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August 2019

German journalists demand more protection from far right (DW, link)

"The German government is not offering enough protection to journalists who appear on far-right "death lists," according to an open letter signed by media organizations. Several such lists have been discovered recently.

Six German journalist and activist organizations have sent an open letter to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer asking for more protection from far-right terrorists in the country.

Recent police raids on far-right networks have uncovered several lists of journalists and left-wing politicians, apparently as potential targets."

Council of the European Union: Press conference on Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust (link); "For more information, please see the Eurojust invitation letter." (pdf, link)

Sweden bans facial recognition technology in schools (New Europe, link):

"The Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) has issued a ban on facial recognition technology in schools after one of the country’s high-school students attempted to use the controversial software to keep track of attendance."

Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the Rule of Law? (ICJ, link):

An opinion piece by Massimo Frigo, ICJ’s Senior Legal Adviser for Europe and Central Asia. This Op-ed was first published in the EU Observer:

"Since he became Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini has repeatedly vowed to close Italian harbours to migrants, including refugees, and NGOs, making it the central objective of his migration policy."

Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage (Guardian, link):

"From Trump to Orbán, politicians are winning votes by stoking age-old hatreds. Where does this fear of migrants come from? By Suketu Mehta.

The west is being destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants. In country after country, the ghosts of the fascists have rematerialised and are sitting in parliaments in Germany, in Austria, in Italy. They have successfully convinced their populations that the greatest threat to their nations isn’t government tyranny or inequality or climate change, but immigration."

UK: Notting Hill Carnival: New Data Reveals Crime Should Not Be The Story Of The Weekend (Huffington Post, link):

"An investigation into the policing of UK festivals has revealed arrest rates at Notting Hill Carnival are almost identical to Glastonbury, suggesting controversial crime narratives surrounding the London event are misplaced.

More than a million people will take to the streets of west London this weekend for the world-famous celebration of Caribbean music and heritage, as colourful floats and sound-systems parade the streets.

But Notting Hill organisers have long claimed the focus on crime by the media and police unduly taints what should be a gem in the country’s cultural calendar."

UK: BREXIT: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament (BBC News, link):

"The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen's Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his "very exciting agenda".

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October."

See: House of Commons Library briefing paper: Prorogation of Parliament (pdf): "This briefing paper explains what it means to "prorogue" Parliament, under what authority it is done, and what its consequences are. It also provides historical and international context for prorogation, and explains its relevance to the Brexit process."

Italy grounds two planes used to search for migrant boats (The Guardian, link):

"Italy has grounded two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – are operated by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been flying reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

For the past month neither has been able to take to the skies after the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”."

And see: Dozens feared dead after boat capsizes off Libya coast (Al Jazeera, link): "Rescue operation under way as Libyan coastguard says it rescued 60 people after the Europe-bound vessel capsized."

UK: Serco slammed over profits drive at arms trade show while trying to evict asylum seekers fleeing war (Daily Record, link):

"The firm evicting hundreds of asylum seekers from their homes has been condemned over plans to exhibit at a controversial arms trade show.

Serco, which holds the Home Office contract to house about 300 people in Glasgow, has dozens of defence contracts around the world.

The private multinational will be touting for business at DSEI 2019 next month in London’s ExCeL arena."

MEDITERRANEAN: Military vessels accused of scrambling emergency communications in the Libyan SAR zone [Ong. La Mare Jonio: «INTERFERENZE MILITARI ZITTISCONO I SEGNALI DI SOS DEI MIGRANTI»] (Bocche Scucite, link):

"The Mediterranean mission ship is reporting a blockage of reception equipment in the Libyan rescue area. And in silence, the number of cases of shipwrecks being sent back to Libya is increasing.

...From the ship, the operators reiterate that "now the European military command and coordination centres do not relay the reports of vessels in distress as they should do, through the radio and messaging communication channels provided for by maritime law and the international SAR protocols, but seem to talk only with the Libyan authorities.

France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters (AI, link):

"From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area."

"Discover, identify and interfere": The MUROS from Meckenheim (link):

"A German company builds special vehicles with surveillance technology. They film demonstrations, wiretap telephones or coordinate swarms of drones at EU external borders.

In the EU security research project ROBORDER, European border authorities are testing various drones for controlling land and sea borders."

GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s digital agenda over the next mandate is set to be marked by a series of broad-ranging reforms, from artificial intelligence and data protection to cryptocurrency regulation and digital tax. EURACTIV talked to Greek MEP Eva Kaili about how she hopes the EU’s digital agenda over the next five years will play out."

