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October 2019

Racist violence – ‘It’s become normalised’ (IRR News):

"Racist violence involving public order offences, physical attack and criminal damage has increased, but the Home Office and the media are in denial as to the real causes.

On 16 October, the Home Office released the 2018/2019 statistics on hate crimes in England and Wales with all hate crime (race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, disability, transgender) increasing by 10 per cent from the previous year (a total of 103,379 recorded crimes)."

UK: Activating Newham: Community & Activism 1980-1991: An ambitious new project exploring different communities’ experiences of racism in Newham during the 1980s and now (Create, link):

"In partnership with the Institute of Race Relations and supported by Rabbits Road Press, Create are supporting a group of young people to develop an ambitious new oral history project that will take the history and legacy anti-racist organising in the 1980s as a starting point from which to explore different communities’ experiences of racism in Newham then and now."

European Data Protection Supervisor: Facial recognition: A solution in search of a problem? (EDPS, link):

"It is undeniable that facial recognition, the biometric application used to identify or verify a person’s identity, has become increasingly present in many aspects of daily life. It is used for ‘tagging’ people on social media platforms and to unlock smart phones. In China it is used for airport check-in, for monitoring the attentiveness of pupils at school and even for dispensing paper in public latrines.

In the general absence of specific regulation so far, private companies and public bodies in both democracies and authoritarian states have been adopting this technology for a variety of uses."

And see: Sweden authorises the use of facial recognition technology by the police (neweurope.eu, link)

French privacy watchdog says facial recognition trial in high schools is illegal (Politico, link):

"Though non-binding, the opinion hands a victory to digital rights groups, parents and teachers’ unions that opposed the experiment.

The French data protection authority has warned that plans to start trialling facial recognition tools at high schools in southern France do not comply with privacy laws and cannot legally be implemented, the regulator confirmed Tuesday."

No-deal Brexit still possible, EU's Michel Barnier warns (Independent, link):

"Chief negotiator says no-deal could happen in March 2020 or December 2020 as things stand. (...)

Mr Barnier said a no-deal exit could happen at the end of January, if the newly elected UK parliament failed to ratify Mr Johnson’s deal and there was no further call for an Article 50 extension.

He also highlighted that a no-deal could happen at the end of 2020 if the UK government did not agree to extend the transition period and no free trade agreement (FTA) had been struck by then."

Data retention under scrutiny: EDPS makes case at EU Court of Justice (link):

"Confidentiality of communications is essential for the functioning of a modern, democratic society. On 9 - 10 September 2019, the EDPS was invited to appear before the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) in a joint hearing in a number of cases primarily relating to the retention of telecommunications data and to regimes governing access to electronic communications data by State authorities."

See: EDPS pleading in the CJEU (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22-28.10.19) including:

EU: European Arrest Warrant: Case C-128/18 Dorobantu – the Aftermath of Aranyosi and Caldararu (European Law Blog, link):

"...due to the fact that the questions in the present case were concentrated on the minimum standards of detention conditions, the Court in Dorobantu took a further step to a more detailed explanation of what factors are important for this assessment. Particularly, the issue of personal space and how to calculate it (sanitary facilities, furniture), where the Court aligned again with the ECtHR, to overcome the lack of minimum standards as regards the interpretation of Article 4 of the Charter."

Judgment: Case C-128/18 (pdf)

UK: British man who fought against IS guilty of terrorism charge (BBC News, link):

"A British man who fought with a Kurdish militia against the Islamic State group has been found guilty of attending a terrorist training camp.

Aidan James, 28, of Formby, Merseyside, had no previous military knowledge when he set out for Syria in 2017.

He denied terror offences but was found guilty at a retrial at the Old Bailey of attending a camp in Iraq where the banned PKK group was present.

James was cleared of attending a terrorist training camp in Syria."

Hungarian absurdity: Homeless people in handcuffs vs. human rights (Fair Trials, link):

"In Hungary, the practices established by the Police and the courts against homeless people seem to be humiliating and strongly discriminative. Since the criminalization of homelessness, which is and of itself is cruel, an affront to human dignity and seriously violating international human rights standards, procedural issues have been emerged. Fair trial guarantees, such as the right to be heard in person and the presumption of innocence are not respected during the proceedings. The Hungarian state fails to ensure their equality before law."

Millions of black people affected by racial bias in health-care algorithms (Nature, link):

"Study reveals rampant racism in decision-making software used by US hospitals - and highlights ways to correct it.

An algorithm widely used in US hospitals to allocate health care to patients has been systematically discriminating against black people, a sweeping analysis has found."

New Technologies: Europol sets up an "Innovation Laboratory" (link):

"The EU interior ministers want to respond to the „challenges and opportunities“ of new technologies. The focus is on 5G networks, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, drones, 3D printing and improved decryption.

