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    ISSN 1756-851X
    25 May 2015
 

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USA: NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure - Administration has not applied to secret court for 90-day extension - USA Freedom Act fails in early hours after long Senate session (Guardian, link): "“We did not file an application for reauthorization,” an administration official confirmed to the Guardian on Saturday. The administration decision ensures that beginning at 5pm ET on 1 June, for the first time since October 2001 the NSA will no longer collect en masse Americans’ phone records.... A chaotic early morning on Saturday in the Senate ended with the procedural defeat of the USA Freedom Act, which would have banned the NSA bulk collection program while renewing an expiring Patriot Act provision allowing FBI access to business records and a vast amount of US communications metadata."

UK: Theresa May's plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague - Exclusive: Former culture secretary Sajid Javid told prime minister he was unable to support home secretary’s proposal as it infringed free speech (Guardian, link)

"A plan by the home secretary to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters’ programmes before they are transmitted has been attacked in the bluntest terms as a threat to freedom of speech by one of her own Conservative cabinet colleagues, the Guardian has learned. Sajid Javid wrote to David Cameron to say that, as culture secretary, he was unable to support Theresa May’s proposal to give Ofcom the new powers to take pre-emptive action against programmes that included “extremist content”, in a letter sent just before the start of the general election campaign."

And see: New counter-extremism plans to allow police to ask to vet anyone's internet communications (Independent, link): "Counter-extremism powers that will allow the police to vet the online conversations of those considered extremists are to be fast-tracked into effect, David Cameron said."

EU: EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?: 21 May 2015: Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Frontex Conference on the European Day for Border Guards, Warsaw Poland (pdf): "The ongoing evaluation of Frontex activities should also identify the limitations and shortcomings that will have to be addressed in the medium and long term development of the Agency. When speaking about the future of border management, one of the issues that we will explore is the possible creation of a European System of Border Guards."

And see: Commissioner backs EU 'border guard corps' (euobserver, link): "Avramopoulos, a Greek former defence minister, used strident terms to praise the EU’s new military operation, EUnavfor Med, which is to start sinking migrant-smugglers’ boats in July if it gets UN and Libyan permission. “Europe has declared a war against smugglers”, he said. He noted that Frontex will create “profiles” of the type of vessels being used “in order to improve their detection”. He also said Frontex' “mandate must be reinforced” so it can physically help EU countries deport failed asylum claimants."

EU: MED-CRISIS: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration (euractiv, link): "The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EU’s idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean." Also: "The War on migrants and refugees: has the ‘never again’ imperative been forgotten?" (Franck Duvell, link): "This imperative derived from the lessons learned from the Holocaust and the failure to rescue the European Jews has now been relinquished it seems. Are we now back at the moral state of the 1930s were unwanted populations are removed from the ‘realm of moral subjects’ (Bauman 1996) and killed or left to die and the needy are turned away and refused shelter?"

EU: CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES: European Parliament: Draft Opinion: on safe use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in the field of civil aviation (pdf):

""whereas Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can be used for a range of civil (non-military) purposes, such as critical infrastructure and civil protection, disaster management and search and rescue, environmental protection, law enforcement and surveillance, journalism, commercial activities and leisure...

reiterates that when personal data are processed by RPAS operated in the EU, including for law enforcement purposes, the right to the protection of personal data enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) applies and that the EU legal framework for data protection is to be fully complied with"

See: Statewatch Report: Eurodrones Inc

UK: One Nation: but whose? The first of a post-election two-part series on civil liberties in the UK examines the government’s proposal to replace the Human Rights Act by a British Bill of Rights (IRR, link) by Frances Webber: "Prime minister David Cameron was quick to don the mantle of ‘One Nation Toryism’ after his party’s election victory. But the Tories’ priorities set out in their manifesto would suggest that Cameron’s version of ‘One Nation’ owes more to Thatcher and Bush than to its inventor Harold Macmillan." And: Where the war on welfare and the war on migrants and refugees lead - The war on welfare has parallels with the war on migrants and refugees, both in terms of rhetoric and impact (IRR link) by Jon Burnett.

Online now: Statewatch News Online digest 21 May 2015 (pdf) and Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (pdf)

EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response (pdf): "MEPs discussed on 20 May European Commission plans to tackle the large
numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea. Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders."
See also: MEPs angry at member states over immigration (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers on Wednesday accused some member states of passing the buck by rejecting a Brussels plan for binding quotas for refugees making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing."

