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    29 March 2015
 

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EU: Billions 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: Investing in an open and secure Europe: €1.8 billion to fund Asylum, Migration, Integration and Security (pdf)

Deaths of Europe’s ‘unwanted and unnoticed’ migrants exposed (Institute of Race Relations, link): "The deaths over the last five years, in the detention and reception centres, the streets and the squats of Europe, are a product of the rightlessness and the lack of human dignity European governments accord to migrants and asylum seekers... "Liz Fekete, Director of the IRR, said, ‘Some lives simply don’t matter. These deaths reflect exactly the same indifference to human life that we see at the border … this suffering, these deaths need to be accounted for.’"

Full report: Unwanted, Unnoticed: an audit of 160-asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe (link to pdf)

UN: New U.N. investigator to probe digital spying (Reuters, link): "The United Nations top human rights body agreed on Thursday to appoint a special investigator to probe digital spying and violations of online privacy.

See: UN Human Rights Council: The right to privacy in the digital age (pdf) and: UN Human Rights Council Appoints Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy (Electronic Frontier Foundation, link)

UK: CRIMINAL COURT TAX: Court charge of up to £1,200 for criminals revealed (BBC News, link): "Convicted criminals in England and Wales will have to pay up to £1,200 towards the cost of their court case under new rules, it has been revealed."

See: Ministry of Justice: Fact Sheet: Criminal Courts Charge (pdf) and the government's impact assessment (pdf)

UK: Report 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 calls for:

  • 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 whistleblower’s 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 police’s special branch. They include Labour’s 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: Letter from the Article 29 data protection Working Party to Claude moraes, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) with detailed Appendix.

"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 visit (pdf):

"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, doesn’t 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."

UK: Stop 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 Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (Guardian, link)
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: The UK’s opt-in Protocol: implications of the Government’s approach (pdf) and See: House of Lords recommends to change the Governement’s strategy on the UK’s opt-in (EASFJ, link) and also: Lords slams UK’s ‘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 (4MB, pdf)

UPDATE: 24.3.15
Smart 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

"Overstayers" to be checked at external borders in Joint Police Operation (JPO) in April
"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 sanction people

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)

CJEU: Facebook 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):

" Europe’s 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 State’s data-protection commissioner investigate whether Facebook was in breach of EU law for allegedly passing European user data to US intelligence services."

See also: Europe v Facebook: the beginning of the end for NSA spying on EU citizens? (EU Law Analysis, link)

Blog: ‘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."

See: About 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 of years....

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 (IRR): Dying 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."

See proposed: Equipment 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" Statewatch) and: GCHQ is authorised to “spy on the world” but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is “lawful”  (Statewatch Analysis, May 2014)

UK: Home 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 analysis unit”,"

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 report: The 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 or others"

EU: MEDITERREAN 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 African states

See: Non 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".

See: EU 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)

and Brussels 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: UK Police Deem Snowden Leak Investigation a State Secret (The Intercept, link):

"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 activity.....

the Met, says everything about the investigation’s 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.""

See Full-text 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 fields (link):

UK: "BLACKLISTING" CASE: This may be the law, but it’s not justice” – blacklisted worker loses court case on technicality (Union Solidarity International, link):

"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."

See: Full-text of the Court of Appeal ruling (pdf)

EU 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 (ECRE): What’s 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"

Europol: 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), Belgium (link), Ireland (link), Greece (link) Italy (link), Spain (link) and Portugal (link)
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".


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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