The Europol Police Agency will focus more on new technologies in the field of internal security. To this end, Europol will set up an „Innovation Laboratory“ to look for new ways of intercepting, decrypting and monitoring. This was decided unanimously by the European Interior Ministers at their last Council meeting at the beginning of October."

EU migration agenda highlights its shortcomings

"This can mean the application of more broad policy leverage. In this respect, the revised EU Visa Code, in force from February 2020, will be one important additional tool, providing the EU the possibility to adopt restrictive visa measures for third countries which do not cooperate sufficiently on readmission."

Europe quietly becoming a spy superpower (euobserver, link):

"Momentous changes are underway in European intelligence, propelled by new technology and a political push for integration.

And without finally having an open and inclusive public conversation about them, we risk losing the democratic legitimacy of these transformations.

The evolution of government surveillance is bold, multi-faceted, and confusing. Agencies across the continent are deploying an avalanche of new technologies, notably machine learning, to both advance new capabilities such as biometric surveillance and master long-standing challenges like information overload."

EU: PNR: Council wants to "explore the necessity and feasibility" of the surveillance and profiling of all forms of mass transport

A draft set of Council conclusions calls for "a thorough impact assessment conducted by the European Commission on widening the scope of PNR Directive to other travelling forms than air traffic."

UK: Twice as many criminal cases collapse due to evidence failings as key information is not disclosed to defence lawyers over the last four years (Daily Mail, link):

"The number of criminal cases collapsing over failures to disclose key evidence to defence lawyers has almost doubled in four years.

New figures shows 1,078 cases were discontinued in first nine months of last year because of disclosure oversights by prosecutors - up from 567 in the whole of 2014. Over the whole of 2018 the total is expected to have been far higher.

The data, obtained under freedom of information laws, reignites the row over serious flaws in the way police and the Crown Prosecution Service hand over potentially crucial evidence to defence teams."

An agenda for transparency in the EU (European Law Blog, link) by Herwig Hofmann and Päivi Leino-Sandberg:

"Transparency and openness of Union decision-making procedures are foundational values of the EU[1] and essential to a system under the rule of law. But are the existing EU standards of transparency adequate to ensure that these values translate to legitimate exercise of public powers on the European level? In view of today’s challenges, is the EU’s approach to transparency sufficient, given that it is an atypical constitutional structure exercising sovereign powers across multiple levels of government and in constant need of explaining itself?

The European Council’s strategic agenda for 2019-2024 identifies respect of the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and transparency as a key focus, instructing each institution to “revisit its working methods and reflect on the best way to fulfil its role under the Treaties”... Regrettably, the mission letter to Vera Jourova, Commission Vice-President-designate for ‘Values and Transparency’, provides no concrete actions to deliver on the commitments included in the strategic agenda to develop the potential of the EU as a modern, open legal system connected to its citizens. "

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Third review welcomes progress while identifying steps for improvement (European Commission, link):

"Today the European Commission publishes its report on the third annual review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The report confirms that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield from the EU to participating companies in the U.S. Since the second annual review, there have been a number of improvements in the functioning of the framework, as well as appointments to key oversight and redress bodies, such as the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson. Being in the third year of the Shield's operation, the review focused on the lessons learnt from its practical implementation and day-to-day functionality. Today there are about 5,000 companies participating in this EU-U.S. data protection framework."

See: Report from the Commission on the third annual review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (COM(2019) 495 final, pdf) and: Staff Working Document (SWD(2019) 390 final, pdf)

UNHCR probes Libya-Malta interception in migrant rescue (AP, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency is investigating why Malta last week allegedly asked the Libyan coast guard to intercept a migrant boat in a zone of the Mediterranean under Maltese responsibility, in possible violation of maritime law, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

Vincent Cochetel, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees’ special envoy for the central Mediterranean, told reporters in Rome that “there’s some evidence that Malta requested assistance (from) the Libyan coast guard to intervene” in its own search and rescue region on Oct. 18."

Swiss election: Greens gain while far-right loses ground (euronews, link):

"The Greens made strong gains in Switzerland's election on Sunday while right-wing populist party SVP lost ground, final results showed.

Environmentalists could potentially win a seat in the coalition that has governed Swiss politics for decades.

As climate change and the country's relationship with the European Union were the main focuses of the political campaign, the Greens rode on voters' climate concerns in the parliamentary election."

Analysis 4 of the revised Brexit withdrawal agreement: citizens’ rights (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"The issue of the acquired rights of EU27 and UK citizens has long been a focus of this blog. It’s also one of the key issues in the debate over Brexit. I’m revisiting the issue now that there is a proposed revised withdrawal agreement, which consists of a revised Protocol on the Irish border (for a full text of the revised withdrawal agreement following this change, see here) and a revised political declaration on the future relationship."