EU: MORE MONEY for MED CRISIS: New budget: Responding to migratory pressues (pdf): "additional appropriations – EUR 75,8 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 69,7 million in payment appropriations – to provide the additional funding to be authorised in the 2015 budget for the migration measures. These reinforcements are distributed across five budget lines" [see p7]

Council of Europe (CoE): European ministers adopt new legal standards for tackling foreign terrorist fighters: "Foreign ministers from across Europe have adopted the first set of legally-binding international standards to help tackle so-called "foreign terrorist fighters". The measures take the form of an additional protocol to the Council of Europe's convention on the prevention of terrorism, which has so far been signed by 44 of the organisation's 47 member states. The protocol will require countries to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information.": Additional Protocol to Convention on Terrorism (pdf) - Action Plan (pdf) - Political Declaration (link)

EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Germany toughens up on data retention (euractiv, link): "German policymakers have moved to strengthen data retention laws, insisting that information will only be stored in Germany, and for much shorter periods, after the European Court of Justice struck down weaker EU privacy legislation.... A 55-page draft of Germany's planned data retention law was published on the blog Netzpolitik.org over the weekend. It is reportedly scheduled to be presented to the federal government in two weeks, and in the Bundestag in June."

Draft Bill: Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einführung einer Speicherpflicht und einer Höchstspeicherfrist für Verkehrsdaten (pdf) [A draft law introducing a storage obligation and a maximum retention period for traffic data]

Italy, France, Germany sign European drone project (Reuters, link): "Italy, France and Germany agreed on Monday to develop a European drone programme for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology." See also: France, Germany, Italy Confirm Joint MALE Drone Development Program (Defence World.net, link): Notes that: "The contract will be issued later this year with OCCAR and European Defense Agency (EDA) as part of program management and certification. The EDA will provide support for air traffic insertion and airworthiness." This does not mean, as various news websites are reporting, that an 'EU drone' is being developed - rather, that three Member States are using the EDA [European Defence Agency] as a forum for cooperation. Whether EU institutions will ever get their hands on it (if it ever does get developed) is another question.

The French-German-Italian agreement seems to be a diminished version of previous plans for seven Member States to get involved in the joint drone project: See: Statewatch Report Eurodrones Inc - detail on cooperative Member State drone programmes in Chapter 4

EU: MED CRISIS: Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s Planned War on Smugglers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"it is clear from the documents discussed in the EU’s Political and Security Committee last week that (unless plans have changed radically in the meantime) the High Representative is being “economical with the truth”. The EU action clearly contemplates action by ground forces. Moreover, it anticipates the possible loss of life not only of smugglers but also of Member States’ forces and refugees. In effect, the EU is planning to declare war on migrant smugglers – without thinking through the consequences."

See: Secret EU plan for a war on smugglers - document (pdf)

DEVELOPING STORY (18.5.15): Council of the European Union: Press Release: Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean (pdf) See:Mediterranean migrants crisis: Is military force the solution? (BBC News, link) and EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said." [emphasis added]

EU RESPONSE TO MED CRISIS: BOARDING AND DESTROYING BOATS-"BOOTS ON THE GROUND"- "COLLATERAL" EFFECTS? Today EU Defence and Foreign Affairs Council is meeting in Brussels - on Tuesday there will be a meeting of EU Defence Chiefs (with NATO in attendance). The EU is still waiting for UN approval of its Libya plan, which being drafted by the UK to legitimate EU military operations in Libyan waters and coast. See: Remarks by HR/Vice-President at the start of the meeting (Council press release, pdf)

UK to offer drones to help combat people-smugglers in Libya - Britain set to take leading role in Mediterranean military operation by supplying intelligence in response to migrant boat crisis (Guardian, link), Nato 'ready to help' EU anti-migrant smuggler operation (euobserver, link) and EU: boat-sinking Yes, migrant quotas No (euobserver, link)

Among the responses will be the report to the Political and Security Committee of the Council last Tuesday (12 May 2015) which includes:

"Non-compliant boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life [page 8] ...Collateral effects of EU kinetic actions will need to be avoided but the risk remains. Any casualties as a result of EU action could trigger a negative response from the local population and the wider region, jeopardising support and follow-up." [page 16]

"The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include:
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance;
- Boarding teams;
- Patrol units (air and maritime);
- Amphibious assets;
- Destruction air, land and sea, including Special Forces units"
[p18, emphasis added]

EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LIMITE doc no: 7779-15, 366 pages, pdf): "The manual contains an overview of all EU systems, legal bases and instruments of information exchange available to the law enforcement authorities of the Member States." [emphasis in original] and includes the : "following key operational contexts:

– prevention and investigation of criminal offences (and illegal immigration)
– combating terrorism
– maintaining public order and security."

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, EPPO, Presumption of Innocence & Fraud

- DP REGULATION: REMEDIES, LIABILITY AND SANCTIONS: 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) - Chapter VIII (LIMITE doc no: 8371-15,pdf) 87 Footnotes with Member State positions.

