Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2007
News Online Archives: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE:Updated compilation: No! To the Outrageous Directive (pdf, 2.4MB) Website: outrageousdirective.org (link) The petition against the adoption of this EU Directive has now been signed by over 18,000 individuals and 600 organisations.See: Background
Australia's controversial national ID program hits the dumpster (link)
Britain's own Guantánamo The injustices faced by those charged with control order breaches are indefensibly brutal by Gareth Peirce (Guardian, link)
UK-LOST FILES & DATA PROTECTION: On 17 December 2007 the UK Transport Minister, Ruth Kelly, announced that the records of over 3 million driving test applicants - including their names, home addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers - had been lost in Iowa in the USA. The hard drive with all the data was lost after it had been taken to Minnesota to be backed-up. The UK data was held at the "worldwide data centre" in Iowa of the global multinational Pearsons (USA) - Pearson Driving Assessments Limited which got the contract is registered in the UK. See: Three million L-drivers hit in lost data fiasco (Daily Telegraph, link) and Personal details of millions of learner drivers lost by contractor in Iowa (Guardian, link)
In November Raytheon Systems Ltd of the UK headed a consortium which won a £650 million Home Office contract to track, profile and check against "watch-lists" everyone entering and leaving the UK - see Trusted Borders (pdf) The parent company Raytheon USA, has 73,000 employees world-wide and describes itself as:"a technology leader specialising in defence, homeland security, and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning more than 80 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; command, control, communications and intelligence systems." See: We must not tolerate this putsch against our freedoms by Henry Porter (Observer, link)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The loss of personal data of 3 million people, following the loss by the UK's Revenue and Customs loss of 25 million personal records, raises serious questions about data security.
However, another arises when personal data gathered in the UK, under government contract, is held in the USA. We know from the money transfer SWIFT scandal and the EU-PNR personal data transfer scheme that any data held in the USA can be made available to US security and law enforcement agencies in connection with any violation of US law. So it has to be asked: What data protection rights do people in the UK have over the use, processing and further transfer of their data if it is held in the USA?"
EU-RFID: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (Press release, pdf) Full-text of Opinion (pdf). The EDPS says that with the commonplace use of RFID chips: "the risk increases that the Information Society moves closer to a situation where automated decisions will be taken and where technology will be abused in order to regulate the human behaviour." He goes on to observe that "Self-regulation alone may not be enough to meet the challenge" and that legislation might be needed if self-regulation fails and that such "measures should notably lay down the opt-in principle at the point of sale as a precise and undeniable legal obligation"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"To wait to see if self regulation fails before laying down the opt-in principle at the point of sale as a precise and undeniable legal obligation should not be an option. The great majority of commercial companies will not voluntary do this as it is not in their interests and will cost them money"
EU-UK: Bill on the Lisbon ("Reform") Treaty published: Full-text of Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf)
EU: Slovenian Council Presidency meetings programme (pdf)
EU: Detention Centres report for European Parliament: The conditions in centres for third country national (detention camps, open centres as well as transit centres and transit zones) with a particular focus on provisions and facilities for persons with special needs in the 25 EU member states (2.35 MB, pdf)
EDPS: Implementing rules of Prüm Initiative should ensure accuracy in DNA and fingerprint data exchanges (Press release. pdf) Full-text of Opinion (pdf)
UK-ECJ: Court of Justice judgment on UK case: The Council was right to refuse to allow the United Kingdom to take part in the adoption of the Frontex Regulation and the Regulation establishing standards for security features and biometrics in passports (press release, pdf)
US-CIA: Detention sites (press release) Full-text of report (link, pdf)
EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Council of Europe: On eve of International Migrants Day, PACE committee head slams EU proposals for irregular migrants (press release, Strasbourg, 17.12.2007).
"An EU proposal to fix at 18 months the maximum period of detention for irregular migrants in Europe flies in the face of humanity, according to the Chair of the Migration Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)."
CoE PACE: Resolution (pdf) and Recommendations (pdf)
Standing Committee of experts (Utrecht) - Opinion (pdf) and see also: ECRE-AI letter (pdf)
Hearing with NGOs on the Return Directive, Wednesday, 12 December 2007, European Parliament, Strasbourg The Group GUE/NGL host key NGOs to debate the return directive and the future of European immigration policy: 17.00 hrs with Migreurop (European NGOs Network), European Conference of Churches (tbc), GISTI (France), CIRE (Belgium), Statewatch (EU civil liberties), ARCI (Italy), KERK IN ACTIE (Netherlands, tbc), CIMADE (France), PRO ASYL (Germany) (tbc) See also:
- No to the Outrageuous Directive - Appeal to Members of the European Parliament (link)
- "State of play": For the rejection of the Directive: English (pdf) and French (pdf)
- Conference of European Churches - Press Release No.07-45/e 19 November 2007: CEC Central Committee concerned about administrative detention of migrants and re-entry ban in EU countires (pdf)
- Against the detention and forced removal of minors (link)
- Commission Proposal for a Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (original)
- European Parliament draft Resolution for debate at plenary session (pdf)
- Statewatch analysis: The original EU Directive on return expulsion (Frances Webber analysis, April 2007)
- Statewatch analysis: Revising the proposed EU Expulsion Directive (Steve Peers analysis of German text, April 2007)
- House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: Illegal Migrants: proposals for a common EU returns policy (May 2006, pdf)
UK/Spain: Spanish lawyer questioned using antiterrorist powers in King's Cross
Gustavo Garcia, a lawyer from Vigo (Galicia) and member of the civil liberties and human rights observatory Esculca, and Mahmut Colak, a Kurd who has Spanish nationality and resides in London, were held and questioned separately for over three hours on arrival at 8 a.m. at London's Saint Pancras train station from Brussels on 6 December 2007. They were returning from participating in the "Fourth International Conference about the EU, Turkey and the Kurds" on 3 and 4 December, endorsed by the European Parliament and whose patrons included bishop Desmond Tutu and Norman Mailer.
SCOTLAND: SNP's random rail search concerns (BBC News, link)
UK: 42 DAYS DETENTION PROPOSAL REJECTED: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report urges government to drop 42 days detention: CounterTerrorism Policy and Human Rights: 42 days (4.35 MB, pdf) This follows a similar rejection of the proposal by the House of Commons, Home Affairs Select Committee: The Government's CounterTerrorism Proposals (pdf)
More calls to ditch terror plans: Ministers have been urged to drop proposals to extend the limit on holding terror suspects without charge (BBC News, link) The joint committee on human rights (JCHR) also said proposed safeguards in the plan would be "virtually useless".
Statewatch's Observatory on the "terrorist lists" has been updated with the following items:
- Pakistan launches fresh offensive in Baluchistan, Britain accused of Baluchi "prisoner swap";
- Denmark: Seven activists facing prison for symbolic support of PLFP and FARC;
- UK: POAC rules proscription of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) unlawful;
- Procedures for blacklisting individuals suspected of terrorist links are unworthy of the UN Security Council and EU, says Council of Europe;
- European Court of Justice strikes down European Commission's decision to grant anti-terrorism assistance to the Philippines government;
- Four new challenges against EU 'terrorist' lists lodged at Court of First Instance;
- European Court of Justice rules that it is illegal to sell property to people whose assets have been frozen under Community law.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Fighting terrorism can never be an excuse to violate human rights, say MEPs (Press release, 12.12.07, pdf)
CIA RENDITION-IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION report: "Extraordinary rendition" inspection and monitoring regime must be established as a matter of urgency: Diplomatic assurances not enough says Irish Human Rights Commission (Press release, 11 December 2007, pdf). The full text of the IHRC Report (20 MB, link)
"The report concludes that diplomatic assurances received from the US Government are not sufficient for Ireland to satisfy its human rights obligations with regard to the issue of extraordinary rendition flights passing through Irish territory.
The Commission recommends that an effective inspection regime be put in place to ensure that no foreign aircraft which might be suspected of involvement in the illegal practice of extraordinary rendition may land and refuel in Ireland. An effective inspection regime will ensure that no prisoners are transited through the State en route to a situation of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
EU: Council Conclusions: Adopting the Work Programme on Minimising Safety, Security and Public Order Risks in Connection with Football Matches with an International Dimension (pdf) and Communication from the Commission on the 2007 Progress Review of the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2005-2008) (pdf)
UK-CIVIL LIBERTIES: The Guardian newspaper is running a series of articles on civil liberties (links):
- At last the great divide is coming into focus: It's not left versus right that matters any more. The real division is between authority and personal liberty by Henry Porter
- The left should beware the rightwing wolf in civil liberties sheep's clothing by Polly Toynbee
- The liberties stripped from the weak today could be lost to us all tomorrow: Plans to extend pre-trial detention have sparked opposition - yet many are already locked up for months without charge by Natasha Walter
- The policing of the artist: Officers are now imposing their own conformity on the culture of the street by Madeleine Bunting
- Labour's decade is liberty's best since the vote was won by Jack Straw
- Help me put Gordon in jail: If MPs pass ridiculous laws to limit our freedom, they should be forced to abide by them too by Mark Thomas
Although not part of the series this article is pertinent:To believe in a European utopia before Muslims arrived is delusional: It is pernicious to regard prejudiced views within migrant communities as exclusive to either them or their cultures by Gary Younge
UK: Home Secretary wants 42-day detention prior to charge for suspected terrorist offences (up from current 28 days limit) (BBC News, link) See: Liberty: Terrorism pre-charge detention - Comparative law study (pdf) Also published 6 December: Report on proposed measures for inclusion in a Counter Terrorism Bill by Lord Carlile (pdf) and Summary of responses to the Counter Terrorism Bill consultation - Home Office (pdf)
Updated 10 December: EU: JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, 6-7 December 2007, Brussels: Final press release (pdf) Background Paper (pdf). "B" points agenda and "A" points agenda (adopted without discussion) Adopted as "A" Points at the Council: Council Recommendation concerning a Handbook for police and security authorities concerning cooperation at major events with an international dimension (pdf)
EU: Draft Council Conclusions on Mobility Partnerships and Circular Migration in the Framework of the Global Approach to Migration (pdf)
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Fighting terrorism can never be an excuse to violate human rights, say MEPs (press release, pdf)
EU ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Speech by the European Ombudsman to the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (pdf)
UK: Press notice: Basque activists appeal against extradition to Spain: The appeal by Ana Lopez Monge, Zigor Ruiz Jaso and Iñigo Albisu Hernandez challenging their extradition to Spain will be heard at the High Court in the Strand, London, at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday 4th December 2007.