EU data watchdog raises concerns over Microsoft contracts (euractiv, link):

"Microsoft’s contracts with European Union institutions do not fully protect data in line with EU law, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said in initial findings published on Monday (21 October).

The EDPS, the EU’s data watchdog, opened an investigation in April to assess whether contracts between Microsoft and EU institutions such as the European Commission fully complied with the bloc’s data protection rules."

See: EDPS investigation into IT contracts: stronger cooperation to better protect rights of all individuals (link)

European Parliament: Research Services: EPRS: What if technologies replaced humans in elderly care? [Science and Technology podcast] (link);

"Europeans are ageing. In 2016, there were 3.3 people of working-age for each citizen over 65 years. By 2070, this will fall to only two. As the population lives longer, our care needs grow, but fewer people will be available to deliver them. Could assistive technologies (ATs) help us to meet the challenges of elderly care?"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-21.10.19) including:

SPAIN: Attacks on ECCHR partner lawyer Gonzalo Boye (ECCHR, link):

"Spanish authorities have searched the home of our colleague and lawyer Gonzalo Boye, legal representative of Carles Puigdemont and several former Catalan ministers. The action taken by the Audiencia Nacional – a centralized court with jurisdiction over the Spanish territory – in our assessment is based on the assumed identification of Mr. Boye with his clients’ cause, the Catalan independence movement.

From the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights’ (ECCHR) and other international colleagues’ points of view, the search was conducted under a false pretext and with the aim of discrediting Mr Boye as a lawyer."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Finucane murder was followed by ‘assault on the rule of law’ (Irish Legal News, link):

"The murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was followed by “nothing less than an assault on the rule of law and the very fabric of a democratic society”, a senior barrister has said.

Fiona Doherty QC, part of the legal team for widow Geraldine Finucane and her family, spoke at the fifth annual Belfast Homecoming Legal Symposium at Law Society House yesterday about the ongoing campaign for the truth about the 1989 killing."

WhyID: Protecting Our Identity in the Digital Age (Access Now, link):

"To the leaders of International Development Banks, the United Nations, International Aid Organisations, Funding Agencies, and National Governments:

We are a group of civil society organisations, technologists, and experts who work on digital identity developments across the world. We have worked directly with vulnerable populations, and witnessed the impact that ill-considered, badly designed, and poorly implemented digital identity programmes can have on human lives.

A Basic Question: Why ID?"

See also: Facilitating innovation, ensuring protection: the ICRC Biometrics Policy (ICRC, link): "As part of its digital transformation agenda, the ICRC decided to develop a Biometrics Policy that would both facilitate the responsible use of biometrics and address the data protection challenges this poses. So what does the responsible use of biometrics look like from the vantage point of an institution like the ICRC?"

21 Thoughts and Questions about the UK-US CLOUD Act Agreement: (and an Explanation of How it Works – with Charts) (European Law Blog, link):

"The Need to Unpack the Long-Awaited UK-US Data Sharing Agreement (pdf)

After four years of negotiations surrounded by secrecy, the United Kingdom and the United States finally released on October 7, 2019, the text of their Data-sharing agreement aiming to facilitate the cross-border access to electronic data for the purpose of countering serious crime. This long-awaited agreement is the first of the executive agreements envisioned by the CLOUD Act."

European Parliament Study: European Council conclusions: A rolling check-list of commitments to date (pdf): A very useful summary.

"This latest edition of the overview of European Council conclusions to date, presented in the form of a rolling check-list, is produced by the European Council Oversight Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank. Since 2014, the Unit has been monitoring and analysing the delivery on commitments made by the European Council in the conclusions of its meetings, as well as its various responsibilities, either in law or on the basis of intergovernmental agreements."

Council Conclusions are non-binding but provide a legal basis when two or more Member States decide to cooperate.

EU: Meijers Committee: Response to a Note from the Presidency on ‘The future of EU substantive criminal law – Policy debate’ (pdf):

"it believes that the fundamental interests that are at stake in criminal policy, deserve to be reconsidered time and again – especially in the EU context where substantive criminal law competences are limited, either through institutional principles (such as the principle of subsidiarity), or through values-based principles rooted in criminal law theory (such as the last resort principle). The Meijers Committee therefore wishes to express its appreciation for the initiative to launch such a debate.(...)

the Meijers Committee concludes that the discussion has focused on criminalisation, with less or no attention for the (further) harmonization of sanctions."

UK: London: Police ban climate protests: MET Police statement: Extinction Rebellion protests (link)

Extinction Rebellion: Response to Metropolitan Police outlawing Extinction Rebellion protests in London - October 14, 2019 (link):

"The Climate and Ecological Emergency isn’t going away and we remain resolute in facing it.

