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    ISSN 1756-851X
    16 April 2014
 

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Top 20 stories - for full contents see: Statewatch News online or What's New: lists all items on the website.

USA-NSA: DATA SURVEILLANCE: HEARTBLEED: NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years (Bloomberg, link) and Heartbleed hacks hit Mumsnet and Canada's tax agency (BBC News, link) also: Parenting website Mumsnet hit by Heartbleed hacking bug - Mumsnet says data of all 1.5m members may be compromised as co-founder admits message was posted using her own password (Guardian, link)

EU: POST-STOCKHOLM JHA PROGRAMME: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: Strategic guidelines for the EU’s next Justice and Home Affairs programme: steady as she goes (pdf)

EU: European Commission: 2013 Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (COM 224-14, pdf) and see: Staff Working Document - 1 of 2 (SWD 141-14, pdf) and Staff Working Document - 2 of 2 (SWD 141-14, pdf)

UNHCR: Mediterranean crossings rise in first months of 2014 – many fleeing war and persecution (link):

"UNHCR estimates some 6,000 people have been rescued by the Italian Navy from over forty overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean off the shores of Sicily and Calabria in the past four days. They have disembarked in the ports of Augusta, Catania, Porto Empedocle, Messina and Pozzallo in Sicily and Roccella Jonica in Calabria. Large numbers of women and children, including newborns and unaccompanied children, were amongst those rescued. They had set off from Zwara in Libya, and many were fleeing violence, conflict and persecution. Main countries of origin include Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali and Senegal."

AFRICA: Migreurop: 4th EU-Africa summit – EU-Africa Migration policies: the deadly obliviousness of heads of state (link) and in French (link)

"On both shores of the Mediterranean, a securitarian view of migrations is shared. The externalisation of border management, the strengthening of surveillance systems through Frontex and Eurosur, as well as the instrumental use of public development aid to try to keep populations in their home countries, remain the key means for its implementation."

Background, official press release: Fourth EU-Africa Summit, 2-3 April 2014, Brussels: EU-Africa Declaration on migration and mobility (pdf)

EU: European Commission: New visa package:

A Smarter Visa Policy for Economic Growth (COM 165-14, pdf) and Accompanying SWD (SWD 101-14, pdf)
 Proposal for Regulation: Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) COM 164-14, (pdf) and Accompanying SWD (SWD 67-14, pdf)
Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (COM 163-14, pdf) and Annexes (pdf)
Impact Assessment (84 pages, pdf)

NETHERLANDS: Meijers Committee:
Bill tabled by André Bosman (VVD) to regulate the right of Dutch nationals from Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten to settle in the Netherlands (pdf):

"the Committee considers that a bill which draws a direct distinction between Dutch nationals on the basis of their decent and which deprives Antillean Dutch of certain rights which European Dutch do enjoy, is incompatible with the international obligations of the Netherlands, does not contribute to a solution for the problems experienced and may in itself cause new problems with the integration of Dutch nationals of immigrant origin."

USA-CIA: Senate Intelligence Committee Summary of CIA Torture (2 pages, pdf): Including

- The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.
- The CIA manipulated the media by coordinating the release of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agency's enhanced
interrogation techniques.

Update: Spain: Detention centre medical staff to be charged for Samba Martine's death: On 10 April 2014, Cadena Ser radio station reported that six members of the medical staff of the company that runs the medical service in Madrid's detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros) in the Aluche neighbourhood will be charged in relation to the death of a Congolese woman, Samba Martine, on 19 December 2011 after spending 38 days in detention.

Italy: Appeal for the liberation of bodies and of political dissent: The "Effimera" discussion list has issued an appeal that is open to signatures concerning the intimidation and repression deployed against social movement in Europe, with particular reference to four young "NO TAV" activists who are currently subjected to imprisonment in a regime of isolation.

ITALY: Ongoing calls for the closure of immigration detention centres : On 15 February 2014 in Rome there was a large demonstration calling for the closure of the city's Ponte Galeria migrant detention centre and Italy's other identification and expulsion centres (CIEs, centri di identificazione ed espulsione). The demonstration, called by Rome's movements for housing rights and the city's network of anti-racist associations, was made up of some 5,000 people and marched from Parco Leonardo to the Ponte Galeria CIE, shouting slogans in different languages.

EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: European Parliament: Legal Service Opinion on the ECJ judgment (pdf) and see: Swedish ISP deletes all retained customer data in wake of EU court ruling (PC World, link) and: Finland must revise its data protection laws (Helsinki Times, link)  Also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Press Statement: The CJEU rules that Data Retention Directive is invalid (pdf): "The judgment also means that the EU should take a firm position in discussions with third countries, particularly the U.S.A. on the access and use of communications data of EU residents."

UK: Police officers could face criminal charges over Sean Rigg inquest (Guardian, Local, link): "Two police officers could face criminal charges over evidence given at the inquest into the death of musician Sean Rigg, a watchdog announced today." See: Analysis: Police force “more than minimally” contributed to Sean Rigg’s death (pdf) by Trevor Hemmings

USA-CIA-UK: Revealed: Senate report contains new details on CIA black sites (aljazeera, link):

"The Senate report, according to Al Jazeera’s sources, says that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States. The classified CIA documents say the black site arrangement at Diego Garcia was made with the “full cooperation” of the British government. That would confirm long-standing claims by human rights investigators and journalists, whose allegations - based on flight logs and unnamed government sources — have routinely been denied by the CIA." And see: Document (pdf)

EU: Claiming asylum after interception is "abuse" of procedure, claims joint police operation report

A formal report produced by the Lithuanian Council Presidency argues that migrants who submit applications for international protection after they have been "intercepted" (apprehended) by national authorities are abusing the asylum procedure.