Italy: Quota for migrant workers set
EU-ECJ: excellent opinion today by Advocate-General Maduro, calling for the Court to annul the Council's refusal to hand over its legal service advice relating to the reception conditions directive: A-G Opinion on Turco case (pdf)
UK: The Select Committee on the Constitution Surveillance and Data Collection (pdf) Evidence from the Information Commissioner
UK: National CCTV Strategy - Home Office (pdf)
EU-TERRORISM: Latest Council reports: a) Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism - state by state breakdown; b) Counter-terrorism Coordinator - six monthly report c) The EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment - Implementation report
EU: Charter of fundamental rights - text ready for adoption (pdf) That is, the Charter the UK has opted out of.
ECHR: Very important judgment by the European Court of Human Rights: Tillack v Belgium (Press release, pdf)
"The Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the
European Convention on Human Rights as a result of searches carried out at the home and office of the
applicant, a journalist."
DATA PROTECTION & PNR (passenger name record):29th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners Montreal, Canada, 26-28 September 2007: Resolution on the urgent need for global standards for safeguarding passenger data to be used by governments for law enforcement and border security purposes (pdf)
EU-KOREA-PNR: Letter to the Council Presidency from the Article 29 Working Party (pdf) As of 1 December 2007, European air carriers will be required to transfer passenger data to the Korea Customs Service but the EU Data Protection authorities say: "it has to be stressed that Korea does not offer an adequate level of data protection"
UK: Justice report: A British Bill of Rights: Informing the debate (168 pages, pdf)
European Parliament takes the Commission to the European Court of Justice for its failure to publish the rules on airport security (inc. liquids) (pdf)
EU-PNR-AUSTRALIA: The EU is planning to open negotiations with Australia to give it access to PNR data (pdf) Currently there are agreement with the USA and Canada
EU-SPAIN-ITALY: Rescue at sea - Information from the Spanish and Italian delegations (pdf) Despite the title these delegations are calling for the creation of: "surveillance and alert systems, of a permanent nature, on the coasts of the European Union States". They are proposing that the EU "integrate" the international Law of the Sea in its legislation including powers to board, remove people and impose sanctions on those who fail to obey.
EU-COMITOLOGY: Commission report setting out new procedures for the exercise of implementing powers (COM 740, 2007, pdf) "Comitology" refers to the implementation of measures to put into practice legislative measures. Following a decision in July 2007 the European Parliament is to be given new powers of scrutiny - affecting over 200 measures.
GREECE: Vodafone faces court case in 'bugging' row - Parents believe their son was murdered before he could blow the whistle (The Observer, link)
EU: In the wake of the UK scandal with the loss of the personal details of 25 million people the rapporteurs on the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Schengen Information System II (SIS II) in the European Parliament, Sarah Ludford and Carlos Coelho, have sent a letter to Commissioner Frattini: Letter to Frattini (pdf)
"The data protection challenges presented by the large scale biometrics data bases, such as VIS, SIS II and Eurodac, is compounded by giving law enforcement access to these data-bases."
EU: European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on a collision course over the age children should be finger-printed for travel documents: Today the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament adopted a report on visas for visitors entering the EU which sets the limit for the fingerprinting of children at 12 years old and above - the Council (the 27 governments) want to set the standard as 5 years old and above: European Parliament press release, 21 November 2007 (pdf) The Committee report will be taken by the full plenary session of the parliament at the end of November.
As this measure is subject to co-decision by the European Parliament and the Council they have to agree on the final text. If the standard for fingerprinting children is set at 12 years old and above for visas the same standard would have to apply to EU passports and ID cards.
EU-AIR-SECURITY: EU states clash with MEPs over new security measures (euobserver, link)
UK: Computer records of the personal data of 25 million people goes missing: The Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House of Commons that two computer disks dispatched by HM Revenue and Customs had gone missing: "The missing information contains details of all Child Benefit recipients: records for 25 million individuals and 7.25 million families." UK's families put on fraud alert: Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing (BBC News, link)
This has happened against the background of an on-going debate about ID cards, the National Health database (the full medical records of everyone) and the lack of protection given by private companies to personal data held by them which can be passed on to others overseas (eg: the SWIFT scandal). See also: Family doctors to shun national database of patients' records: More than half would seek specific consent · Security fears dominate concerns, poll shows (Guardian, link) and How the cookie crumbles for Egg savers: Internet: Feathers fly as customers are told their personal details may go overseas (Guardian, link)
Italy: Renditions: Britel announces hunger strike
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Resolution on Romania (link) and Frattini under fire for defending Italy's handling of Roma (euactiv, link)
UK: We must not tolerate this putsch against our freedoms: A few journalists and MPs are prepared to fight the government's sinister anti-libertarianism. More people should join them by Henry Porter (Observer, link) and Now passengers need ID to travel within Britain (Mail on Sunday, link)
UK-DETENTION-WITHOUT-CHARGE: Liberty: Terrorism pre-charge detention - Comparative law study (pdf) Excellent report from Liberty: "This report demonstrates that the existing 28 day limit for pre-charge detention in the United Kingdom already far exceeds equivalent limits in other comparable democracies."
EU: "On RFID The Next Step to THE INTERNET OF THINGS" (EU doc no: 14681/07). Council Presidency paper setting out the future of "chips with everything". The word "THINGS" can include clothes, cars, tickets, food etc, the "internet of things"...does not only link computers and communications terminals, but potentially any of our daily surrounding objects be they clothes, consumer goods, etc and includes "nanoelectronics, which supplies the intelligence, memory, sensing, and Radio Frequency capability to RFID tags." Overall: "RFID is an important building block for the future INTERNET OF THINGS which in the next two decades is likely to attain numbers of connected appliances and sensors of orders of magnitude estimated, respectively, in tens and hundreds of billions. It is, therefore, a major opportunity for Europe R&D and for Europe ICT industry..."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Throughout the whole emphasis is on the global economic market potential. References to "privacy" and "data protection" are of course obligatory but lack any substance. If the current, and planned, EU laws are any guide privacy and data protection will be concepts without content"
EU: High-level EU committee discusses an EU-wide database on protesters. The Article 36 Committee (high-level officials from national Interior/Justice Ministries) which services the EU's justice and Home Affairs Council, discussed at its meeting on 22-23 October 2007 (EU doc no: 15079/07):
"Information sharing on violent trouble makers related to large scale events: The German delegation presented its paper about possible options for sharing information on violent troublemakers at large events. It was agreed that the SIS/SIRENE group would examine the possibility of using the SIS for this exchange of information."
This issue came up at the recent G6 group of EU states (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK meeting in Poland: Joint Declaration by the Ministers of Interior of G6 States Sopot, 18 October 2007 including a direct reference to the mass protests at the G8 Heiligendamm Summit earlier this year the Ministers refer to the "acts of violence" at "mass events" which affected the "security of participants" and want to "continue the discussion" on "providing security and public order". See Statewatch report: Heiligendamm G8 Summit: a chronology of protest and represssion
FRATTINI: EU commissioner blasted over Roma comments (eupolitixs, link)
UK: Border and Immigration Agency Complaints Audit Committee: Report: full-text (pdf) Damning report says in 95% of cases, those investigating the complaints had been from the companies under investigation. The report says:
"In the past year only 29% of cases alleging misconduct by named officials and contract staff were handled in time. Investigations into these misconduct complaints have in our assessment remained poor. Only 8% of complainants were interviewed, thus kicking off an inequitable consideration of the complaint. We found that 89% of investigations were neither balanced nor thorough, and that as a consequence, 83% of replies were indefensible."
Migrant complaint policy shake-up (BBC News, link)
UK-TERRORISM: Security in a Global Hub Establishing the UKs new border arrangements (101 pages, 14 November 2007) and Prime Minister's statement on terrorsm plans, 14 November 2007
ECHR: Marper v UK case concerning the retention of fingerprints and DNA: Summary of the case (pdf) and Detailed expert submission on DNA and fingerprints (pdf) A decision is expected in February 2008.
EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISOR: Report on the EURODAC audit: EDPS welcomes conclusions for improved security of the system (Press release, pdf) and a technical report on security: Summary report on the EURODAC Audit (pdf)
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Procedures for blacklisting individuals suspected of terrorist links are unworthy of the UN Security Council and EU (12 November 2007, full-text of report, pdf) says PACE. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which today approved a report by Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE). These procedures, which are "unworthy" of the UN and EU, must urgently be overhauled to make them fairer. Earlier report by Marty: UN Security Council black lists (March 2007, pdf)
Italy: Murder causes anti-Romanian backlash and opens way for the expulsion of EU nationals
EU: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law (Utrecht) submission to the Commission on: Proposal to give law enforcement authorities access to Eurodac (pdf)
"There are five core arguments why the intended proposal in our view would be unlawful: firstly, access to Eurodac data for law enforcement authorities would be irreconcilable with the present purpose limitation of the Eurodac regulation, secondly, there is no legal basis in EC law for extending the use of Eurodac with security purposes. Thirdly, such an extension is incompatible with basic principles of European law, international standards, and constitutional law of the Member States, the observance of which the Court of Justice ensures. Fourthly, data protection authorities lack sufficient means to protect the rights of asylum seekers and fifthly, the proposal will affect the integrity of Eurodac."
