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June 2017

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29-30.6.17)

UK: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber): No more returns to Libya

"The violence in Libya has reached such a high level that substantial grounds are shown for believing that a returning civilian would, solely on account of his presence on the territory of that country or region, face a real risk of being subject to a threat to his life or person."

See: Decision: full-text (pdf)

UK-EU: BREXIT: The Repeal Bill: Legal and Practical Challenges of Implementing Brexit (SCER, pdf)

"There are two standard procedures open to the drafters of the Repeal Bill: the negative resolution procedure and the affirmative resolution procedure. The latter means that any statutory instrument must be approved by (usually) both Houses at Westminster. However, parliament cannot propose amendments, so that the vote is held on a take it or leave it basis. Given the time pressures that the government is likely to be under once the ramifications of Brexit are clear, the affirmative resolution procedure is unlikely to be workable.

Where the negative resolution procedure applies, there is not normally a parliamentary debate and the statutory instrument becomes law after the passage of normally forty days, unless an objection is raised by a member of parliament. The current hung parliament makes objections under both procedures relatively, likely resulting in delays in the domestic implementation of Brexit."

UK: Data management and use: Governance in the 21st century A joint report by the British Academy and the Royal Society (pdf):

"Changing data, changing society: As data collection activities continue to increase in speed, scale and variety, and the analytic techniques used to process these datasets become more sophisticated, individuals..."

Counter-terrorism was never meant to be Silicon Valley's job. Is that why it's failing? (Guardian, link):

"Extremist content is spreading online and law enforcement can’t keep up. The result is a private workforce that’s secretive, inaccurate and unaccountable...

Counter-terrorism is being slowly privatized and carried out by low-paid workers at technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. Although these companies hire expert advisers and former government agents to tackle extremist propaganda and recruitment enabled by their platforms, much of the grunt work is carried out by contractors earning $15 an hour or, in YouTube’s case, volunteers.

The result is a private counter-terror workforce with little training increasingly employed to do the kind of work expected of law enforcement. Such work is carried out secretly, inaccurately (journalists and activists have been censored) and with little accountability."

EU: European Parliament Study: Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones (pdf):

"Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones....

Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons." [emphasis added]

See also: Towards a European Position on the Use of Armed Drones? A Human Rights Approach (ICCT, pdf): "The authors’ conclusions include observations on the need for and possible ways to obtain information, challenges for the use of armed drones generally, and legal challenges and recommendations."

Greater Manchester doubles number of police trained to use stun guns (Guardian, link): "Force to train 1,100 officers to use Taser weapons to better protect region after terrorist attacks in London and Manchester."

EU: 14 EDA Member States to pool & share GOVSATCOM capabilities (European Defence Agency, link):

"On June 15th the EDA Steering Board accepted, by written procedure, the Outline Description for the Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) Pooling and Sharing demonstration project (GSC demo). Under the leadership of Spain, the project brings together Austria, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Norway, which has signed an Administrative Arrangement with the Agency, is also participating in the project. The next step will be the establishment of a Project Arrangement."

And see: High Level Civil Military User Needs for Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) (LIMITE doc no: 7550-17, pdf)

Also: EU-US: Satellite states: Commission prepares for negotiations with the US on EU's defence and internal security satellite system (Statewatch News, 2013)

Turkish 'walk for justice' continues despite Erdogan threat (DW, link):

"President Erdogan has warned Turkey's opposition leader his long march for justice could land him in trouble. Tensions in Turkey have accelerated over the past two months when a referendum gave Erdogan enhanced powers."

The Brexit talks: opening positions on the status of UK and EU citizens (EU Law Analysis, link): by Steve Peers, Professor of Law:

"One of the most high-profile issues relating to Brexit, which could potentially have the biggest direct impact on the lives of the greatest number of people, is the issue of what happens to UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in UK after Brexit."

European Parliament: New Asylum Agency to ensure respect of EU asylum rules and fundamental rights (Press release, link):

"The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.

The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way."

Slovenian PM: EU enlargement at risk if Croatia border ruling ignored (Politico, link): "Tribunal grants Slovenia access to international waters but Zagreb says the arbitration process was compromised."

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Sexual violence in the public space: stop trivialisation and impunity (link):

"The Assembly today expressed its concern at the magnitude of the phenomenon of sexual violence and harassment of women in the public space. “Although this violence takes place in public, sometimes in front of dozens of people, women often find themselves facing their attackers alone because witnesses fail to act. This widespread indifference only increases the victims’ feeling of insecurity and helplessness,” PACE warned."

See: Adopted report (pdf)

EU: President Tusk wants to turn the international sanctions machinery against migrant smugglers: See Council Press release (pdf):

"When it comes to migration just one remark: there is already a very ambitious and responsible language proposed by Chancellor Merkel. My suggestion is that maybe we could also add a very concrete reference to the fight against smugglers. We could appeal to the other G20 members to consider for example UN sanctions against the smugglers.

In order to put smugglers on the UN list we need the UN Security Council members to agree. The G20 format seems to be a good forum to bring it to the table."

What guarantees? The Brexit proposals on EU citizens’ residence (IRR News, libk) by Frances Webber:

"The government’s widely-condemned post-Brexit proposals for EU citizens should be used to highlight the unfair and discriminatory immigration laws to which they will be subjected, particularly those limiting family reunification, which currently apply to British citizens and settled migrants. "

EU: Interoperability and EU databases: Big Brother takes shape

 Press release: Security Union: Commission delivers on interoperability of EU information systems (pdf):

"The Commission is today delivering on its commitment to ensure interoperability and address the existing shortcomings of EU information systems for security and border management, as set out by the Commission in its 7th Security Union Report on 16 May and endorsed by the European Council of 22-23 June. As a first step, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the mandate of the EU Agency for the operational management of large scale IT systems (eu-LISA), enabling it to develop and roll-out the technical solutions to make the EU information systems interoperable." [emphasis added]

 SECURITY UNION: Eighth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 354-17, pdf):

"Next steps towards the interoperability of information systems

As set out in the seventh progress report, the Commission is taking further action to implement the new approach to the management of data for borders and security. On 28 June 2017, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA. The agency will play a crucial role in the technical work towards the interoperability of information systems, including with ongoing technical analysis on the identified solutions to achieve this."
See also: Press release (pdf) [emphasis added]

 Extending eu-LISA mandate: Proposed Regulation on the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, and amending Regulation (EC) 1987/2006 and Council Decision 2007/533/JHA and repealing Regulation (EU) 1077/2011 (pdf):

"aims at inserting in the Regulation changes deriving from policy, legal or factual developments and in particular to reflect the fact that new systems will be entrusted to the Agency subject to agreement by the co-legislators and that the Agency should be tasked with contributing to the development of interoperability between large-scale IT systems in the follow-up to the 6 April 2016 Commission Communication on Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for borders and security, the final report of the High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability of 11 May 2017...." [emphasis added]

 Report on eu-LISA: Report: on the functioning of the European Agency for the operational management of largescale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) (COM 346-17, pdf)

 eu-LISA: Staff Working document report: eu-LISA Evaluation (SWD 249-17 , pdf) and see Summary (SWD 250-17, pdf)

 Factsheet: Security Union: Interoperability of EU Information Systems (pdf)
 Factsheet: EU information systems (pdf) includes: "Who can access which database?"
 Factsheet: Security Union (pdf)

UK: Legal action over Prime Minister’s secret order to British spies (Reprieve, link):

"Reprieve and Privacy International have launched legal action today after the government refused to reveal the subject matter or contents of a secret Prime Ministerial order governing the activities of the British security services.

It was revealed last year in a separate case brought by Privacy International that the Prime Minister has made three such orders, or “Directions”, which require intrusive and risky covert activity by the UK security services to be overseen by the Intelligence Services Commissioner. Two of these Directions have been made public but the Third Direction remains secret, redacted from public documents."

The document that revealed the existence of the Third Direction can be found here. The two Directions that have been made can be seen on the Intelligence Services Commissioner’s website here (Bulk Data Sets) and here (Consolidated Guidance).

And: Full Statement of Grounds for legal action by Reprieve and PI (link)

UK: Immigration detainees bring legal challenge against £1 an hour 'slave' wages (Guardian, link): "Lawyers for 10 people held in UK centres want Home Office to raise minimum pay for voluntary but ‘essential’ work by detainees."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27-28.6.17) including: Italy delivers broken boats to Libyan coastguard

BOSNIA: Court confirms Dutch U.N. peacekeepers partly liable for Srebrenica massacre (Reuters, link):

"A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday confirmed that the Netherlands was partly liable for the deaths in 1995 of some 300 Muslim males who were expelled from a Dutch U.N. base after the surrounding area was overrun by Bosnian Serb troops.

The ruling by the Hague Appeals Court upheld a 2014 decision that Dutch peacekeepers should have known that the men seeking refuge at the base near Srebrenica would be murdered by Bosnian Serb troops if they were forced to leave -- as they were.

The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after acknowledging its failure to protect the refugees, but it said then that the peacekeepers had been on 'mission impossible'.

The defense ministry told Reuters on Tuesday that the state was studying the appeals court's findings carefully."

And see: Dutch state is partly liable for 300 Srebrenica deaths, appeal court says (Dutch News, link)

UK: Mother of man killed by police attacks decision not to charge officer (The Guardian, link):

"The family of a man shot dead during a police operation in 2015 have expressed shock that the officer who killed him is not going to face criminal charges.

Jermaine Baker’s family have written to the Crown Prosecution Service demanding an urgent review of the decision.

The CPS announced on Wednesday that the Metropolitan police officer who fatally shot Baker will not face charges.

Margaret Smith, 49, Jermaine Baker’s mother, said she believed that the CPS had made the decision because it was scared of prosecuting police officers for fatal shootings. “I believe that from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “If ever there was a case of a police officer carrying out a fatal shooting who should be prosecuted, it should be this one.” "

See: Network for Police Monitoring: Dissent is Not a Crime: Latest news from Netpol: June 2017 (link)

EU: Over a decade after adoption, Eurogroup "working methods" made public: Working Methods of the Eurogroup (3 October 2008, pdf):

"At their 26 February 2007 meeting, ministers approved the following working methods of the Eurogroup which replace those dated 15 November 2004 as well as the addendum dated 5 July 2005.


The informal character of the Eurogroup provides for both the flexibility of a pragmatic approach to the agenda-setting and the confidentiality for in-depth political discussions. The Eurogroup should function efficiently, notably by avoiding duplication with the Ecofin Council." (emphasis added)

See: Eurogroup chief: 'I'm for secret, dark debates' (EUobserver, 21 April 2011) and: The Eurogroup Made Simple (DiEM 25, link) by Yanis Varoufakis

UK: Merseyside Police target legal observers ‘based on the way they were dressed’ (Netpol, link):

"Merseyside Police is accused of ignoring the standard practice, adopted by most UK police forces, of acknowledging that independent legal observers are not the same as protesters – and of justifying this on the basis of the way those monitoring a protest in Liverpool were dressed.

During a recent English Defence League (EDL) march and counter demonstrations against it on Saturday 3 June, legal observers who are part of Green and Black Cross‘ national network of volunteers who monitor the policing of protests were out on the streets near the city’s Lime Street station. As always, they were clearly identified by their familiar fluorescent orange bibs. According to media reports, there were over 200 officers and 25 riot vans deployed on the day.


An inspector informed them, however, that as part of the planning of the operation the Silver Commander, Merseyside Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes, had issued an instruction that officers should consider legal observers as “left wing protesters” and arrest them if they refused to follow Section 14 directions."

UK: Allegations of police corruption double in four years (The Justice Gap, link):

"The number of allegations of police corruption has doubled in four years. According to figures obtained by The Times under freedom of information legislation and published earlier in the week, 2,434 officers and police staff were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over corruption allegations over the last four years. The number almost doubled between 2012, when there were 275 referrals, and 2016 when there were 531.

According to the report, some allegations of serious corruption involved ‘a covert referral’ and so were not included in the figures. There were 113 corruption referrals last year from the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force. There were 59 from West Midlands police and 20 from Greater Manchester.

The number of complaints about inappropriate use of force (‘from physical restraint to firearms and stun guns’) rose from 769 in 2012 to 912 last year. Overall referrals have gone up from 2,404 in 2012 to 3,793 last year."

SPAIN: EU Court says tax exemptions for the Catholic Church in Spain may constitute unlawful State aid (New Europe, link):

"Tax exemptions to the Church may constitute state aid prohibited by European law if these are granted for economic activities, according to a ruling today of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

It was a ruling in a case brought against the Spanish state by the Congregación de Escuelas Pías Provincia Betania v Ayuntamiento de Getafe (Community of House of Schools Schools of Getafe), after the tax authorities refused a refund of 23,000 euros paid in municipal taxes for works carried out in its centre in Madrid.

In their ruling, European magistrates consider that “tax exemptions enjoyed by the Catholic Church in Spain can constitute prohibited state aid if granted in respect of economic activities” and meet certain requirements."

See: CJEU press release: Tax exemptions for the Catholic Church in Spain may constitute unlawful State aid if and to the extent to which they are granted for economic activities (pdf) and: Judgment (Case C-74/16, pdf)

UK: Hillsborough disaster: six people, including two senior police officers, charged (The Guardian, link):

"Six people including two former senior police officers have been charged with criminal offences relating to the deaths of 96 people at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough football ground and the alleged police cover-up which followed.

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire officer who was in command of policing at the match, has been charged with manslaughter of 95 people – the 96th, Tony Bland, died four years later after his life support was switched off.

Sir Norman Bettison, the former chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire police, who was an inspector in the South Yorkshire force at the time of the disaster, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office."

See: Crown Prosecution Service: Hillsborough Charging Decisions (pdf)

French woman guilty of smuggling migrant partner but spared jail (BBC News, link):

"A woman put on trial in France for helping her romantic partner cross the border from the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais to the UK has escaped a jail sentence.

Béatrice Huret, a former supporter of the far-right National Front, was found guilty of aiding an Iranian man named Mokhtar to cross the English channel.

However, the court did not hand down any punishment for Mrs Huret.

Three others on trial for related offences were also convicted."

BREXIT: Analysis: what is the UK proposing for EU citizens in the UK and EU citizens in the EU? (Free Movement, link):

"On 26 June 2017, over a year after the Brexit referendum result, the government finally published its proposals to “safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”. Here we take a look at the details of the proposals.

It is important to remember that at the moment these are just proposals by the UK. They have been tabled as part of a negotiation process. The UK proposals may change, either becoming more generous as part of the negotiation or being withdrawn partially or in full if the negotiations fail.


It is hard to see in what way the UK proposals are “generous” as had originally been suggested. For example, on family members the offer is merely to comply with EU law until Brexit, which the UK is already obliged to do. Kicking out family members who had lawfully arrived in the meantime should be utterly unthinkable anyway. The UK proposals rather look like the bare minimum which decency demands; if one considers what arrangements the UK would be likely to put in place in the event of “no deal” when Brexit occurs, they would surely look a lot like these. The UK was never going to forceably remove 3 million EU citizens resident in the UK."

UK-USA: Minister refuses to condemn Trump’s views on torture (Reprieve, link):

"A senior government minister in the House of Lords has refused to condemn President Trump for his views on torture. The comments directly contradict a statement by a Foreign Office minister, just yesterday, that the UK opposes torture in all forms.