EU: Centre for European Reform: The EU’s Security Union: A bill of health (link):

"The Security Union has had a mixed record. In two years, the EU has achieved more on thorny issues like border controls and counter-terrorism than in the previous decade. It has also led to the EU’s actions on security and migration becoming more open and accountable. But the Security Union’s use of technology and data to prevent incidents before they happen risks upsetting the delicate balance between public security and personal liberty. For example, plans to fight cyber crime may clash with the fundamental right to free speech; and some EU counter-terrorism measures, like tracking suspects, can endanger the fundamental right to be presumed innocent – and hence the rule of law."

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden (Common Dreams, link):

"The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech."

OPINION: So used are we to a borderless Europe we’re not ready for the coming shock (Guardian, link)

"The UK has enjoyed the privileges of the single market. Things are tougher outside it. (...)

The argument gets more traction than it deserves because of a confusion about borders. In particular, there seems to be a common assumption that the absence of checks on goods crossing frontiers is the default state of the world and that the existence of border controls is a weird aberration.

The assumption is false. As even a cursory glance at border arrangements across the globe reveals, border controls are entirely normal: it is their absence that is the aberration."

EU: Leaked document: EU Commission mulls new law to regulate online platforms (netzpolitik.org, link):

"The EU Commission is considering the creation of a new authority for the regulation of online services. This is part of a possible legislative proposal by the Commission to regulate platform companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Under the proposed scheme, the e-Commerce Directive is to be replaced by a new law, the Digital Services Act, according to a leaked Commission note. (Click here for full document.). (...)

The seven-page note gives only a rough outline of the Digital Services Act. It mentions the need for harmonised guidelines on how platforms should moderate speech and handle illegal content across the EU, stating that the Commission’s recommendations for tackling illegal content should become mandatory."

Campaign Opposing Polce Surveillance (COPS): Undercover Policing & Trade Unions Conference, London - November 16 @ 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

We’re pleased to announce our Trade Union Conference on Saturday November 16th in London.

The one-day event will increase understanding of the impact of political policing on trade unions and movements for social change since 1968.

Over three thousand workers were blacklisted, over one thousand organisations were spied on by undercover police, and tens of thousands of citizens have files held on them by Special Branch.

Russia, United States attempt to legitimize killer robots (pressenza.com, link):

"Russia and the United States are continuing their losing fight against the inevitable treaty that’s coming for killer robots.

Most states participating in the diplomatic talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems have expressed their strong desire to negotiate a new treaty to address mounting concerns. At this week’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting, Jordan joined the list of 29 states urging a ban on killer robots, in order to retain human control over the use of force."

Regional and International Benchmarks on Surveillance, Cybercrimes and Computer Crimes (pdf): Co-authored by Arthur Gwagwa and Kuda Hove:

"Surveillance, cyber espionage, cybercrimes and computer crimes transverse various regional and international standards and norms as set by the relevant standard setting, norm sharing bodies as well as security forums. They also implicate technical rules, for example relating to internet protocols and the management of internet infrastructure, critical resources such as internet assigned numbers and letters This report will confine itself to the examination of the standards and norms that have a direct bearing on the exercise of human rights online."

Less "Silent SMS“ from German police, but more secrecy for domestic intelligence (link):

"The blog Netzpolitik.org graphically displays the sending of "Silent SMS“ every six months. This shows the extent to which police forces and secret services use mobile phones as tracking bugs. Because of this „condensation“ of information worthy of protection, the figures for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are classified as "secret."

EU: Council of the European Union: Internal Security, Interoperability & Visas and Europol & private partners

Implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy: joint Presidency paper (LIMITE doc no: 10991-19, 87 pages, pdf): "Delegations will find attached a revised version of the joint paper of the outgoing Romanian Presidency and the Finnish Presidency on the implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy."

Interoperability and the visa procedure - Possible implications of Interoperability on the daily work of the consulates - Presentations (LIMITE doc no: WK 8371/2019, pdf): "Delegations will find attached the presentations made by the Commission services, eu-LISA and the Presidency on the abovementioned subject at the Visa Working Party meeting on 10 July 2019."

Europol's cooperation with strategic partners: strengths and possible inefficiencies in cooperation with Private Parties (LIMITE doc no: 10494-19, pdf): "Member States authorities, Europol cooperates with the following partners: Union bodies, third country authorities, international organisations and private parties. This cooperation is regulated in the Europol Regulation Chapter V."