Updated: Statewatch online resources - UK laws - Acts of Parliament: 1988 - ongoing
UK: Analysis: Criminal justice and immigration bill 2007
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007 is the 55th bill of its kind introduced by the Labour government since 1997. Despite its name, the bill is fundamentally concerned with criminality. With just one out of twelve parts dealing with immigration, and even then in connection with criminality, it seems as rational to have called it the Criminal Justice and Policing Bill It can only be assumed that its actual title is a result of the governments continued reaction to right-wing, anti-immigration sentiments that demand action and continually conflate immigration with criminality.
EU-REFORM TREATY: Two new analyses from Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: Analysis no. 3.6: Revised text of Part Five of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): EU institutions (pdf) and Analysis no. 3.7: Revised text of Part Seven of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Final provisions (pdf) For full set of analyses and background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
EU-JHA COUNCIL: Press release for 8-9 November 2007 (Final, pdf) Final agendas for the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on 8-9 November 2007: "B" Point agenda (pdf) and "A" Points agenda - adopted without discussion (pdf) Background Note (pdf)
UK: Independent Police Complaints Commission report: Stockwell One - on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes (full-text, pdf)
EU-PNR: Reactions: European Airline body dismayed at proposal for EU-PNR system (Association of European Airlines, press release, pdf) Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines said:
"Commissioner Frattini's proposed decentralised system means that our carriers will have to comply with 27 different national data collection systems. We are talking about an operational and technical nightmare and the Commission totally ignores the financial implications for the airline industry, which we haven't even started assessing yet."
The Association is also calling for the EU-PNR system to be "applied to all transport modes, so as to avoid discrimination and comptetitive distortions" (that is, to sea, rail and land travel).
Green group in the European Parliament: Civil liberties: New anti-terror measures seem unnecessary and incoherent (link) Dutch Green and civil liberties spokesperson Kathalijne Buitenweg said the:
"proposal on the retention of air passenger data in the EU seems unnecessary and incoherent. The Commission has made no attempt to justify why these measures are necessary and why the existing legislation is not sufficient - an existing Directive on passenger data from 2004 has yet to be fully implemented! (1) It is also incoherent to propose a European-level decision on data storage, while leaving the issues of data protection and how the data should be processed fully to national legislators."
ALDE (liberal group) in European Parliament: New EU anti-terrorism measures will further erode our civil liberties (link) Sophie In't Veld (D66, Netherlands) and EP rapporteur on PNR issues for the committee on Justice and Civil Liberties said:
" We should not be compounding the mistakes of the July PNR agreement with the US by introducing our own - at least until there is serious and irrefutable proof that such mass exchange of personal data is resulting in the arrest of terrorists.I remain adamant that PNR data should not be used as an indiscriminate form of data profiling."
Commission proposes EU-PNR: PNR (passenger name record) scheme proposed to place under surveillance all travel in and out of the EU For full background and the European Commission's PNR proposal see - Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
ECJ: Court of Justice rules against the Commission: The Court of First Instance annuls the Commission Decision refusing to disclose the names of all participants at a meeting in the context of proceedings for failure to fulfil obligations (press release) and Full-text of judgment (pdf) Today the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Commission should have identified the people who attended an anti-trust meeting. This should be a boost to campaigners who want more transparency among lobbyists. European Court verdict supports drive for increased transparency in EU decision-making: Corporate Europe Observatory press release, 8 November 2007
EU-PNR: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Unless stopped in its tracks it is just a question of time before the scope of the EU-PNR scheme is extended to cover all crime, flights inside and between Member States and sea, land and rail travel as well."
European Commission PNR proposal: Summary of impact assessment (SEC 1422) (pdf) The EU-PNR scheme plans for the personal data of all travellers by air in and out of the EU to be checked against "watchlists". The terminology in this Impact Assessment at times refers to "terrorism and organised crime" and at other times to "terrorists and criminals" suggesting that the intended scope of the measure may be changed in the near future. This impression is confirmed when the assessment speaks of:
" a wider application at a later stage. It should be left to member states to extend the scope of the proposal to other modes of transport at this point.... the majority of consulted parties agree the scope of the proposal should be limited to air transport as a first step, with the possibility of extending it to other forms of transport at a later stage...At this stage, it is thought disproportionate to extend the scope of the proposal to flights from one Member State to another Member State and to internal flights within a Member State"
On data protection the assessment is equally confused. First, it refers to the draft Framework Decision on personal data in police and judicial matters which has yet to be agreed but which offers little or no protection - and anyway, only covers the transfer of data between member states not national laws. The assessment goes on to states that member states should:
"the Convention 108 for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data of the Council of Europe. In practice, all Member States should also already have national legislation in place to cover data processing by law enforcement authorities."
The term "should" tells us that the Commission does not know. Moreover, the failure to fully incorporate of Council of Europe's Convention 108 of 1981 plus Recommendation 15 of 1987 and its two Additional Protocols in the proposed Framework Decision is highlighted by EU Data Protection Commissioners - see story below.
For full background and the European Commission's PNR proposal see- Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: Letter (pdf) and Comments from EU Data Protection authorities to the Portuguese Council Presidency on the draft Framework Decision on personal data in police and judicial issues (pdf) The Working Party on Police and Justice - nominated by the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities observes that:
" the European States committed themselves to fully complying with Council of Europe Convention 108 of 1981 whose binding principles also cover the activities in the police and law enforcement field. Those principles were subsequently complemented by the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of a specific Recommendation (R (87) 15) regulating the use of personal data in the police sector, and by two Additional Protocols... [and] it is especially urgent to ensure that the level of protection to be afforded should not be lower than that currently set out in the existing and binding legal instruments.
The WPPJ stresses that for certain aspects the current text of the proposal does not provide for the same level of protection as defined in Convention 108. This certainly seems to be the case with the provision on the further use of data received from a Member State (Articles 3 and 12) and the right of access (Article 17)."
These Articles concern proportionality and purpose and most crucially the fact the the individual will only have access to the data held on them (subject to many exceptions) if they make a formal request (Article 12) rather than being informed automatically that data on them is being processed and further transmitted.
Latest Draft of the Framework Decision on the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (EU doc no: 14119/07, dated: 23 October 2007, pdf)
For full background and documentation see: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU-PNR: Statement from chair of European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (full-text, pdf)
"On a political and institutional basis, indiscriminate access to billions of air passenger data profiles, the storing of information for decades and above all their use for "data profiling" in accordance with shady criteria, has provoked serious reservations from the European Parliament.
The latter has not yet received any credible information concerning the real purpose of this type of exercise and questions its compliance with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights relative to the protection of data."
For full background and the European Commission's PNR proposal see- Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN: Statewatch wins complaint against the European Commission (full-story and documentation) The European Ombudsman has declared a case of maladministration against Commission for its failure to produce a 2005 annual report on access to documents in 2006 and found it "especially deplorable" as these reports are "a key mechanism for accountability".
The European Ombudsman's Decision says that:
"In the Ombudsmans view, the reasons given by the Commission to explain its failure, which refer to administrative and organisational constraints, do not show that there was an objective impossibility for the Commission to comply with its legal obligation (ultra posse nemo obligatur)" and
"The Ombudsman considers that the instance of maladministration revealed by the present inquiry is especially deplorable since the publication of reports is a key mechanism of accountability to, and communication with, European citizens. The Commission should set a good example to the many new Community Agencies which have recently been established by giving high priority in future to the timely publication of reports."
This is the first of two complaints lodged by Statewatch against the Commission. Previously Statewatch won eight complaints taken to the European Ombudsman against the Council of the European Union.
Fortress Europe report on Libya: Escape from Tripoli: Report on the conditions of migrants in transit in Libya (pdf)
EU: Proposed expansion of EU terrorism law a threat to freedom of expression (Analysis and full-text of Commission proposals)
It must be asked why the welcome proposals on "practical action to stem the use of explosives" have taken so long to be put forward? The Commission should focus on practical steps to improve cooperation between the Member States instead of trying to impose sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression
. EU: All children in the EU over six years old to be fingerprinted for EU passports and ID cards. The European Commission is proposing that all children over 6 are fingerprinted for EU passports (and nationally-issued ID cards) - the only reason that those less than six years old are not to be fingerprinted is a technical one: "the fingerprints of children under the age of 6 seemed not to be of sufficient quality for one-to-one verification of identity" The term "and travel documents" mainly refers to the use of nationally issued ID cards which are used to travel in the EU Schengen area - in December 2006 the Council of the European Union adopted a Resolution saying that the same standards had to be used for ID cards as for EU passports (ie: the taking of biometrics, fingerprints).
The new Regulation is proposed under Article 62(2)(a) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) which gives the European Parliament the power of co-decision with the Council of the European Union.
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council, amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States (presented by the Commission) (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The taking of finger-prints from all children from the age of six upwards is highly questionable and is a moral and political question, not a technical one.
The European Parliament has the power of co-decision on this measure - it is to be hoped that it will reject it and do so in a way that is open and transparent for all to see"
- The initial discussion on fingerprinting children took place in the context of issuing biometric visas to visitors: Fingerprinting of children
- EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports
- EU: Biometrics - from visas to passports to ID cards
- Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit Under a new agreement between the Council and the European Parliament the efficiency of decision-making is enhanced at the expense of transparency, openness and accountability. This is particularly the case on border controls, asylum and immigration measures.