Baroness Goldie, the incoming Lords Whip, was asked yesterday in Parliament whether the Government had “in any way addressed” President Trump’s “publicly expressed opinion on torture” – a reference to the President’s previous comments that torture, including waterboarding, “works”. Responding, Baroness Goldie said: “What other sovereign states choose to do is largely their affair.”

The comments appear to contradict the UK’s policy on torture, affirmed as recently as yesterday by other Government officials."

EU: Croatia Enters Schengen Information System (Total Croatia News, link):

"Starting from today, the Croatian police and security services have access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which will, according to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, increase the efficiency and credibility of the Croatian police and security services which cooperate with partner countries, reports Vecernji List on June 27, 2017.

The Schengen Information System was presented on Tuesday to Croatian Prime Minister, the Interior Minister and the press at the Bregana border crossing. This is considered a significant step in meeting the criteria for Croatia's entry into the Schengen Area.

The information system enables access to the primary tool for cooperation with the Schengen Area police forces. About 200,000 wanted persons, vehicles, documents and objects are found annually through this system. It contains more than 70 million data that countries with access rights can search and check. The implementation of the scheme in Croatia was financed by the European Union funds in the amount of five million euros."

EU cash underpins record international sales for security and defence multinational GMV

A bevy of EU contracts has underpinned record international sales growth for multinational security and defence corporation GMV, which works with Frontex on the Eurosur border surveillance system, with the European Maritime Safety Agency on maritime surveillance drones, and receives funding from various projects supported by the EU's research and development programes, amongst other sources of income.

The ‘open society’ and its contradictions (Global Labour Column, link) by Stephan Lessenich:

"The ‘openness’ of liberal democracy is part and parcel of the Western world’s self-description. However, this openness has always been functionally dependent on building effective shields against the outer world. While the rising prosperity of the advanced capitalist societies rested on, among other things, the establishment of a free trade regime systematically biased towards their own economic interests, the institutionalisation of ‘social peace’ in the relations between capital and labour was actually an effect of exporting social unrest to the peripheries of the capitalist world system. And democracy itself was effectively stabilised by redistributing substantial parts of a hitherto unknown dynamic of economic growth – a dynamic resulting from the steady rise in productivity of a capitalist economy which was structurally able to externalise large parts of the social and ecological costs of its mode of production onto third parties, specifically the labouring classes and the natural environments of the so-called developing countries."

EU effort to halt migrants founders in Libya's chaos (Reuters, link):

"When Libya's coastguard received the first of a long-awaited batch of patrol boats from Italy last month, two of the four vessels still had mechanical problems and one broke down on the way to Tripoli.

As Italy's interior minister later flew in to present the boats officially at a naval base in the Libyan capital, coast guards grumbled that the vessels were old and had little deck space for rescued migrants.

"They want us to be Europe's policeman. At the same time, that policeman needs resources," said naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem. "I challenge anyone to work in these conditions." "

EU: Rise in Cybercrime Ups Demand for Mobile Biometric Security and Services (TMR, link):

"In a report titled “Mobile Biometric Security and Services Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017 – 2025”, TMR Research finds that growing awareness about the benefits of biometric technology and the soaring use of smartphones across the globe are mainly responsible for the rapid expansion of this market.


The various technologies involved in mobile biometric security and services include voice recognition, embedded fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, iris scans, and fingerprint recognition. Of these, fingerprint recognition is perhaps one of the most commonly used method of biometrics used in a wide range of applications.

The global market for mobile biometric security and services can be geographically segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. North America accounts for a major share in the overall market, with Europe also emerging as a key contributor toward the global revenue. Factors such as rising government initiatives and favorable policies to improve homeland security, to tackle cybercrime, and to enhance the security infrastructure of various connected mobile devices have been benefitting the North America and Europe markets for mobile biometric security and services. In addition to this, the easy availability of services such as mobile payments and e-passport is also supporting the mobile biometric security and services market in these regions."

DENMARK: Government party wants to punish NGOs for saving refugees crossing the Mediterranean (Copenhagen Post, link):

"The government party Venstre wants to strip Danish aid funds from NGOs that take part in rescuing migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean via boat.

Venstre’s spokesperson on immigration issues, Marcus Knuth, follows the line set by the EU border agency Frontex, which has also criticised NGOs for funding or taking part in rescue missions.

“I agree strongly with the criticism. Aid organisations create a greater incentive to take the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, and I look upon that gravely,” Knuth told Berlingske newspaper.

“So we should look at where these organisations get their funds from, and if it comes from Denmark, we should strongly reconsider continuing to give them support.”"

UK: ARMING THE POLICE? Police chiefs to discuss offering guns to all frontline officers (The Guardian, link):

"Police chiefs will consider the possibility of offering a gun to every frontline police officer in England and Wales, to counter the threat of a marauding terrorist attack, the Guardian has learned.

A discussion paper on the subject has been drawn up for the next meeting of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which wants to look at how to boost armed police numbers to deal with a crisis, following the atrocities in Manchester and London.

The paper is intended to start a debate on the issue among police leaders at the two-day meeting that starts on 12 July – although it is thought at this stage unlikely that any wider arming will be agreed upon. Routine arming is controversial within policing and many do not support it."

See: Should We Arm More Police? Serving Officer Has "Mixed Mind" (LBC, link):

"Christopher, who is not an armed officer, told Ian "there’s only a handful of officers I know that want to be routinely armed."

"If you start arming the police - how many times are we going to be criticised for pulling the trigger and how many time are we going to be criticised for not pulling the trigger?""

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council: 6-7 July 2007, in Tallinn, Estonia: Press release (pdf): Includes:

Two sessions on:

In this session two interlinked issues are addressed. Firstly, the ministers are invited to share their views on how to continue discussions on the application of responsibility and solidarity in the common migration management system. After that, the discussion will be focused on return policy as one of the key pillars of a comprehensive migration management system. The ministers will discuss possible measures to improve the return of irregular migrants from the Schengen area to their home countries, in order to reduce overall migration to the EU...."

Ministers will discuss how EU databases in the areas of security, border and migration management, and criminal justice could be made interoperable, so as to make the best possible use of all the available information. The overall aim would potentially be to deliver better security and safety to EU citizens. Another area to be discussed is whether the role of eu-LISA should be strengthened in regard to research and development, so that technological innovation could be introduced more quickly, while increasing the value for end users, improving data protection and reducing costs." [emphasis added throughout]

See: Commission wants a quick march to interoperable, centralised EU databases by 2020 (Statewatch) and EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases (Statewatch)

Data retention
Ministers will exchange views on possible options for data retention for the purpose of prevention and prosecution of crime."

Comment: The JHA Council is still trying to find ways around the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the necessity and proportionality of mass data retention which it wants limited to terrorism and serious crimes (not crime in general).

UK: European Court of Human Rights finds UK in breach of Article 5 over unlawful detention of Zimbabwean national (gardencourtchambers.co.uk):

"The applicant, S.M.M., is a Zimbabwean national who lives in London. Relying on Article 5 § 1 (f) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention, he claimed that he had been detained unlawfully between November 2008 and September 2011. He was detained during that time on the basis that he was awaiting deportation from the UK. In September 2011, he was released on bail and one year later he was granted asylum in the country."

See: Judgment (pdf)

Why exactly were the police spying on Jeremy Corbyn? (Guardian, link):

"Undercover officers are alleged to have monitored the Labour MP for two decades.....

The Telegraph article was based on the testimony of an unnamed former police officer who was quoted as saying that Corbyn was monitored because he was “deemed to be subversive”....

Two years ago, Francis gave an on-the-record account of how police had spied on Corbyn and a string of other Labour politicians even after they had been elected to the House of Commons. Francis said he had read secret files on 10 MPs while he worked for the Metropolitan police’s special branch in the 1990s. These included Harriet Harman, Peter Hain and Diane Abbott. "

And see: Rod Richardson: #spycop was used to undermine protest (undercoverresearch.net, link):

"we publish the profile of Rod Richardson, the undercover officer active as an environmental, anarchist and animal rights protestor between 1999 and 2003 in Essex, London and Nottingham. Richardson was exposed on Indymedia UK and in The Guardian in 2013 and confirmed as a spycop in December 2016."

European Council: Press release: European Council conclusions on security and defence, 22/06/2017 (pdf):

See: EU flexes military muscles with new defense plan (Reuters, link): "European Union leaders launched their the most ambitious defense plan for decades on Thursday, agreeing a multi-billion-euro weapons fund, shared financing for battlegroups and allowing a coalition of the willing to conduct more missions abroad." And see: 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit (euobserver, link)

UK: Probe launched as young father dies after being detained by police in east London (Evening Stardard, link):

"The police watchdog has launched an investigation as a young man died in hospital after being detained by police in east London.

Family of Edir Frederico Da Costa, known by friends as Edson, allege he was “brutally beaten” after officers stopped him in Newham on June 15. They said the 25-year-old had his neck broken and suffered head and other injuries after he was stopped in a car, containing three people, by Met officers."

And see: Demonstrators confront police in east London over Da Costa death (Guardian, link): "Riot police were called to angry scenes at Stratford bus station after Edson Da Costa, 25, died in hospital following arrest."

Uncovering Lisbon’s Forgotten History of Slavery (Black Perspectives, link):

"By all accounts, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon is a strikingly beautiful city, but—like so many entrepôt Mediterranean cities of its kind—it is one built on blood. Beginning in the fifteenth century, the Portuguese launched what would become the modern slave trade off the coast of West Africa that eventually spawned the terror of the Middle Passage. Lisbon quickly became the center of slavery in Portugal itself, where wealthy Portuguese families and traders purchased enslaved Africans to work the opulent homes and bustling docks along the Tejo River....."

EU: EUROJUST: Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Eurojust’s Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response:  Fourth Eurojust Report: Summary of Main Findings (pdf):

"This paper presents a summary of the main findings of the fourth Eurojust report, Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Eurojust’s Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response (the ‘report’) of November 2016. The objective of the report is to present Eurojust’s findings on the evolution of the EU criminal justice response to FTFs."

Social media giants step up fight against extremist content (euractiv, link):

"Social media giants Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday (26 June) they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.....

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism “will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN”, the companies said in a statement."

UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit (euobserver, link):

"British nationals may end up paying into the EU general budget after the UK leaves the European Union.

An EU proposal to tighten border security controls for all visa-free travellers sometime in 2020 will be generating cash by demanding fees from holidaymakers. The fees will pay for annual running costs."

Perils of Back Door Encryption Mandates - ‘Five Eyes’ Nations Should Support, Not Threaten, Digital Security (HRW, link):

" The governments that constitute the intelligence partnership known as “The Five Eyes,” will meet on June 26-27, 2017, in Ottawa to discuss how to bypass encryption. The governments may pursue a dangerous strategy that will subvert the rights and cybersecurity of all internet users."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-26.6.17)

ITALY: Italian police tortured Genoa G8 protesters, ECHR rules for the second time

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that 42 demonstrators were tortured by Italian police officers during protests againts the Genoa G8 summit in 2001, following a seperate ruling in 2015 that reached the same conclusion.

FRANCE: Petition calls on French president to end the detention of migrant children

La Cimade, with Réseau Education sans frontières (RESF), Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), Anafé, MRAP, Syndicat des avocats de France (SAF), France terre d’asile and ASSFAM has launched a petition calling on the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, to put an end to child migrants' detention.

UK: Police set to step up Taser training (Swindon Advertiser, link):

"WILTSHIRE Police is offering voluntary training to any officers who wish to be trained to use a Taser.

Police forces around the country have been responding to the Metropolitan Police’s lead in increasing the number of officers trained to carry Tasers.

Chief Constable Mike Veale says that although Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country, it still faces a rise in violent crime and the threat of terrorism remains very real throughout the UK.

The Police Federation of England and Wales has demanded that forces around the country equip police with the devices, after Met Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed 1,867 additional officers would be Taser trained, bringing the total number of officers in the capital trained and carrying Tasers to over 6,400.

Wiltshire Police currently has 160 Tasers."

EU: “E-smuggling”: Europol steps up efforts against online-assisted migrant crossings (Matthias Monroy, link):

"According to the EU police agency, in the past year 17,459 people operated as “human traffickers”. In the majority of cases, refugees and their facilitators communicate using Facebook or Telegram. Seizing of electronic evidence is thus to take on a greater role in investigations.

Last year, the EU police agency Europol received reports of 1,150 social media accounts apparently used by refugees to facilitate their entry into or travel through the European Union. This information is based on figures (PDF) published by the European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC) at Europol for 2016. The number of incriminated accounts in 2015 was just 148."

And see: Statewatch Analysis: Policing the internet: from terrorism and extremism to “content used by traffickers to attract migrants and refugees” (pdf, March 2016) by Chris Jones

EU members abstain as Britain defeated in UN vote on Chagos Islands (The Guardian, link):

"The UK has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations general assembly in a vote over decolonisation and its residual hold over disputed territory in the Indian Ocean.

By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.

A further 65 countries abstained on Thursday, including many EU states who might have been expected to vote in support of another bloc member.

Among EU members who abstained were France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Greece and Finland. Canada and Switzerland also abstained."

See: Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 22 June 2017: Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (pdf)

Prison overcrowding in the EU concerns MEPs (New Europe, link):

"MEPs have taken a stance against prison conditions in the European Union by expressing concerns of overcrowding during the Civil Liberties Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

During the session, MEPs expressed their concern with the high levels of overcrowding in detention centers in some of the EU member states. MEPs also encouraged the national authorities to utilize alternatives, such as home detention, community service work, and electronic bracelets should be prioritized for those who are not a danger to society and that imprisonment should be used conservatively."

See the most recent Council of Europe statistics: Prison statistics for 2015: overcrowding still a problem (Statewatch News Online, 11 April 2017)

INDIA: BIOMETRICS: India's fintech marvel acquires an Orwellian tinge (Reuters, link):

"India's enthusiasm for its biometric identity database has gone into overdrive. Citizens are being pushed to link their 12-digit Aadhaar number, which captures fingerprints and iris scans, to everything from school enrollments to air ticket purchases. That points to the rise of a surveillance state.

Aadhaar, which means "foundation", was launched in 2009 and covers more than 1.1 billion people. It goes beyond social security schemes in the United States and the United Kingdom, partly to solve developing-country problems like the low registration of births.


But Aadhaar is now going further than what is obviously useful. In the latest example, bank accounts will cease to function if Indians do not provide their identity number. The scheme, once touted as voluntary by its champion Nandan Nilekani, a founder of IT giant Infosys, looks less and less so."

EU human rights chief: ‘Civil society will push back the rise of extremism’ (EurActiv, link):

"We have been talking about challenges in civil society and the so-called shrinking civil society space for years but we have been looking outside Europe. And we overlook the extent to which we also have problems within the EU.

The record is uneven across EU member states but we see five different types of pressure on civil society. In the first place, we have challenges thrown up by the regulatory environment, for example, when anti-terrorism law creates problems for the gathering of civil society groups like legitimate demonstrations in the streets. Secondly, we see quite serious problems with regards finance and funding and there are many problems here, the issue in Hungary is the most recent and dramatic but there are many forms of funding issues, such as removing human rights advocacy from charitable status for purposes of the taxation laws.

A third area is access to the decision-making process..."

