Join statewatch e-mail list   
SEARCH Statewatch database   
 
    www.statewatch.org
    ISSN 1756-851X
    05 August 2015
 

Statewatch: News home page

News online - current lead stories      Follow us on and  Bookmark and Share
Top 20 stories - for full contents see: Statewatch News online or What's New: lists all items on the website.
Civil liberties are continually under threat: Support our vital work

EU: Council of the European Union: Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy Implementation Paper (LIMITE doc no: 10854-15, pdf):: Highly detailed plans assigned to bodies and Council Working Groups includingL

"Security-related research and industrial policy [Measure 20]

The European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) should further implement the Council Conclusions on strengthening the internal security authorities' involvement in security-related research and industrial policy and thus contribute to the promotion of securityrelated research and innovation by further involving end-users at all stages of the process, from conception to market."

"Organisation of Joint Police Operations [Measure 15]

LEWP will monitor the organisation of Joint Police Operations (JPOs), which address cross-border crime and contribute to improving operational cooperation. Objective: Present results of the JPO LUXCAR and discuss the need for further JPOs."

"European Police Register Information System (EPRIS) [Measure 7]

DAPIX will contribute to the reflection regarding the possibilities of setting up a European Police Register Information System Objective: provide input for legislative proposals COM may submit in 2016."

ITALY: Quelle strane morti dietro le sbarre [Those strange deaths behind bars]

Repubblica newspaper published a special report by Alberto Custodero on 27 July 2015, investigating deaths in custody in Italy's prisons (over 50 per year on average, 1,304 in 25 years from 1990 to 2014, when 43 people died). Beyond the fact that once they are imprisoned people are in the state's duty of care, it highlights that these deaths are often recorded as suicides in spite of the presence of elements that make such a conclusion difficult to believe. The article includes statistics on suicides and case details of some suspicious suicide cases.

EU: New transnational undercover policing structure cloaked in secrecy

In November 2014 Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosted a "Covert Surveillance Conference" entitled "Meeting the Challenges to Surveillance across Europe". It was attended by all 28 EU Member States and numerous other countries but, like almost all detail about the conference, their identity has been shielded from public view by Europol. Issues discussed included "Recruiting the Best Profiles" and "Advantages of Interagency Surveillance & Management".

The conference was made up of two meetings: on 26 November, of the Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW), and on 27 and 28 November, the first meeting of the Assembly of Regional Groups on Surveillance (ARGOS).... In the UK, calls have recently been made by German MP Andrej Hunko and campaigners for cross-border undercover police operations to be included in the remit of a new official inquiry that will "report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968." Exposing the development of and ongoing secrecy over pan-European undercover policing structures to some sunlight would go some way to meeting those calls.

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Vienna Declaration - Tackling Violent Extremism and Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 7500-rev-1-15, pdf): declaration of the Ministerial Conference of Foreign and Interior Ministers “Tackling Jihadism Together” held in Vienna on 20 March 2015.and see earlier version: 7500-15 (LIMITE: pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Dangerous Offenders, Global PNR, Operation Amberlight,

Polish delegation: Proposal for an expert group on the exchange of information on dangerous offenders (LIMITE doc no: 11196-15, pdf): "The free movement of persons and the abolition of controls at the internal borders of the EU are among the greatest achievements of European integration but are, at the same time, a major challenge to efforts to safeguard security and public order... The proposed action should not just be confined to certain types of judgment (e.g. the abovementioned bans on travel to certain States). It should also cover (at least at the risk assessment stage) the broadest possible range of criminal offenders."

Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries - a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838-15, pdf): "1. Up to now, the European Union has taken a bilateral approach concerning the transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data from EU airline companies to third countries; the three current PNR-agreements with the USA, Canada and Australia oblige airline companies to transfer PNR data to authorities relating to all passengers flying to, from or through those countries. All existing PNR transfers to third countries are hence governed by a bilateral agreements and have been negotiated on a case-by-case basis. 2. More and more third countries, among others Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are (considering) using PNR data for law enforcenment purposes, and have requested or are expected to request entering into bilateral agreements with the Union.".

See also from the European Commission:: On the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM 492-10, pdf)

Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE do no 5195-15, pdf) and Presidency Activity: “AMBERLIGHT 2015”: Final Report (pdf). See: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch)

Historical note: Tony Bunyan: My brush with the D-Notice Committee: Committee concerned that book:

"might wander unwittingly into areas of sensitivity from a security point of view"

In 1976 when I was completing the "History and practice of the Political Police in Britain" (published first in hardback in 1976 by Julian Friedmann Publishers) the D-Notice Committee under Rear Admiral Kenneth Haydn Farnhill CB OBE was a shadowy body - the press could not even print stories published overseas without his say-so. At the time the 1971 D-Notice no 10: British Intelligence Services (pdf) was in force and the book dealt substantively with these "no-go" areas. The Journalist magazine (NUJ) reported in June 1976 what happened:.