EU-G6 Communique: The G6 group of EU states is comprised of: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK meeting in Poland: Joint Declaration by the Ministers of Interior of G6 States Sopot, 18 October 2007 (pdf) Four points, from this secret meeting, stand out: 1) The G6 states "will actively participate in the works aimed at achieving the desired shape and scope of task of the internal security committee" - this is reference to the Standing Committee on operational cooperation (known as COSI) to be created under the Reform Treaty; 2) They also welcome "the work of the Futures group" - this is a reference to the group set up under the German Council Presidency earlier this year to draw up the next five year plan for justice and home affairs (following the Tampere programme, 1999 and the Hague programme, 2004) - despite promises none of the documents being discussed are available; 3) Undoubtedly at the behest of the UK the G6 Ministers noted the difficulty of expelling "non-nationals who pose a threat to national security". The Minister want to see an "EU commitment to "seek assurance through diplomatic understandings" - a reference to the highly controversial agreements reached by the UK to deport people to Jordan, Libya and Morocco; 4) In a direct reference to the mass protests at the G8 Heiligendamm Summit earlier this year the Ministers refer to the "acts of violence" at "mass events" which affected the "security of participants" and want to "continue the discussion" on "providing security and public order". See Statewatch report: Heiligendamm G8 Summit: a chronology of protest and represssion
- Conclusions of the G6 meetings in Venice, 11-12 May 2007
- Conclusions of Interior Ministers meeting 25-26 October 2006
- G6 meeting in Stratford upon Avon, UK
- G5 Group on Interior Ministers becomes G6: Meeting of the Interior Ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, Heiligendamm, 22 and 23 March 2006 - Full-text of Conclusions
- Background see: UK Select Committee on the European Union slams G6's role and G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora
EU: European Commission proposes EU-PNR: PNR (passenger name record) scheme proposed to place under surveillance all travel in and out of the EU
- All passengers to be "profiled" and the data kept for 13 years
- EU PNR plan mirrors controversial EU-US PNR scheme
- European Parliament only to be "consulted"
- Data protection fiasco
- "not convinced of the necessity of such a proposal and is therefore opposed to the proposal" (Article 29 Data Protection Working Party)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This is yet another measure that places everyone under surveillance and makes everyone a "suspect" without any meaningful right to know how the data is used, how it is further processed and by whom. Moreover, the "profiling" of all airline passengers has no place in a democracy.
We have already got the mandatory taking of fingerprints for passports and ID cards and the mandatory storage of telecommunications data of every communication, now we are to have the mandatory logging of all travel in and out of the EU.
The underlying rationale for each of the measures is the same - all are needed to tackle terrorism. Yet there is little evidence that the gathering of "mountain upon mountain" of data on the activities of every person in the EU makes a significant contribution. On the other hand, the use of this data for other purposes, now or in the future, will make the EU the most surveilled place in the world".
EU-MANDATORY-RETENTION-OF-TELECOMMUNICATIONS-DATA: Germany: Press freedom under attack: Big Brother Eyes German Journalists (Speigel Online, link) See: Statewatch Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
See also: UK: Data retention: Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 2199, Electronic Communications: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2007 entered into force on 1 October 2007. All phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone calls (including locations) have to be retained by service providers for access by law enforcement agencies and a host of other public bodies. See Statewatch analysis: Mandatory retention of telecommunications traffic data to be "nodded" through in the UK (pdf).
UK-CONTROL-ORDERS: An injustice endorsed: The law lords have failed to properly recognise the intolerable burden of control orders by Moazzam Begg (Guardian, link)
USA-EU-REST OF WORLD-FISA: US Senate agree to give immunity from prosecution to companies spy on the telecommunications of non-US citizens, that is, the rest of the world under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Senate agreed that that civil immunity should be afforded to companies that aided the warrantless surveillance program. According to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, immunity will be granted to providers who received a written request for the information stating that the program was authorised by the president and determined to be lawful.See: EPIC's page on FISA:
UK-STOP-AND-SEARCH: Stop and search figures released by the Justice Ministry for 2005-6 (England an Wales):
"Overall, Black people were nearly 7 times more likely to be searched than White people (this ratio is higher than the 2004/5 ratio of 6 times)."
Asian people were 2.1 times as likely as White people to be stopped and searched, compared to 1.8 times in the previous year. People in the Other ethnic group were 1.7 times more likely to be stopped than White people in 2005/6, compared with 1.6 times in 2004/52.
In 2005/6 there were 878,153 stop and searches of persons recorded by the police under section 1 of PACE and other legislation (Table 4.1). Of these, 135,262 (15%) were of Black people, 69,274 (8%) of Asian people and 14,101 (2%) of people of Other ethnic origin. Under PACE: Only 12% resulted in an arrest (no figures of given of those subsequently charged or convicted)
A further 36,248 were stopped and searched under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (no arrest figures are given)
Terrorism Act: A total of 44,543 searches were made under section 44 (1) and 44 (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000 in 2005/6 compared with 33,177 in 2004/58, an overall increase of 34% (Table 4.6). Searches of Asian people increased from 3,697 to 6,805 (up 84%), searches of Black people increased from 2,744 to 4,155 (up 51%). Searches of people in the Other ethnic group also increased, from 1,428 in 2004/5 to 1,937 in 2005/6 (up 36%),
Extraordinarily out of 25,479 people under 44.1 of the Terrorism Act (vehicle occupants) only 46 were arrested and a further 246 for other offences. Under 44.2 (stop and searches of pedestrians) of the Terrorism Act 19,064 people were involved of whom only 59 were arrested and with a further 212 for other offences.
GREECE: The truth may be bitter, but it must be told: Greece: PRO ASYL and Greek Group of Lawyers reveal systematic human rights abuses in the Aegean and Brussels. asylum procedures within the European Union. Call on EU to react (press release) Full-text of report (full report, pdf
EU-LIBYA: FRONTEX led EU illegal immigration technical mission to Libya 28 May-5 June 2007 (pdf) FRONTEX is the EU's Border Management Agency
EU: Reactions to: "Blue card" scheme to, in the Commission words:"the brightest and the best" from third world countries to meet EU demands for skilled workers to maintain its living standards. See story on "legal migration" below.
- Big nations should compensate small countries for poaching skills (Caribseek, Caribbean News, link)
- African states fear brain drain through EU blue card (euobserver, link)
EU:Police Chiefs Task Force is to be supported by the Hague/Europol-based: Police Chiefs Task Force Support Unit (EU doc no: 13416/07, pdf) Background: Statewatch analysis: The EUs Police Chief Task Force (PCTF) and Police Chiefs Committee
EU-REFORM-TREATY: New Analysis: Analysis no. 4: British and Irish opt-outs from EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
EU: Stand up for Journalism (link) in Brussels, 5th November 2007: European Federation of Journalists in collaboration wirg Journalists@Your Service "day of action" across Europe including event in Brussels as part of a Europe-wide day of action to defend journalism against excessive commercialisation, political pressure, falling standards and poor working conditions: Monday, 5 November 2007 at 10.30 am, Residence Palace, Maelbeek Room.
EU-REFORM-TREATY: Two new analyses: Analysis no. 3.5: Revised text of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) External relations provisions and Analysis no. 3.4: Revised text of Part Three, Titles VII to XVII of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Other internal EC policies by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
UK: Government is to consult on the "Governance of Britain":
- War powers and treaties: limiting Executive powers
Centuries overdue proposal to remove the "royal prerogative" powers exercised by government:
The "Ponsonby Rules". Arthur Ponsonby, a life-long pacifist and campaigner for open government, was an Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office in the Ramsay MacDonald Labour government of 1924. He gave an undertaking, during the 2nd reading of the Treaty of Peace (Turkey) Bill on 1 April 1924, that the House of Commons would be informed of all treaties and agreements and that they would be "laid" before the House for 21 days and it became the constitutional practice. Unlike most other national legislatures where written constitutions gives parliaments the formal power of ratifying treaties and international agreements this power rests with the government in the UK (exercising the royal prerogative on behalf of the monarch).
- Managing Protest around Parliament
This would not be "on the table" but for Brian Haw's courageous ongoing protest outside the House of Commons against the Iraq war and the protests organised by Mark Thomas and friends.
- Judicial Appointments
Also: Result of government consultation on increasing FOI fees - the majority against so the government has backed off: Fees consultation response
EU-REFORM-TREATY: New analyses by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
- Analysis no. 2.1: Revised text of the Treaty establishing the European Union (TEU) (except for the foreign policy provisions
- Analysis no. 2.2: Foreign policy provisions of the revised text of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU)
- Analysis no. 3.1: Revised text of Part One of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)
- Analysis no. 3.2: Revised text of Part Two of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)
- Analysis no. 3.3: Revised text of Part Three, Titles I to VI of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Internal Market and competition
For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
UK: Joint Human Rights Committee: Human Trafficking: Update (pdf)
USA: Terrorists watch list: "As of May 2007, the consolidated watch list contained approximately 755,000 records" according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) : GOA report: Terrorist watch list screening (pdf)
According to the report: "From December 2003 through May 2007, screening and law enforcement agencies encountered individuals who were positively matched to watch list records approximately 53,000 times. Many individuals were matched multiple times. The outcomes of these encounters reflect an array of actions, such as arrests; denials of entry into the United States; and, most often, questioning and release." It also observes that: "subjects of watch list records have passed undetected through agency screening processes and were not identified, for example, until after they had boarded and flew on an aircraft or were processed at a port of entry and admitted into the United States."
EU-EUROPOL: Third round of Mutual Evaluations "Exchange of information and intelligence between Europol and the Member States and among the Member States respectively" Final Report on the evaluation visits of all 27 Member States (pdf)
EU-DATA-PROTECTION: Observations of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters (pdf). The European Data Protection Supervisor notes that the Council has already decided on "two fundamental issues" - the scope and rules for handing data to third states - so here makes seven "technical points". For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU-USA-SWIFT: US Federal Register: Department of the Treasury: Office of Foreign Assets Control Notice: Publication of U.S./EU: Exchange of Letters and Terrorist Finance Tracking Program Representations of the United States Department of the Treasury (thanks to Cryptome, pdf). The exchange of letters between the EU and the USA shows how the US access to all bank money transfers in the EU (and world-wide) is to be legitimated: it will be accessed by the USA for "commercial purposes" under the so-called "Safe Harbour" scheme. However, the data is not being collected for "commercial purposes" but for the US Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme on suspected terrorists and their contacts.
