Statewatch News online: EU: Security research programme to look at creating "smart" biometric documents which will "locate,identify and follow the movement of persons" through "automatic chips with positioning"

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EU: Security research programme to look at creating "smart" biometric documents which will "locate, identify and follow the movement of persons" through "automatic chips with positioning"

A Communication from the European Commission (COM 2004/72) sets out very new roles for the European Union to bring about "comprehensive security":

1) intrusive internal security which will track the movements and purchases of every person
2) external security which will seek to complete the closure of land and sea borders to "illegal" migrants
3) intervention in "failed states" and "regional conflicts" either "on its own or in international alliances"
4) to build a "security culture" with the "security industry and the research community"
5) in a world of "global threats, markets and media, security and prosperity" to create an "international order based on effective multilaterialism" - or put another way in a world based on globalisation, media monopoly, insecurity and poverty in order to maintain the dominance of the USA and the EU
6) to create a military-industrial-research consensus on the desired direction including "federating industrial effort" (see: the "Group of Personalities" below)
7) to introduce "internationally interoperable systems, in particular between defence and other security organisations"
8) prepare the EU for the "management of a declared crisis" (an EU "state of emergency")

and finally

9) the "adaptation of governance structures to effectively deal with these matters"

This is a direction and ideology deserving of genuine research - not the kind likely to be funded by the EU. For the moment two comments might be made. First the aim is to examine whether the:

"Demonstration of the appropriateness and acceptability of tagging, tracking and tracing devices by static and mobile multiple sensors that improve the capability to locate, identify and follow the movement of mobile assets, goods and persons, including smart documentation (e.g. biometrics, automatic chips with positioning) and data analysis techniques (remote control and access)." (emphasis added)

It is well known that there have been commercial experiments - which have met much opposition - to introduce "tags" to track clothes and goods we buy. The Commission, following instructions from the Council (the EU governments), are proposing to "look into" the proposition that every phone and vehicles, purchase of clothes or any goods, and every movement of every person carrying any kind of card (bank. credit card, passport, visa card and identity card) can be tracked every minute, of every day.

Second that the Commission says that it has set up a "high level Group of Personalities" comprised of Chief Executives "from industry" (who are they?), people from "research institutes" (no doubt funded by the EU "noddy lobby"), "high level European political figures" (who are they?), members of the European Parliament (who are they?) and "observers from intergovernmental institutions" (who are they?). And since when were "Personalities" accountable to anyone?

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments,

"Prior to 11 September the EU saw itself as an independent military and economic power to the USA. Now they have common aims: to maintain military, security, political and economic dominance.

For the people of the EU (and, in time, of the USA) the price of "security" is that they will be asked to sacrifice their privacy and democratic culture (of diversity, pluralism, tolerance and multiculturalism) in the interests of security, of the "interests of the state". All phones and internet usage, all travel by air, sea and road, all clothes and goods, and every peoples' movement - to the shop, work, friends and school etc - will be tracked and logged in the name of preserving "democracy".

Moreover, the idea that we should all feel "safe" because a "Group of Personalities" - perhaps better named as a "Group of Dr Strangeloves" - are going to oversee the process is an insult to peoples' intelligence. The EU clearly has no idea of the resistance it is going to face from its own citizens if it goes down this road"


1. Commission Communication on research and technological development in the field of security (COM 2004, 72, dated 3.2.04) (pdf)

2. The above is said to be based on: The European Security Strategy, drafted by Javier Solana (12.12.03) by the European Council: "A Secure Europe in a better world" (pdf) and the European Council on European Security and Defence: Conclusions (pdf)

3. Coverage in the Independent newspaper (link)

3. See also: Biometrics - EU takes another step down the road to 1984: Report

See also update on 26.2.04: EU security research agenda: List of "personalities" but how much power should they have? Did the Commission simply reproduce the recommendations of the "Group of Personalities" in its Communication? Report and list

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