UK Justice Policy Review: Volume 6 (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link):

"The sixth in an annual series by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, supported by The Hadley Trust, assessing year-on-year developments in criminal justice across the UK.

Combining analysis of the main developments with key data on issues such as spending, staffing and the numbers going through the criminal justice system, UK Justice Policy Review (UKJPR) offers an accessible overview of UK-wide developments.

The 13 month period covered by this edition of UKJPR is bookended by two notable political events. At one end is the May 2015 General Election, which returned the first majority Conservative UK government for nearly two decades. At the other is the June 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, which inaugurated a new period of politics and policymaking, distinctive in many ways from that which preceded it.

This edition of UKJPR is concerned with assessing and explaining criminal justice developments across the UK’s four nations and regions – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – between these two events. Developments between the Brexit Referendum and the 2017 General Election are covered in UKJPR 7, due out in early 2018."

EU: Strengthened EU rules to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance and terrorism financing enter into force (European Commission press release, pdf):

"The Juncker Commission has made the fight against tax avoidance, money laundering and terrorism financing one of its priorities.

Today, the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive enters into force. It strengthens the existing rules and will make the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing more effective. It also improves transparency to prevent tax avoidance. This entry into force comes as discussions with the European Parliament and the Council on extra measures further reinforcing the Directive are already at an advanced stage.

Today the Commission also publishes a report which will support Member State authorities in better addressing money laundering risks in practice. As required by the new directive, the Commission assessed the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of different sectors and financial products. The report published today identifies the areas most at risk and the most widespread techniques used by criminals to launder illicit funds."

See: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities (COM(2017) 340 final, pdf) plus: Annex 1 and Annex 2 (pdfs)

See also: Commission Staff Working Document: On improving cooperation between EU Financial Intelligence units (SWD(2017) 275 final, pdf)

German parliament votes to cut funding to extremist parties (EurActiv, link):

"Germany’s parliament has changed the constitution so that extremist parties can no longer claim government funds. Critics call that undemocratic, but lawmakers say Germany’s political system is entitled to defend itself.

A majority of 502 of 579 delegates in the German Bundestag voted yesterday (22 June) in favor of amending the country’s constitution to deprive anti-democratic political parties of federal money. One of the first groups likely to be affected by the new rules is the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which received €1.1 million last year."

EU: Arrival of migrants in May: Numbers in Italy and Greece higher than month ago (Frontex, link):

"There were around 27 000 detections of illegal border crossings on the four main migratory routes into the EU in May. The total number of detections in the first five months of 2017 fell 75% from the same period of last year to 84 000, although the number of migrants arriving in Italy remained above the figures from a year ago."

EU-HUNGARY: Hungary is Taking European Values for a Ride (Human Rights Watch, link):

"Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Fidesz government has repeatedly undermined the rule of law, as well as checks and balances of the executive through the courts, media, and civil society. This year those attacks have intensified, with a law aimed at shutting down a reputable academic institution, the Central European University, another to curb the work of foreign-funded nongovernmental groups inspired by Russia’s foreign agents law, and a third that doubles down on the country’s abusive border regime for asylum seekers.

Yet Fidesz’ membership of the EPP [European People's Party] has helped shield Hungary from meaningful European Union action by blocking resolutions in the parliament aiming to address serious rule of law and human rights concerns, despite the fact that the government’s actions breach not only European values, but those of the EPP itself. Those values include respect for rule of law and human rights and encouraging a vibrant civil society.


By letting Fidesz take the country down an authoritarian path without any tangible consequences, the EU has signalled that other EU states can do the same.

If [Manfred] Weber [chair of the EPP] really wants to bring about positive changes both in Hungary and Poland he should urge EPP to reassess Fidesz’s membership in EPP, and consider expelling the party."

GERMANY: Data retention, video surveillance and state trojans: "surveillance state" measures under fire from politicians and NGOs

A swathe of new surveillance and security measures recently introduced by the German government are facing increasing criticism from politicians and civil society organisations, with legal challenges to new laws on data retention and video surveillance in the works

Facebook grows its counterterrorism team (CNN, link):

"There's a new in-demand job at Facebook: counterterrorism specialist.

Facebook (FB, Tech30) says it now has more than 150 people who are mainly focused on fighting terrorism on the social network, including a mix of academics, analysts and former law enforcement agents.

This team of specialists has "significantly grown" over the last year, according to a Facebook blog post Thursday detailing its efforts to crack down on terrorists and their posts.

"Really my job is how do we disrupt what the terrorists are trying to do and how do we get ahead of it," Brian Fishman, Facebook's counterterrorism policy manager, told CNN Tech."

UN: General Assembly approves creation of new UN Counter-Terrorism Office (UN News Centre, link):

"15 June 2017 – The General Assembly today approved the establishment of a new United Nations office to help Member States implement the Organization's global counter-terrorism strategy.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-nation body also welcomed Secretary-General António Guterres' initiative to transfer relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and into the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

As a result, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in DPA, will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources. The new Office would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General."

See the Resolution: Strengthening the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf) and preceding report: Capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf)

EU: Border management going virtual (EUobserver, link):

"Internal security and migration are merging under the guise of border management as the EU seeks to tighten controls on who leaves and enters the bloc.

Krum Garkov, who heads the Tallinn-based EU agency that oversees large-scale IT systems, described the merger as a fundamental shift that will also make border controls virtual.

"Border management today is going through a very fundamental transformation," he said earlier this week at a conference organised by Forum Europe in Brussels.

His agency, known as eu-Lisa, is also set for an overhaul, with the European Commission floating a bill next week to beef up its mandate."

German police conduct nationwide raids against Reichsbürgers (Daily Sabah, link):

"German authorities have launched an investigation in 14 states in response to a growing number of hate crimes among far-right extremist groups and "Reichsbürger" terrorists on social media, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) stated yesterday."

Change torture bill, CoE tells Italy (ANSA, link):

" The Lower House must change a bill against torture to bring it into line with international standards, Council of Europe (CoE) Human Rights Commissioner Nils Miuznieks said in a letter to parliamentary Speakers Laura Boldrini (House) and Pietro Grasso (Senate) Wednesday. Miuznieks voiced concern about the "profound differences" between the definition of torture ion the bill and that contained in various international treaties ratified by Italy, especially the UN's Convention against Torture.

The Senate approved the controversial bill introducing the crime of torture last month."

EU: European Council wants industry to develop automated censorship tools and "address the challenge" of encryption

- Draft conclusions for 22-23 June meeting also back multi-billion euro military research programme
- Migration: "Training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and should be speeded up"

UK: EU citizens in Britain to be asked to register for post-Brexit status (The Guardian, link):

"The government is preparing to announce a registration process for the estimated 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, as a first step towards regularising their legal status post-Brexit.

It is understood ministers will unveil plans inviting all EU citizens to officially “register their interest” in acquiring documentation allowing them to live and work in the country after 2019 when Britain is scheduled to leave the European bloc.

The government is hoping the stocktaking exercise will help it understand the scale of the demand for residency applications once Britain leaves the EU and prevent an overwhelming avalanche of applications on Brexit day."

EU: Say yes to human mobility and no to Fortress Europe (EurActiv, link):

"EU leaders will this week meet to agree, once more, on ways to keep migrants out of the EU. Out of sight may be out of mind but such a policy is only encouraging the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of people, warns Leila Bodeux.


No walls, no human rights abuses, no coast guards or threat of return will stop desperate people from searching for a dignified life in Europe, no matter how deadly the attempt may be.


The time is ripe to anchor policies in facts and evidence, rather than in fear and quick fixes.

Europe has the moral duty and the material means to welcome, protect, promote and integrate people in need. There are plenty of tools to open efficient, safe and legal pathways to Europe, such as humanitarian visas, resettlement, community sponsorship, humanitarian corridors, and family reunification.

In these unsettling times, Europe can take strong global leadership and promote a fair and humane world by dismantling old, stiff Fortress Europe and by investing in a modern and dynamic, welcoming Europe that fosters human mobility.

This is the future."

UK: Women's prison population close to 4,000 after rapid twelve-month rise (Prison Reform Trust, link):

"The number of women in prison in England and Wales is in touching distance of 4,000 for the first time in four-and-a-half years. Ministry of Justice figures released last Friday show the female prison population currently stands at 3,994.

The latest edition of Prison: the facts (Bromley briefings summer 2017), published today and covered exclusively on this morning’s edition of BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour, shows an increase of 200 women in prison in the past year has pushed the female prison population towards this significant watershed after years of gradual but sustained decline in the numbers of women behind bars. The briefing highlights facts and figures which show the beleaguered state of our overcrowded prison system and the men and women in its care.

Some of the complex factors which may lie behind the growth in the women's prison population include a decline in the use of community orders, an increase in the use of suspended sentence orders, an increase in the number of women held on remand, an increase in the number of women sentenced to custody, and a rise in the number of women recalled to custody."

UK: Privatised probation service is failing prisoners

"Prisons and probation services are failing to meet the needs of newly released long-term prisoners, one in seven of whom end their sentence with no idea where they will spend their first night on the outside, according to a report which campaigners called "devastating"."

EU: The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal and the Not Quite Closed Balkan Route (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, pdf) by Bodo Weber:

"The effect of the two measures [the closure of the Balkan route and the EU-Turkey deal] on the Balkan route has been threefold: First, the number of refugees and migrants moving along the route has dropped dramatically, but tens of thousands still succeed to transit; second, the route has been redirected, with the southern entry point shifting from the Greek islands to Bulgaria’s land border with Turkey; and third, the form of transit has shifted back to the use of smugglers. The three EU member states located at the southern entry (Bulgaria) and northern exit (Hungary, Croatia) of the Balkan route have reacted to the inability to completely close the route with intensified efforts of systematic push-backs of refugees and migrants. Bulgaria has done so with limited success, the other two have been more successful. The attempts to physically close the Balkan route, especially in the case of Hungary, have included changes to asylum legislation that, taken together with the physical push-backs, amount to the systematic violation of human rights and the systematic violation of domestic, EU and international laws and conventions and constitutes a departure from core EU values."

UK: Police seek to avoid accountability in Human Rights case over abusive relationships by undercover officers (Police Spies Out of Lives, link)

 "In 2017, Kate Wilson became one of eight women who have won an historic apology from the Metropolitan Police over their relationships with undercover police. She is now taking the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers to Court over human rights abuses she was subjected to by undercover officers. Ms Wilson’s claim questions the legitimacy of such political policing in a democratic society, and the legality of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that is used to authorise such operations.


Despite having withdrawn their defence in Ms. Wilson’s Civil Claim, paying substantial compensation and issuing a personal apology [4] to Ms. Wilson acknowledging that these relationships were a violation of her human rights, the police have also stated that they intend to contest this claim, and are applying for it to be struck out."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-20.6.17) including: three shipwrecks on eve of World Refugee Day; pro-refugee protests in Madrid

EU: Council document outlines implementation of Europol/INTCEN recommendations against foreign fighters

In December 2016 a series of joint recommendations on dealing with foreign terrorist fighters were issued by Europol, the EU's policing agency, and INTCEN, the intelligence centre of the European External Action Service. A note sent to the Council of the EU's internal security committee (COSI) on 9 June outlines actions that are being taken to implementation the recommendations.

EU: Schengen: temporary internal border controls to be replaced with intensified police checks "across the entire territory"

The Council of the EU has begun to discuss ways to implement the European Commission's May 2017 recommendation for Member States to "intensify police checks across the entire territory, including in border areas," in the hope that the authorities "give precedence to police checks before deciding on the temporary reintroduction of border controls."

A painful record (Ekathimerini, link) by Pantelis Boukalas:

"Tuesday marks World Refugee Day. Although a plethora of heartfelt statements will come from official lips about the plight of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, very little will reach the ears of the actual protagonists of this drama.

In any case, the figures released on Monday by the United Nations are enough to make you gasp: About 65.6 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution by the end of 2016.

This is a painful record, which leaves an indelible mark on the face of humanity, especially considering that half of the refugee population is composed of children.


Sixty-five point six million people. With no freedoms, no rights, no future. This Europe which so touts its respect of human rights does not even respect the right of families separated by violence to reunite. Officials always find a way to bypass the rules or to turn a blind eye to the plight of these people, while at the same time bragging about their official signature at the bottom of agreements and protocols."

UK: Terrorism-related arrests and trials increase as number of far-right extremists reported to Prevent programme grows by 30%

The number of arrests for terrorism-related offences in the UK jumped to 304 in the year ending March 2017, an increase of 18% on the previous year, while the number of completed trials for terrorism-related offences completed in the same period increased by 55%, from 51 to 79.

The change "was driven by an increase in arrests of people from 'white' ethnic groups," according to the Home Office, while a report in The Independent has revealed that "the number of suspected far-right extremists flagged to the Government’s key anti-terror programme soared by 30 per cent in the past year."

SERBIA: Thousands of refugees left stuck in limbo in Calais of the Balkans (The Herald, link):

"In recent months, Serbian authorities have tried to provide shelter, food and medical care to thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa camping within its borders.

But the newcomers do not want any of it. This country is quickly becoming the Calais of the Balkans, a reference to the northern French city where refugees live in limbo while awaiting either deportation, asylum or continuing their journeys in hope of landing in a more welcoming European country.

“I tried to leave Serbia 17 times,” said Jawad Afzali, 17, an Afghan who has lived for the past six months with 1,500 other Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani migrants in abandoned warehouses and a tent village that sprung up behind the bus station."

UK: Number of people detained for longer than six months under Immigration Act powers increases by 10% (The Independent, link):

"The number of people detained under Immigration Act powers for longer than six months has increased by 10 per cent in the past year, statistics have revealed.

A total of 317 people were detained in immigration removal centres, short term holding facilities or pre departure accommodation for more than six months in the first quarter of 2017 — a 10 per cent increase on the same quarter in 2016, when there were 287.

In the first quarter of 2017, 236 people were detained for between six months and a year, 69 between a year and 34 months and 12 between two and three years."

HUNGARY: Asylum in Hungary: damanged beyond repair? ECRE's call for states to end transfers to Hungary under Dublin and bilateral arrangements

"A legal note published today provides a succinct analysis of the most problematic aspects of the Hungarian asylum system and legal framework, and the most egregious human rights violations asylum seekers currently face in the country, including at its external border with Serbia.

It concludes that Hungary’s legal framework, including alarming recent changes, puts rights at risk due to (1) the lack of access to asylum procedure (2) the application of “safe third country” concept to dublin returnees (3) the expansion of summary returns policy (4) inadequate reception conditions and automatic use of detention, and (5) increased risks of destitution.

Therefore, ECRE calls on all States not to transfer applicants for and beneficiaries of international protection to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation or any bilateral arrangements, and to assume responsibility themselves for the examination of these asylum claims."

See: Asylum in Hungary: damaged beyond repair? (link to pdf) and: SWITZERLAND: Court rules against sending asylum seekers to Hungary (Al Jazeera, link)

EU: Access to e-evidence: Inevitable sacrifice of our right to privacy? (EDRi, link):

"What do you do when human rights “get in the way” of tackling crime and terrorism? You smash those pillars of your democratic values – the same ones you are supposedly protecting. Give up your right to privacy, it is a fair price to pay for the guarantee of your security! This is the mantra that, during the past decades, we have heard populist politicians repeat over and over again – never mind that gambling with our rights actually helps very little in that fight.

