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.

26 May 2021

ECHR: Bulk communications data interception by UK and Swedish spy agencies violated right to privacy

An eight-year legal challenge initiated following the Snowden revelations in 2013 ended yesterday, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the surveillance regime governing "bulk interception" of communications data by British spy agency GCHQ violated the right to privacy.

26 May 2021

EU: Legal action against Frontex's operations in Greece initiated at the European Court of Justice

Human rights organisation Front-Lex has submitted the first ever action against Frontex to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), calling on it to take measures to ensure that Frontex meets its human rights obligations under international and EU law.

26 May 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council 'state of play' report on legal and policy initiatives

A documented circulated in the Council of the EU at the beginning of this week sets out the 'state of play' regarding the legal and policy initiatives launched as part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum. A number of legal proposals appear to be the subject of significant disagreement, holding up the adoption of other, less contentious proposals which form part of the "package".

24 May 2021

Italy: Death in detention centre, hunger strike and demonstration in response

Baldi Moussa, a young 23-year-old from Guinea, was found dead by hanging while in "solitary confinement" in his cell in the CPR [Centri di Permanenza per il Rimpatrio] in Via Brunelleschi in Turin.

21 May 2021

EU: More powers for Europol: latest version of the Council's text

Discussions are underway to grant more powers to EU policing agency Europol, which would vastly expand the amount of data the agency could process, and the ways in which that data could be processed. Statewatch is publishing the latest version of the Council's preferred version of the text, drawn up following secret discussions between member state delegations in the Law Enforcement Working Party.

21 May 2021

Council of the EU: LIMITE documents on human rights, internal security, visas and asylum, EU-Interpol agreement, travel surveillance and "bio-secure borders"

A host of important LIMITE documents from the Council of the EU: Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights; draft conclusions on the impact of COVID-19 on internal security; proposals on the governance of Europol's 'Innovation Hub' for internal security technologies; a discusssion paper on visas and asylum applications; draft Council Decision authorising negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Interpol; draft conclusions on the surveillance of travel via Passenger Name Record (PNR) data; and the extension of PNR to maritime transport.

21 May 2021

Greek government rebuffs Council of Europe's call to halt pushbacks and investigate abuse

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights wrote to the Greek authorities earlier this month demanding that they "put an end to pushback operations at both the land and sea borders with Turkey, and to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of pushbacks and of ill-treatment by members of security forces in the context of such operations."

21 May 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Latest Council recitals for the proposed Screening Regulation

Statewatch is publishing the latest version of the recitals of the proposed Screening Regulation, which will introduce mandatory detention at the EU's borders. The document was produced by the Portuguese Presidency for a discussion of the Council's JHA Counsellors (Frontiers) working group on 19 May.

21 May 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Lawyers denounce "deadly" screening proposals

The French Bar Association has denounced EU proposals for accelerated asylum screening procedures at the borders as "deadly", and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe has also expressed serious concerns over the plans.

21 May 2021

UK: Bad news in the Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech, which sets out the government's programme for the coming year, was read to the House of Commons earlier this month. It contains a raft of measures that pose a threat to civil liberties.

20 May 2021

EU: Council sets the scene to weaken proposed safeguards on artificial intelligence and internal security

National delegations in the Council of the EU are starting to discuss how proposed new legislation governing artificial intelligence should be interpreted from "an internal security perspective," with the Portuguese Presidency highlighting that "limitations and safeguards should be in balance with the possibilities of law enforcement to use and develop AI systems in the future, in line with the rest of the society."

20 May 2021

Commission, French government hope Morocco will return to being Europe's border guard

Both the European Commission and the French government have expressed hopes that the Moroccan government will once again take up its role as Europe's border guard and prevent departures to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, where thousands of people have arrived in the last few days.

20 May 2021

Spain: A human rights based approach must be taken in Ceuta, say Spanish members of Migreurop

Andalucía Acoge, APDHA, CEAR, Elín, Iridia, Red Acoge and the SOS Racismo Federation demand a human-rights based outlook in Ceuta

20 May 2021

EU: Accountability measures for Frontex: critical experts weigh in

Two new papers, from the Meijers Committee and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), set out ways to improve the accountability and transparency of EU border agency Frontex.

19 May 2021

EU: E-Evidence: Media and journalists, civil society groups, professional organisations and technology companies demand fundamental rights protections

Forthcoming legislation on "e-evidence" would ease the cross-border gathering and transfer of data for use in criminal proceedings. Member states and MEPs must include fundamental rights protections in the rules , says a letter published today and signed by media and journalists' organisations, civil society groups, professional organisations and technology companies.

18 May 2021

EU: Exploit the pandemic to digitize the deportation process, says Council Presidency

The EU should "seize" the opportunity provided by the pandemic to implement "a true technological transition" and digitize deportation proceedings, says a report by the Portuguese Council Presidency looking at how member states have dealt expulsions since last spring.

18 May 2021

Council of Europe: "Democratic renewal" is needed to save human rights and the rule of law

A "democratic renewal" is needed to "reinforce and renew European democracy and to create an environment in which human rights and the rule of law flourish," says the latest annual report of the Council of Europe.

17 May 2021

EU: Undermining encryption: Council Presidency sets out "next steps"

The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU is calling on member states to "support and contribute to the Commission's efforts in the process of identifying options for the way forward on encryption," as EU institutions aim for the contradictory objectives of promoting the use of encryption whilst undermining its effectiveness.

11 May 2021

DNA sequencing, DIY style: "vigilance could be required on both legal and ethical issues"

A briefing paper from the European Parliament's Scientific Foresight unit asks a question that raises all manner of legal, ethical and philosophical questions: "As DNA sequencing technologies continuously improve and become less costly, what if we all soon possessed our personal, smart DNA sequencers and apps to analyse our DNA?"

11 May 2021

USA: Mass biometric data-gathering border rule withdrawn, but database construction continues

A statement from Mijente and Just Futures Law on the repeal of a rule introduced by the Trump administration allowing the mass collection of biometric data from immigrants entering the USA. However, this change "only stops the rollout of flawed legal justification for mass collection of our biometric information, not its practice nor plans to expand it."


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