge on Tuesday (24 March) he should close
his Facebook page if he wants to stop the US snooping on him,
in what amounts to an admission that Safe Harbour, an EU-US data
protection pact, doesnt work.
You might consider closing
your Facebook account, if you have one, European Commission
attorney Bernhard Schima told attorney-general Yves Bot at the
European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."
and search: Police 'must record vehicle stops (BBC News,
link) and Too
little progress on stop and search, says police watchdog - Many
officers lack understanding of impact on lives of young black
people, says Her Majestys Inspectorate of Constabulary
See: Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary report: Stop
and search powers 2: are the police using them effectively and
fairly? March 2015 (pdf)
EU-UK: House of Lords Select Committee report:
opt-in Protocol: implications of the Governments approach
(pdf) and See: House
of Lords recommends to change the Governements strategy
on the UKs opt-in (EASFJ, link) and also: Lords
slams UKs splendid isolation on EU justice
opt-out (euractiv, link)
UK: The Monitoring Group: Press release on behalf
of the Mark Duggan family: Independent
Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Report into the killing of
Mark Duggan: The Duggan family are no longer surprised by the
endeavours of the IPCC in the case of Mark Duggan's killing by
police. This report merely confirms their belief that the IPCC
are 'unfit for purpose' (pdf) and See: Mark
Duggan shooting: police watchdog clears officers of wrongdoing
- IPCC calls for urgent improvement in accountability, including
recording of radio communications during undercover firearms
operations (Guardian, link) and also: IPPC report: The
fatal police shooting of Mr Mark Duggan on 4 August 2011
borders? Operation AMBERLIGHT: "Overstaying" in the
EU: a problem for internal security and the need for "harmonised"
laws which are enforceable - like in JPO Mos Maiorum people will
be "apprehended" and sanctioned
to be checked at external borders in Joint Police Operation (JPO)
"Overstayers" refers to visitors,
students and others on visas and undocumented migrants
Member States to report on: "Further
procedure in Member States, and sanctions imposed"
- law enforcement agencies will "apprehend" and
The document says that: "No
personal data will be collected within the activity"
- the same claim was made by the Italian Council Presidency during:
Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Council's explanation
is "economical with the truth" which argued
that was only a data collection operation when in fact nearly
20,000 people were "apprehended": The Mos
Maiorum JPO: Final report (LIMITE doc no: 5474/15).
"Overstayers" to be checked at external borders: Joint
Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency
activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5195-15, pdf)
It is planned to take place in the period from 1-14 April
2015 or from 18 to 30 April 2015)
data privacy case opens in European court - European Court of
Justice to hear arguments arising from High Court case here last
year (Irish Times, link):
" Europes highest
court will today examine a complaint that United States technology
companies and their Dublin-based subsidiaries participate in
a global data dragnet in breach of European Union law.
In a case with far-reaching
consequences for EU-US relations, the European Court of Justice
(ECJ) will hear arguments arising from a complaint filed in Ireland
last year with the High Court, demanding the States data-protection
commissioner investigate whether Facebook was in breach of EU
law for allegedly passing European user data to US intelligence
See also: Europe
v Facebook: the beginning of the end for NSA spying on EU citizens?
(EU Law Analysis, link)
Lily, the tracking device and her fight against surveillance (Undercover Research, link):
"Recently a GPS tracking
device was found under the car of an activist in Valencia. The
activist was Lily, who is part of the group of women
suing the Metropolitan Police; she was deceived into a two-year
relationship with undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.....n
this article we provide the bits so far not covered in the English
speaking press, in a translation approved by Lily herself."
Undercover Research link): "The Undercover Research
Group comprises a small set of dedicated activist-investigators
who individually and collectively have already been diligently
researching the subject of state and corporate spying for a number
Having worked on aspects of
this topic individually for several years before joining forces,
the core group is now committed to work extensively on this project
for the coming two years. We cooperate with a larger group of
around 20 people, drawn from a broad spectrum of politically
progressive activism, such as CorporateWatch, Statewatch, Netpol
in the UK, buro Jansen & Janssen in the Netherlands, and
other activist researchers across Europe. This network of people
contributes specific knowledge or skills, donating their time
and expertise when they can."
Institute of Race Relations
for Justice (pdf link): "509 people from BAME,
refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014
in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities
or immigration detention officers have been implicated.....the
wronged will not rest the families movement, in
particular, will not go away. Their cry goes up from the streets:
there must be an end to dying for justice."