One of the bargaining chips in the debate on privacy versus security is access to e-evidence.


The EU is working towards easing the access to e-evidence for law enforcement authorities. The plan of the European Commission is to propose new rules on sharing evidence and the possibility for the authorities to request e-evidence directly from technology companies. One of the proposed options is that police would be able to access data directly from the cloud-based services."

And see: Commission to present legal proposal on police access to cloud data; data retention discussion continues (Statewatch News Online, 9 June 2017)

USA: When a Computer Program Keeps You in Jail (New York Times, link):

"The criminal justice system is becoming automated. At every stage — from policing and investigations to bail, evidence, sentencing and parole — computer systems play a role. Artificial intelligence deploys cops on the beat. Audio sensors generate gunshot alerts. Forensic analysts use probabilistic software programs to evaluate fingerprints, faces and DNA. Risk-assessment instruments help to determine who is incarcerated and for how long.

Technological advancement is, in theory, a welcome development. But in practice, aspects of automation are making the justice system less fair for criminal defendants.

The root of the problem is that automated criminal justice technologies are largely privately owned and sold for profit. The developers tend to view their technologies as trade secrets. As a result, they often refuse to disclose details about how their tools work, even to criminal defendants and their attorneys, even under a protective order, even in the controlled context of a criminal proceeding or parole hearing."

Commission report on relocation: Does it know how many refugees there in Greece?

Commission ask "the Greek authorities to clarify the total number of migrants present on the mainland and the islands."

German police seek volunteers for facial recognition surveillance (DW, link):

"Police are recruiting subjects to test biometric recognition systems at a Berlin train station. Data protection advocates are wary, but police and volunteers say the pilot project will help fight crime."

 COE: European countries must lift obstacles to reunification of refugee families (link):

"reunification is a fundamental part of the right to family life, which is protected by international human rights law. This right is particularly important for refugees in Europe. Because of the dangers they face at home, their only option to enjoy their right to family life is to bring their families to Europe. Regrettably, many European countries are limiting refugees’ access to this right through restrictive measures which are unjust, unlawful and cause immense hardship for refugees and their families.

This has to change”, says today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a report which aims at helping Council of Europe member states adopt a more humane and human rights oriented policy on family reunification for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection."

See: Issue Paper (pdf) and Summary (pdf)

European Parliament: Draft Opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications) (pdf): Rapporteur: Axel Voss:

"The rapporteur does not welcome the proposal concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications (‘ePrivacy Regulation’).

All the aims of the creation of a digital single market (growth, promoting innovation, boosting Europe’s IT-based economy, the free flow of data, and promotion of SMEs) will not be attained, and in some cases indeed the very opposite of what is intended will be brought about. Many existing business models would be outlawed by this."
[emphasis in original]

VENICE COMMISSION: Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs - despite amendments - still raises Venice Commission concerns (link):

"The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) today adopted an opinion clarifying its preliminary opinion on the previous Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Support from Abroad of Hungary.

In the clarification, the Council of Europe expert body expressed the view that the law, passed this week, only partly satisfies the preliminary opinion’s main recommendations."

See: Preliminary Opinion on the draft law on the transparency of organisations receiving support from abroad (pdf)

CoE: Europe and migration to take centre-stage at the Summer Session (link):

"Europe and migration will be one of the central themes of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Summer plenary session, to be held in Strasbourg from 26 to 30 June 2017.

Four reports will be debated on Wednesday 28 June, focusing on the humanitarian and political response to the migration crisis, the human rights implications of the European response to transit migration, migration as an opportunity for European development and the integration of refugees in times of critical pressure."

EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): Returns, Border checks and discrete checks

 SIS AND RETURNS: Draft Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals - Draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 9592-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, DK, EL, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI, SK and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL, SE and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."

 SIS AND BORDER CHECKS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks... draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 9593-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 73 Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, and SI. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE and PL. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."

 SIS AND "DISCRETE" CHECKS: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.... - draft compromise text regarding alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks, inquiry checks or specific checks (Articles 36 and 37) (LIMITE doc no: 9594-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 98 Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes.....

Article 2: Scope

This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for the entry and processing in SIS of alerts in respect of third-country nationals, the exchange of supplementary information and additional data for the purpose of refusing entry into and stay on the territory of the Member States."
[emphasis added]

EU: Potential expansion of Eurodac database scope raises data protection concerns (ECRE Bulletin, link):

"The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament has adopted a report on the European Commission proposal to recast the Eurodac Regulation. It outlines a wide expansion of the scope of the Eurodac database that raises strong concerns about data protection.

These measures have raised serious concerns about asylum seekers’ right to data protection from a number of actors and organisations including ECRE, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the Meijers Committee."

See European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee position on recast Eurodac Regulation and the Council's position (LIMITE doc no: 10079-17,pdf) going into trilogue meetings..

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-18.6.17)

EEAS Discrimination? (New Europe, link):

"n an unprecedented, yet exemplary case of discrimination, the European External Action Service has treated two Access to Documents requests filed by different parties for the same documents inconsistently, in one case providing access to a requested document for one party and not the other!

New Europe has been investigating for months now, the case of the purchase made by the EEAS of the residence for the Head of Delegation in Albania. ..."

EU: Passenger Name Record (PNR): Meijers Committee: Note on the EU law aspects of PNR in public transport pdf)

"The note concludes that the Meijers Committee is not convinced that national instruments extending the scope of application of PNR rules beyond the air transport sector would be in accordance with all requirements of EU law. This being said, the note also specifies the main issues that should, in any event, be resolved in the decision making process."

See: Putting the PNR pieces in place: more EU funding for mass surveillance (March 2016) and: EU-USA: PNR Directive: USA offers a helping hand to EU air travel surveillance and profiling efforts

WikiLeaks Reveals How the CIA Could Hack Your Router (Wired, link):

"Your Wi-Fi router, sitting in the corner of your home accumulating dust and unpatched security flaws, provides an attractive target for hackers. Including, according to a new WikiLeaks release, the CIA.

On Thursday, WikiLeaks published a detailed a set of descriptions and documentation for the CIA's router-hacking toolkit. It's the latest drip in the months-long trickle of secret CIA files it's called Vault7,..."

See: Vault 7: Projects (Wikileaks, link)

Europol: TE-SAT: Terrorism: Situation and Trend Report 2017 (8MB, pdf):

Largely concernng Spain, Italy and Greece: "Left-wing and anarchist activities included riots, arson attacks and attacks with explosives, criminal damage and spreading propaganda."

And: "Migration and the perceived threat from Islamisation are key topics on the agenda of right-wing extremists....

Germany stated that after the investigation into the National-Sozialistischer Untergrund (NSU, National Socialist Underground) in 2011, additional investigations into groups such as the Old School Society in 2015 and Gruppe Freital (Freital Group) in April 2016 demonstrated that the formation of right-wing terrorist structures cannot be excluded."

EU-USA: Joint EU-U.S. press statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting, Valletta, 16 June 2017 (Press release, pdf) Includes:

"The European Union and the United States of America agreed on the importance of advancing towards reciprocal visa free travel under their respective legal frameworks. Both sides endorsed a cooperative approach to assisting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania in advancing more rapidly towards the fulfillment of the requirements for designation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, consistent with U.S. law."

Comment: This has been in the agenda and unresolved for years.

"Both sides welcomed the entry into force of the EU-U.S. Data Protection "Umbrella" Agreement and reiterated their commitment to ensure its full implementation."

Comment: The exchange of personal data agreement - remains to be seen how much redress there will be for EU citizens under the USA Judicial Redress Act. The Agreement covers all crimes however minor.

A new item: "The discussion further covered the implementation of the U.S.-EU Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and the question of access by law enforcement authorities to electronic evidence."

Comment follows new initiatives in the EU access data/files for electronic evidence, which in the EU could includes material gathered under an EIO (European Investigation Order) using remote access - prior to charges being brought. See: Commission: Improving cross-border access to electronic evidence: Findings from the expert process and suggested way forward (9543/17, 22 May 2017, pdf) and Council follow-up: Improving cross-border access to electronic evidence - findings from the expert process and suggested way forward (9677/17, 29 May 2017, pdf)..

EU: Court of Justice in the European Union (CJEU): Making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works, such as ‘The Pirate Bay’, may constitute an infringement of copyright (Press release, pdf):

"Even if the works in question are placed online by the users of the online sharing platform, the operators of that platform play an essential role in making those works available.

Ziggo and XS4ALL are internet access providers. A significant number of their subscribers use the online sharing platform ‘The Pirate Bay’. This platform allows users to share and upload, in segments (‘torrents’), works present on their computers1. The files in question are, for the most part, copyright-protected works in respect of which the rightholders have not given the operators or users of that platform consent to share those works.

Stichting Brein, a Netherlands foundation which safeguards the interests of copyright holders, has brought proceedings before the courts in the Netherlands seeking an order that would require Ziggo and XS4ALL to block the domain names and IP addresses of ‘The Pirate Bay’.

See: Judgment (pdf)

European Parliament Briefings: Uncritical but useful summaries prepared for High-level Conference on migration management 21 June 2017:

  What has the European Union done in the field of migration since 2014? (pdf)
   European Parliament’s positions on key issues related to asylum and migration (pdf)

European Parliament

  Study: The impact of Brexit in relation to the right to petition and on the competences, responsibilities and activities of the Committee on Petitions (pdf):

"first looks at the changes that Brexit will determine in relation to voting rights, the right to petition, the right to apply to the European Ombudsman and the European Citizens’ Initiative. It then focuses at length on the way Brexit will affect UK citizens in the EU-27, and EU citizens living in the UK. In this respect, it considers challenges and risks for both citizens who have resided in the EU-27 or the UK for less than 5 years, and for those who have already acquired the right to permanent residence at the time of Brexit."

  Briefing: Smart Borders: EU Entry/Exit System (June 2017, pdf):

"Under the new proposal, the current system of manual stamping of passports would be replaced by automation of certain preparatory border control procedures. The system would be interconnected with the Visa Information System (VIS) database and used by the same authorities: border control and consular posts. Moreover, it would allow law enforcement authorities to perform restricted queries in the database for criminal identification and intelligence to prevent serious crime and terrorism."

UK: Jermaine Baker shooting: Firearms officer will not be charged (BBC News, link):

"A Met Police firearms officer will face no charges over the shooting of a man who was killed in a botched attempt to free a prisoner, prosecutors said.

Jermaine Baker was killed in London by armed officers in December 2015.He was with two other men in a car near Wood Green Crown Court who had intended to help spring an inmate from a prison van. Firearms officers were deployed to foil the plan and the 28-year-old was shot dead during the escape attempt."

And: Police officer who shot 'gangster' Jermaine Baker during failed prison van escape to face 'no action' (Mirror, link) and also: CPS statement on the fatal shooting of Jermaine Baker (Crown Prosecutiion Service, link)

Hungarian NGOs embrace civil disobedience (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"I don’t think anyone was surprised when two days ago the Hungarian parliament with its overwhelming, almost two-thirds Fidesz majority passed a law imposing strict regulations on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations. The law bears a suspicious resemblance to the 2012 Russian law that required groups that received funds from abroad to identify themselves as “foreign agents.” The Hungarian version is somewhat more “lenient.” The targeted NGOs don’t have to call themselves “foreign agents,” but they must bear the label that they are the recipients of foreign funds, which can be considered a stigma....

Only a few hours after the enactment of the “civic law,” TASZ announced that it will not obey the law, i.e. it will not register as the law demands because “this is the most effective way of combating this unconstitutional law.” According to TASZ, the law violates the freedoms of speech and association and unlawfully differentiates among civic organizations."

May And Macron's Ridiculous Adventure In Censoring The Internet (Techdirt, link):

"apparently they agree on one really, really bad idea: that it's time to massively censor the internet and to blame tech companies if they don't censor enough. We've been explaining for many years why this is a bad idea, but apparently we need to do so again...."

France's Macron ‘to end state of emergency’, but keep its anti-terror powers (France24, link):

"President Emmanuel Macron’s government wants to end a 14-month 'state of emergency' in France, but at the same time integrate several of its exceptional anti-terrorism powers into common law, alarming judges and civil liberty groups."

And: Macron's security law plan under fire as state of emergency criticised (RFI, link): "The Constitutional Council found that the state of emergency gives too much power to prefects – representatives of the state in a department or region – to ban individuals “seeking to obstruct the authorities’ activities” from certain places at certain times and said that it should be amended to protect individual freedoms."

See also: France's Macron says new anti-terrorism law to respect public freedoms (Reuters, link)

UK: How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states (BBC News, link):

"A year-long investigation by BBC Arabic and a Danish newspaper has uncovered evidence that the UK defence giant BAE Systems has made large-scale sales across the Middle East of sophisticated surveillance technology, including to many repressive governments.

These sales have also included decryption software which could be used against the UK and its allies.

While the sales are legal, human rights campaigners and cyber-security experts have expressed serious concerns these powerful tools could be used to spy on millions of people and thwart any signs of dissent."

And see: BAE 'secretly sold mass surveillance technology to repressive regimes' (Guardian, link): "Documents reveal official concerns that deal with countries including Saudi Arabia could put UK security in danger, says BBC..."

EU: European Parliament Study: Children On the Move: A Private International Law Perspective (pdf):

"The child’s best interests are a primary consideration under international and EU law. EU migration and private international law frameworks regulate child protection, but in an uncoordinated way: the Dublin III and Brussels IIa Regulations are neither aligned nor applied coherently.

This should change. In particular, the rules and mechanisms of Brussels IIa should be used to enhance the protection of migrant children. These include rules on jurisdiction to take protective measures, on applicable law, and on recognition and enforcement of protective measures, and mechanisms for cross-border cooperation between authorities."

EU: Commission: latest reports on the refugee crisis and "returns" to Turkey

- Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland face infringement proceedings
- Greece: Arrivals outpace returns to Turkey
- Next steps - dodgy figures or wishful thinking?

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.6.17) including: Germany offers millions to Libya, Swiss court halts returns to Hungary

Hungarian parliament approves "unecessary, stigmatising and harmful" law on NGOs receiving funds from abroad

On Tuesday 13 June the Hungarian parliament approved the 'Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Foreign Funds' that requires non-governmental organisations (NGO) receiving more than €24,000 in direct or indirect funding from abroad to register as "civic organisations funded from abroad". The Civilizáció coalition of Hungarian NGOs condemned the law as "unecessary, stigmatising and harmful" and "a new step in a longer process that aims at fully discrediting civil society organisations."

UN report on Libya: serious abuses against migrants, "concerns" over vetting of coastguard members trained by EU

"The Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Libya... discusses links between armed groups, criminal groups, and different coast guard factions, including involvement by coast guard factions in migrant smuggling and coast guard factions shooting at or sinking migrant boats operated by competitors. The report makes clear that after interception at sea, migrants are “often beaten, robbed and taken to detention centres or private houses and farms where they are subjected to forced labour, rape and other sexual violence.”

The report questions whether any of the coast guard factions are under the control of the Government of National Accord and questions the vetting of the coastguard trainees who are receiving training from EUNAVFOR MED. This information is further reason for the EU and EUNAVFOR MED to immediately suspend all collaboration with the Libyan coast guards and navy."

EU: Relocation: Commission launches infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (press release, pdf)

"The European Commission has today launched infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their obligations under the 2015 Council Decisions on relocation.