UK: D-NOTICE PRESS CENSORING CHANGES: D-Notices replaced by: DSMA (Defence and Security Media Advisory notices (link) and see The Five new NOTICES (pdf): " Public discussion of the United Kingdom's defence and counter-terrorist policy and overall strategy does not impose a threat to national security and is welcomed by Government. It is important however that such discussion should not disclose details which could damage national security. The DSMA-Notice System is a means of providing advice and guidance to the media about defence and counter-terrorist information the publication of which would be damaging to national security. The system is voluntary, it has no legal authority and the final responsibility for deciding whether or not to publish rests solely with the editor or publisher concerned." See: The D-notice system: a typically British fudge that has survived a century - This collaboration between state and media has offered a compromise between national security and press freedom – yet sometimes has been tested to the limit (Guardian, link)

GERMANY: UPDATED: 31.7.15: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests - ‘For the good of media freedom’, Germany’s prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance (Guardian, link)

Statewatch coverage: Investigative journalism under attack

The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing information classified as "confidential" online. Charges have been filed against Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, the two reporters who run the blog netzpolitik.org.

"That the Federal Prosecutor General who failed to investigate charges against the NSA is now investigating journalists and their whistleblowers is a deeply disturbing assault against journalism critical of the intelligence agencies' activities and an assault against the freedom of press."

EU-USA: Full-text of draft:Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (52 pages, pdf): "This document is the European Union's proposal for services, investment and e-commerce text. It was tabled for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 12 -17 July 2015 and made public on 31 July 2015. The actual text in the final agreement will be a result of negotiations between the EU and US."

Burgenland’s ‘red-blue’ coalition of shame (IRR, link): "The Labour Party is debating how to win back votes from UKIP. Meanwhile, in Austria, the Burgenland Social Democrats have set a worrying precedent, entering into a coalition with the extreme Right in the provincial legislative assembly." and Deaths in custody news round-up (IRR, link): "The last month has seen a number of developments in relation to deaths in custody: a misconduct hearing, the ten-year anniversary of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, an inquest, new deaths in custody and a new government ‘review’ of deaths in police custody. Jean Charles de Menezes remembered."

USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law (pdf): "No federal privacy law expressly regulates commercial uses of facial recognition technology, and laws do not fully address key privacy issues stakeholders have raised, such as the circumstances under which the technology may be used to identify individuals or track their whereabouts and companions. Laws governing the collection, use, and storage of personal information may potentially apply to the commercial use of facial recognition in specific contexts , such as information collected by health care entities and financial institutions." [emphasis added]

This report above recommends a response to an earlier report which refers to key privacy standards missing: Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy, Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace (2013 report, pdf): "No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, a variety of laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities governs the use, sharing, and protection of personal information." [emphasis added]

EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs cooperation: an honest and equal relationship? (pdf):

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: “The USA role in justice and home affairs is like that of the 29th EU state. Year after year since 2001 there have been regular meetings of Ministers and Senior Officials in Brussels and Washington - it also attended the six-monthly G6 meetings of EU Interior Ministers (and its preparatory meetings). The USA is a major, unseen, influence on EU justice and home affairs policies and practices and uses the meetings to lobby for direct access to EU and Member State databases.

These meetings take place on the oft-repeated assumption that the USA and the EU “share common values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental values”. However, there are many people, in Europe and the USA, who do indeed believe we share these “common values”, but not the policies and practices of our governments.”

EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for “smart borders”: EU action on “overstayers” (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:

"Quiet preparations for the EU’s ambitious “smart borders” proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa “overstayers”; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....

The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with “on-the-ground” information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."

EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps

The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.

A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.

However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers

SPAIN: Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR: Spain guilty of not investigating allegations of torture in incommunicado detention by Yasha Maccanico:

On 5 May 2015, the third section of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg unanimously found Spain guilty of violating the procedural aspects of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Arratibel Garciandia applied to the ECtHR on 6 September 2013, complaining about the failure by Spain’s internal jurisdiction to effectively investigate allegations that he was subjected to ill-treatment following his arrest at 3 a.m. on 18 January 2011 in his home in Etxarri Aranatz (Navarre). He was placed in incommunicado detention until 22 January and transferred to the Guardia Civil’s general directorate in Madrid, after his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken in the Pamplona audiencia provincial (province court) in the Navarre region.