UK: National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and
the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) have today submitted
to the Home Office a damning critique of the proposed Code of
Practice which would allow remote access to any computer anywhere
in the world: Submission:: NUJ
and CIJ joint response to the interception of communications
and equipment interference: draft codes of practice (pdf)
"The NUJ and CIJ are
concerned about the implications for press freedom if the UK
intelligence and security agencies are permitted to access journalist's
computers remotely and break encryption codes (both inside and
outside the UK)..
The adoption of the new surveillance
powers in the draft codes enables the authorities to access computers
remotely. The NUJ and CIJ believe these powers should be the
subject of primary legislation and should not be introduced via
secondary legislation in a code of practice under the Regulation
of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which itself is not limited
to terrorism and serious crime but covers all crimes....
Accessing computers or other
devises allows the intelligence services to obtain vast amounts
of information. It would mean the authorities would have control
over targeted devices and access to any information stored including
encrypted data and communications. This information could include
documents, emails, diaries, contacts, photographs, internet messaging
chat logs, and the location records on mobile equipment. It would
also mean having powers to access anything typed into a device,
including login details/passwords, internet browsing histories,
other materials and communications. Draft documents and deleted
files could also be accessed. In addition, the microphone, webcam
and GPS-based locator technology could be turned on and items
stored could be altered or deleted."
Interference Code of Practice
(pdf) and also: New Code of Practice: "Equipment
Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies
direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote
access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence
requirements" or to "remove or modify software"
is authorised to spy on the world but the UK Interception
of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis,
Office to blacklist extremists to protect public sector - Theresa
May says new extremism analysis unit is compiling list of legal
but unacceptable individuals and groups to prevent another Trojan
horse scandal (Guardian, link): "A Home Office
blacklist of extremist individuals and organisations with whom
the government and public sector should not engage is being drawn
up, Theresa May has revealed. The list of legal but unacceptable
organisations is being compiled by a new Home Office extremism
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol:
To: Standing Committee on operation cooperation on internal security
(COSI) Subject: Interim SOCTA 2015: An update on Serious and
Organised Crime in the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7271-15,pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee
work of the Immigration Directorates: Calais (pdf): "The
French and UK Governments should ensure that the migrants in
Calais have access to advice on asylum, and understand that a
successful claim is a legal path to secure rights in the EU.
Every effort must be made to ensure someone who is fleeing war
or persecution, who could apply for asylum either in France or
the UK, does not decline the opportunity through a lack of information,
or the provision of misinformation by fellow migrants, traffickers
PLAN TO SET UP "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms"
between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real
deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready
to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts"
- to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North
Paper on Possible Involvement of Third Countries in Maritime
Surveillance and Search and Rescue from the Italian delegation
(Confidential Note discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs
Council on 12 March 2015, pdf)
The proposal involves the "direct
involvement of reliable third countries", namely Egypt and
Tunisia, as "Libya is unable to patrol their coasts"
and to "take them [the migrants] to their own ports [ie:
to Egypt and Tunisia]" where "competent authorities"
will carry out "international protection procedures, provide
assistance to vulnerable people and return irregular migrants
to their country of origin".
considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to
Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals
with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue
missions (Guardian, link)
plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications
- European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside
EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before
migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link): "The
interior ministries have also been discussing plans to establish
and finance refugee camps or reception centres for
migrants in North Africa and the Middle East to try to keep them
from coming to Europe as well as out of the hands of the traffickers,
and to set up European asylum-processing offices
outside the EU in the same region."
UK: SNOWDEN: Surveillance of Guardian journalists:
Police Deem Snowden Leak Investigation a State Secret (The
"British police claim
a criminal investigation they launched into journalists who have
reported on leaked documents from Edward Snowden has to be kept
a secret due to a possibility of increased threat of terrorist
the Met, says everything about
the investigations existence is a secret and too dangerous
to disclose. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request
from this reporter, the force has repeatedly refused to release
any information about the status of the investigation, how many
officers are working on it, or how much taxpayer money has been
spent on it. The Met wrote in its response:
"to confirm or deny whether
we hold any information concerning any current or previous investigations
into the alleged actions of Edward Snowden could potentially
be misused proving detrimental to national security.""
of the Met's refusal to respond to FOI request (pdf)
WHISTLEBLOWERS: Council of Europe: Parliamentary
Assembly: Calls for Snowden to return home and be allowed
a public interest defence:
"The Assembly calls
on... the United States of America to allow Mr. Snowden to return
without fear of criminal prosecution under conditions that would
not allow him to raise the public interest defence.".