Despite the Commission's repeated calls for action, these three countries remain in breach of their legal obligations and have shown disregard for their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States.

The Council Decisions require Member States to pledge available places for relocation every three months to ensure a swift and orderly relocation procedure. Whereas Hungary has not taken any action at all since the relocation scheme started, Poland has not relocated anyone and not pledged since December 2015. The Czech Republic has not relocated anyone since August 2016 and not made any new pledges for over a year"

And see: EU opens legal case against Warsaw, Budapest and Prague over migration (Reuters, link)

NGO says Israel’s biometric database law an infringement of privacy rights (Biometric Update, link):

"The Digital Rights Movement has filed a request to Israel’s High Court to block the state from a public campaign to convince the public to sign up for smartcard identification and the country’s biometric database.

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post this court action is a part of the NGO’s broader campaign to get the new biometric database law struck as an unconstitutional infringement of privacy rights, asserting that the campaign is designed to fool the public into signing up for all aspects of the biometric database, even though the public has the right to refuse giving over their fingerprints.

From the outset, there have been concerns raised about privacy rights and risks of identity and personal information theft but defenders of the law say the final version reflects a number of compromises to address privacy concerns."

Transnational terrorism focus of INTERPOL meeting (INTERPOL, link):

"ATHENS, Greece – An international counter-terrorism meeting has been held in Athens under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Project Nexus to review regional and global trends on the activities and movement of returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).

The three-day (6 – 8 June) INTERPOL Project Nexus Working Group Meeting on Foreign Terrorist Fighters gathered more than 60 representatives from the counter-terrorism units of 32 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean.

Co-hosted by the Greek Police and INTERPOL, the meeting was part of INTERPOL’s global counter-terrorism strategy which focuses on assisting INTERPOL member countries in targeted regions to contain and disrupt transnational terrorist activities, including by addressing information gaps."

HUNGARY-SWITZERLAND: Court rules against sending asylum seekers to Hungary (Al Jazeera, link):

"Switzerland's highest administrative court on Friday ruled against the deportation of an asylum seeker to Hungary, citing humanitarian and legal concerns over conditions in a country that has been sharply criticised for its harsh treatment of refugees.

Judges at the Federal Administrative Court said the situation in Hungary is too insecure for asylum seekers, delivering a verdict in the case of a young male from the Democratic Republic of Congo who had filed a judicial complaint against his return to the Eastern European country, where he was officially registered.

Under the European Union's Dublin Convention, member states can return asylum seekers to the country where they first applied for protection. Switzerland is not an EU member state, but it is a signatory to the accord.

Seeing as the court issued a so-called "pilot ruling", its provisions automatically apply to all present asylum seekers in Switzerland who had registered a complaint against their return to Hungary.

Local media reported that 202 people would now have their asylum requests processed in Switzerland."

Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance (Privacy News Online, link):

"Visitors to this site are well aware of how our every move is tracked as we move around the Internet. We know that companies are building minutely-detailed profiles of us, stored on huge databases, and that the information held there not only changes the ads we see, and the prices that companies offer us when we visit e-commerce sites, but even the mix of news stories that we view. The scale of this “surveillance capitalism”, as it has been called, is vast. One recent study looked at a million Web sites, and found that over 80,000 third-party services receive details about the visitors to them."

A brief overview of some of the information made available in the recent report: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life (Cracked Labs, link

UK: Cressida Dick: public supports police on stop and search (Evening Standard, link):

"The public is giving “lots of support” to police in London over the decision to step up the use of stop and search in their battle to combat knife crime, the Met Commissioner said today.

Cressida Dick said that street searches were a “very powerful tool” for officers as she spoke of her deep concern about a surge in knife crime which has led to 37 fatal stabbings in the capital so far this year.

She emphasised that Met officers carrying out searches must be “courteous” and “use intelligence” to target prolific offenders."

The statistics, on the other hand, do not support the police: Mass stop and search by police doesn't reduce crime, says study (The Guardian, link):

"The use of large “surge” stop-and-search operations by the police has no discernible effect in reducing crime, according to newly released Home Office research.

The study looks at the mass use of stop and search by London’s Metropolitan police to tackle knife crime in 2008/09, at a time when officers were carrying out one search every 20 seconds on average nationwide."

And: Black and minority ethnic groups increasingly more likely to be stopped and searched by police (The Telegraph, link)

France and UK announce internet counter-terror plan (EUobserver, link):

"The UK and France are moving ahead with a joint plan to fight terrorism, online hate speech, and to crack encrypted data.

Speaking together in Paris on Tuesday (13 June), French president Emmanuel Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May said the two countries were renewing their counter-terrorism cooperation.

The plan includes possibly imposing fines on social media giants for not taking down flagged online hate speech quickly enough. They also spoke about prying apart encrypted messages, which posed broader questions on civil liberty and cyber security.

But Macron said they first wanted to make sure internet operators "delete any content promoting hatred and terrorism in any way.""

And see: Theresa May ‘still plans to clamp down on the internet’ – despite losing her majority (Metro, link):

"A privacy group has criticised Theresa May over hints that she will continue with plans to ‘clamp down’ on internet services – despite failing to win a majority in last week’s election."

EU-USA: PNR Directive: USA offers a helping hand to EU air travel surveillance and profiling efforts

The USA has invited EU Member States to visit its National Targeting Center (NTC), which "uses several automated enforcement data processing systems that are focused on detecting and preventing terrorist access to the United States," as joint efforts between EU institutions, agencies and the Member States to implement the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive on the surveillance and profiling of air passengers continue. Official documentation made public here also reveals other aspects of the implementation of the Directive, such as the inclusion of customs authorities as recipients of PNR data.

EU: Space and Security: Crucial synergies for European citizens (European Defence Agency, link):

Joint Opinion Editorial by Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director general of the European Space Agency:

"Europe has been earmarking space and security as priorities for over a decade. Yet, it still hasn’t fully lived up to its ambitions. There is now an unprecedented window of opportunity for addressing these shortcomings: a series of ambitious EU security related initiatives launched in 2016 can finally make space and security cooperation a tangible reality with positive effects on Europe’s security, its economy and, perhaps even more important, on how citizens perceive Europe. This is why the partnership instated in 2011 between our two organisations through an Administrative Arrangement holds such strategic resonance. While EDA is Europe’s defence capability development actor, ESA is Europe’s uncontested space agency, whose Convention, pursuant to its second article, scopes ESA’s security initiatives: these must be provided for exclusively peaceful purposes, a provision which has been interpreted under international law as non-aggressive uses of outer space.

Synergies on dual-use amongst sectors make political, technological and budgetary sense. Such synergies have been called upon in most policy documents for over a decade, and again more recently in the European Commission’s 2016 Space Strategy. But have we made real and genuine headway in fostering dual-use cooperation? Or have we perhaps not done enough to bring the two communities together and to build the confidence needed? "

And see: Space Strategy : Europe needs civil-military synergies (EDA, link)

UK: Former MI5 chief defends intelligence service (Defence IQ, link):

"The former director general of MI5 has hit out at critics of Britain’s intelligence service, saying the threats of today are “worse and more complex” than ever.

Dame Stella Rimington, who oversaw MI5 in the mid-nineties, said that intelligence officers will always be subject to criticism in the days after a terror incident because the public rarely understands the huge difficulties of counter-terror operations.

“When an incident happens, people are quick to blame and throw the whole thing up in the air," she said. "That is not the way to deal with security.""

EU: Shock Monitor: documenting and studying "private war" and its impact on human rights

"Shock Monitor is created to document and study the evolution of Private War and its worldwide impact on human rights. Through the documentation, systematisation and analysis of incidents involving PMSCs and private contractors, it studies not only the development of the industry but also the incidents and related legal cases, perpetrator accountability and remedy for the victims."

EU: Partnership Frameworks in Africa: Commission publishes progress reports on first year

"A year into its implementation and ahead of the June European Council, the Commission and the High Representative present today the fourth progress report on the Partnership Framework on Migration."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.6.17)

EURODAC: eu-LISA: European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice: Eurodac - annual statistics (Press release, pdf):

"In 2016, Eurodac processed: "Over 1,000,000 fingerprints of applicants for international protection aged 14 or more - more than 370,000 fingerprints of persons aged 14 or older, apprehended when irregularly crossing the external border of a Member State - over 252,000 fingerprints of persons aged 14 or older, apprehended illegally present on the territory of a Member State."

In July 2015, the new Eurodac Regulation (No 603/2013) took effect and national police forces as well as Europol can now have access to the system but in 2016 only 327 searches were made by EU police forces.

See also: 2016 Report (pdf) and List of authorities with access (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Reflection Paper on the future of European Defence (pdf):

"The reflection paper on the future of the European Defence is the fourth in this series. It outlines the main trends and challenges that will shape the future of our security and defence and on this basis, sets out options in three different scenarios for moving towards a Security and Defence Union. While not mutually exclusive, these scenarios are underpinned by different levels of ambition for the EU in doing things together in security and defence....

Finally, systematic defence cooperation and integration in turn requires a true Single Market for defence."

UK: Police boss considers letting vigilantes with guns protect Britain from terrorists (Mirror, link):

"A police boss has vowed to "look into" whether vigilantes with gun licences can defend their communities against terrorists .

Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall , has promised to talk to her chief constable about whether people with gun licences can use private weapons to defend their community against terrorists."

And see: Czech Republic: Interior Ministry wants to enable public to use legally held weapons against terrorists (Prague Monitor, link)

UK: High Court to rule on acquittal of eight anti-arms fair activists (Winter Oak, link):

"On Tuesday 13th June 2017 the High Court in London will consider whether the decision by Stratford Magistrates Court to acquit eight activists of seeking to prevent crimes at one of the world’s largest arms fairs, was correct in law (see previous reports and updates)...

The case against the activists had been formally closed since November 2016 because of the failure of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to pursue the case. The case was reopened in March 2017, following an application by the CPS....

On 15th April 2016, the eight activists were acquitted at Stratford Magistrates Court of seeking to obstruct one of the world’s largest arms fairs. They had been accused of Obstruction of a Public Highway by blockading roads to frustrate the setup of the DSEI arms fair in September 2015."

Does your MEP run a ghost office? (Investigative Reporting Denmark, link):

"Is your member of the European Parliament a rent payer or a subsidy player?

Last week the journalists of The MEPs Project revealed that one out of three MEPs across the EU does not maintain a national office or has declined to disclose its location. Citizens are now asking:

What is the address of my MEP’s national office, if any?
How much of the tax-free 4342 Euro allowance per month does he or she pay in office rent?
Did my MEP vote to hide or disclose how this money is spent?
Who declined to comment on their use of my tax money?"

And see: EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent 'Ghost' Offices (OCCRP, link)

Greece earthquake hits Lesbos: Tremors felt in Istanbul and Athens (BBC News, link):

"A strong earthquake has struck off the Aegean coast of western Turkey and the Greek island of Lesbos, with tremors felt in Istanbul and Athens.

The epicentre of the 6.3 magnitude quake was 5km (3 miles) south of Plomari, a town on the coast of Lesbos, the US Geological Survey said. Several buildings were damaged but the village of Vrisa was worst hit with 10 people taken to hospital.".

See also: Vrisa: The ghost village of Lesvos after earthquake strikes with 6.3R (Keep Talking Greece, link)

BULGARIA: Administrative Court in Sofia held that the deliberation process at the President’s office cannot be classified forever (AIP link)

"On 5 June 2017 the Sofia Administrative Court (SAC) declared unlawful the denial of the Bulgarian President’s Secretary to provide access to the minutes of consultations chaired by the President on 14 July 2014. The document marked as “confidential” recorded a discussion addressing the problems of the Bulgarian financial system following the bankruptcy of the 4th biggest commercial bank (KTB) in the country, which happened under suspicious circumstances. Former President Plevneliev whose administration classified the document for a period of 5 years said he agreed with the restriction as it was still necessary to protect national security and the confidentiality of consultations chaired by the President."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.6.17) including: EU and Member States work towards implementation of latest Action Plan on returns

EU: European travel information and authorisation system - Council agrees negotiating position (press release, pdf):

"On 9 June 2017, the Council agreed a general approach on the proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS). The general approach constitutes the Council's position for negotiations with the European Parliament.

ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. It will help improve internal security, prevent illegal immigration, limit public health risks and reduce delays at the borders by identifying persons who may pose a risk in one of these areas before they arrive at the external borders."

See: General approaches on the draft regulation establishing a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS) (9763/17, 1 June 2017, pdf) and on the draft regulation amending regulation 2016/794 for the purpose of establishing ETIAS (9763/17 ADD 1, 1 June 2017, pdf)

And see: Estonia heads EU interior ministers meeting for the 1st time (The Baltic Times, link): ""The foundation of the security of the European Union is solidarity and helping each other in a difficult situation. The key to success can lie only in cooperation, not in encapsulating," Anvelt said, adding that it's important for the member states that the problem is dealt with together. What is especially important for Estonia is that progress was made on several topics having to do with databases – such as the ETIAS travel authorization system, renewal of the Schengen information system and developing interaction between databases more broadly."

Thousands in Moldova protest over proposed voting changes (EurActiv, link):

"Several thousand people took part in demonstrations across Moldova on Sunday (11 June), protesting both in favour of and against proposed changes to the electoral system that European rights experts see as “inappropriate”.

The pro-European ruling coalition has been seeking to change the voting system in time for a parliamentary election next year, when its parties will be in a tough fight with pro-Moscow rivals who reject closer integration with Europe.

Chanting “We will not surrender!”, some 4,000 protesters gathered in central Chisinau, appealing to the Venice Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the United States to prevent the changes coming into force."

HUNGARY: Gulyás: Fidesz backs most Venice Commission proposals on NGO bill (Politics.hu, link):

"Lawmakers of Fidesz will support “the majority” of the recommendations the Venice Commission has made concerning the government-initiated bill on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs, the party’s deputy group leader said. Referring to the commission’s evaluation of the bill, Gergely Gulyás said that “the body has acknowledged that ensuring access to information on foreign funding to non-governmental organisations is a legitimate objective”. Gulyás noted that positions by the Venice Commission have no binding effect. He added, however, that Fidesz “has so far considered and will again consider the majority of the body’s recommendations”. Referring to US billionaire George Soros, Gulyás insisted that the new law was necessary to ensure the transparency of Hungary’s “Soros-organisations” and to clarify allegations of some organisations being financed “from the east”."

See: CoE: Venice Commission on Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs: legitimate aims, but excessive obligations, disproportionate sanctions (link) and: Press release (pdf)

Hungary to extradite Holocaust denier Horst Mahler to Germany (Politics.hu, link):

"Horst Mahler, a former German lawyer sentenced to prison for Holocaust denial, is to be extradited to his homeland, the Budapest Court of Appeals said. Mahler was apprehended in the western Hungarian town of Sopron on May 15 on the basis of an international arrest warrant. The ruling to transport him to Germany is in force. According to international regulations, Hungary can keep Mahler in custody until June 16 and is to set him free afterwards, should Germany not receive him until then."

1,000 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast; Two Dead (Reliefweb, link):

"Two migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday during a rescue operation that saved more than 1,000 others who were attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe, according to a Spanish aid group.

