The EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance system

For the latest news and developments after 20 August 2002 please go to: S.O.S.Europe page

Revised 20 August 2002  Back to Statewatch Home Page

EU surveillance of communications: data retention to be "compulsory" for 12-24 months - draft Framework Decision leaked to Statewatch: Special report

Europol document confirms that the EU plans a "common EU law enforcement viewpoint on data retention": Report

EU surveillance of telecommunications: The vote in the European Parliament to accept data retention and surveillance by the law enforcement agencies: Report & Analysis

European Parliament caves in on data retention
- the PSE/socialist group have joined the EPP/conservative group and accepted the demands of EU governments and law enforcement agencies to place communications under surveillance: Report

Coalition asks European Parliament to vote against data retention: Report

European Parliament committee chair tries to reach a "deal" with the Council on the surveillance of communications: Report

Exclusive: EU governments are secretly drafting a binding Framework Decision to introduce the universal surveillance of telecommunications: Report

- European Parliament faces crucial vote on 15 May to reject the governments' demands on the retention of data and access by the law enforcement agencies

EU surveillance of telecommunications: Mystery of the missing minutes which surface nearly a year late: Report

Surveillance of telecommunications in the EU: narrow vote in European Parliament on data retention: Report

European Parliament and EU governments on a collision course over the retention of data (telecommunications surveillance), text of Council's position: Report (21.11.01)

EU Forum on cybercrime: Discussion Paper for Expert’s Meeting on Retention of Traffic Data, 6 November 2001. An informal Working Paper prepared by the Commission services: EU Forum on cybercrime

UK plans for the retention of data for 12 months: Report (19.11.01)
- UK to introduce data retention for 12 months under "voluntary code"
- Power to introduce mandatory retention available too
- UK derogates from 1997 EU Directive on privacy and pre-empts EU decision on data surveillance

Interception of telecommunications in the EU: Update (2.11.01)
- US calls for EU data protection to be ditched
- Council Legal Services says governments already have powers to combat terrorism
- European Parliament committee re-affirms its report on new directive

Interception of telecommunications in the EU: Update

- US calls for EU data protection to be ditched
- Council Legal Services says governments already have powers to combat terrorism
- European Parliament committee re-affirms its report on new directive

EU governments want the retention of all telecommunications data for general use by law enforcement agencies under terrorism plan: Report

- governments want to use new terrorism measures to put all communications under surveillance
- governments demanding that EU data protection and privacy laws be "revised" to allow for retention
- Statewatch report on "Data protection and data retention in the EU?"

EU: Data protection or data retention in the EU? Latest report with full-text doumentation: Report

EU report shows UK, France and Belgium are planning for communications data to be retained for 12 months: Report

Special report: EU governments back plan to place all telecommunications under surveillance for law enforcement agencies: S.O.S.Europe

Report on US Carnivore system, What has happened to "ENFOPOL"? European Parliament inquiry: eufbi10

 Key documents - full-text:

Statewatch uses the term "the EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance system" to describe the creation of a system of "Requirements" (to be followed by network and service providers to allow interception by the "law enforcement community") and legal powers being introduced within the EU through the Convention on Mutual Assistance in criminal matters (all EU member states are amending their national interception laws as a result, see for example, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (R.I.P. Bill) in the UK). Statewatch published a report on 10 February 1997 exposing the EU-FBI plan: EU-FBI surveillance system

Other commentators refer to the same development as "ENFOPOL". This term is misleading and has led some to assume that "ENFOPOL" is a new organisation/agency which it is not. The term "ENFOPOL" is simply the acronym used on all documents concerning police cooperation in the EU covering a whole range of issues. However, the EU-FBI system will introduce new practices and laws on interception. This confusion is compounded by the equally important debate on Echelon, which serves the "military-intelligence community". See: EU-FBI background and origins

Coverage of the EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance system

  "negative press" slows down the revision of the "Requirements" but the Convention on Mutual Assistance in criminal matters (which provides the legal framework for interception in EU member states) adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 29 May 2000: "negative press"

  EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance plan: Secret services and G8 intervene: Statewatch bulletin vol 9 no 6 (November-December 1999). Feature on EU internal security agencies intervening in the discussion on the Convention on Mutual Assistance in criminal matters and on a secret G8 group report saying that data protection in the EU may hinder law enforcement: eufbi08

 EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance plan: Commission working party concerned: Statewatch bulletin vol 9 nos 3 & 4 (May-August 1999). Report by the European Commission's working party on data protection: eufbi07

 EU-FBI: EU-FBI telecommunications system moves two steps nearer: Statewatch bulletin vol 9 no 2 (March-April 1999). Feature on ENFOPOL 19, the Convention of Mutual Assistance in criminal matters, the debate in the European Parliament and Duncan Campbell's STOIA report eufbi06

 EU: Surveillance extended to Internet and satellite phones: Statewatch bulletin, vol 8 no 6 (November-December 1998). Extensive report on ENFOPOL 98 which was discussed at the EU's Police Cooperation Working Party (Interception of telecommunications) on 3-4 September 1998: eufbi05

 EU: Surveillance report: Statewatch bulletin, vol 8 no 1 (January-February 1998). Short report on the excellent report produced by the Omega Foundation for STOIA: eufbi04

  New Convention to legitimise surveillance - group of "20" implementing EU-FBI plan: Statewatch bulletin, July-October 1997, vol 7 nos 4 & 5. One of the first account of the planning in ILETS (International Law Enforcement Seminar) to make the system global through states signing up to a "Memorandum of Understanding": eufbi03

 EU: New Convention on mutual assistance in legal matters: Statewatch bulletin, July-October 1997, vol 7 nos 4 & 5. Soon after EU-FBI cooperation emerged the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU decided that new legal powers were needed if the system was to work. Work on this Convention as a means of legal cooperation had begun in 1996 - now it was turned into a Convention to cover police cooperation too including interception: eufbi02

 EU & FBI launch global telecommunications surveillance system: "not a significant document" - UK Home Secretary: Statewatch bulletin, January-February 1997, vol 7 no 1. The first account of the EU-FBI cooperation which began in 1993: eufbi01

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