We urge the Government and the authorities to join us in doing the same. We cannot do it alone.

This is bigger than all of us."

Also: Police ban Extinction Rebellion protests from whole of London - City-wide Met police operation begins to clear Trafalgar Square and other protest sites (Guardian, link)

EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM): Council of the European Union: Commission services: GAMM (LIMITE doc no: 11539-19,47 pages, pdf):

"This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

See previous: Update report - May 2019 (Statewatch News) and March 2019 (Statewatch News)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-14.10.19) including:

UK: Hate crime surged during Brexit ‘surrender’ bill debates in parliament, police reveal (The Independent, link):

"Hate crime spiked during parliamentary debates around what Boris Johnson labelled a “surrender bill” aiming to prevent a no-deal Brexit, police have revealed.

Senior officers would not be drawn on the specific impact of the prime minister’s language but repeated appeals for moderation from public figures.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for operations said the increases “seemed to coincide with some of the debates” in parliament."

Hungary's opposition wins Budapest election, makes gains in other cities (Reuters, link):

"Hungary’s opposition scored its biggest election victory in a decade on Sunday when liberal challenger Gergely Karacsony ousted ruling-party incumbent Istvan Tarlos as mayor of Budapest and opposition parties made gains in other major cities as well.

The result will not affect Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s grip on national power as his Cabinet is buoyed by a strong economy, fierce anti-immigration rhetoric and hefty wage rises. His ruling Fidesz party remains wildly popular in rural areas.

No general election is due until 2022 and Orban, who rose to power in 2010, holds a huge majority in parliament."

Conservatives sweep Polish vote, put EU rule of law to the test (EurActiv, link):

"Right-wing ruling Law and Justice (PiS/ECR) won the parliamentary elections in Poland by a large margin, obtaining 43.6% of the votes, while the main opposition bloc – centre-left Civic Platform (KO) – obtained 27.4%, according to latest numbers published by the National Electoral Commission (PKW).

During the campaign, PiS has mixed nationalist rhetoric with a vast welfare programme financed by an economic boom and drawn support from poorer Poles who feel they have missed out on prosperity in the past decades."

Security Union: Commission calls on 4 Member States to respect EU exclusive competence in the area of automated DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data exchange (Prüm Decisions) (Commission press release, link):

"The Commission decided today to launch infringement procedure by sending letters of formal notice to Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania for signing an agreement with 5 Western Balkan countries on the automated exchange of DNA data, dactyloscopic data and vehicle registration on 13 September 2018. The Commission considers the agreement is in breach of EU exclusive competence in the area, especially since the exchange of such data between Member States is covered by the Prüm Council Decisions (Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA). The Member States concerned have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion."

Catalonia leaders jailed for sedition by Spanish court

"Spain's Supreme Court has sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in an independence referendum in 2017."

EU: Reform of Council transparency in stalemate (CEO, link):

"EU member states have recently been discussing how to open up their decision-making to more public scrutiny, especially in their legislative forum, the Council of the EU. The Council plays a crucial and powerful role in agreeing new EU rules and regulations, but has been compared to a “black box” by the EU’s own Ombudsman when it comes to transparency. Our Captured states report shows how this opacity provides a major advantage to corporate lobbyists who typically have the significant capacity and resources required to unravel, understand, and influence member states to push for new EU regulations in their favour. This is a deep-seated and long-standing problem with governance in the EU, and tackling it would require a revolution in how the Council operates. Sadly the current reform proposal is far too unambitious, and with the whole process now on hold due to a lack of agreement between member states, real progress seems far off."

UK: Implications of Brexit for asylum policy highlighted in new report (Irish Legal News, link):

"The most significant implication of UK withdrawal from the EU’s Dublin System – which determines responsibility for asylum applications – would be the loss of a safe, legal route for the reunion of separated refugee families in Europe, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Committee’s report Brexit: refugee protection and asylum policy [pdf] has found.

In a no-deal Brexit scenario, refugees could be left in legal limbo, facing months of delays and additional distress, while a new framework to allow them to reunite with their families is negotiated.

The committee urges the UK and the EU to honour the right of refugees to family reunion by agreeing a temporary extension of current family unification arrangements in the event of no-deal."

See the report: Brexit: refugee protection and asylum policy (pdf)

CoE-CPT: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the United Kingdom, focusing on police and prisons in Scotland (link):

"The purpose of the visit was to examine the situation in police and prison establishments in Scotland and to assess the progress made since the CPT’s previous visit in 2012; specific attention was paid to inmates in segregation, in remand, women prisoners generally and to overall healthcare issues. In addition, the delegation examined the treatment of persons in police custody and carried out visits to several police custody facilities across Scotland. The main conclusions of the CPT are set out in the executive summary of the report."