See also European Parliament: Council's consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"

- EPPO: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Orientation debate (LIMITE doc no: 8240-15, pdf)

- PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings - Preparation of second trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8547-15, 86 pages, pdf) Multi-column document with Commission Proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"

- FRAUD: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law[First reading] - Preparation of the next trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8604-15, (pdf)

UK: MAKING REMOTE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS "LAWFUL": Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told - Legislative changes exempting law enforcement officers from ban on breaking into people’s digital devices were never debated by parliament, tribunal hears (Guardian, link):

"GCHQ staff, intelligence officers and police have been given immunity from prosecution for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under legislative changes that were never fully debated by parliament, a tribunal has been told.

The unnoticed re-writing of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in March. The new clause 10, entitled somewhat misleadingly “Savings”, is designed to prevent officers from committing a crime when they remotely access computers of suspected criminals.

Changes to the Computer Misuse Act were introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015 which received royal assent on 3 March 2015. No reference to the true impact of the changes was made in the parliamentary explanatory notes that accompanied the bill, according to Privacy International."

The Serious Crimes Act 2015 (pdf) contains the following amendment to the Computer Misuse Act: "the person does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer" [emphasis added: Section 41] As long as it is "authorised" its lawful.

See: After legal claim filed against GCHQ hacking, UK government rewrite law to permit GCHQ hacking (PI, link):

EU: Joint Communication: European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Capacity building in support of security and development - Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises (pdf) Details EU external policies and begins with the statement that: "Events in Africa, in Europe's neighbourhood and beyond point to a dramatic and deteriorating global security situation, with more than 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict affected regions worldwide. On current trends, this number is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030."

EU: PRUM STATISTICS: Council of the European Union: "PRUM Decisions": overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (28 pages, pdf): "The provisions of the "Prüm Decisions" relating to information exchange concern:

– supply of information relating to major events and in order to prevent terrorist offences;
– automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data [fingerprints] and vehicle registration data (VRD);
– data protection."
[emphasis added]

The Council Decision on PRUM data exchange (2008, pdf) Article 14:covers the "Supply of personal data":

"For the prevention of criminal offences and in maintaining public order and security for major events with a cross-border dimension, in particular for sporting events or European Council meetings, Member States shall, both upon request and of their own accord, supply one another with personal data if any final convictions or other circumstances give reason to believe that the data subjects will commit criminal offences at the events or pose a threat to public order and security, in so far as the supply of such data is permitted under the supplying Member State's national law." [emphasis added]

No figures are supplied in the Annex on the use of Article 13 or 14 (Article 13 concerns the exchange of "non-personal data" for the same purpose)

GERMANY-NSA-INQUIRY: WikiLeaks, er, leaks the Bundestag Inquiry into NSA naughtiness - Includes a German spook explaining how to siphon data from fibre-optic cables (The Register, link): See: Bundestag Inquiry into BND and NSA (Wikileaks, link) Excellent, with transcripts of hearings.

EU: MED CRISIS: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf):

"The criminal networks which exploit vulnerable migrants must be targeted. The High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) has already presented options for possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations to systematically identify, capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers. Such action under international law will be a powerful demonstration of the EU's determination to act." [emphasis in original]

The Commission "Agenda" will thus be supplemented by a plan for a military-intelligence operation "on the ground" in Libya being prepared by the High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) through the European External Action Service (EEAS) - see Guardian story below. See: Current: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) and European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf)

See: Military action underpins EU migration plan (euobserver, link): "Foreign and defence ministers, in Brussels on Monday will discuss a 19-page blueprint prepared by Mogherini’s staff and leaked to British daily The Guardian... It notes that “a [military] presence ashore might be envisaged if agreement was reached with relevant authorities”. But it warns that “the terrorist presence in the region constitutes a security threat. Action taken ashore could be undertaken in a hostile environment.” and National concerns erode European migration strategy (euractiv, link)

EU: MED CRISIS: Migrant crisis: EU plan to strike Libya networks could include ground forces - Exclusive: Strategy paper for the mission focuses on air and naval campaign, but adds that ‘presence ashore’ might be needed to destroy smugglers’ assets (Guardian, link)

"European plans for a military campaign to smash the migrant smuggling networks operating out of Libya include options for ground forces on Libyan territory.

The 19-page strategy paper for the mission, obtained by the Guardian, focuses on an air and naval campaign in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters, subject to United Nations blessing. But it adds that ground operations in Libya may also be needed to destroy the smugglers’ vessels and assets, such as fuel dumps...

“The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.”

Germany gives huge amount of phone, text data to U.S.: report (Reuters, link): "Citing confidential documents, Die Zeit Online reported on Tuesday that of about 220 million pieces of meta data gathered per day, some 1.3 billion pieces per month go to the NSA. The data includes raw material from phone calls and text messages which shows contact details and times of activity but does not contain content. In particular, it sends raw material on foreign communication in crisis regions, said Zeit Online. "It is questionable as to whether this practice is covered by German laws," wrote Die Zeit, citing a BND official responsible for data protection."


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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