UK: As Brexit looms, UK still hopes to join EU fingerprint exchange network

After a long and rather tortuous process, the UK joined the 'Prüm' network of EU member states' DNA databases in June. Despite the current government's apparent preference for some variety of hard Brexit, the UK is also hoping to connect to other EU member states' fingerprint databases - but first it must pass a data protection and a technical evaluation. Its responses to both questionnaires were submitted to the Council at the end of June for consideration.

UK: The Johnson Government: Working for the Brexit Clampdown (CCSE, link) by Joe Sim and Steve Tombs:

"As the country teeters on the brink of the chaos of an impending no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson’s administration has entered electioneering mode. The administration is following a familiar path that has a history of at least 40 years in the Tory party: first, that attitudes and actions towards the EU are not at all about any ‘national’ interest but are about party interests and, specifically, keeping a Tory Government in power at all and any costs; and, second, invoking a tough on crime, law and order discourse to capitalise on popular anxieties to offer false certainties around security and a sense of protection."

EU: External aspects of counter-terrorism policy: overview of Council working party discussions in first half of 2019

The COTER working party within the Council of the EU is "the main advisory body to the Council in the field of CT [counter-terrorism] and P/CVE [preventing/countering violent extremism] external aspects". A document circulated to delegations by the outgoing Romanian Presidency of the Council at the end of June outlines the work undertaken by the group in the first half of the year, concerning "strengthening the links between the internal and external dimensions of security", "bringing partners with the EU closer together" and "promoting the mainstreaming of the counter-terrorism issue".

Germany's Merkel calls for restarting EU migrant rescue mission (DW, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for the resumption of European naval missions to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

Since 2015, tens of thousands of migrants were rescued by European naval ships as part of the bloc's anti-smuggling "Operation Sophia," which suspended activity earlier this year.

"It would certainly be good if today we had Operation Sophia and national navies that would carry out rescues," Merkel said in Berlin. She added that it would help with rescuing migrants as well as combating trafficking."

UK: Statement: Live facial recognition technology in King's Cross (ICO, link):

"Facial recognition technology is a priority area for the ICO and when necessary, we will not hesitate to use our investigative and enforcement powers to protect people’s legal rights.

We have launched an investigation following concerns reported in the media regarding the use of live facial recognition in the King's Cross area of central London, which thousands of people pass through every day.

As well as requiring detailed information from the relevant organisations about how the technology is used, we will also inspect the system and its operation on-site to assess whether or not it complies with data protection law."

UK: REVEALED: The 'woke' media outfit that's actually a UK counterterror programme

"A social media network for young people that has been launched around the term “woke” is actually a covert British government counterterrorism programme, security officials have admitted.

A Facebook page and Instagram feed with the name This Is Woke describes itself as the work of a “media/news company” that is engaging “in critical discussions around Muslim identity, tradition and reform”.

In fact, it was created by a media company on behalf of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) at the UK Home Office."

CYPRUS: Arrest of KISA Director reflects wider European trend of criminalising support for migrants (Fair Trials, link):

"Earlier this month, the Executive Director of KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism, a member of the JUSTICIA network coordinated by Fair Trials, was arrested for allegedly “obstructing police work” and “attempting to escape lawful arrest,” after offering assistance to a young man, a foreign national, who was being questioned aggressively by the police outside of KISA’s offices in Nicosia, Cyprus. This is the sixth arrest of KISA’s Executive Director over the past two decades, and it is part of a broader crackdown on NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in the context of rule of law backsliding and shrinking space for civil society in the European Union."

UK: The police know what you’ll do next summer (New Statesman, link):

"...Last month, the Home Office pledged £5m in funding to West Midlands Police to develop a system that will identify individuals at risk of committing future crimes. Elsewhere, Durham police have developed an algorithm for use in custody decisions; Avon and Somerset Police, meanwhile, use predictive technology to map where violent crime might occur.

...The development of machine-learning algorithms, allied with cuts to police budgets, is propelling a version of the future long feared by privacy advocates and revered by technology companies. The question is no longer whether artificial intelligence will dramatically change policing, but how – and for whose benefit. "

EU: MEDEL statement on the Italian security decree of June 2019 (MEDEL, link):

"The introduction in Italy of draconian measures in relation to vaguely defined violations adds a further dimension to the pressure on volunteers, who already have to face the risk of being subject to investigations for violations of national immigration laws.

The effect is to reverse the order of the values enshrined in the Constitutions and Charters of fundamental rights, prioritizing alleged security reasons over the protection of human lives.