Laura Lanuza, spokeswoman for Spain's Proactiva Open Arms, said that while two migrants perished in international waters off the Libyan coast, the Spanish aid group and five other humanitarian organizations saved 1,058 migrants after intercepting several smugglers' boats.

Lanuza said that in addition to the two deaths, another two migrants were in critical condition.

The Golfo Azzurro, Proactiva Open Arms' converted fishing trawler, pulled 243 migrants from two smugglers' boats. That group included one baby, a pregnant woman and several children.

The other boats that participated in the massive rescue operation belonged to Save the Children, Sea Watch, Moas, Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet Iuventa."

EU: The BIG DATA Challenge: Impact and opportunity of large quantities of information under the Europol Regulation (Computer Law & Security Review, link) by Daniel Drewer and Vesela Miladinova:

"In the digital age, the interaction between privacy, data protection and advanced technological developments such as big data analytics has become pertinent to Europol's effectiveness in providing accurate crime analyses. For the purposes of preventing and combating crime falling within the scope of its objectives, it is imperative for Europol to employ the fullest and most up-to-date information and technical capabilities possible whilst respecting fundamental human rights.

The present article addresses precisely the “paradox” of on one side protecting fundamental human rights against external terrorist and/or cybercrime intrusions, and on the other providing a privacy-conscious approach to data collection and analytics, so that Europol can even more effectively support and strengthen action in protecting society against internal threats in a proportionate, responsible and legitimate manner. The advantage proposed in this very context of large quantities of data informing strategic analysis at Europol is a purpose-oriented data protection impact assessment. Namely, the evolution from traditional instruments in the fight against organised crime and terrorism to more technologically advanced ones equally requires an alteration of the conventional notions of privacy and investigative and information-sharing methods."

Anti-EU rhetoric props up Czech election race (EUobserver, link):

"The Czech government's decision on Monday (5 June) to stop taking asylum seekers from Greece and Italy is the latest sign of the development of an anti-EU stance in the country, with the elections approaching in October.

Interior minister Milan Chovanec said that pulling out of the EU relocation scheme was justified by an "aggravated security situation and the dysfunctionality of the whole system".

This new stance could largely be due to the upcoming elections in October of this year, as only 23 percent of Czechs think that the country should help refugees, according to a survey from March 2017.

After the elections, the Czech Republic may edge closer to Hungary and Poland, whose governments are very vocal in their criticism of Brussels."

Slovakia Tackles Its Constitutional Skeleton in the Closet (I-CONnect, link):

"On 31 May 2017, six days before a parliament imposed deadline and 19 years after the fact, the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic (CC) upheld constitutional changes which annulled amnesties introduced by the former strongman prime minister and acting president Vladimír Meciar (‘Meciar’s amnesties’). The amnesties shielded from criminal prosecution multiple persons allegedly involved in the abduction of the son of the first Slovak president (Michal Kovác Jr.) in 1995 and in the obstruction of a referendum on direct elections of the president and Slovak accession to NATO in 1997. Making things more complicated was a prior amnesty decision of the first president, Michal Kovác, which halted the investigation of his own son in a fraud case.


The important part of the story is that none of the previous seven attempts at annulling the amnesties had been successful. The first annulment by presidential decree was thwarted on legal grounds by the CC which made all subsequent attempts at finding a political consensus in conjunction with a legally acceptable solution much more difficult. Between 1998 and today, the issue gradually attained the status of a permanent stain in Slovakia’s transformation to a liberal democracy. The constitutional skeleton was also kept largely dormant by political elites; only intermittently, and in any event with no results (until now), were parliamentarians interested in wriggling some bones out of the proverbial closet."

UK-EU: Data commissioner calls for government action on police data handling laws (Government Computing, link):

"While the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming UK law from next May will have limited impact on law enforcement, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has said there remains significant uncertainty regarding data protection in the sector.

Speaking this week at the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Information Practitioner event, the UK data regulator said GDPR did not cover how personal data is used for law enforcement purposes, with these matters falling under the separate legal instrument known as the Law Enforcement Directive.

The Law Enforcement Directive, which covers how data is processed for certain European justice and home affairs measures, is still required to be implemented into UK law by the government.

Denham said there had not been any public announcement from government with details of how and when this will happen, or a broader position on data processing in domestic law enforcement."

See: Speech by Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner at National Police Chief Council Information Practitioner event, 7 June 2017 (pdf)

EU: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee position on recast Eurodac Regulation

New rules governing the EU's Eurodac biometric database are one step closer to being adopted following the approval by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of its position on the recast Regulation.

The recast Regulation will extend the scope of the database from holding the fingerprints of asylum-seekers to the inclusion of biometric data on irregular migrants. Facial images are also to be included in preparation for the future use of facial recognition systems.

USA: Washington state places restrictions on commercial biometrics data use (Planet Biometrics, link):

"Washington State will next month become the third US state to statutorily restrict the collection, storage and use of biometric data for commercial purposes.

On July 23, a new biometrics law will come into force that aims to require that businesses ensure consent before it that collects and can attribute biometric data to a specific individual.

Firms must also provide notice to and obtain consent from an individual before enrolling or changing the use of that individual’s biometric identifiers in a database."

And see: Paying With Your Face: Face-detecting systems in China now authorize payments, provide access to facilities, and track down criminals. Will other countries follow? (MIT Technology Review, link)

EU: Military research: calls for proposals on naval drones, "force protection" and technology foresight

The EU's 'Preparatory Action on Defence Research' (PADR) is moving ahead with three calls for proposals recently published on "enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment" showing the "added value of unmanned systems"; "Force Protection and Soldier Systems" and "strategic technology foresight". The PADR is supposed to be pave the way for a full-blown military research programme from 2021 onwards that the European Commission thinks could be worth over €5 billion annually.

UK-EU: Brexit and Northern Ireland: trouble brewing?

"THERE can be no doubt that Brexit is reopening old wounds in Northern Ireland.

The pattern of the election results speaks for itself.

The image above shows Sinn Féin’s clean sweep along the border and the DUP stronghold in the north east.

The distribution of seats matches a recent data map by The Detail which revealed the extent to which Catholic and Protestant communities continue to live apart, nearly 20 years after the violence of the Troubles ended.

But these patterns are inherited from the distant past."

UK: How a crippling shortage of analysts let the London Bridge attackers through (The Guardian, link):

"Last Tuesday, in the wake of the latest terror atrocity to strike Britain, the former head of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington recalled just how primitive intelligence gathering used to be. Addressing a conference of security officials in west London – four miles from London Bridge where the terror attack had taken place three days earlier – Rimington recounted an anecdote about how her spy training in the 1970s involved infiltrating a local pub to eavesdrop on targets.

Over the four decades since then, intelligence gathering within Britain’s security services has evolved beyond comparison. Eking out a lead is no longer an issue – instead extraordinary volumes of information are relentlessly harvested electronically. The worry, according to experts, is whether they are acquiring too much."

And see: How to detect a potential terrorist? Heed warnings from people who know them (The Guardian, link):

"The only way potential attackers will be identified before they kill and maim is through the most old-fashioned means one can imagine: someone warning authorities about what they plan to do. This can be people in the workplace, the mosque, or at school. Research tells us that more than 70% of Islamic militants who operate alone tell someone of their plans. The first line of defence against Islamic militancy is not our crash barriers or covert operations, nor armed cops or MI5, it is a potential terrorist’s brother, mother, partner or friend."

EU: Migration: EU and Member States work towards implementation of latest Action Plan on returns

The EU and its Member States are working towards the implementation of the European Commission's "renewed Action Plan" on European returns policy, published in March this year. At the latest meeting of the Commission-hosted 'Contact Group - Return Directive', which brings together EU and national officials, "Member States expressed general support in relation to the policy line and specific recommendations," but also highlighted that "on some specific recommendation, [sic] there may be divergences of views among Member States and with the Commission, and that some may be difficult to apply in practice for technical or political reasons."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.6.17)

USA: Intelligence Agency Dodges Congressional Scrutiny (HRW, link):

"Does the National Security Agency (NSA) understand that it should be accountable to its overseers in the other branches of government – and to the public?

Few would dispute that monitoring someone’s communications is sometimes necessary to achieve a legitimate goal. However, it is critical that such activities be subject to independent, impartial, and effective oversight involving all branches of government to prevent violations of people’s rights. Testimony by top officials during a Senate hearing yesterday gives rise to doubts as to whether the United States intelligence agencies accept this principle. As a result, it appears that Congress, which is responsible for ensuring that the intelligence agencies respect the law, will not have crucial information it needs to determine whether one of the country’s most important and problematic surveillance laws (which will expire at the end of 2017 unless renewed) is leading to more abuses than we realize."

UPDATE: EU: Final: Press release (pdf)

Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 June 2017: agendas and other documentation including draft conclusions heading for approval

Agendas and documentation in relation to the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 8-9 June 2017.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.6.17) including: Serbia-Hungary police cooperation on migration "excellent"; new report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs

UK: Law firm Leigh Day cleared over Iraq murder compensation claims (The Guardian, link):

"The law firm Leigh Day and three of its solicitors have been cleared of all the allegations of professional misconduct they faced over Iraq war murder compensation claims.

The not-guilty verdicts delivered by the solicitor’s disciplinary tribunal in London are a crushing setback for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which launched the costly prosecution, and the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, who had called for legal action.

The seven-week trial is believed to have cost almost £10m. The SRA can appeal against the findings."

EU: New report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean

A new report examines the accusations made by state officials, commentators and others that search and rescue NGOs operating in the Mediterranean are a "pull factor" for migrants and are effectively working in league with people smugglers. The report, Blaming the Rescuers, argues that as well as being false, those accusations have allowed state actors "to divert public attention from their own responsibilities and failures" and are part of "a wider attempt to criminalise solidarity towards migrants and refugees, which endangers the possibility of EU citizens standing in solidarity and exercising civilian oversight at the EU’s frontiers to contest their deadly effects."

UK: Three Musketeers terror trial: Undercover officer 'honest' (BBC News, link):

"An undercover officer would have had "nothing to gain" by putting a bomb in a car to frame an alleged terror cell, a colleague has told a court.

The policeman, known as Vincent, infiltrated a group known as the Three Musketeers, who are accused of plotting an attack on British soil

A fellow covert officer told the Old Bailey Vincent, who has denied planting incriminating evidence, was "honest".

The four men deny preparing terrorist acts."

And see: West Midlands police unit accused of perjury and falsifying evidence (The Guardian, link):

"A West Midlands police counter-terrorism unit has been accused in court of perjury, falsifying notebooks and hiding text messages related to the trial of a group of terror suspects who called themselves the “Three Musketeers”.

Simon Hussey, a senior officer in West Midlands police’s special projects team, began giving evidence at the Old Bailey trial of four men from the Midlands accused of plotting terror attacks in late April but his cross-examination was interrupted, and the personal and work phones of several officers involved in the case were seized by the police shortly afterwards."

UK: Can protesters believe anything Sussex Police tells them? (Netpol, link):

"Within 24 hours of the start of drilling on 31 May by UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) at its Broadford Bridge well in West Sussex, Operation Edmond – the response by Sussex Police to protests at the site – is already raising the same concerns we highlighted last year about unpredictable policing and an unwillingness by officers to accommodate minor disruption to unconventional energy exploration without making arrests.

A week after a somewhat bizarre arrest for alleged obstruction of the highway that involved a protester clearly walking on a grass verge, members of the recently established Broadford Bridge Community Protection Camp were handed a map (below) by a Bronze operational commander offering a “tolerated slow walking area” along 600 metres heading towards the UKOG site from a scrap yard on Adversane Lane. Members of the camp had neither negotiated nor agreed to this proposal but it seemed to indicate that senior officers were intending a less confrontational attitude to the presence of protesters.


What was evident from the events we witnessed at Broadford Bridge was that officers had either not been briefed about a ‘tolerated slow walking area’ or that Sussex Police had abandoned the proposal, without informing protesters, within hours of offering it."

And see: Dissent is not a crime: News from Netpol: May 2017 (link)

EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent 'Ghost' Offices (OCCRP, link):

"Hundreds of members of the European Parliament are potentially misusing EU funds meant to pay for offices in their home country, but at least 249 of these offices either do not exist or are nowhere to be found, according to an investigation by 'Journalists of the MEPs Project' published Wednesday.

Each month MEPs are given a tax-free lump sum of €4,342, called the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The fund costs the EU around €40 million annually and is meant to provide MEPs with national offices that, among other things, should keep them in touch with citizens.

The series of investigations across all 28 members states, however, found that in 249 cases MEPs either said they have no offices, refused to reveal their addresses, or the locations could not otherwise be tracked."

HUNGARY: Will Hungary’s detention practices put an end to the Common European Asylum System? (Migration News Sheet, link):

"The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is today much less ‘common’ than it used to. Large-scale arrivals of refugees in 2015 have tempted Member States, starting with Hungary, to act unilaterally and in complete violation of EU rules.

Are Hungary’s unpunished waves of massive detention paving the way for other national governments to openly violate EU regulations?

Would this race to the bottom signal the end of CEAS and its Dublin System?

In turn, will European institutions manage to force governments to comply with its legislation?

This article will look into these questions."

IRELAND: Irish police phone tapping undermines citizens’ rights (EDRi, link):

"An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force has fallen, yet again, under public scrutiny for privacy violations of innocent citizens. An investigation by the Irish Independent newspaper has found that members of the public had their phones tapped without proper justification.

The widespread phone tapping was revealed after a senior officer tried to highlight his concerns about the legality of the covert surveillance. According to this account, he was put under pressure to listen in on private conversations of citizens without a necessary court order. When he raised the concerns about this activity with his superiors, the authorities sidelined him. He decided to take legal action, but the State avoided full extent of the phone tapping scandal being made public with agreeing to an out-of-court settlement."

See: Exclusive: Inside the murky world of phone taps and Garda intelligence (Irish Independent, link):

"AN Irish Independent investigation has found that innocent members of the public had their phones tapped by Garda intelligence.

Our investigation has also seen accounts of where a decorated detective has said he was put under pressure to routinely bypass strict protocol to listen in on private conversations for almost a decade."

USA: Congressional Republicans seek to obliterate record of CIA torture (World Socialist Web Site, link):

"It was reported last week that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is being “retrieved” from executive agencies in the Trump administration. Congressional Republicans have demanded the confiscation of all copies of the report in order to cover up and, if possible, erase entirely the record of the investigation into the agency’s torture program.

A heavily redacted executive summary of the report was released to the public in December of 2014, but the full 6,700-page “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program” remains secret. Only a limited number of copies were made, which were distributed to a handful of federal executive agencies. Since 2015, when the US Senate passed into the hands of the Republican Party, the new committee Chairman Richard Burr has led efforts to suppress the report, declaring that the report should become a “footnote to history.”

In a statement released June 2, Burr declared, “I have directed my staff to retrieve copies of the congressional study that remain with the executive branch agencies and, as the committee does with all classified and compartmented information, will enact the necessary measures to protect the sensitive sources and methods contained within the report.”"

And see: Trump buries Senate torture report: Reprieve comment (Reprieve US, link)

UK: Former chief constable wins legal challenge over Hillsborough resignation (The Guardian, link):

"A former chief constable has won a high court challenge over a decision requiring him to resign.

Lawyers for David Crompton claimed there was no “fair or reasonable basis” for forcing the officer out of office in South Yorkshire.

