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    ISSN 1756-851X
    19 September 2014
 

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UK: Newspaper Society says police use of RIPA to spy on journalists a 'fundamental attack on press freedom' (Press Gazette, link):

"The Met, and other public authorities, have so far refused to reveal how many more times RIPA has been used to expose lawful journalistic sources. A Newspaper Society spokesman said: “The protection of confidential sources is a vital component of public interest journalism. Journalists rely upon being able to guarantee whistleblowers’ anonymity in order to expose wrongdoing. "Anything that threatens this guarantee – such as use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act by public authorities to identify journalists’ confidential sources – constitutes a fundamental attack on press freedom and must be opposed.” The Newspaper Society is a trade body representing around 1,000 local newspapers in the UK."

See:
Plebgate: Met obtained phone records of Sun political editor without consent (Guardian, link), Met refuses to disclose number of times it obtained journalist phone records - Scotland Yard investigating police mole in Plebgate saga seized records of Sun political editor without consent (Guardian, link) And see: Operation Alice: Closing Report (pdf) and also: Save Our Sources petition (link) and Save Our Sources articles (link)

EU: SIS II: Council of the European Union: List of competent authorities which are authorised to search directly the data contained in the second generation Schengen Information System pursuant to Article 31(8) of Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 46(8) of Council Decision 2007/533/JHA on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (144 pages. pdf)

There are a total of 226 national authorities with varying levels of access to the SIS listed in the document, a minor increase on the 222 listed in last year's list (pdf) Some, such as vehicle registration authorities, may be permitted only to search for vehicles; others may have access to all categories of information. The document lists the levels of access provided to each authority. As well as national authorities, EU agencies Europol (police cooperation) and Eurojust (judicial cooperation) can also access the system. See: Schengen Information System: 41,000 people subject to "discreet surveillance or specific checks"

However, we do not know how many access terminals there are. In 2005 "there are at least a staggering 125,000 access points to the SIS among the 15 participating states – so many that EU officials can only estimate." See: SIS II: fait accompli? Construction of EU ’s Big Brother database underway By 2010: The Schengen Information System (SIS) has "over half a million terminals located in the security services of the Member States" (Statewatch database). How many are there now?

CoE: Committee of Ministers to examine implementation of human rights judgments (link): "The cases proposed for more detailed examination concern Albania, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom." One of the two UK cases is the: "Blanket ban on voting imposed automatically on the applicants due to their status as a convicted offenders detained in prison."

USA: Is This a New War on Terror? Twelve counterterrorism thinkers weigh in on how we should we classify the “light-footprint” president’s new military campaign (politico.com, link)

EU: European Parliament Study: European Citizens’ Initiative – First lessons of implementation (82 pages, pdf):

"Upon request of the AFCO and PETI Committees, this study identifies difficulties faced by organisers when setting up and running a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It analyses possible solutions and proposes recommendations to improve the ECI as an effective tool for participatory democracy in the EU. The aim is to propose measures to ensure a straightforward ECI process with less costs and burdens for EU citizens. The ultimate goal is to define concrete actions to empower EU citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of Europe."

UK-ECHR: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Bureau files ECHR case challenging UK government over surveillance of journalists’ communications (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, link) :

"The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is asking a European court to rule on whether UK legislation properly protects journalists’ sources and communications from government scrutiny and mass surveillance. The Bureau’s application was filed with the European Court of Human Rights on Friday. If the court rules in favour of the application it will force the UK government to review regulation around the mass collection of communications data." See also: Statewatch Analysis: GCHQ is authorised to “spy on the world” but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is “lawful”

TFTP-EU-USA: European Commission: Report: On the joint review of the implementation of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (COM 513-14, pdf) and SWD 264-14 (pdf)

EU: European Commission: 5th Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2013) (COM 288-14, pdf) and Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 5th Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2013) (141 pages, SWD 165-14, pdf)

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): "EU Data Protection Law: The Review of Directive 95/46/EC and the Proposed General Data Protection Regulation": Peter Hustinx* (52 pages, pdf): "data protection was about the rights and interests of individuals and - in spite of the terminology used - not mainly about the data relating to those individuals."