MEDEL has several times recalled the responsibility of all member states and of the European Union, stressing the distance between the current migration policies and the commitment - enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights - towards the human community and the future generations to ensure the enjoyment by everyone of fundamental rights.

The future of Europe and of European democracies depends on this pledge."

Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops (Vice, link):

"Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a "fusion center," a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir."

See: Palantir Gotham User Manual (pdf, as published with the Vice article)

Future of EU criminal law - editorial by Peter Csonka, DG Justice and Consumers (eucrim, link):

"Faced with the evolution of crime, globalisation, and technological innovations, there is a clear need to adapt the Union’s acquis to the actual needs of practitioners and citizens and thus enable appropriate responses to new developments, including those linked to digitalisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A primary challenge is the establishment of a solid EU criminal law framework capable of coherently tackling serious and/or cross-border crime (“euro-crimes”) and other areas of crime in which the approximation of offences or sanctions is essential for the enforcement of EU law (“accessory crimes”) in full respect of Member States’ legal traditions. It is important to strike the right balance between EU action and respect for Member States’ legal traditions, in particular in the area of sanctions. This particular issue of eucrim is dedicated to helping the reader understand how or in what specific areas of sanctions, whether criminal or administrative, financial, or otherwise, the Union can achieve better results."

See also: EU criminal law could cover "crimes relating to artificial intelligence" (Statewatch News Online,1 May 2019)

UK: Facial recognition in King's Cross prompts call for new laws (BBC News, link):

"There is growing pressure for more details about the use of facial recognition in London's King's Cross to be disclosed after a watchdog described the deployment as "alarming".

Developer Argent has confirmed it uses the technology to "ensure public safety" but did not reveal any details.

It raises the issue of how private land used by the public is monitored.

The UK's biometrics commissioner said the government needed to update the laws surrounding the technology."

And see: London mayor quizzes King's Cross developer on facial recognition (BBC News, link)

Migrant rescue ship heads for Italy after judge overrules Salvini (Al Jazeera, link):

"An Italian court has upheld an appeal by the Spanish rescue ship Proactiva Open Arms, suspending far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's decision to ban the ship from entering the country's waters.

The Italian court ruled that the ban violates international laws in light of the "exceptionally grave and urgent situation due to the protracted stay of the migrants on our boat", Open Arms said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said its ship is now heading towards Italian waters and expects to reach them on Thursday morning. Additionally, it has made new requests to Italy and Malta for a port that will let them disembark the migrants on medical grounds."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Police ombudsman to pay damages over 2011 Loughinisland report (Irish Legal News, link):

"The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will pay damages to families and survivors over its first report on the Loughinisland massacre.

The police watchdog admitted failings and said it would pay undisclosed damages as part of the settlement announced in the High Court in Belfast on Friday, BBC News reports.

The proceedings were brought in connection with a 2011 report which concluded that there was insufficient evidence of collusion in the 1994 massacre, in which UVF gunmen killed six people and wounded five others.

The report, by former ombudsman Al Hutchinson, was quashed by the High Court in 2012. A subsequent report in 2016 found that collusion between police and the UVF was a “significant feature” of the murders."

Major breach found in biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defence firms (The Guardian, link):

"The fingerprints of over 1 million people, as well as facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, and personal information of employees, was discovered on a publicly accessible database for a company used by the likes of the UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors and banks.

Suprema is the security company responsible for the web-based Biostar 2 biometrics lock system that allows centralised control for access to secure facilities like warehouses or office buildings. Biostar 2 uses fingerprints and facial recognition as part of its means of identifying people attempting to gain access to buildings.

Last month, Suprema announced its Biostar 2 platform was integrated into another access control system – AEOS. AEOS is used by 5,700 organisations in 83 countries, including governments, banks and the UK Metropolitan police."

See: Report: Data Breach in Biometric Security Platform Affecting Millions of Users (vpnMentor, link)

EU: Europol Strategy 2020+ (pdf)

"Europol has been evolving and growing ever since its inception, from a small group assisting Member States’ investigations mainly on drug trafficking, it is now the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation, contributing directly to the European Agenda on Security by working with and for Member States to combat all forms of serious organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism.

Europol’s Strategy provides the framework for Europol’s work and level of ambition."

See: Europol to become a global criminal information hub (link):

USA: Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant (Vice, link):

"When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,” an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they do need permission from camera owners.

Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.8.19) including:

EU: Interoperability of European Centralised Databases: Another Nail in the Coffin of Third-Country Nationals’ Privacy? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):

"Crucially, databases are compartmentalised; even though in the future all third-country nationals will be effectively captured by at least one database, the data pots are separate from each other. This will soon change; the final step towards an EU ‘Big Brother’ is the interconnection of the different ‘data pots’ under the umbrella term of interoperability. Against this background, this blog post aims at critically evaluating this important legal development from a privacy and data protection standpoint."

British children of Islamic State members will not be brought back to UK: Report (Middle East Eye, link):

"The children of British members of Islamic State who have UK citizenship will not be brought back to Britain from Syria as it would be too dangerous to rescue them, the UK government has reportedly decided.

The decision, made after a cross departmental review, was one of the last acts of Home Secretary Sajid Javid before his promotion to chancellor last month, according to The Times newspaper.

Javid was said to have decided that it was not safe to dispatch military or civilian personnel to rescue the babies and minors from camps in northern Syria."

UK: Tories unveil law and order policy blitz amid election speculation (The Guardian, link):

"Boris Johnson has set out a resoundingly tough stance on law and order ahead of a possible autumn general election, with a trio of announcements on extending jail terms, building new prisons and increasing police stop-and-search powers.

...On sentencing, Johnson announced a review of the policy of allowing some prisoners with a fixed sentence to be released on licence mid-way through their term on condition of continued good behaviour.

The review will also look at potentially longer sentences for violent and sexual offences, and for repeat offenders, and includes £85m in extra funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.

...In another arguably populist pre-election move, Johnson and Patel announced that police would be freer to carry out preventive stop-and-search operations under so-called section 60 powers."

EU: Current text of the proposed Directive on equal treatment between persons: over a decade of discussions and still no agreement

The Member States still cannot agree on the proposed Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, which was proposed by the Commission in 2008. The measure requires unanimity between the Member States and the consent of the Parliament to become law. The Parliament adopted its opinion in April 2009.

UK: Victory for Netpol campaigning as Home Office confirms it has stopped using the term “domestic extremism” (Netpol, link):

"After almost a decade of campaigning for an end to the highly subjective categorisation of campaigners at “domestic extremists”, Netpol has finally received confirmation that the Home Office has decided to stop using the label.

In June, we highlighted a report by David Anderson QC, a former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislation, who had called the ‘domestic extremism’ label ‘manifestly deficient’ and indicated the Home Office was under pressure to abandon it."

UK: North Wales Police response to concern over its handling of hunt saboteurs raises serious questions (The Canary, link):

"On 24 July, North Wales Hunt Saboteurs claimed that North Wales Police (NWP) are “involved in an [operation] with the Flint and Denbigh hunt to get rid of protesters”. The hashtag “#OperationYada” accompanied the claim. Several days later, the NWP Rural Crime Team published a video on Twitter denying that ‘Operation Yada’ existed. But the truth suggests this team tried to mislead the public."

European Parliament: How the General Data Protection Regulation changes the rules for scientific research (pdf) and Briefing (pdf):

"This study comprehensively investigates the promises and challenges associated with the implementation of the GDPR in the scientific domain, with a special focus on the impact of the new rights and obligations enshrined in the GDPR on the design and conduct of scientific research. Furthermore, the study examines the adequacy of the GDPR's derogations for scientific research in terms of safeguarding scientific freedom and technological progress."

European Commission doesn't want to enforce its CRS rules (The Practical Nomad, link):

"In May 2017 the European Commission finally agreed to investigate my longstanding complaint that the lack of adequate access controls or access logging for airline reservation data stored by computerized reservation systems (CRSs) violates the data protection provisions in Article 11 of the European Union's Code of Conduct for Computerized Reservation Systems.

More than two years later, I've finally received the first substantive response to my complaint: a letter from the European Commission proposing to deny my complaint for lack of jurisdiction, on the absurd grounds that data security is not regulated by the Code of Conduct for CRSs."

Surveillance of 5G: Governments plan to change laws (link):

"5G telephony makes communication more secure. Connections, subscriber and device identifiers are partly encrypted, also conventional IMSI catchers become useless. Providers could therefore be forced to install new surveillance technology."

Refugee rescuers to be fined up to €1m under new Italian law promoted by far-right Salvini (Independent, link)

"Charity says security decree ‘will inflict useless suffering ... putting at risk the lives of vulnerable people.

Refugee rescue boats carrying stranded migrants face fines of up to €1m after the Italian parliament passed a controversial law promoted by Matteo Salvini, the far-right interior minister.

