Launched in 1999 and updated regularly, Statewatch News includes our own reporting and writing as well as articles, announcements, documents and analyses from elsewhere on civil liberties, EU policies and state practices. You can receive updates in your inbox by signing up to our mailing list, or use an RSS feed to get instant alerts.

19 October 2020

Artists force us to confront the rise in citizen surveillance

Technological 'innovations' give ordinary people increasing opportunities to monitor and record each others' behaviour. The authorities - in particular, the police - are keen to take advantage of these developments. An article published by the Goethe Institute looks at some of the ways artists have explored these developments, and what they say about contemporary forms of surveillance and social control.

19 October 2020

EU: Wiretapping: New high-level police working group to formulate "a joint response to the impending massive impacts of 5G"

A new senior police working group will try to advance the police demand to retain wiretapping abilities with 5G technology. However, the technical architecture of 5G makes this extremely difficult, if not impossible. The German Presidency is seeking formal recognition from the Council's Law Enforcement Working Party for this new body, named the 'European Heads of Lawful Interception Units'. As well as EU and Schengen states, the UK will apparently also be involved.

16 October 2020

Spain: Forty immigration detainees go on hunger strike

In the Sangonera detention centre near the city of Murcia, 40 immigration detainees have gone on hunger strike to demand they be released.

15 October 2020

UK: Commons approves bill giving state agents powers to commit crimes without limits

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill has passed its third reading in the House of Commons. The law would allow state agents to commit crimes in the course of undercover operations, with no limits set down on what they may do.

15 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Reinforced cooperation against migrant smuggling with Balkan and African "partners"

The EU’s Pact on Migration and Asylum reiterated the long-standing priority for the EU and its member states to work more closely with “third countries” to control migration. In practice, this has led to serious abuses and even deaths, as smugglers engage in increasingly-complex and dangerous circumvention of border controls and police operations. Nevertheless, the EU is pushing ahead with new initiatives seeking to formalise cooperation with Balkan and African states on anti-migrant smuggling operations.

15 October 2020

Webinar: Deportation Union: databases for expulsions

On Monday 26 October we will hold the second in our series of webinars exploring the report 'Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increased forced removals'.

15 October 2020

EU: Mass, suspicionless surveillance regimes are illegal, court confirms

On 6 October 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled in two separate cases (concerning the UK, and France and Belgium) that mass surveillance by national security agencies - here, the mass retention and collection of telecommunications data - is not in line with EU law, and that only certain types of limited data retention schemes with adequate safeguards are permissible.

15 October 2020

EU: Frontex on cooperation with Libya: nothing to see here

Two recent Amnesty International reports have highlighted the role played by EU institutions, agencies and member states in facilitating 'pull-backs' by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG). Amnesty argues that collaboration with the LCG in this way violates international law. In a response to Amnesty, Frontex has avoided any meaningful engagement with the issues raised.

12 October 2020

UK: Government rhetoric on "activist lawyers" inspiring physical attacks, say legal professionals

The government's ongoing rhetoric against "activist lawyers" - which seems to be spearheaded, in particular, by the Home Office - has led to a physical attack at a law firm, legal professionals claim. Last month, a man entered a London law firm's office with a knife and managed to injure one member of staff in a racist attack, before being overpowered.

08 October 2020

Greece: On Lesvos, migrants and their supporters continue to suffer at the hands of the authorities

Legal Centre Lesvos reports on the situation following the fire that destroyed the Moria camp three weeks ago. Grassroots initiatives are being targeted and shut down, and a new, closed camp has been set up. Nevertheless, the organisation reports some succeses with individual cases.

08 October 2020

Brexit: New laws put UK on a path to dictatorship, warns former Supreme Court president

A former president of the Supreme Court has warned that certain provisions in the Internal Market Bill put the UK on a path towards "dictatorship", due to the explicit intention to breach international law and make it possible for the government to introduce regulations that are not subject to review by the courts.

08 October 2020

Italy: UN expert condemns ‘criminalization’ of those saving lives in the Mediterranean

Criminal proceedings in Italy are ongoing against the crew of the rescue boat Iuventa and the former captain of rescue boat Sea-Watch 3. A UN human rights expert says the charges should be dropped, because those saving lives at sea are "human rights defenders and not criminals."

08 October 2020

Europol unlawfully processing personal data of vast numbers of innocent people, says report

Europol is unlawfully processing the personal data of a vast number of innocent people, says a report by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). The agency has been given two months to come up with an “action plan” to fix the problem – but in the meantime, despite the serious risks to individual rights identified by the EDPS, the agency is allowed to continue using the techniques.

07 October 2020

Germany: Police and security services riddled with far-right activists, says official report

A report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV) has detailed hundreds of anti-constitutional far-right incidents in the police and the military, yet the country's interior minister has apparently sought to downplay the significance of the findings.

07 October 2020

Greece: Golden Dawn: a criminal organisation

At the end of a five year trial, a Greek court has found senior members of neo-fascist party Golden Dawn guilty of running a criminal organisation. Party members were also found guilty of the 2013 murder of the rapper Pavlos Fyssas, physical attacks on trade unionists and the attempted murder of a fisherman.

07 October 2020

Greek police recruited undocumented migrants in operation against NGOs

The Greek police recruited two undocumented migrants as informers in an operation which has led to multiple accusations of criminality against a number of NGOs, whom the police argue have assisted in migrant smuggling. According to a report in Greek paper Kathimerini, the investigation revolves around the use of the AlarmPhone service - which exists precisely to help to people in distress at sea, and whose work has saved thousands of lives in recent years.

07 October 2020

UK: Undercover policing: Met police pay compensation to man fathered by undercover officer

The Metropolitan Police have paid a "substantial sum" in compensation to a man who found out when he was 26 that his father was Bob Lambert, a notorious undercover police officer. He had grown up believing that his father was a left-wing activist who had fled abroad. His mother became aware of Lambert's real identity at the same time as her son, after reading about Lambert in the papers. The Met previously paid her £425,000 in compensation due to the trauma she suffered.

07 October 2020

France turns down offer of UK drone assistance to stop migrants leaving beaches in first place

According to a report originally published in The Telegraph, the French authorities have turned down a UK offer of drones assistance to try to prevent departures of boats trying to cross the Channel. However, it is unclear from the report whether the UK authorities sought to lend the drone itself to the French, or instead wanted access to French airspace to monitor beaches.

07 October 2020

Northern Ireland: "I am sir, you are a number": Prisoners faced "systemic inhuman and degrading treatment" in response to 1970s protests, report finds

Prisoners held in the Armagh and H-Block prisons between 1976 and 1981 were subjected to "systemic inhuman and degrading treatment" that "violated international human rights standards and breached common law and statute", with the full knowledge of the British government, an independent inquiry has found.

06 October 2020

Joint NGO letter: No data retention in the EU!

40 organisations, including Statewatch, have written to the European Commission calling for a ban on blanket telecommunications data retention. Judgments in a number of cases concerning data retention are due to be handed down by the Court of Justice today. The Commissioner for Home Affairs has previously expressed a desire for new legislation on the issue, and the member states have long been keen on new EU-wide measures.


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