And see :Statewatch Analyses: Resources for researchers (from 1999 - ongoing)

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Latest state of play in secret trilogue meetings at summer break: Chapter II, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no 10790-15, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "With a view to preparing the next trilogue, the Presidency invites delegations to discuss Chapter II . Principles (Articles 5-10).... While underlining that the General Approach reached by Council on 15th June 2015 constitutes the basis of the Presidency’s negotiation mandate, and taking into account the position of the European Parliament on Chapter II, the Presidency invites delegations to share their views on the different questions and suggestions listed below (points 7 and 8)." [emphasis added]

and Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue on 14 July 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 10680-15, pdf): 93 pages with multi-column positions. Summary of discussions including: "discussed in a trilogue on the General Data Protection Regulation the provisions related to Chapter V on transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations and on the territorial scope of the Regulation." (emphasis added)

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opening a new Chapter for Data Protection (Press release, pdf): "Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor sent his recommendations to the EU co-legislators negotiating the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), he launched a mobile app to compare the latest texts from the Commission, the Parliament and the Council more easily on tablets and smartphones.

Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “Privacy and data protection matter more than ever to people. For the first time in a generation the EU has an opportunity to modernise, harmonise and simplify the rules on how personal information is handled. These rules must be relevant for the next generation of technologies. As part of my remit to be proactive and constructive, my recommendations aim to support the co-legislators to get a better deal for the individual, to make safeguards more effective in practice and enable them to benefit from technological innovation."

And see: EDPS Opinion on the new Regulation (32 pages, pdf) and Annex to Opinion 3/2015: Comparative table of GDPR texts with EDPS recommendations (520 pages, pdf) Multi-column document.

EU PASSENGER NAME RECORD (PNR): Council of the European Union: Preparation for internal trilogues (LIMITE doc no 11105-15: pdf): Mulri-column document, 507 pages: For full background and documentation see Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record: 2011: ongoing

UK: Scotland Yard shut down undercover police unit because it broke rules - A secret review found that the Special Demonstration Squad ignored ethical issues and gathered information that had no crime-fighting value (Guardian, link): "The SDS was run by the Met and collected what the review called “high-grade intelligence” on protesters during “deep infiltration operations”. Established in 1968, the unit planted more than 100 undercover officers in more than 460 political groups, until it was wound up in 2008. The undercover officers adopted intricate fake personas and pretended to be campaigners for spells of usually five years. The SDS spies were deployed to gather information about protests organised by campaigns including those of grieving families seeking the truth about police misconduct, environmentalists and anti-racist groups."

Background: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf) and Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgan’s: Review of possible miscarriages of justice: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf) plus: Special Demonstration Squad: Tradecraft Manual (pdf)

EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:

Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)

UK-USA-GCHQ-NSA: Speech by Tony Bunyan Statewatch Director, Cardiff University, 18 June 2015: Surveillance and democracy: the EU and civil liberties (YouTube, link). Tony talks about surveillance with respect to the European Union and the effect the EU has on our civil liberties. He details that what has happen in terms of mass surveillance is nothing new, but what is new is the political and legal framework which allows it to happen. And gives an overview of the relationships between each of the following: 1) Gatherers of data (NSA, GCHQ), 2) Users of data (CIA, FBI), 3) Suppliers of data (Corporations) and 4) Targets of surveillance (Suspected terrorists, protests and dissenters, refugees and asylum seekers, migrant communities, general public)

This talk was given as part of the plenary session entitled State-Media-Citizen Relations in the Surveillance Society. It was part of the 2015 Surveillance and Citizenship Conference held at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

ITALY: Strage di piazza della Loggia, ergastolo per Maggi e Tramonte 41 anni dopo [Life sentences for Maggi and Tramonte, 41 years after the piazza della Loggia massacre]: 41 years after an attack using explosives against a trade union antifascist demonstration in Brescia in which eight people were killed and more than 100 people were injured on 28 May 1974, Carlo Maria Maggi of the far-right Ordine Nuovo group, and Maurizio Tramonte, a former intelligence service source, were convicted and received life sentences.

EU: SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Amendments 1-125 to Draft motion (pdf) and Draft Motion for a Resolution: On the Follow up to the European Parliament Resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens: Claude Moraes (pdf)

See Statewatch Observatory (June 2013 - ongoing): EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance


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


The Statewatch website

Since its launch this website has had 14,874,966 user sessions and 109,601,588 "hits" (December 2014)
In the year 2014 there were: 817,219 users sessions and 10,088,230 hits

Join Statewatch regular e-mail list for new stories: Join Statewatch news e-mail list

The Statewatch database now holds more than 32,000 records (news, features, analyses and documentation).

If you use this site regularly, you are encouraged to make a donation to Statewatch to support future research.

Statewatch is a non-profitmaking voluntary group founded in 1991, see: About Statewatch

Contributions to News online and bulletin are welcomed, please get in touch.

The Statewatch website is hosted by the Phone Co-op:

Statewatch is funded by

        Friends of Statewatch

Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.

Statewatch is registered under the Data Protection Act. Information supplied will be not be passed to third parties. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE.

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.