Crompton attacked a decision taken by Dr Alan Billings, the region’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), after inquest findings into the deaths at the Hillsborough stadium disaster 27 years before.

Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham, sitting in London, ruled in Crompton’s favour on Friday.

The judges quashed a number of decisions made by Billings."

USA: Secret Algorithms Threaten the Rule of Law (MIT Technology Review, link):

"Predicting and shaping what you will do next—whether as a shopper, worker, or voter—is big business for data-driven firms. But should their methods also inform judges and prosecutors? An ambitious program of predicting recidivism among convicts is bringing algorithmic risk assessments to American courthouses.

These assessments are an extension of a trend toward actuarial prediction instruments for recidivism risk. They may seem scientific, an injection of computational rationality into a criminal justice system riddled with discrimination and inefficiency. However, they are troubling for several reasons: many are secretly computed; they deny due process and intelligible explanations to defendants; and they promote a crabbed and inhumane vision of the role of punishment in society."

UK: May to forge 'government of certainty' with DUP backing (BBC News, link):

"Theresa May has said she will form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionists that can provide "certainty" for the future.

Speaking after visiting Buckingham Palace, she said only her party could form a "legitimate" administration after winning the most seats and votes.

She said she would work with "friends and allies" in the DUP to take forward Brexit, saying "let's get to work".

The Tories are eight seats short of the 326 needed to command a majority."

See: So, who are the DUP? (OpenDemocracy, link):

"The most likely coalition partners for a floundering Conservative party sit on the hard right fringe of British politics.

The Democratic Unionist Party now look like the Tories preferred coalition partners. The DUP, which is the biggest Unionist (ie pro-UK) party in Northern Ireland, are often treated as though they are just the same as the other Unionist party they have essentially replaced – the Ulster Unionists. But while the UUP have a long running relationship with the Tories, and are a centre right party, the DUP are another thing entirely. The idea that they are near power in Westminster should worry us all. Here are some things you need to know."

EU: Commission to present legal proposal on police access to cloud data; data retention discussion continues

The European Commission is planning to present a legal proposal on easing police access to data hosted in the cloud "by the end of this year or early 2018", according to a Commission spokesperson, acting on a "sense of urgency" raised by justice and interior ministers at the JHA Council in Luxembourg yesterday.

Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life (Cracked Labs, link):

"Report: How thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in today’s digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data?

In recent years, a wide range of companies has started to monitor, track and follow people in virtually every aspect of their lives. The behaviors, movements, social relationships, interests, weaknesses and most private moments of billions are now constantly recorded, evaluated and analyzed in real-time. The exploitation of personal information has become a multi-billion industry. Yet only the tip of the iceberg of today’s pervasive digital tracking is visible; much of it occurs in the background and remains opaque to most of us.

This report by Cracked Labs examines the actual practices and inner workings of this personal data industry. Based on years of research and a previous 2016 report, the investigation shines light on the hidden data flows between companies. It maps the structure and scope of today’s digital tracking and profiling ecosystems and explores relevant technologies, platforms and devices, as well as key recent developments."

See the full report: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life: How Companies Collect, Combine, Analyze, Trade and Use Personal Data on Billions (link to pdf)

SPAIN-EU: Cautious Openness: the Spanish Constitutional Court’s approach to EU law in recent national case law (European Law Blog, link):

"In recent months, the Spanish Constitutional Court (SCC) has issued a series of decisions related to EU law that show an interesting combination of both openness toward the European legal order and a certain degree of apprehension to the growing role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in constitutional matters. In these cases the SCC has arrived at fairly pro-EU results: the SCC decided that preliminary references from Spanish courts to the CJEU take precedence over constitutional questions submitted to the SCC, and that a non-transposed, directly-effective EU Directive can be taken as a factor in the interpretation of a constitutional provision. But, as discussed below, the details subtly suggest that the SCC does not fully agree with the ways in which the CJEU has asserted its institutional position, and prefers to avoid potential conflicts in the future."

UK-EU: Britain drops opposition to new EU military command centre

"The European Union approved a new military command centre for foreign training missions on Thursday after Britain dropped its opposition, the latest step in EU efforts to integrate its militaries and defence industries.

A day after the European Commission offered 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion) a year in support of Franco-German plans for greater EU defence cooperation, all 28 EU governments agreed for the command centre in Brussels to run training missions in Somalia, the Central African Republic and Mali."

UK-EU: Italian police say they ‘constantly monitored’ third London Bridge attacker (Financial Times, link):

"Italian police “constantly monitored” Youssef Zaghba, one of the three London bridge attackers, during his stays in Italy over the past eighteen months, a senior prosecutor said, in contrast to British authorities, who did not consider him to be a high priority.

Giuseppe Amato, the chief prosecutor of Bologna, said that while the 22-year old Italian citizen born in Morocco could not be charged with any terrorism-related crimes, he was considered at risk of radicalisation and trailed on the two occasions he returned to Italian soil.

“I don’t know what the English did, but we constantly monitored him,” Mr Amato said in an interview with the FT. “We constantly controlled him, verified him, interviewed him and evaluated him. That’s what is done normally in Italy.”


Italian officials said they warned British authorities of Zaghba’s case and inserted his details into the Schengen Information System, a European database containing the names of individuals considered to be at risk of terrorism. “The communication was exhaustive and complete,” Mr Amato said."

And see: Pressure rises on anti-terror chiefs as London Bridge toll rises to eight (BT.com, link): "The death toll from the London Bridge attack has risen to eight as pressure on British authorities intensified amid new questions about how the terrorists slipped through the net. "

EU-MALTA: €9.2 million in EU funds for police modernisation, border security projects

"€9.2 million in EU funds are being spent on modernising the Malta Police Force and on border surveillance, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela and PS for EU Funds Ian Borg announced.

Mr Abela said five projects on border security, which is a priority, have been completed so far.

These include the acquisition of radios and biometric devices for border guards and modern equipment that can analyse a person’s unique physical characteristics, like fingerprints.


Mr Abela said the Malta Police Force is also benefitting from other projects falling under the EU Internal Security Fund 2014-2020.

These include the purchase of bullet-proof vests, riot kits and surveillance equipment; access to the Europol and Interpol databases; the Smart Policing project, which will see the Cyber Crime unit strengthened, the purchase of new forensic equipment; and the strengthening of the automated case management system."

See: Article in Border Security Report (in World Security Report, p.24, link to pdf)

EU: I’m So Angry in 261 protest signs (Iron Curtain Project, link):

"Wherever the I'm So Angry (I Made a Sign) Pop-Up Museum appears, we register visitors’ slogans, in search of an answer to the question what Europeans want for the future. Watch them here!"

See: I’m So Angry (I Made a Sign) Pop-up Museum (link):

"The I’m So Angry (I made a sign) Pop-up Museum is an exhibition that pops up for a short time in different cities through Europe. The exhibition tells the personal stories of people who joined one of the protests that shaped Europa. It shows the symbols they used and asks the question: what are we willing to fight for nowadays.

A protest is a powerful tool for the powerless. When the difference between the dreamed future and daily reality becomes insurmountable, people revolt. They awake from their lethargy or overcome their fear and decide to fight for their ideals. Newspapers and television channels spread the images of their protests. We see masses of demonstrators, moving as a single organism, but when you look closer, you see individuals. A student of mathematics, a mother with her child, a retired steelworker, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job; people who, independently of each other and for their own reasons, decided that that day, their patience had come to an end."

Serbia-Hungary police cooperation deemed "excellent" (b92, link):

"Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic spoke on Thursday in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Sandor Pinter about illegal migration.

They also discussed cooperation in protecting external borders and exchange of information in the fight against human trafficking, the Serbian government announced.

It was assessed during the meeting that cooperation between the two police forces in the fight against organized crime is on an exceptional level, while the excellent results achieved through the work of joint investigation teams in combating human trafficking have been particularly highlighted.

Stefanovic and Pinter concluded that the involvement of police officers from EU countries, among them those from Hungary, who are, together with Serbian colleagues, securing Serbia's borders, resulted in better control of migrations and prevented illegal border crossings and human trafficking.

Stefanovic said that the Serbian police in the last two years arrested more than 2,000 persons suspected of smuggling people and filed more than 1,200 criminal charges."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7-8.6.17) including: Greek police continue to illegally return Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-6.6.17) including: Commission may launch sanctions over central European refugee relocation intransigence

ECHR: Refusal of Bulgarian authorities to register an association promoting the rights of the Muslim minority was not “necessary in a democratic society” (press release, pdf):

"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of National Turkish Union and Kungyun v. Bulgaria (application no. 4776/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the refusal of the Bulgarian authorities to register an association promoting the rights of the Muslim minority in Bulgaria.

Referring back to its case-law, the Court found that there was no “pressing social need” to require any association wishing to pursue political aims to constitute a political party if it was not the intention of the founders to take part in elections.

The Court further noted that the domestic courts had not referred to any action of the association or its members which might have compromised the territorial integrity or unity of the nation, or any action or speech which might have been regarded as a call to hatred or violence.

It concluded that the refusal to register the applicant association had not been “necessary in a democratic society”."

See the judgment: AFFAIRE UNION NATIONALE TURQUE ET KUNGYUN c. BULGARIE (application number 4776/08, French only, pdf)

EU: EP approves fingerprinting asylum seekers from age 6 (ANSAMed, link)

"The Civil Liberties Commission of the European Parliament on Tuesday [30 May 2017] approved fingerprinting asylum seekers as young as six in order to facilitate reunification with their parents. Under current EU law asylum seekers can be fingerprinted only from the age of 14. The measure was part of a package of amendments to an overhaul of the Eurodac fingerprint database, which were approved with 35 yes votes, 10 no votes and 8 abstentions. The MEPs also greenlighted the start of negotiations with the European Council in view of a definitive agreement. Under the changes, detention of minors should be prohibited. In addition, unaccompanied minors who disappear from reception facilities should be recorded in the Schengen Information System (SIS) and reported as missing persons. MEPs also voted to give the European police force Europol direct access to the Eurodac data base in order to prevent terrorist attacks and common crimes. In addition to fingerprints, the system should also allow the search and comparison of facial images and other personal data, such as name and identity document number when this information is available."

EP press release: Asylum: MEPs tighten internal security and improve safety for refugee children (pdf)

EU parliament groups want inquiry into terror failures (EUobserver, link):

"Two main political groups in the European parliament are hoping to launch a special committee to probe failures by EU states in the fight against terrorism.

The joint-announcement on Wednesday (7 June) by the centre-right EPP and the liberal Alde groups comes on the heels of the latest round of terror attacks in Manchester, London and Paris.

A draft mandate seen by EUobserver calls for a 12-month probe into "potential faults and malfunctions" that allowed the terror attacks to be carried out in Belgium, France and Germany.

It also wants to analyse, among other things, the lack of police cooperation and problems in cross-border investigations. Hearings with sensitive or secret information would be held behind closed doors. "

UK: Another round of criticism from UN Special Rapporteur for policies on counter-terrorism, surveillance and undercover policing

One of the final reports of the UN's former Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, follows up on a previous visit to the UK and offers further critique of the UK's counter-terrorism policies (in particular Prevent), surveillance (the Investigatory Powers Act) and undercover policing, noting with regard to the latter that the damage caused by police infilitration of non-violent protest groups "can partly be remedied by imposing real accountability and transparency for the survivors, together with full reparation." The report also examines a number of other issues including the policing of anti-fracking protests and restrictions on the work of civil society groups.

EU: Why Schengen deserves to be saved (EUobserver, link):

"By exploiting latent fears of uncontrolled immigration across open borders, far-right parties such as the Danish People’s Party, France's Front National, and the UK Independence Party (Ukip) have managed to turn the Schengen area into a political hot potato despite its manifold benefits.

Macron’s victory in France has temporarily neutralised this political threat, but he himself has repeatedly assessed that the work is not over.

An open Europe must successfully protect its citizens against terrorist threats, aggressive powers, and internal dumping.

Otherwise, the narrative being pushed by illiberal and anti-European populists will regain traction sooner rather than later."

See: The Economist Cost of Rolling Back Schengen (pdf) by Vincent Aussiloux and Boris Le Hir: "This paper looks at the economic consequences of re-establishing permanent border controls within the Schengen Area."

Polish court rules presidential pardon was premature (Radio Poland, link):

"Poland's supreme court has indicated that the president's 2015 pardon of a former anti-corruption agency chief was premature because his jail sentence was still being appealed.

In 2013, Law and Justice (PiS) MP Mariusz Kaminski – who served as head of the anti-corruption agency from 2006 and 2009 – was found guilty of overstepping his powers.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and was banned from holding public office for ten years.

Polish President Andrzej Duda pardoned Kaminski even though he was still appealing his sentence at the time. The case against Kaminski was then discontinued.

A supreme court judge said that the president interfered in the legal process because Kaminski was proven neither innocent nor guilty when he was pardoned, making a future ruling redundant."

EU: MORE FENCES: Lithuania starts erecting fence on border with Russia (The Washington Post, link):

"VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania has started building a fence on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in an attempt to curb smuggling and illegal immigration and strengthen the EU’s external border.

State border officials on Monday kicked off construction works of the first segment of the 130-kilometer (80-mile) -long metal fence at the Raminiskiu village in a ceremony attended by the Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas.

The installation comes complete with electronic surveillance systems and drones. It will cost some 3.6 million euros ($3.9 million) in total and is to be completed by the end of this year."

UK: Danny Sewell-French: 'Failures' contributed to Blackburn death in care (BBC News, link):

"Staff at a children's home missed opportunities to find drugs and alcohol on a 16-year-old boy who died in their care, an inquest has heard.

Danny Sewell-French was found dead in his room at Cherry Tree Resource Centre in Blackburn on 2 October 2016.

He was intoxicated with a mixture of alcohol, morphine and buprenorphine.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, which runs the home, said it had since "rigorously reviewed" its safety procedures."

Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters (The Guardian, link):

"Consider for a moment how your life has changed thanks to digital technology. You can become friends with 2 billion connected people, chose your own news, and watch/date/order whatever you want, on demand. Infinite choice and control is now the norm, and yet formal politics has barely evolved since the days of Robert Peel. Our modern political system came of age in the industrial revolution, which was a time of massive organisations and centralised control. We are now, however, firmly in a new industrial revolution, characterised by endless choice, digital technology, data, automation and artificial intelligence. The economy, identity, political allegiances, perhaps even the essence of what it is to be human, are all starting to change, and our politics will have to change with it. The current set-up, including the populist right, will cling on for a while, like a legacy IT system that’s too pricey to update, but it will shortly become redundant."

USA: Customs and Border Protection entry/exit program pilot successful (Biometric Update, link):

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has found a feasible solution for a biometric entry/exit program, CBP Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations John Wagner told a congressional committee meeting on visa overstays last week.

As previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that 629,000 visitors to the U.S. overstayed their visas in 2016 due to the lack of a biometric exit system.

A program piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in which a facial image is captured and compared to a database without first reading the travelers passport, has processed 28,000 people with accuracy in the “high ninetieth percentile,” Wagner said."

England's forgotten armed uprising to be celebrated in Derbyshire (The Guardian, link):

"Britain goes to the polls this week almost exactly 200 years after the last armed uprising in English history, when a group of Derbyshire weavers and miners resorted to pitchforks and muskets in a futile attempt to overthrow by force the government that denied them the vote.