Under the law, boat captains bringing rescued refugees to Italy will face arrest if unauthorised; their vessels could be confiscated; and the owners of the operations face steep fines between €150,000 (£138,000) and €1m (£919,000)."

See: UNHCR concerned at new measures impacting rescue at sea in the Central Mediterranean (link)

EU may extend 'passenger name records' to rail and sea (EUobserver, link):

"The national governments of the EU member states are considering extending mandatory record-keeping of air passenger data to high-speed rail travel and sea traffic.

A majority of states have said in diplomatic discussions that they were in favour of applying the rules from the EU's passenger name record (PNR) directive, currently only applicable to air travel, to other modes of transportation.

...The paper, published on the Statewatch website, said that "the majority of the member states agreed on broadening the scope of the PNR directive".

"The percentages were the following: 83 percent wants to broaden it to maritime, 76 percent to railway, and 67 percent to road traffic," said the document."

See also: EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

EU: Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law (European Commission press release, pdf)

"The European Commission decided today to refer Greece and Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose the EU rules on personal data protection (the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive, Directive (EU) 2016/680). In April 2016, the Council and the European Parliament agreed the Directive had to be transposed into national law by 6 May 2018.

In the case of Greece, the Commission is calling on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions in the form of a lump sum of € 5 287.50per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Greece or the date of delivery of the judgment under Article 260(3) TFEU,with a minimum lump sum of € 1 310 000and a daily penalty payment of € 22.169,70from the day of the first judgment until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment. As regards Spain, the Commission is calling on the Court to impose a financial sanction in the form of a lump sum of € 21 321per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Spain or the date of delivery of the judgment under article 260(3) of TFEU, with a minimum lump sum of € 5 290 000and a daily penalty payment of € 89 548.20 from the day of the first judgement until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment."

And see: Complaint lodged by Homo Digitalis against Greece for non-compliance with the EU’s data privacy law addressed to the European Commission (Homo Digitalis, link)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Former PSNI chief ‘still furious’ about closure of Historical Enquiries Team (Irish Legal News, link):

"Former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde has said he is “still furious” about the 2014 closure of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which he said should have been allowed to complete its work.

In an interview with The Irish Times, the former police chief, who stood down in 2009, challenged the findings of a 2013 report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary which greatly undermined the unit.

The report, which sparked fierce criticism from Irish nationalists and republicans, said some cases involving the state were being “reviewed with less rigour in some areas” than other cases.

...Sir Hugh said the HET, if allowed to continue its work beyond 2014, would have completed reviews of all 3,500 Troubles-related cases by now.

He also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the proposed new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) due to the passage of time."

European Parliament Studies: Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation (pdf):

"Blockchain is a much-discussed instrument that, according to some, promises to inaugurate a new era of data storage and code-execution, which could, in turn, stimulate new business models and markets. The precise impact of the technology is, of course, hard to anticipate with certainty, in particular as many remain sceptical of blockchain's potential impact. In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchain and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Indeed, many of the points of tension between blockchain and the GDPR are due to two overarching factors."

And see: Annex (pdf)

We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data! (NO PNR, link):

"We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data!

The European PNR Directive (Directive 2016/681) requires airlines to automatically transfer their passengers’ data to government passenger data centers, called Passenger Information Units. Data records are centrally stored and can be accessed by numerous authorities."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7-5.8.19) including:

Home Office rejects Human Rights Committee’s call for a time limit to immigration detention (HoC, link):

"The Home Office has rejected the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee’s recommendation to introduce a time limit on immigration detention, despite the overwhelming cross-party support."

EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

EU: Council Presidency: Widening the scope of PNR to other forms of transportation in addition to air traffic- discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 10597-19, pdf) suggests that:

"Traffic volumes from both within and outside the Schengen area are increasing. Increasing crossborder travelling entails cross-border crime such as migrant smuggling and irregular migration arrangements, which involves third-country nationals that are smuggled into the EU territories, or narcotic drugs smugglers, terrorists and other criminals. This poses a growing challenge to national law enforcement authorities in combating crime." [emphasis added throughout]

GREECE: Protest held over Korkoneas release (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A demonstration was held in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia on Wednesday at the memorial of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, shot and killed in 2008 by a police special guard who was released from prison on Tuesday."

EU receives record number of requests for documents (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission has received a record number of requests to publish documents, according to statistics released this week.

EU citizens filed applications to see documents 6,912 times in 2018."

Link to: Report (pdf)

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