See: Report (pdf), Executive Summary (pdf) and: Government response (pdf)

EP: Briefing: Role of Advocates General at the CJEU (pdf):

"Today, there are 11 Advocates General, six of these posts are permanently assigned to the larger Member States. Advocates General are Members of the Court of Justice of the EU, and are appointed under the same procedure as judges. They enjoy the same privileges as judges (immunity), and cannot be removed from office before the end of their six-year term of office. They may be re-elected. Unlike judges, however, they only have an advisory role and do not take part in the decision-making on cases."

EU Copyright crackdown risks ‘automated censorship’ – Stihler (EU Reporter, link):

"Former MEP Catherine Stihler (pictured) spoke out against “the blind faith many will put in automated technology or systems to oversee enforcement of new copyright rules”. Stihler delivered a public lecture at CREATe, the UK Copyright & Creative Economy Centre based at the University of Glasgow."

Brexit: EU citizens who miss registration deadline face deportation - minister (BBC News, link):

"The UK will deport EU citizens after Brexit if they do not apply for the right to remain in time, Home Office minister Brandon Lewis says.

He told a German newspaper they would have to leave even if they met all the criteria for a residency permit. Campaign group the3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, said this was "no way to treat people".

Brexit: Travel, trade, new EU migrants and Irish border law: no-deal Brexit plan explained (Guardian, link):

"From employing EU citizens to driving in Ireland, plan aims to show UK ready for crashing out."

The CJEU rules on consent to cookies under data protection law (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Last week’s CJEU ruling in in Planet 49 is an important Grand Chamber decision concerning the use of cookies and the meaning of consent under the e-Privacy Directive in the light of the Data Protection Directive but also the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation 2016/679)(GDPR). The judgment is therefore relevant for understanding the cookie obligations in the new regime as well as the old."

EU agency kept in dark on forced flight abuse (euobserver, link):

"Witnesses of abuse during a forced-return flight to Afghanistan last year preferred telling national authorities rather than informing the EU's border agency, Frontex.

The returns, on a flight from Munich to the war-torn country on 14 August 2018, had been coordinated by the EU agency, but were marked by reports of severe violations inflicted by German escort officers on a terrified Afghan man."

EU: Joint press release of the Palermo Charter Platform Process on the results of the EU Summit of Home Affairs Ministers on 23 September in Malta and the consequent negotiations on 8 October in Luxembourg (pdf):

"The Malta Agreement ("agreement on temporary reception and distribution mechanism") is not a hard-won solution, but nothing more than a partial emergency relief. We, European civil society initiatives and networks, mayors of European cities and search and rescue non-governmental organizations, demand a real solution that is adequate to the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

Over 15.000 people have died in the Mediterranean Sea in the last five years. “Every single person is one too many,'' says Alessandra Sciurba from Mediterranea. "When we receive distress calls from people on boats, they fear both to drown and to be returned to Libya. The outsourcing of EU border control to Libyan forces and mass interceptions at sea have to stop,“ demands Maurice Stierl from WatchTheMed Alarm Phone. “ The establishment of an operational and sustainable European rescue mission is absolutely necessary in order to prevent deaths in the Mediterranean Sea. Sadly, it is still missing in the Malta agreement”, adds Sciurba."

See: Outcome of the Council meeting here and: The "temporary solidarity mechanism" on relocation of people rescued at sea - what does it say?

EU: New Frontex Regulation: corrected version of the text

The European Parliament is due to approve a corrected version of the new Frontex Regulation, which was originally agreed between the Council and Parliament but has been undergoing revision by legal and linguistic specialists.

See: REGULATION (EU) 2019/... OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of ... on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624 (pdf)

France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program (Bloomberg, link):

"France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a secure digital identity -- whether they want it or not.

Saying it wants to make the state more efficient, President Emmanuel Macron’s government is pushing through plans to roll out an ID program, dubbed Alicem, in November, earlier than an initial Christmas target. The country’s data regulator says the program breaches the European rule of consent and a privacy group is challenging it in France’s highest administrative court. It took a hacker just over an hour to break into a “secure” government messaging app this year, raising concerns about the state’s security standards.

None of that is deterring the French interior ministry."

A Threat from Within? Exploring the Link between the Extreme Right and the Military (ICCT, link):

"Right-wing violence and terrorism have slowly gained more academic and public attention in recent years, with an increase in anti-immigration and anti-government organised violence from the extreme right in most Western countries. Some evidence exists that right-wing extremists have attempted to infiltrate the military in their home countries to gain access to tactical training, weapons, and to recruit highly skilled new members.