The uprising lasted only the length of one cold, rainy night and ended in public executions and beheadings, but Derbyshire is preparing to commemorate the bicentenary this weekend.

The Pentrich Revolution is little remembered now – certainly not taught in the local schools – and there is little trace of it in the cluster of villages 14 miles north of Nottingham where it occurred. But in 1817 it terrified ministers sufficiently for them to take extreme measures to make sure nothing like it ever happened again. It is a tale of violence and despair far removed from the common and placid image of Jane Austen’s England – the author died six weeks after the uprising."

EU: Legislative Tracker : an interinstitutional agreement on the new EU “Entry-Exit” system is approaching... (FREE Group, link):

"The rapporteur Agustín Dían De Mera García Consuegra stated before the LIBE Committee (11 May 2017) that progresses have been made during the “trilogue” negotiations and that the good cooperation between delegations will probably allow to come to a political agreement by the end of the summer. Two “political” trilogues as well as nine technical meetings have already taken place and a third political “trilogue” is scheduled for 31 May 2017. Needless to say no public recording is accessible on the debates which took place during these trilateral meetings"

Greek police continues to illegally hand over Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey (FIDH, link):

"On 2 June at 9am, a family of six, including an infant, and three men who wished to apply for international protection in Greece because of persecution in Turkey were handed over by Greek police to a group of masked gunmen. The refoulement was witnessed and the HLHR has in its disposal the license plate numbers of the Greek police van that transferred the asylum seekers. The new refoulement took place in Evros by boat, near Didymoteicho, and involved Mustafa Can, his wife and their four children, as well as Yilmaz Erdogan, Fethullah Çatal, and one more man, whose name is still not known.


The informal and forced refoulement of any person is considered an act of violence and is a blatant violation of international law and the international obligations of our country."

EU: European Parliament analysis: European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: an overview (pdf):

"The interconnections between border management, migration and internal security have become more apparent recently in the context of high inflows of refugees and irregular migrants and of increasing terrorist activities in the EU. To address these challenges, the EU has taken steps to revise and develop the European information systems in order to improve the collection, processing and sharing of data among Member States and relevant EU agencies. This publication provides an overview of the existing and proposed European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs. It discusses the legal basis, the purposes, the scope of data and access, the utilisation and the proposed changes for each information system, including issues of interoperability."

USA: NSA contractor facing 10-year Espionage Act sentence for alleged journalistic leak may have been tracked down by printer used

"Reality Winner, the woman alleged to have leaked classified information about Russian interference in the US election, could face up to 10 years in prison if the Trump administration pursues its complaint that she violated the Espionage Act.

The 25-year-old allegedly shared documents that reveal Russian intelligence agents hacked a US voting systems manufacturer in the weeks immediately before the 2016 presidential election."

USA-POLAND-GERMANY: US officials targeted in push for justice and accountability on rendition and torture

Reprieve US and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights are pursuing new legal cases seeking accountability and justice for torture carried out as part of the USA's "extraordinary rendition" programme.

COMMERCIAL SURVEILLANCE: I Bought a Report on Everything That's Known About Me Online (The Atlantic, link):

"On a recent Thursday, I waited for an email that was supposed to contain every personal detail the internet knows about me. The message would be from an online data broker—a company that collects and sells information that many people would hope is private. This includes browsing history, online purchases, and any information about you that’s publicly available: property records, court cases, marital status, social-media connections, and more. Facebook collaborates with data brokers for targeting advertisements. In some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles, among other agencies, sells information to brokers. Brick-and-mortar stores do, too.


Historically, data brokers don’t do nuance. Companies care about demographics: If they can get information that is in the right ballpark, it’s likely to suit their needs just fine. I thought opening my data would be like looking in a mirror, maybe a dressing room mirror under lighting that makes you think you should start taking many vitamins. Instead, it was like seeing an expressionist painting of myself. I caught glimpses of something I recognized, but everything was hazy and a little off.

The sight was a relief. Conversations and debates about privacy tend to take for granted that the technology invading privacy finds information that is correct. But while our data is collected aggressively these days, clearly companies still aren’t infallible. Maybe the death of privacy isn’t quite so near."

London attack: UK was warned about third attacker (BBC News, link):

"One of the London Bridge attackers was able to enter the UK, despite being placed on an EU-wide watch list.

Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Moroccan-Italian man who lived in east London, was named as the third attacker.


An Italian police source has confirmed to the BBC that Zaghba had been placed on a watch list, which is shared with many countries, including the UK.

In March 2016, Italian officers stopped Zaghba at Bologna airport and found IS-related materials on his mobile phone.

He was then stopped from continuing his journey to Istanbul.

The BBC understands he was not prosecuted but was listed on the Schengen Information System, an EU-wide database which includes details of potential suspects.

When Zaghba entered Britain, staff at passport control should automatically have been alerted by the Schengen system, BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said.

"One unconfirmed report suggests that did happen, apparently when Zaghba arrived at Stansted Airport in January - but that border staff still let him in," he said."

UK: Theresa May's comments on human rights are 'reckless and misinformed', says Amnesty

Responding to Theresa May’s comments about changing human rights laws, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK section, said:

"Theresa May’s comments are reckless and misinformed.

"This is exactly the time that human rights must be protected and cherished, not attacked and undermined."

Turkey arrests Amnesty International head and lawyers in Gulenist sweep (Guardian, link):

"Police detained Taner Kiliç and 22 other lawyers on suspicion of ties to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen."

EU reassures Turkey over its €3bn refugee package (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s €3billion package to help refugees in Turkey will have been fully assigned to projects by the end of the year, the bloc’s envoy said Tuesday (6 June).

All the funds, part of a deal with Turkey to tackle Europe’s refugee crisis, will be fully assigned by the end of 2017, said Christian Berger, the EU ambassador to Turkey."

EU: Meijers Committee: Comment on the Draft Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders (pdf):

"On 21 December 2016, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders (COM(2016) 819 final). In this comment, the Meijers Committee wishes to express its concerns as to several aspects of the proposal. Moreover, with a view to future negotiations on the proposed Regulation, this letter contains a number of recommendations on how to respond to its troubling aspects."

UK: On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist (link) by Hillary Wainwright:

"Robin Murray who died late on Sunday exuded vigour and hope. And he inspired those around him with his spirit. Maybe as a resuIt I find myself resisting the sadness which threatens to overwhelm me now that he is gone. The tears well, but they refuse to flow. He was not one for a passive response of any kind. The only respite is to ring common friends for mutual comfort...

This is just one way in which Robin’s legacy of hope will live on with us and through us. In the intervening years, to give just one example, his restless and inventive energy pioneered twin trading and created the Fair Trade network that supports tens of thousands of small farmers in developing countries. "

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 June 2017: Background Note (pdf):

"On Friday, ministers will take stock of the current situation on migration, in particular in the Central Mediterranean, and will discuss return policy. They will also touch upon the issue of improving the interoperability of information systems.

Ministers will take stock of work carried out so far regarding the proposals to reform the common European asylum system and will discuss the proposals on the Schengen Information System (SIS). The Council is expected to adopt a general approach on a proposal on a European travel and information authorisation system (ETIAS).

In the margins of the Council, the Mixed Committee (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) will take stock of work on the proposals on the SIS and on ETIAS. Exceptionally, the Schengen associated states will be present in the discussions on migration, return policy and information systems and interoperability.

Over lunch, ministers will discuss counter terrorism."

Council moves quickly to get interoperable centralised database operative

Among the issues to be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 8-9 June: "Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on improving interoperability of information systems." (Council)

See the Draft Council Conclusions on the way forward to improve information exchange and ensure the interoperability of EU information systems (LIMITE doc no: 9132-REV-2-17, dated 30 May 2017, pdf) which draws on:

European Commission: Seventh progress report on an effective and genuine Security Union (COM(2017) 261 final, 16 May 2017, pdf), the High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability (HLEG) final report (pdf) and a Council discussion paper, LIMITE 8797-17, pdf).

Background: Commission wants a quick march to interoperable, centralised EU databases by 2020 (Statewatch) and EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases (Statewatch).

Council of the European Union: Eurodac

Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of biometric data for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person.... (LIMITE doc no: 9879-17,100 pages pdf):

"identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes,"

Council developing its negotiating position with 62 Footnotes including Member State position.

"Delegations are reminded that the intention of the Presidency is to submit the modifications on the inclusion of scanned colour copies and the possibility to query Eurodac using alphanumeric data for approval of Coreper..."

EU judges may be asked to rule on legality of UK surveillance powers (Guardian, link):

"Fresh court challenge by privacy campaigners could impact the controversial Investigatory Powers Act.

EU judges may be asked to decide whether the intelligence services’ bulk collection of email data in order to prevent terrorist attacks is legal.

In a fresh challenge that could impact the Investigatory Powers Act, the campaign group Privacy International has argued in court on Monday that interception of social media that is not targeted and subject to sufficient safeguards is forbidden by a previous European judgment.

After a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the attack in London on Saturday, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) said it was considering whether to refer the issue – concerning the use by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 of bulk communication data – back to the court of justice of the European Union in Luxembourg."

European media plurality at risk (New Europe, link):

"It considered four topical areas which could be of concern: basic protection of freedom (of main foundations for freedom of expression and media pluralism), market plurality, political independence and social inclusiveness."

CoE: Venice Commission on Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs: legitimate aims, but excessive obligations, disproportionate sanctions (link):

"The Venice Commission has published today its preliminary opinion on the Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Support from Abroad of Hungary.

The Venice Commission acknowledges that the draft law pursues the legitimate aim of ensuring transparency of civil society organisations and may also contribute to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism."

See: Press release (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO)

The Council developing its negotiating position:

TEXT: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Consolidated text (LIMITE doc no, 9545-17, pdf): 17 Member States support "enhanced cooperation":

"Delegations will find in Annex a consolidated version of the draft Regulation, established with a view to reaching a general approach at the Council (JHA) of 8 June 2017....

Having regard to the notification by Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, by which those Member States on 3 April 2017 notified the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of their wish to establish enhanced cooperation on the basis of the draft

And see: Latvia joins too: LATVIA: LIMITE do co; 9546-17 (pdf)

GENERAL APPROACH: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - General approach (LIMITE doc no:9476-17, pdf):

"Coreper is invited to agree to submit the draft text of the Regulation, as set out in document 9545/17, to the June 2017 Council, for the purpose of attaining a General Approach."

 EPPO - Financial issues (LIMITE doc no 9276-17, pdf):

"The model means that expenditure of the EPPO shall be borne by the Member States which participate in enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the EPPO."

FINANCE: European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) - Financial issues - Contributions from delegations (LIMITE doc no, 9278-16, pdf):

"Following the invitation of the Presidency to delegations to written comments on the issue of the financing of the EPPO, the Polish, Swedish and UK delegations have made the contributions in Annex."

Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no, 9066-17, pdf):

"At the meeting of COPEN on 12 May 2017, delegations were asked to indicate all concerns they have with the current Council draft. The annex to this note enumerates all the issues thereby indicated, on which agreement could not be reached."

EARLIER DRAFT: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Presidency text (LIMITE doc no 8750-17, pdf):

"Delegations are invited to indicate whether they can preliminarily agree to the full text of the draft Regulation at the COPEN meeting of 12 May, or - if they cannot yet agree - which provisions they consider it is absolutely necessary to reflect further upon. In this context,"

and see: 8750-COR-!-17 (LIMITE doc, pdf)

Eurojust: Proposal for a Regulation on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) - EPPO related provisions (Presidency document) (LIMITE doc no:9069-17, pdf):

"The partial general approach on the draft Eurojust Regulation agreed in March 2015 did not include any EPPO-related provisions, as the negotiations on the EPPO Regulation had not sufficiently advanced at that moment in time."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-4-17- 4-6-17)

Hungarian civil society victimized by Orban government (DW, link):

"Hungarian NGOs - especially those working with migrants - are facing stigmatization under a new law being pushed by Viktor Orban's government. DW's Ben Knight talks to some of those NGOs in Budapest."

Archives, race, class and rage (IRR news, link):

"Below we publish an excerpt of a commentary in the April 2017 issue of Race & Class, in which Colin Prescod (IRR Chair) examines the challenges of black heritage facing archivists today.

This is an edited version of a keynote speech to the annual conference of the Archives and Records Association 2016 in which a leading black British cultural curator, using the concept of ‘reparative histories’, charts his own involvement in and knowledge of recent milestones in black cultural heritage intervention in the UK. Referencing the London Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage, the museum world’s marking of the ‘2007 bi-centenary of the Act abolishing the Atlantic slave trade’ and the significant ‘No Colour Bar’ archive and art exhibition of 2015, he challenges archivists to understand the issue not as the need to simply ‘include’ Black experience, but to allow Black agency in the making of the record.""

European court launches new system for single judge decisions (CoE, link):

"A new system for single judge decisions with more detailed reasoning has been announced today by the European Court of Human Rights.

Its statement confirms that: “Following the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 in 2010 introducing the possibility for a Single Judge to declare applications inadmissible, the court initiated new working methods to tackle the massive backlog of clearly inadmissible cases."

European Parliament Study: An assessment of the Commission’s Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications (pdf):

"In this study we discuss weaknesses of the proposed provisions, and ways to improve these provisions. We recommend that the EU lawmaker pays extra attention to four points;

(i) location tracking; (ii) browsers and default settings; (iii) tracking walls; (iv) the confidentiality of communications.

Regarding those topics, the ePrivacy proposal does not ensure sufficient protection of the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications. Some provisions in the ePrivacy proposal offer less protection than the GDPR."

EU: Juncker: Death penalty in Turkey would mean end to EU accession talks (euractiv, link);

"The European Union should continue accession negotiations with Turkey but a reintroduction of the death penalty would clearly put an end to the process, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said."

France: A right not a threat: Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the state of emergency in France (AI, link);

"In 2016, French authorities banned dozens of public assemblies using emergency powers and placed restrictions on hundreds of individuals to prevent them from exercising their right to freedom of assembly. Individuals not linked in any way to acts of terrorism are getting caught in the cross-hairs of the emergency measures. This report shows the disproportionate use of emergency powers to restrict the right to freedom of assembly in situations unrelated to any specific threat of attacks on the general population. Moreover, the report shows that French authorities often relied on unnecessarily resource-intensive strategies and used force disproportionately when policing public assemblies."

See: Report (pdf, link)

Germany: Uneven progress in treatment of detained persons and detention conditions, says anti-torture committee (CoE, link):

"In the report on its most recent visit to Germany, published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) praises progress made to improve the treatment of detained persons and detention conditions, but also found striking contrasts between establishments visited in different Federal States (Länder).

During the visit, carried out in late 2015, the CPT’s delegation heard no allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment of detained persons by police officers whilst in police custody. However, some allegations were received – in particular from foreign nationals and persons suffering from a mental disorder – about excessive use of force by police officers at the time of apprehension (such as punches or kicks after the person concerned had been brought under control or unduly tight handcuffing)."

And: Switzerland: Commissioner welcomes progress on asylum, but the most vulnerable need better protection (CoE, Link);

"stop detaining migrant children arriving at Swiss international airports. Children, with or without their families, do not belong in detention” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after a three-day visit (22-24 May) to Switzerland, which included a visit to the closed reception facility in the international transit zone of Zurich airport."

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