EU: "Legal migration" proposals from the Commission:Council Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment ( COM 637, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State (COM 638, pdf). European Commission press release, 23 October 2007 See: African states fear brain drain through EU blue card (euobserver, link)
The Commission, as agreed by the Council (the EU governments), has put forward two proposals to meet the needs of the labour market resulting from "demographic problems resulting from our ageing population" and the "limited mobility of EU citizens". A "Blue Card is to be introduced to attract "highly qualified workers" - described by the Commission from as "the brightest and the best" from third world countries. The second proposal introduces a "single application procedure" and a "common set of rights for third country workers legally residing in a Member State".
The Commission claims that the "negative "brain drain" effects in developing countries" will be "avoided" through "ethical recruitment standards" which will limit, or ban, "active recruitment by Member States in developing countries already suffering from "serious brain drain" - a statement that defies comprehension.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The proposal to have a common set of rights for third country workers is to be welcomed but the underlying "legal migration", Blue Card scheme, is not.
On the one hand the EU removes evermore the rights of refugees fleeing from poverty and persecution seeking sanctuary. On the other, due to the EU's ageing population, it wants to actively recruit highly skilled workers from the third world in order to maintain its own standards of living - and thus maintain, if not exacerbate, an already unequal relationship.
It is a policy devoid of humanity or principle."
EU-DATA-PROTECTION: Latest draft of the Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters: 11365/4/07 REV 4 (pdf) After two years the Council discussions are reaching the end-game and they hope to adopt the measure in December. This is having ignored the views of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Data Protection Commissioner and the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EUROPEAN GENDARMERIE FORCE (EUROGENDFOR): Treaty establishing the European Gendarmerie Force (pdf) set up by Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal. Para-military police units ("police forces with military status" to be used in "crisis management" anywhere in the world including by NATO or in the EU. EUROGENDFOR will be under the control and political direction of CIMIN (High Level Interdepartmental Committee) The Treaty is open to other EU member states or candidate countries).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This ad hoc initiative taken by five EU member states states brings together armed para-military units, some of which are infamous for their behaviour at protests. The EGF will be acting in the support of the military in the name of the EU as a whole. Military plans would allow this force to be used inside the EU as well as outside.
What lines of accountability for its actions will there be? It will be accountable only to itself"
See for background:
- EU: Five countries establish a European paramilitary police force
- Statewatch: Global "policing" role for EU: How "non-military crisis management" will "contaminate" justice and home affairs, trade and aid
EU-REFORM TREATY: Statewatch analysis: EU Reform Treaty: Analysis 1: Version 3: JHA provisions, Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex (pdf). For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
EP-LIQUIDS-BAN: On 4 October the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (JURE) decided, unanimously, to take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice over Regulation 915/2007 concerning the confiscation of duty free liquids at EU airports for passengers arriving from third countries.
- Letter from Ignasi Guardans, MEP, ALDE group to chair of LIBE Committee: following which the Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) wrote to the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)
- Opinion of the parliament's Legal Service: to the Legal Affairs Committee
- Regulation 915/2007
- European Parliament resolution on liquids ban on planes (5 September 2007, pdf) Ten Recommendations including: "Calls upon the Commission to review urgently and if no further conclusive facts are brought forward to repeal Regulation (EC) No 1546/2006 (introduction of liquids onto aircraft)"
- Series of questions put down by five party groups in the European Parliament to the European Commission (link)
- Amendment to the main Regulation made by the European Commission without any consultation with the European or national parliaments: Commission Regulation (1546/2006) laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (Official Journal of the EU, censored version) which says: "ANNEX: In accordance with Article 1 the annex is secret and shall not be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.":
- Full-text of the censored Annex (pdf)
EU-US-PNR: Letter from AFL-CIO to Chertoff (pdf) The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisations' letter to the Secretary of the US Homeland Security Department, Mr Chertoff, protesting at the collection and processing of "sensitive" information, including trade union membership, under the EU-US PNR (passenger name record) agreement.
In this context it is interesting to note a) that the latest draft of the EU's draft Decision on data protection in police and criminal matters (see story below) has significantly weakened the safeguards on the processing of "sensitive data" - the Decision will allow the transfer of data to the USA and other third states; and b) under the agreed EU Reform Treaty foreign policy data protection now comes under the continuing "second pillar" (defence and foreign affairs) where foreign policy-making rules will apply. This will allow the Council to conclude international agreements, like the EU-US PNR one, without any role for national and European parliaments. Also see: US demands 10 year ban on access to PNR documents
EU-REFORM TREATY: The final texts agreed on 18 October are online at: Final texts of Reform Treaty
UK: Government response to House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee report on "Young black people and the criminal justice system: Government response (pdf) See original report: Home Affairs Select Committee: Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System (pdf)
Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated - Legal charity urges action on Diego Garcia claims · Prisoners may have been held in ships off coast (Guardian, link)
EU-US: VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME: Letter from Commission and Council to Chertoff (US Homeland Security Secretary, dated 28 June 2007) and Reply from Chertoff (31 August 2007).
The EU letter asks for "visa-free travel" for all its citizens "without introducing additional burdens". It also offer to negotiate an "EU-US readmission agreement" if the EU commitment under international law is not sufficient.
Chertoff's reply confirms the EU's Visa Waiver entry to the USA is effectively to be abolished. Chertoff writes: "We can no longer afford to ssume that all ctizens of VWP countries represent lesser security threats, and that all citzens of non-VWP countries represent greater threats" So in addtion to booking their flight visitors to the USA will also "make a reservation with the United States" and they will be checked against watch-lists and will have to get "Electronic Travel Authorisation" (ETA) before leaving. Chertoff says that the US is keen to work with the EU "to develop compatible and complementary systems".
EU-US relations: Visa Waiver Programme checks for all
US-VISIT exit system not in place, nor likely to be in the foreseeable future
European Commission to propose EU PNR travel surveillance system
EU: Latest draft: Council Decision concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (dated 11 October 2007, pdf)
UK: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC): Draft IPCC Guidelines: Investigating allegations of discriminatory behaviour
EU: The Article 36 Committee of the Council of the European Union at its meeting on September discussed: "Information sharing on violent trouble makers related to large scale events" - presumably referring to suspected individuals at football matches and protests?
EU-US PNR AGREEMENT: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: Letter to Commissioner Frattini Sets out a series of questions and concerns
EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant - Year 2006
NORTHERN IRELAND: Human Rights Commission press release: Commission highlights concerns around Tasers
EU: Reform Treaty: Note to the European Parliament on the "state of play" in the discussions (dated 17 October 2007, pdf) Note on: Reform Treaty: Debate in the European Parliament
EU-UPDATE: Draft measures:
1) Council Decision concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences
2) Prum Treaty transposition: Coucil Decision stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime
3) European Parliament: Amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provision on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa application
4) Schengen evaluation of the new Member States : Overview of results
UPDATE: EU: DATA PROTECTION: Latest draft Framework Decision: EU doc no: 11365/3/07 REV 3, dated 12 October 2007, pdf) and a Council Presidency Note to the JHA Counsellors meeting on 15 October: EU doc no: 13818/07 (dated 12 October 2007, pdf). See story below.
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters, new draft: EU doc no 11365/2/07 REV 2 (pdf) and EU doc no: 13496/07 (pdf). The latter document sets out "five political questions" for decisions within the Council. These include inserting a clause saying that: "This Framework Decision is without prejudice to essential national security interests and specific intelligence activities in the field of national security." (Art 1.4). Apparently "all delegations" accept that this data protection measure should not cover security services dealing with national security. It is noted that there can be extensive exchanges between the security agencies and the police. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"If the security agencies are not to be covered by this Framework Decision on data protection are they to be subject to another measure, or are they above the law?"
The draft, which has been "carefully crafted", also excludes law enforcement agencies when undertaking "intelligence activities in the field of national security" from the scope of the draft Framework Decision.
Another contentious provision is a watered down provision on "processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or trade-union membership and the processing of data concerning health or sex life". As the Council document notes the Commission proposal called for a strict "regime" (based on the Council of Europe Convention no 108) and laid down: "a general prohibition of the processing of this type of data." The Council's draft - mindful that their position will set a "standard": "which is likely be referred to in other contexts as well (e.g. PNR negotiations
with third countries)" proposes a lower "standard": "when this is strictly necessary and when the domestic law provides adequate safeguards." .
For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
Council of Europe: Specialists refuse to consider proposals to improve access to documents Background: Chorus of voices calls for stronger access to information treaty ahead of final drafting meeting: Full-text of letter with 245 civil society organisations and 269 individuals (pdf) Press release (pdf)
EU REFORM TREATY: Statewatch Analysis no 5: Analysis of the amended text of the draft Reform Treaty (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
- it lists all of the differences between the Reform Treaty and the Constitutional Treaty, and concludes that it is not true, as the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee claims, that the Reform Treaty is "substantially equivalent" to the Constitutional Treaty
- it lists all of the amendments to the draft Reform Treaty which were made by the October version of the text, compared to the July version
- it comments in detail on the most important changes in the October version of the text: the five-year delay to the Court of Justice's full jurisdiction over policing and criminal law, and the changes to the UK, Irish and Danish opt-outs over JHA matters
EU: UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee report on the "Reform Treaty": European Union Intergovernmental Conference (pdf)
EU: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, Lisbon , 1-2 October 2007 (link to Presidency site)
EU-REFORM TREATY: The text to be finalised by the European Council on 18 October 2007 was finally published on 5 October 2007 - leaving less than two weeks for it to be read, comprehended and discussed and for civil society and parliaments to make their views known. Statewatch published the "almost final text" on 9 August 2007.