UK-RENDITION:: Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC): Further Inquiry into the role of the UK Government and Security and Intelligence Agencies in relation to detainee treatment and rendition: Call for Evidence (pdf)

See Sir Peter Gibson: Report of the Detainee Inquiry (19 December, pdf) and Statewatch Observatory on Rendition

FINFISHER SURVEILLANCE: Today, 15 September 2014, WikiLeaks releases previously unseen copies of weaponised German surveillance malware: "used by intelligence agencies around the world to spy on journalists, political dissidents and others. FinFisher (formerly part of the UK based Gamma Group International until late 2013) is a German company that produces and sells computer intrusion systems, software exploits and remote monitoring systems that are capable of intercepting communications and data from OS X, Windows and Linux computers as well as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices."

Europe's Deadly Borders: An Inside Look at EU's Shameful Immigration Policy (Spiegel Online, link): "Along the frontiers between Spain and Morocco, Greece and Turkey and Hungary and Serbia, the EU is deploying brutal methods to keep out undesired refugees. Many risk everything for a future in Europe and their odysseys too often end in death." See also: Statewatch Journal: Borders, Death and Resistance

Statewatch Essay collection: The EU and Uncle Sam

TTIP and TiSA: big pressure to trade away privacy by Ralf Bendrath
Piecing together the puzzle: making US torturers in Europe accountable by Andreas Schüller and Morenike Fajana
State secrets in the Abu Omar case: the transatlantic relationship undermines the rule of law in cases involving human rights abuses by intelligence services by Yasha Maccanico
"Call it intercontinental collaboration": radicalisation, violent extremism and fusion centres by Chris Jones

European Parliament Study: Humanitarian Visas: Option or Obligation? (pdf):

"Since third-country nationals seeking protection currently have no EU-wide legal channels for entering EU territory and triggering protection mechanisms under the Common European Asylum System, many embark on hazardous journeys, with concomitant risks and loss of human life. The absence of ‘protection-sensitive’ mechanisms for accessing EU territory, against a background of EU extraterritorial border/migration management and control, undermines Member States' refugee and human rights obligations. Humanitarian visas may offer a remedy by enabling third-country nationals to apply in situ for entry to EU territory on humanitarian grounds and thereby ensuring that Member States meet their international obligations."

EU: The new Commission: first thoughts on Justice and Home Affairs issues (EU Law Analysis, link) And see Commission: Press release (pdf) And: The new Juncker Commission: an “Echternach procession” for the freedom security and justice agenda? (ASFJ, link)

See "Mission" letters:

• Home Affairs : Dimitris Avramopoulos: Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs (pdf) includes internal and now has been given "security research" too. This Commissioner will "contribute to projects steered and coordinated" by the Vice-President in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as to the work of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President and to the former for all other matters.

• Justice: Vìra Jourová: Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality (pdf)

• Vice-President: Frans Timmermans: First Vice-President, in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (pdf)

• Federica Mogherini: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (pdf)

See also: Mission letters for all Commissioners (link)

USA: Report by the Oxford Research Group: US Special Operations Command contracting: Data-Mining the public record (pdf) Excellent report:

"This report shows how corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects of special operations activities: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners and translating captured material and managing the flow of information from populations to the US military presence and back again."

EU decision-making becomes a little more open: access to background documents drafted by consultants (EU Law Analysis, link): "The Court ruled in favour of access to background documents for EU decision-making drawn up by consultants, and so has significantly increased access to information on EU decision-making process." and see: Judgment: Full-text (pdf)

EU-CJEU: European Court of Justice: Member States are obliged to admit to their territory third-country nationals who wish to stay for more than three months for study purposes, where they meet the conditions for admission exhaustively listed by EU law - They are therefore prohibited from introducing additional conditions for admission (Press release, pdf) and Advocate-General Opinion: Full-text (pdf)

EU: Schengen Information System: 41,000 people subject to "discreet surveillance or specific checks"

The number of people listed in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for "discreet surveillance or specific checks" by European law enforcement authorities reached 41,097 at the end of December 2013, an increase of nearly 128% over the last decade.