"Council of Europe member
states and the EU should enact whistleblower protection laws
also covering employees of national security or intelligence
services and of private firms working in this field, the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs
and Human Rights concluded today...
he Committee also stressed
the need to grant asylum, if possible under national law, to
whistleblowers threatened by retaliation in their home countries
provided their disclosures qualify for protection under the principles
advocated by the Assembly."
See Report adopted: Improving
the Protection of Whistleblowers (pdf) and Call
for protection of whistleblowers in national security-related
UK: "BLACKLISTING" CASE: This
may be the law, but its not justice blacklisted
worker loses court case on technicality (Union Solidarity
"Dave Smith, an engineer
and UCATT safety rep, was forced to leave the construction industry
after he was placed on the Consulting Association blacklist for
complaining about unpaid wages and raising concerns about safety
issues such as asbestos and overflowing toilets on building sites
under the control of different Carillion Group companies in the
1990s. But yesterday he lost his test case in the Court of Appeal
after judges ruled he was not protected by UK employment law
because was on site via an employment agency and not directly
by the company that blacklisted him.
He said: What is the
point of employment law or the Human Rights Act? Even with mountains
of documentary evidence and an admission from the company that
they blacklisted me because I was a trade union member who had
raised safety concerns, I still cannot win. This might be the
law, but it is not justice."
of the Court of Appeal ruling (pdf)
considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to
Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals
with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue
missions (Guardian, link):
"The EU is considering
plans to outsource its patrols of the Mediterranean to countries
such as Egypt and Tunisia in order to try to reduce the high
numbers of desperate illegal migrants risking their lives to
reach European shores.
Under the proposals tabled
confidentially by the Italian government, the EU would cut deals
with North African countries to fund and train their navies in
search-and-rescue missions for the tens of thousands of people
being trafficked from Libya to Italy. Once rescued, the migrants
would be taken to the ports of the country saving them or sent
back to their countries of origin."
This new possibility offered to the data controller opens serious
concerns in the data protection community. The Working Party
considers that this situation would render one of the fundamental
principles of the data protection framework, the purpose limitation
principle, meaningless and void. The principle is enshrined in
Article 8(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU."
GREECE: European Council for Refugees and Exiles
in a name? The reality of First Reception at Evros:
AIDA fact-finding visit to Greece (pdf) and see: Press
summary (link): "The ECRE delegation visited
Evros between 1 and 5 December 2014. The visit was organised
in close collaboration with the Greek Council for Refugees and
as part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project"
responses to questions on right-wing extremism
Europol's press office has finally
responded to questions from Statewatch on the agency's
work relating to right-wing extremism in Europe. The questions
were submitted to the agency in January for an article that was
published last month. The answers were provided nearly two months
later and are reproduced here.
EU: European Parliament Study: The
impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States
of the EU Comparative analysis (218 pages, pdf): "this
study presents a synthesis of studies conducted in seven Member
States regarding the impact of financial and economic crises,
and austerity measures imposed in response thereto, on fundamental
rights of individuals. The Member States studied are: Belgium,
Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal" See:
Country Studies: Cyprus
(link) and Portugal
For the benefit of those interested in the details of these developments,
the following analysis presents a consolidated text of the five
pieces of the proposed Regulation which the Council has agreed
to date, including the two parts just agreed in March 2015. This
also includes the parts of the preamble which have already been
agreed. I have left intact the footnotes appearing in the agreed
texts, which set out Member States comments".
See: Resources for researchers:
Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
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 Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
The Statewatch website
Since its launch this website
has had 14,874,966 user sessions and 109,601,588 "hits"
In the year
2014 there were: 817,219
users sessions and 10,088,230 hits
Join Statewatch regular e-mail
list for new stories: Join Statewatch news e-mail list
database now holds more than 32,000 records (news,
features, analyses and documentation).
If you use this site regularly,
you are encouraged to make a donation
to Statewatch to support future research.
Statewatch is a non-profitmaking
voluntary group founded in 1991, see: About
Contributions to News online
and bulletin are welcomed, please
get in touch.
website is hosted by the Phone Co-op:
Friends of Statewatch
Statewatch does not have a corporate
view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are
those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content
of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute
Statewatch is registered under
the Data Protection Act. Information supplied will be not be
passed to third parties. Registered UK charity number: 1154784.
Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name:
The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office:
10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE.
ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair
dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on
our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed
only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the
relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing
Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms
and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.