- CIG 1, Rev 1 - main text (pdf)
- CIG 2 Rev 1 - Protocols (pdf)
- CIG 4 Rev 1 - Declarations (pdf)
For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution/Reform Treaty
CoE-FOI: Chorus of voices calls for stronger access to information treaty ahead of final drafting meeting: Full-text of letter with 245 civil society organisations and 269 individuals (pdf) Press release (pdf)
European Security Research Agenda: European Commission Working documents:
- Public-Private Dialogue in Security Research and Innovation: Summary of the Impact Assessment (SEC (2007) 1139,pdf)
- Public-Private Dialogue in Security Research and Innovation: Impact Assessment (SEC (2007) 1138, pdf)
See also earlier Commission press releases:
- Security research to better combat terrorism
- The European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) - Public-Private Dialogue in Security Research
- Commission promotes public-private dialogue to improve security of EU citizens
For background, see: Arming Big Brother: The EU's Security Research Programme by Ben Hayes (Statewatch/Transnational Institute)
UK-USA: Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the United States of America concerning Defense Trade Cooperation
Government reply to report by the Joint Human Rights Committee: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights: 28 days, intercept and post-charge questioning
See also JHRC report: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights: 28 days, intercept and post-charge questioning (160 pages, pdf)
"Recent Ministerial statements envisage an increase from 28 days in pre-trial detention limits. The Committee is not convinced of the need for this and recommends thorough scrutiny of the evidence, stronger judicial safeguards and improved parliamentary oversight."
The Commission has finally published its report on The application in 2005 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The report is almost nine months late.
See: Statewatch lodges two complaints against the European Commission with the European Ombudsman (press release, full-text, pdf, 19 April 2007): - the Commission has failed to maintain a proper public register of documents with only a fraction of those produced listed; - the Commission failed to produce its annual report on access to documents for 2005 in the year 2006; - Statewatch says both are breaches of the Regulation and therefore cases of maladministration.
Shameful silence of Member States on CIA detentions (ALDE press release, pdf)
ALDE question to Commission: Blocking of Internet searches with the words "bomb", "kill", "genocide" or "terrorism"
UK: Data retention: Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 2199, Electronic Communications: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2007 entered into force on 1 October 2007. All phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone calls (including locations) have to be retained by service providers for access by law enforcement agencies and a host of other public bodies. See Statewatch analysis: Mandatory retention of telecommunications traffic data to be "nodded" through in the UK (pdf). See also: Big Brother Britain: Government and councils to spy on ALL our phones (Evening Standard, link). For list of bodies empowered to access communications data retained by service providers, see Schedule 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (link).
Viewpoint: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit by Tony Bunyan. Under a new agreement between the Council and the European Parliament the efficiency of decision-making is enhanced at the expense of transparency, openness and accountability. This is particularly the case on asylum and immigration measures and, he asks, if the parliament gets co-decision powers on police and judicial matters under the Reform Treaty will the same happen?
EU-ASYLUM: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law (the "Meijers" Committee) submission to the Commission on: Green Paper on the future Common European Asylum System (pdf)
EU-OMBUDSMAN: Press release: Information concerning MEPs' allowances should be publicly accessible (pdf) Ombudsman Recommendation (pdf) Malta Today - front page (pdf) Malta Today - article (pdf)
EP-COUNCIL-ECJ: Opinion in Case C-133/06 EP v Council of the Advocate General (French, pdf) who argues that the Court of Justice should annul the provisions in the procedures directive providing for a common list of "safe countries of origin" and for a common list of "super-safe countries".
EU-API-PNR: Question to the European Commission from Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE) on EU API (pdf) Spain is using the 2004 EC Directive on the collection of API (Advance Passenger Information) for people crossing the EU's external borders to require API for flights inside the EU. API is the personal data contained on the passport page machine readable zone - name, date of birth, place of birth, expiry date and issuing authority. Background see: European Commission to propose EU PNR travel surveillance system
Biscay/Spain-Morocco: Protecting foreign minors or getting rid of them? by Peio M. Aierbe, SOS Arrazakeria/SOS Racismo, 6 September 2007. About the Awareness Raising, Protection and Reception of foreign under-14-year-olds who have arrived in Biscay proposal, presented by the Grupo Popular Vizcaíno (Popular Party Group of Biscay) of the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia (Biscay General Assembly). A proposal from the Partido Popular is set to be debated soon in the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia, on the setting up of a reception centre in Morocco for under-14s to which to send those who arrive in the institutions of Biscay [the province of Bilbao]. See also
Spain-Senegal: Agreement to repatriate unaccompanied minors approved
Spain: Growing numbers of repatriations of minors envisaged, and the building of reception centres abroad
EUROJUST: A paper from Eurojust advocating a power grab for itself, in particular the power to issue European arrest warrants, authorise controlled deliveries, etc., with no thought to judicial oversight of it: Eurojust proposals (pdf)
Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU - Updated with latest draft proposal (dated 21 September 2007)
ACLU: The Emerging Surveillance Society: Where Are We Now? Even Bigger, Even Weaker (September 2007)and Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society (2003 report)
EU: Updated list of agreements: Exchange of EU classified information (EUCI) with third States and international organisations See also: EU-USA Agreement on the exchange of classified information
EU: Eurodac (sylum-seekers fingerprint database): Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2006
EU-BIOMETRIC VISAS: Latest "state of play": EU doc no: 12665/07. The European Parliament's reservations are noted as:
"The Chair [Council Presidency] informed delegations of concerns raised during proceedings in the European Parliament:
- the absence of impact assessment of the proposed measures;
- the lack of coordination with the proposal on the Visa code;
- the inappropriateness of storing the fingerprints of children under 14 years (age of 14 is the one used in EURODAC) and of persons older than 79 years;
- outsourcing as a general possibility given to Member States when it should be a last resort solution only;
- the absence of the drawing up of detailed measures about personal data."
Background: EU: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on: Common Consular Instructions (pdf) The EDPS underlines that it is a political decision rather than a purely technical one to determine from which age fingerprints shall be collected. See: Statewatch coverage: EU:Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on: Spain taking fingerprints and facial images from children at birth; Czech Republic taking fingerprints from 5 and facial images from birth; Latvia and France in favour of fingerprints from 6 and facial images from birth. EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible: Council Presidency proposed in June 2006 that there should be the compulsory fingerprinting of children from the age of 12 year old.
Amnesty International report: Millions in flight: the Iraqi refugee crisis (link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Data Protection Framework Decision: EDPS concerned about dilution of Data Protection standards (pdf) Peter Hustinx says:
"The recent agreement by the Council severely limits the scope of the text, and therefore also limits the level of protection the European citizen can expect from the resulting agreement."
He repeated this call, in particular emphasising:
the need for the principles in the DPFD to closely mirror those in Directive 95/46/EC (the 1995 EC Directive)
the need to distinguish between different categories of data subject, such as suspects, criminals, witnesses and victims;
the need for conditions for transfers of personal data to non competent authorities and private parties (such as non-EU states)
- EU document no 12154/2/07 The nearly final draft Framework Decision on discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 18 September
- See for full background Statewatch's Observatory on Data Protection in the EU
British intelligence accused of complicity in torture (Guardian, link) Terror suspect alleges mistreatment in Pakistan · UK and US officials also questioned him, he claims
EU-ECHR:Seminar in the European Parliament: Judges and legislators for a multi-level protection of fundamental rights in Europe, Monday 8 October 2007 (pdf) Three papers presented at the hearing in CoE PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in Paris on the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights:
- Olivier de Schutter
- Francis G. Jacobs
- Pieter van Dijk:
EU-EURODAC: Note on the proposal of the JHA Council to give law enforcement authorities access to Eurodac (pdf) from the Standing Committee of Experts on International Immigration, Refugee and Criminal law (the "Meijers Committee") to the European Commission.
"The Standing Committee of Experts is deeply concerned about this development. EU measures or policies in the field of Freedom, Security, and Justice should not be based on the general presumption that migrants within the EU are to be treated as suspected terrorists. Such a policy would run against the general accepted principles in EU law of non-discrimination and equality."
Criminalising solidarity, part II: Italy/Tunisia: Fishermen on trial for rescuing migrants
EU: Council of the European Union appoint new Counter Terrorism Coordinator: Press release (pdf)
UPDATE: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 18 September 2007, Brussels: Final press release, 18 September 2007 (pdf)
Background Note (pdf) B Points Agenda (pdf) A Points Agenda (pdf)
Residence permits: The Council agreed a "general approach", see:EU doc no: 12725/1/07 Rev 1 (pdf). This the fingerprinting of all residence third country nationals (just over 18 million people) and the use of the "chip" to include "e-government" (right to health, social security, etc) and "e-business" "services" as well as "additional provisions". Despite early differences between the EU governments the "hawks" have won:
"The capture of fingerprints is compulsory as of the age of six years of age"
See:Resident third country nationals - biometric residence permits
Other items to be discussed/adopted:
- Draft Council Conclusions on further reinforcing the EU's Southern Maritime Borders
- Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (Prum)
UK: Report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics: The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues (pdf) Executive Summary: (pdf)
"It is our view that the authority of the police to take and store both fingerprints and biological samples from all arrestees without their consent, regardless of the reason for the arrest, is disproportionate to the aims of identifying a person and of confirming whether or not a person was at a crime scene. Suspicion of involvement in a minor (at present non-recordable) offence does not justify the taking of bioinformation from individuals without their consent"
"We recommend that the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be brought into line with that in Scotland. Fingerprints, DNA profiles and subject biological samples should be retained indefinitely only for those convicted of a recordable offence. At present, the retention of profiles and samples can be justified as proportionate only for those who have been convicted. In all other cases, samples should be destroyed and the resulting profiles deleted from the NDNAD [National DNA Database]."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The Nuffield report notes that the distinction between "recordable" and "non-recordable" offences is arbitrary. I would further add that it appears the reason why other EU states have much smaller DNA databases than the UK is that they have a much higher threshold with the retention of DNA limited to serious offences on conviction"
See: Council of the European Union: DNA compiling of the answers (EU doc no: 9445/1/06 Rev 1)
UK: How accurate is the National DNA Database (NDNAD)?
