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    ISSN 1756-851X
    31 March 2015
 

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CEUTA-MELILLA: Against a state of exception for human rights in Ceuta and Melilla (pdf):

"The 150 undersigned social associations have looked into the eyes of these migrants and seen their injuries, traumas and persecutions often, very often. This is why we won’t look away and allow our shame for this illegal practice through which our name is being soiled to discourage us. We won’t allow the existence in our country of zones of exception for human rights regardless of how hard they try to legalise them."

UK-EU: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union report: The Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU (pdf) and Evidence submitted (pdf) in respone to: Government Review (link): "Although the reports represent a significant and worthwhile body of work, the Review as a whole is diminished by the Government’s failure to deliver its undertaking in 2012 to draw together the analysis contained in the Review." See: Lords slams UK’s ‘splendid isolation’ on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link): "The House of Lords has called on the British government to abandon its “legally unsustainable” interpretation of EU justice and home affairs law, and drop its unnecessarily confrontational strategy."

Statewatch Analysis: The EU's Maternity Leave Directive: The Council secretly rejects the EP's olive branch by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: "The Council's refusal to accept the EP's olive branch and even start negotiations on a possible compromise (however unlikely that might be) is petty and vindictive"

EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: This a redraft of important clauses on data subjects' rights and remedies: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, 27 March 2015, pdf)

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 also: Human Rights Council creates mandate of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy: Adopts Three Other Texts on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Right to Work, and the Effects of Terrorism on Human Rights (UN ,link) and Human rights, democracy and the rule of law (link)

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”,"


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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