ECHR: FIVE EYES: SURVEILLANCE: Privacy International asks Europe's human rights court for details about Five Eyes spy pact (link)::

"Privacy International has filed a legal challenge in Europe's top human rights court demanding the release of secret documents detailing the spying agreements between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The challenge comes only days after it was revealed that the National Security Agency, with its foreign intelligence partners, uses a Google-like search to delve into the private lives of US citizens and others around the world." See: PI submission to ECHR (pdf)

EXCLUSIVE: German Companies Are Selling Unlicensed Surveillance Technologies to Human Rights Violators – and Making Millions (Global Voice, link):

"From Mexico to Mozambique to Pakistan and beyond, there is now ample evidence that governments across the globe are using mass surveillance technologies such as FinFisher to spy on their citizens. This has driven researchers and advocates like ourselves to consider the source: Who makes these technologies? And who benefits from their sales?

Germany is a major exporter of these technologies, and as digital communications privacy has become a red-hot topic for the German public, the country has become an ever-more central actor in this field."

EU: Smart borders: "no sufficient evidence" to justify law enforcement access to proposed Entry/Exit System travel database

The European Commission has told EU Member States "no sufficient evidence has been gathered so far" that would justify providing access for law enforcement authorities to the proposed Entry/Exit System, which would see fingerprints and other data collected from all non-EU nationals entering EU territory.

See: Working Party on Frontiers: Summary of discussions (12034/14, 28 July 2014, pdf): As well as information on the situation with the 'smart borders package', there was a discussion on a request from the United States to set up a "border preclearanace facility" at Schipol airport in Amsterdam.


Top reports and services 2004-2014

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

SECILE Project: Taking stock of EU Counter-terrorism policy and review mechanisms: Summary of Statewatch’s findings for SECILE project (pdf)
-
Catalogue of EU Counter-Terrorism Measures Adopted since 11 September 2001 (pdf) by Ben Hayes & Chris Jones
-
Report on how the EU assesses the impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of its counterterrorism laws (pdf) by Ben Hayes & Chris Jones
-
Data Retention in Europe: A Case Study (pdf) by Chris Jones & Ben Hayes :

EU: 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."

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

TNI - Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society

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

EU: Major report from Statewatch and the Transnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf): 700,000+ copies downloaded. Executive Summary (pdf) and NeoConOpticon blog

SPECIAL STATEWATCH REPORT: The Shape of Things to Come - the EU Future Group (Version.1.3) by Tony Bunyan: 67,134+ copies downloaded. The report calls for a “meaningful and wide-ranging debate” before it is “too late” for privacy and civil liberties. In the words of the EU Council presidency: "Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts." See also ongoing: Statewatch Observatory: The Stockhom Programme

See: Tony Bunyan's column in the Guardian: View from the EU

Statewatch publication: Border wars and asylum crimes by Frances Webber (38 pages, pdf): "When the pamphlet ‘Crimes of Arrival’ was written, in 1995, the title was a metaphor for the way the British government, in common with other European governments, treated migrants and especially, asylum seekers. Now, a decade on, that title describes a literal truth.... There is a frightening continuity between the treatment of asylum claimants and that of terrorist suspects. In the name of the defence of our way of life and our enlightenment values from attack by terrorists or by poor migrants, that way of life is being destroyed by creeping authoritarianism, and those values – amongst which the most important is the universality of human rights – betrayed." See also: Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe (12 pages, 1995, pdf). To order hard-copy see: Statewatch Publications

EU: Statewatch Report: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complex by Ben Hayes (pdf, April 2006). The European Union is preparing to spend hundreds of million on new research into surveillance and control technologies, according to Arming Big Brother, a new report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch. Press release (English) Press release (Spanish, link) Copy of full report (English, pdf) Copy of full report (Spanish, pdf) Hard copies of Arming Big Brother can be obtained from: The Transnational Institute, please send an e-mail to: wilbert@tni.org with your request.

Europe: A collection of "Essays in defence of civil liberties and democracy" was published in 2005

Global surveillance: Global coalition launch report and international surveillance campaign: Statewatch, with partner organisations the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Focus on the Global South, Friends Committee (US) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Canada) today publishes an in-depth report: "The emergence of a global infrastructure for registration and surveillance" (20 April, 2005).

Statewatch report: Journalism, civil liberties and the war on terrorism (full-report/request printed copy) - Special report by the International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch including an analysis of current policy developments as well as a survey of 20 selected countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin Amercia, the Middle East and the USA (published World press freedom day, 1 May 2005)

Statewatch "Scoreboard" on EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf) agreed in the wake of the Madrid bombings. Our analysis shows that 27 out of the 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism - they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Analysis in Spanish (March 2004)


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