A large-scale joint police operation, codenamed PERKUNAS , was organised by the Lithuanian Presidency and carried out in September 2013. It aimed at "identifying the link between illegal EU external border crossings and secondary movements of irregular migrants within the EU and the Schengen Area," and the final report said that:

"Considering that the largest proportion (72.94%) of irregular migrants submitted applications for international protection after interception, this could be assessed as a definite quantitative indication of abuse of asylum procedure."

UK:The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism: Pursue • Prevent • Protect • Prepare: Home Office publish: CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism Annual Report (pdf) and Statement by Home Secretary (link). See: Taking stock of EU Counter-terrorism policy and review mechanisms: Summary of Statewatch’s findings for SECILE project (pdf)

EU: PASSENGER NAME RECORD: Sophie in 't Veld MEP: Letter to Commission and Council (pdf) Poses seven unresolved questions concerning PNR.

Hungary breaches EU data protection law (European Voice, link): "Hungary's conservative government breached European Union law when it sacked the country's data protection officer in 2011, the EU's highest court ruled today (8 April). The European Court of Justice held that allowing the officers of supervisory authorities to serve a full term in office is an integral part of ensuring the independence of those bodies." See Full-text of judgment (pdf)

USA-EU: DATA SURVEILLANCE: US fires warning shot over Europe’s plans for protectionist ‘Schengen cloud’ (Diginomica, link): "But this idea has been shot down in flames by the US Trade Representative in its latest annual report where it states: "Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a ‘Schengen cloud’ by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them." The USTR report makes clear that the US government regards the ‘Schengen cloud’ argument as a front for naked protectionism by the EU"

ECJ-DATA RETENTION JUDGMENT: European Court of Justice: The Court of Justice declares the Data Retention Directive to be invalid (Press release, pdf) and Judgment (pdf): "It entails a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, without that interference being limited to what is strictly necessary" See Digital Rights Ireland (link) and:

The data retention judgment: The CJEU prohibits mass surveillance (EU Law Analysis, link): "The Court’s judgment can be seen in the broader context of continued revelations about mass surveillance. Its reference to the retention of data by third States is a thinly-disguised allusion to the spying scandals emanating from the United States. It also responds, sotto voce, to the very great concerns of national constitutional courts about this Directive, discussed in detail in Chris Jones’ post on this issue.

More broadly, the CJEU has seized the chance to give an ‘iconic’ judgment on the protection of human rights in the EU legal order. Time will deal whether the Digital Rights judgment is seen as the EU’s equivalent of classic civil rights judgments of the US Supreme Court, on the desegregation of schools (Brown) or criminal suspects’ rights (Miranda). If the Charter ultimately contributes to the development of a ‘constitutional patriotism’ in the European Union, this judgment will be one of its foundations." See also Chris Jones’ post : National legal challenges to the Data Retention Directive (link) and What does the death of the EU data directive mean? (euobserver link) .and Commission 2011 evaluation (pdf)

ECJ-DATA RETENTION JUDGMENT: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): The CJEU rules that Data Retention Directive is invalid (Press statement, pdf): "We anticipate that the Commission, taking into account the Court's judgment will now reflect on the need for a new Directive, which will also prevent member states from keeping or imposing the same legal obligations nationally as laid out in the now invalid Data Retention Directive.

The judgment also means that the EU should take a firm position in discussions with third countries, particularly the U.S.A. on the access and use of communications data of EU residents."

EU: CIVIL DRONES: European Commission: European Commission calls for tough standards to regulate civil drones (Press release, pdf) and Communication: A new era for aviation: Opening the aviation market to the civil use of remotely piloted aircraft systems in a safe and sustainable manner (pdf) See also: Statewatch/TNI report: Eurodrones, Inc. by Ben Hayes, Chris Jones & Eric Töpfer: Full report (pdf)

COE: USA-NSA-DATA SURVEILLANCE: Parliamentary Assembly: Podcast: Edward Snowden’s testimony to Parliamentary Assembly hearing on mass state surveillance (link) and Video (link) And see: Edward Snowden: US government spied on human rights workers - Whistleblower tells Council of Europe NSA deliberately snooped on groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (Guardian, link) See Statewatch Observatory (June 2013 - ongoing): EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance

EU: SECRET TRILOGUES MEETINGS: Secret EU lawmaking: the triumph of the trilogue (euobserver, link) Interesting article which explores the secret trilogue process between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament - which is effectively the European Legislature meeting in secret and which decides over 80% of new laws in the EU. The article says that: " if trilogue meetings and their minutes were opened up to the public, lawmakers would just find another way of negotiating in secret" .

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "The argument that if law-making in the EU meant all the documents, a transcript of the discussions and the minutes were public then the power elite in Brussels would find a way to by-pass the system is the traditional argument used to perpetuate secret decision-making. It has no place in a democracy worthy of the name." See: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf) and European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf)


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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