A parliamentary written answer in July revealed that 13.7% of the DNA profiles are "replicates" (duplicates in plain language). The Home Office Minister said this was because profiles had been loaded more than once due to people giving different names or different versions of their name. This begs the question: How accurate are the remaining 86.3% where there is only one DNA profile held? How many of the profiles are linked to the person's correct name?
UK: Another measure to slip through in the "silly season" without debate was the Statutory Instrument: The Verification of Information in Passport Applications (pdf) under "powers conferred by section 38(3) and (5) of the Identity Cards Act 2006(a)" authorising the Home Secretary to appoint commercial credit reference agencies to provide personal details (rarely known or checked by the individual): "for the supply of services relating to the provision of information concerning the identity of individuals."
See:Measure "not in need of "special attention" in parliament": Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 22nd Report
EU-USA Agreement on the exchange of classified information
- "carte blanche" for exchanging information on a host of issues
- all documents to be exchanged by courier
- no electronic exchanges
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This is another instance of secret policymaking. European and national parliaments should be consulted and the texts made public so that there can be a debate as to their content and consequences.
Putting these agreements in place is not just about exchanging classified documents, it is also about the construction of a security regime for future cooperation on defence, foreign policy and justice and home affairs between the EU, non-EU states and unaccountable international organisations. It is about cementing the aims and objectives of the EU-NATO-USA politico-military axis."
Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee denounces secret detention
"Strasbourg, 14.09.2007 - In its 17th General Report published today, the CPT denounces secret detention, an illegal practice that has been resorted to in particular in the context of the fight against terrorism. Secret detention amounts in itself to ill-treatment and due to the removal of fundamental safeguards which it entails - inevitably heightens the risk of resort to other forms of ill-treatment. Responding to reports that certain secret detention facilities were located in European countries, the CPT invites anyone who is in possession of information concerning such facilities to bring it to the attention of the Committee.
The CPT also comments on the related issue of extra-judicial transfers from one country to another, so-called "renditions". The Committee is particularly concerned by the practice of rendition for the purposes of detention and interrogation outside the normal criminal justice system. "Operations of this kind inevitably involve a risk of ill-treatment for the person concerned that no 'assurances' can ever fully remove; it follows that the authorities of Parties (to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture) should never offer assistance in the context of such operations". (CoE, press release)
Full-text of General Report (pdf)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: "Carte Blanche" for transferring personal data outside the EU: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters - Agreement on certain questions (EU doc no: 12154/1/07 REV 1, pdf). This is to be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 18 September 2007 in Brussels. It contains the same fudges as EU doc no: 12154/07, pdf) with the additional "compromise" that member states can transfer data outside the EU to third states or international organisations:
"by giving general (rather than on a case-by-case basis) consent for categories of law enforcement information or for specified third countries" (new Recital 12a)
This has replaced the reservations of "Some delegations" (EU doc 12154/07, above) who wanted prior consent to be obtain for any such transfer outside the EU. All existing national bilateral agreements with third states are to stay in place (at the insistence of the USA).
The Council is proceeding on the drafting of this Framework Decision by continuing to ignore the views of the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the Article 29 Working Party (all national Data Protection Commissioners).
Update: EU doc no: 12154/2/07 REV 2 (dated 13 September 2007, pdf). It looks like the Council is heading for a "general agreement" on the text.
For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
UK: Mandatory retention of telecommunications in UK - as predicted - "nodded" through parliament and comes into effect on 1 October 2007: Statutory Instruments 2007 No. 2199, Electronic Communications: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2007 After a perfunctory and ill-informed exchange, which just lasted a few minutes:House of Lords (pdf), no reference was made to the fact that the transposition of the existing "voluntary" agreement into a mandatory one would normally require primary legislation. See:Measure "not in need of "special attention" in parliament": Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 22nd Report
As from October records all phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone calls (including locations) have to be retained by service providers for access by law enforcement agencies. Within 18 months a further Statutory instrument will cover the retention of internet usage (sites visited etc and voice telephony via internet).
See: Statewatch analysis: Mandatory retention of telecommunications traffic to be "nodded" through in the UK (pdf) and
UK: Data retention and access consultation farce: Government to allow access for crime purposes to records which can only be held for national security
EUROPEAN COMMISSION-ECJ-API Case: Access to documents: Judgment - full-text (pdf) Court press release (pdf) Brussels journalists unhappy with 'routine secrecy' (euobserver, link) Statement from API (pdf):
"The CFI found that the Commission does not have to give access to pleadings before the oral hearing, but must disclose pleadings after the hearing unless it cites a specific reason as to why such a disclosure would prejudice its position before the Court."
EU: Report from the German Institute for Human Rights: The Demands of Human and EU Fundamental Rights for the Protection of the European Unions External Borders (pdf) by Ruth Weinzier.
"It presents the requirements from fundamental and human rights and EU secondary law for the protection of the EUs external borders. The main focus of the examination is on the special human rights problems arising from the protection of the southern maritime borders. Primarily this involves the question of access to refugee protection... A special area of focus of this study consists of an analysis of EU secondary law and the requirements stemming from EU fundamental rights."
EU-SISON: International Campaign to free Jose Maria Sison launched (pdf)
UK-EU: PRUM TREATY: Explanatory memorandum from the Home Office on the implenetation of the Prum Treaty (16 July 2007, pdf) - UK government Explanatory Memorandum: Council Decision on stepping up cross-border cooperation, especially in combating terrorism and cross border crime- (transposing the Prum Treaty provisions, 5 March 2007) Text incorporating the Prum Treaty: 10232/ rev 1 2007
EU-OLAF: Court of Justice press release concerning a new judgment finding that OLAF has violated data protection rights and must pay some token damages to the complainant. The judgment itself has had all the reasoning removed from it, presumably to protect the complainant's reputation and personal data: Press release (French, pdf)
EU-SECURITY RESEARCH AGENDA: Today the European Commission put out three "Memos" (Press releases):
- Security research to better combat terrorism
- The European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) - Public-Private Dialogue in Security Research
- Commission promotes public-private dialogue to improve security of EU citizens
For full context and background, See: Arming Big Brother: The EU's Security Research Programme by Ben Hayes (Statewatch/Transnational Institute, Amsterdam)
EU-US-PNR: Eleven MEPs from the ALDE (Liberal group) in the European Parliament have lodged requests with the Council of the European Union and the European Commission for access to:
"to all the documents related to:
- the negotiation of the 2007 Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as to the documents related to the confidentiality of negotiations documents;
- the works of the EU-US High Level Contact Group on Data Protection"
- Full-text of the requests for access to PNR documents
See: Story below.
EU-USA: SPECIAL: US demands 10 year ban on access to PNR documents
The US government has written to the Council of the European Union - seven days after it was signed - asking it to agree that all the documents regarding the negotiations leading to the controversial new EU-US PNR (passenger name record, signed on 23 July 2007) agreement be kept secret (under a "confidentiality" clause)
EU-US PNR agreement: US changes the privacy rules to exemption access to personal data
- USA to give exemptions for the Department of Home Security from its Privacy Act
- USA to give exemptions for the "Arrival and Departure System" (ADIS) from its Privacy Act
- Did the EU know that the US was planning to introduce these exemptions?
Spain: Protocol for the deportation of migrants to allow straightjackets and helmets
UK: BID Bail for immigration detainees: Womens experiences of the Detained Fast Track asylum process at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre Refusal Factory (pdf)
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters - Agreement on certain questions (EU doc no: 12154/07, pdf) Actually this document is about disagreements over the scope of the measure - with a "substantial number" of governments opposed to bringing national data protection processing within its scope. Thus it would only apply to cross-border exchanges of personal data.
Secondly, the transfer of personal data received from another member state to third states (eg: the USA). All existing national bilateral agreements with third states are to stay in place (at the insistence of the USA). "Some delegations" want prior consent to be obtain for any such transfer outside the EU. A draft Article 14 seems to set out principles, like "adequate standards of protection" in the third state but this can be ignored at member state level where the transfer concerns "legitimate prevailing interests, especially important public interest etc" and "safeguards" (undefined) are agreed.
For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU: REFORM TREATY: Letter from the European Data Protection Supervisor, dated 23 July 2007 (CIG 9, pdf)
EU: EUROPOL: The Strategy for Europol from Management Board (pdf)
EU: European Parliament resolution on liquids ban on planes (5 September 2007, pdf) Ten Recommendations including:
"Calls upon the Commission to review urgently and if no further conclusive facts are brought forward to repeal Regulation (EC) No 1546/2006 (introduction of liquids onto aircraft)"
Italy: Law reforms intelligence services
The new intelligence services law received its unanimous final approval in the senate's constitutional affairs committee on 1 August 2007. This follows a long catalogue of scandals including involvement in CIA renditions, unlawful monitoring of the activities of politicians, authorities, businessmen and, most recently, lawyers, members of the judiciary and NGOs, and the planting of scares and false information in the media while having journalists as paid informants.
SCOTLAND-RENDITION: Report from Reprieve: Scottish involvement in extraordinary rendition (pdf)
EU: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the European supervision order in pre-trial procedures between Member States of the European Union - Policy debate (pdf)
UK: Safety fears over new register of all children (Times, link)
"Senior social workers have given warning of the dangers posed by a new government register that will store the details of every child in England from next year.
They fear that the database, containing the address, medical and school details of all under-18s, could be used to harm the children whom it is intended to protect."
EU-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Liberal group (ALDE) re-launches transparency campaign on access to documents. Marco Cappato MEP said:
"Many documents are not on the official registers, information is often not fully available or difficult to find whilst internal procedures in some institutions are hard to follow."