...This Policy Brief will discuss available knowledge about extreme right-wing links to the military in Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. It will conclude by formulating concrete recommendations for handling this potential threat."

UK: The Government’s Prevent database isn’t about keeping us safe, it’s about control (Metro, link):

"The human rights group, Liberty, has just revealed that the Government is operating a secret database of every referral ever made to the anti-radicalisation programme, Prevent.

...This database isn’t about keeping us safe. It’s about keeping tabs on and controlling people, particularly minority communities and political activists.

...The majority of information on the database is gathered by public servants who have been co-opted by the Home Office under Prevent and encouraged to view even very young children as potential future criminals."

IRELAND: Why We Need Independent Inspection of Garda Cells (Dublin InQuirer, link):

"Imagine if, for reasons you’re unsure of, you’re arrested and taken into custody. Now ask yourself: would you feel safe if the doors of a police cell slammed behind you?

The worst deeds happen behind closed doors. Detention of any type, whether in prisons, police cells or hospitals, is a dangerous situation for anyone. That’s recognised the world over – hence why human rights principles lay out special safeguards to prevent abuse of people who are detained, and accountability mechanisms so that mistreatment is detected and punished.

But one bulwark against mistreatment while in Garda custody – a system of independent inspections – is absent in Ireland."

UK: The Immigration Industrial Complex: A global perspective on ‘unfree labour’ in immigration detention (Futures of Work, link):

"Labour within immigration detention is not a widely acknowledged phenomenon, yet thousands of hours of work are being undertaken in detention centres throughout the world. In 2014, for example, over 495,000 hours-worth of work were undertaken by detainees in immigration detention centres in the UK alone. In 2015, this rose to over 923,000 hours-worth of work, and in 2016 over 537,000 hours-worth of work were undertaken between January and July 2016 (FOI request).

Taking a global perspective on this type of work is important as common colonial histories and global transfers in capital help to make sense of why detention practices are growing in popularity, and why migrants from particular countries of origin continue to be subjected to exploitative and ‘unfree’ labour at the hands of state parties and private corporations."

Commission starts negotiations with the USA on exchange of e-evidence

- talks start even though EU legislation not yet adopted
- CJEU questions the legality of proposed EU measure
- Commission says deal must include content and non-content data

On 25 September 2019 the Commission started negotiations with the USA on: E-evidence - Negotiations for EU-U.S. Agreement on cross-border access to evidence - report on state-of-play (RESTRICTED doc no: 12318-19, pdf)

The document also covers: in Annex II: Report on the state-of-play of Commission's participation, on behalf of the Union, in the negotiations for the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

EU: JHA Council, 7-8 October: documents on EU-USA e-evidence negotiations; EU accession to the ECHR; right-wing extremism; and problems for plans to interconnect policing and migration databases

The Justice and Home Affairs Council is meeting in Luxembourg on 7 and 8 October. Issues under discussion include e-evidence negotiations between the EU and the USA; EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights; right-wing extremism and terrorism; and the implementation of the EU's plans to interconnect its migration and policing databases. Council documents published here indicate that this latter project is running into trouble.

UK: Counter-terror police running secret Prevent database (The Guardian, link):

"Counter-terror police across the UK have been running a secret database containing details of thousands of individuals referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation Prevent programme, the Guardian can reveal.

The National Police Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is managed centrally by national counter-terrorism policing headquarters. It is accessible to all police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Home Office are able to request data from it, according to documents sent to the human rights group Liberty and seen by the Guardian."

See: Liberty uncovers secret Prevent database (link)

EU: Case C-93/18 Bajratari – Unlawful Employment and the Right to Free Movement (European Law Blog, link):

"On 2 October 2019, the CJEU delivered an important decision, which clarifies the ‘sufficient resources’ condition of Article 7(1)(b) Directive 2004/38 and simultaneously reinforces the right to free movement of Union citizens.

The case concerned the right of a third-country national mother of two minor Union citizens to reside in Northern Ireland in her capacity as their primary carer. The UK authorities had found that the mother could not claim a derived right of residence as the children did not fulfil the requirements set out in Article 7(1)(b) of Directive 2004/38. This provision sets out two conditions for the Union citizen’s right of residence in a host Member State for a period longer than three months: having (i) sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the host state’s social assistance system, and (ii) comprehensive sickness insurance cover."

Judgment: Case C-93/18 (pdf)

The Best and Brightest? Not Always for E.U. Leadership Jobs (New York Times, link):

"BRUSSELS — One official wore blackface. Another could not answer basic questions about his portfolio. A third has been accused of misusing public funds while in office, and is still being investigated.

Disgraced politicians? Hardly. All three are likely to be in charge of major policy areas across Europe for the next half-decade, potentially directing thousands of civil servants for the world’s richest and biggest single market."

UK: Deaths in custody: Saturday 26 October 2019 assemble at 12:00 @ Trafalgar Square: NO MORE STATE KILLINGS (pdf):

"The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) was set up in 1997 by families who had lost loved ones at the hands of the state to challenge the injustice in the system. It began as a network of black families because disproportionate numbers of black people were dying in police custody. It is now grown as a group that supports all families of the victims of custodial deaths at the hands of police officer, prison officers or in secure medical units.

Join us for this years annual remembrance procession which takes place on Saturday 26 October 2019 Assemble at 12pm at Trafalgar Square for a march on Downing Street."

UK: IOPC publishes figures on deaths during or following police contact for 2018/19 (IOPC, link):

"There were 16 deaths in or following police custody, a decrease of seven from a ten-year high in 2017/18, and in line with the average figure for over the last decade. No deaths took place within a police custody suite. Six people died in hospital after becoming unwell in a police cell, and six people were taken ill at the scene of arrest and died in hospital.

There were three fatal police shootings, compared to four fatalities last year.

There were 42 road traffic fatalities, an increase of 13 on last year and the highest figure in the past decade; 30 of the deaths were from police pursuit-related incidents, an increase of 13 from last year; five fatalities resulted from emergency response incidents, a decrease of three from last year.

There were 63 apparent suicides following police custody, a small increase on the previous year."

Report: Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales 2018/19 (pdf)

Data access blow for EU nationals with UK immigration cases (euractiv, link):

"EU nationals will be unable to access their personal records held by the UK government in immigration cases, following a high court ruling on Thursday (3 October) that said “immigration exemption” introduced last year was not unlawful.

The 3million organisation, one of the civil society groups campaigning for the rights of EU citizens in the UK, had argued that the immigration exemption introduced in the country’s Data Protection Act (DPA), which came into force in May last year, denies people access to their personal records in immigration cases."

Judgment: Open Rights Group and the3million v Secretary of State for the Home Department ([2019]EWHC 2562 (Admin), 3 October 2019, pdf) and see: Open Rights Group and the3million seek to appeal immigration exemption judgment (ORG, link)

FIVE EYES: US, allies seek access to Facebook encrypted messaging apps (DW, link):

"US, UK and Australian officials want Facebook to give authorities a way to read encrypted messages sent by ordinary users. Law enforcement has long sought access despite pushback from tech giants and privacy advocates.

US Attorney General William Barr and his British and Australian counterparts are pressing Facebook to create a so-called backdoor to give authorities access to encrypted messages on WhatsApp and other messaging platforms."

EU states given right to police Facebook worldwide (euobserver, link):

"National courts in EU states can order Facebook to delete content "worldwide", Europe's top tribunal has ruled, in what the US social media giant called an attack on free speech.

If content was deemed "illegal" by a national court, then Facebook could be ordered to "remove information covered by the injunction or to block access to that information worldwide", the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in Luxembourg on Thursday (3 October).."

CJEU: Press release: EU law does not preclude a host provider such as Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal (pdf) and judgment: Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Limited (Case C-18/18, pdf)

UK: Is the prime minister’s defence of free speech ‘humbug’? (IRR News, link):

"If we are not vigilant, the government’s attempts to deny the links between speech that inflames and actual acts of physical violence could be extended to deny or excuse incitement to racial hatred."

Interpol requests from Turkey: Sloppiness of German police puts own citizens into prison (link):

"Two Germans are in extradition custody in Slovenia and Italy at the request of Turkish authorities. Both come from Turkey and were granted asylum in Germany for political persecution and later citizenship. Interpol should have withdrawn the request. The BKA, however, concealed the asylum status of the two."

Bulgaria: Human Rights Group Under Threat - Halt Attacks on Bulgarian Helsinki Committee; Dismiss Bogus Request (HRW, link):

"Bulgaria’s prosecutor general should reject a call from a political party in the country’s governing coalition to disband the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), Human Rights Watch said today. The party has been in legal battles for years with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee over its stance on anti-discrimination issues."

UK-BREXIT: Parliament to be prorogued next Tuesday (BBC News, link):

"The government has confirmed it plans to prorogue Parliament next Tuesday and hold a Queen's Speech on 14 October.(...)

Already, however, opposition parties have raised concerns.

A source told the BBC that Boris Johnson was trying to avoid Prime Minister's Questions and Parliamentary scrutiny."

EU: 'Moria is hell': asylum seekers protest conditions at Greek camp (Reuters, link):

"Hundreds of asylum seekers protested conditions at Greece’s biggest migrant camp on Lesbos on Tuesday after a woman was killed in a fire there, marching towards the island’s capital before being halted by police.

More than 12,000 people - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - live in Moria camp, which has grown to become the island’s second largest town in just three years.

The woman’s death on Sunday was the third there in two months. An Afghan teenager was killed in a fight in August and a five-year-old Afghan boy was accidentally run over by a truck while playing in a cardboard box outside the camp in September."

Guns and glory: Criminality, imprisonment and jihadist extremism in Europe (EPC, link):

"Throughout Europe and beyond, terrorist groups, in particular the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), are increasingly recruiting individuals with backgrounds in crime and using their skills, connections in the criminal world, and experience with law enforcement bodies to finance, plan, prepare and execute their attacks. This recruitment takes place both outside and inside prisons. At the same time, jihadism has provided a specious morality for certain delinquents to rationalise and even justify their criminal activities.

...in the following publication... experts from both organisations carry out an independent assessment of these urgent challenges as they occur in ten European countries (Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Drawing on this, they have proposed a number of bold recommendations to European governments and EU institutions to counter the ongoing threat of the crime-terror nexus."

EU: European Commission: report on use of the European Arrest Warrant in 2017

In 2017, European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) were most commonly used for offences falling within the categories of theft and criminal damage (2,649 EAws); fraud and corruption (1,538); and drugs (1,535), although not all member states provided the European Commission with the requested information.

Hungary Denies Claim It Backs Linking EU Budget to Rule-of-Law (Bloomberg, link):

"Hungary rejected a claim by the European Union’s rotating presidency that all member states have agreed to tie the bloc’s funding to rule-of-law conditions.

“No way, this is a misunderstanding,” Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said by phone on Monday, reacting to a statement by Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose government holds the EU’s rotating presidency. Hungary would be ready to veto the EU budget if payouts were linked to new rule-of-law criteria, Kovacs said.

Hungary and Poland, which are already at odds with the EU over alleged rule-of-law violations, have opposed linking billions of euros of aid from the EU to democratic standards, a conditionality currently discussed as part of the next seven-year EU budget from 2021."

See: Finnish PM says EU ready to tie funding to rule-of-law criteria (Reuters, link)

USA: Do DNA Databases Make Would-Be Criminals Think Twice? (Undark, link):

"...what if instead of just bringing more perpetrators to justice, the widespread perception of law enforcement’s genetic omniscience was also preventing crimes from happening in the first place? Or to put it slightly differently, what if the fear of being done in by DNA is actually holding potential offenders back from criminal behavior? This would seem like an extremely difficult effect to measure, but some researchers are using sophisticated analysis of crime data to argue that it is real, and that it results in lower recidivism rates.

Just how strong the deterrent effect is, or whether it’s any better at discouraging would-be criminals than, say, incarceration — which studies suggest is at best a weak deterrent — remain open questions. And even if it is more effective, some civil liberties advocates argue that this sort of biosurveillance is likely to weigh more heavily on some segments of the population than others, raising genuine civil rights concerns."

EU: MEPs concerned with peace should worry about the new ‘Defence Industry & Space’ unit (EurActiv, link) by Laetitia Sedou:

"On 2 October, the European Parliament committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) will hear the French Commissioner-designate Sylvie Goulard, whose Internal Market portfolio will include a new Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space... the creation of a DG for the Defence Industry will open the door even wider for corporate interests of the arms industry to dominate the EU agenda. The arms industry has long been calling for such a DG to be created, and the recent set-up of an EU Defence Fund was heavily influenced by it.

...MEPs should all the more be alarmed that the EU is engaged in an ideological, political, industrial and material preparation for war, whatever form conflicts will take in the future; in other words it is undergoing a rampant but characterised militarisation process (something more complex than whether or not to have an ‘EU army’). Elected representatives should ask themselves and Sylvie Goulard if this is really what EU citizens are expecting from the EU."

See also: Open letter to Members of the European Parliament: The EU peace project is under threat (pdf)

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: 'Large increase in anti-Bosnian, anti-Muslim bigotry': Report (Al Jazeera, link):

"Islamophobic rhetoric at the political level, which at its peak in the 1990s Bosnian War played a significant role in the massacre of thousands of Bosniak Muslims, is once again being used by Serbian and Croatian politicians - including those of Bosnian background - with dangerous aims, according to a new report.

Prior to and during the 1992 -1995 conflict, divisive and dehumanising language was used with the hope of splitting the country into "Greater Croatia" and "Greater Serbia".

According to the European Islamophobia Report 2018, which was published by the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research think tank on Friday, politicians and some sections of the media are today attempting to falsely present Bosnia as a "radical Muslim haven" in order to undermine the country - again with the aim of dividing it territorially."

See: European Islamophobia Report 2018 (link): "This report investigates in detail the underlying dynamics that directly or indirectly support the rise of anti-Muslim racism in Europe in 2018."


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