"The Regulation should be revised to ensure the principle of full access to all documents. It is untenable that the Council, which is the EU co-legislating body, still denies full access to documents discussed in its working groups, such as amendments proposed by Member States representatives, positions and voting records or legal opinions which makes it impossible to follow its decision-making process."
"The Commission too should keep its register up to date and complete, while the EP should further improve the publication of its activities, such as video-streaming on the internet of its committees' debates and enhanced transparency of first-reading agreements".
He has drafted a response to the Commission's Green Paper to be discussed in the Committee on Covil Liberties (LIBE): Working document (pdf)
UK: Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill - House of Commons Research Paper (pdf) Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (245 pages!! pdf) The 55th Bill on "law and order" and immigration since 1997. It is said to introduce 19 new criminal offences.
EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: Commission finally makes available background document: Annex to the Report from the Commission on the implementation since 2005 of the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member Statese (SEC 979, pdf) See also: European Arrest Warrant partial figures for 2006 - eight member states, inlcuding Germany, Italy and UK had not submitted statistics by 27 July 2007: EAW figures for 2006 (pdf)
Netherlands: Schiphol fire: Victim sent to jail
European Parliament delegation to Greece to look at treatment of asylum-seekers: Report (pdf)
UK: On 4 July 2007 Home Secretary signed a Certificate exempting the use of data collected for the London Congestion Zone and London transport systems through CCTV, audio and any other surveillance device from the provisions of the Data Protection Act when accessed and processed by the Special Branch, MI5 and other security agencies: Certificate (pdf) The case of the certificate (pdf)
EU-USA PNR PRIVACY PROTECTION: USA to exempt "Arrival and Departure System" (ADIS) from its Privacy Act. No sooner is the ink dry on the 28 June 2007 EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement than the USA is to change its Privacy law to exempt the Department of Homeland Security (and all the agencies that share its data) from giving access to personal data gathered for "immigrant and non-immigrant pre-entry, entry, status management and exit processes" which will include PNR data on EU citizens. The scope covers "national security, law enforcement, immigration and intelligence activities". The proposed change also covers revealing other agencies the data is passed to and/or data provided by "foreign governments".
US Department of Homeland Security: Notice of proposed rulemaking, 15 August 2007 (pdf: Thanks to www.cryptome.org)
Text from the EU-US PNR agreement (28 June 2007): "IV. Access and Redress: DHS has made a policy decision to extend administrative Privacy Act protections to PNR data stored in the ATS regardless of the nationality or country of residence of the data subject, including data that relates to European citizens. Consistent with U.S. law, DHS also maintains a system accessible by individuals, regardless of their nationality or country of residence, for providing redress to persons seeking information about or correction of PNR. These policies are accessible on the DHS website, www.dhs.gov."
and USA to exempt Automated Targeting System (ATS) from its Privacy Act: Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Automated Targeting System (31 July 2007, pdf) What is the ATS? Privacy Impact Assessment for the Automated Targeting System, 3 August 2007 (pdf)
UK: USE OF TASERS BY POLICE TO BE EXTENDED: Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) Sub-Committee on the Medical Implications of Less-lethal Weapons (DOMILL): Statement on the medical implications of M26 and X26 Taser use at incidents where firearms Weapons (pdf) Ministerial statement (pdf) Police use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons: Code of practice (December 2003) (pdf) The DSAC report identifies that there is likely that: "the numbers of people subjected to Taser will increase" which: "will result in a greater annual incidence of minor injuries and a greater, but still low, chance of a serious adverse event". The Sub-Committee is particularly concerned about the use of tasers on children and small adults: "children and adults of small stature [are] at potentially greater risk from the cardiac effects of Taser currents than normal adults of average or larger structure"
CANADA: Maher Arar: Factual Background volume i, ii, and analysis & recommendations: Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar ADDENDUM Disclosure of information authorized by the Federal Court of Canada in accordance with Sections 38.04 and 38.06 of the Canada Evidence Act (August 2007, pdf). The report and full background documentation on Maher Arar is on: Statewatch's Observatory on rendition - Documents
Terror law puts Britons at risk of surveillance by US agents (Observer, link)
See: EU-USA: US Congress rubber-stamps new law authorising spying on foreign nationals' calls and emails (Press release) Question to the Commission (pdf) Liberal Democrat MEPs, Sophie In't Veld and Graham Watson, have tabled a written question to the European Commission and Council.
US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell: "My argument was that the intelligence community should not be restricted when we are conducting foreign surveillance against a foreigner in a foreign country"
GERMANY: Scholars arrested under infamous § 129a law: Open letter to the Generalbundesanwaltschaft against the criminalization of critical academic research and political engagement (pdf) Guantánamo in Germany: In the name of the war on terror, our colleagues are being persecuted - for the crime of sociology by Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen (Guardian, link)
Einstellung des §129a-Verfahrens sofort! (English, link) Statement of three of the accused in one of the § 129a proceedings against the militant group (mg) (link)
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: "Off the Rocker" and "On the Floor": The Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating Weapons (pdf) Bradford Disarmament Research Centre (BDRC), Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK. Bradford Science and Technology Report No. 8
UK: Home Office FOI request reveals deportations to Afghanistan, Iraq and DR Congo National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC): What is the Home Office motive for trying to remove so many to the DR Congo now? What you can do about it (link)
EU REFORM TREATY: Statewatch analysis: EU Reform Treaty Analysis no. 4: British and Irish opt-outs from EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
SPAIN: Statewatch analysis: Spain: Report reveals catalogue of abuses, highlighting the persistence of ill-treatment and torture (pdf)
EU: RFID and Identity Management in Everyday Life: Striking the balance between convenience, choice and control (pdf) STOA report for the European Parliament. Amongst its conclusions is that in the near future:
"Once RFID systems work exclusively with RFID it will become easier to aggregate and analyze the data on the level of the whole user population. Further, once different RFID systems might become connected to each other, or other technologies such as GSM, GPS, CCTV and the Internet, a much richer image of its users will appear. This opens up many opportunities for maintainers of the RFID settings to gain control over their users and governments to use RFID data for police investigation. Meanwhile, for the users it will become much less clear who is actually managing their identity in which setting, upsetting the power balance in the digital public space."
Statewatch bulletin (Vol 17 No 2) published. News, analyses, features, reviews and sources written just for the 24 page (A4) quarterly bulletin include:
- Heiligendamm G8 Summit: a chronology of protest and repression (Four page analysis)
- UK-Spain: Write of habeas corpus in Farid Hilali extradition case
- Netherlands: Police raids on migrant community spark little outrage
- Italy: Cracks appear in police silence on Genoa protests
- UK: Parliamentary Committee condemns deliberately "inhumane" asylum system
- Italy: Unlawful SISMI surveillance of judges and NGOs
- Switzerland: Whistle-blowers cleared by military court
- Spain: Nigerian man dies during forced expulsion
- Nigeria/Europe: UN rapporteur finds systematic torture
- Germany: "New" security strategy: a constant state of war
- FOI back on the EU agenda: Statewatch lodges two complaints against the European Commission with the European Ombudsman
INTRODUCTORY SUBSCRIPTION OFFER (one year) : UK and Europe: Individuals and voluntary groups: £15.00 a year; Institutions and libraries: £30.00 a year (outside Europe please add £4.00 to the rate).
The subscription includes: Statewatch bulletin by post/Air Mail plus unlimited access to Statewatch Online: Current & back issues of the bulletin in pdf format for downloading plus access to searchable database with over 25,000 items (from 1991 onwards) including News Online coverage
Order Statewatch bulletin including access to Statewatch Online or for just £10.00 a year (individuals and voluntary groups) and £25.00 a year (Institutions and libraries) get Statewatch Online access.
Statewatch analysis: Terrorist lists still above the law (pdf) by Ben Hayes who comments:
"The EU's reform of its terrorist lists amounts to little more than window dressing. Secret intergovernmental committees continue to act as judge and executioner and those listed are denied their basic human rights.
Until they are granted a fair hearing - in which the substantive allegations against them can be reviewed by a competent, impartial tribunal - the terrorist lists will continue to represent a legal vacuum and a betrayal of the EU's commitment to the rule of law"
TURKEY: Joint Statement by Helsinki Citizens Assembly - Turkey and Amnesty International - Turkey: Illegal deportation of asylum-seekers in Turkey must stop (pdf)
Statewatch analyses: The EU's draft Reform Treaty
The text of the EU's draft Reform Treaty released at the end of July and the EU Council Presidency is planning for it to be agreed in mid-October. The draft Reform Treaty would repeal or amend every single Article of the 62 Articles of the current Treaty on European Union (TEU) and would make 296 amendments to the 318 Articles of the current Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). Taking account of the summer break this leaves very little time for civil society, national parliaments and the European Parliament to examine the draft text before it is agreed.
In order to further public understanding of and debate upon the draft Reform Treaty, ten Statewatch analyses ten Statewatch analyses by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex make the text of the draft Treaty comprehensible, by setting out the entire texts of the existing TEU and TEC and showing precisely how those texts would be amended by the draft Treaty.
EU-USA: US Congress rubber-stamps new law authorising spying on foreign nationals' calls and emails (Press release) Question to the Commission (pdf)
"Liberal Democrat MEPs, Sophie In't Veld and Graham Watson, have tabled a written question to the European Commission and Council expressing serious concerns about the impact on data privacy for European citizens of a new US law proposed by the US Administration and approved by Congress at the end of last week.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act aims to intercept electronic communications of US and non-US citizens alike without requiring a special warrant and gives US authorities (National Intelligence Director and Attorney General) 'carte blanche' to determine the procedures for monitoring and assessing compliance."
VIDEO SURVEILLANCE: Venice Commission report: Video surveillance in public places by public authorities and the protection of human rights (pdf)
GREECE-IRAQ: Refoulement of Iraqi citizens fleeing to Greece Common statement by 16 NGOs (pdf)
UK: Police shoulder cameras: Avon and Somerset police (link) and see: Big Brother comes to Glastonbury (Times Online, link)
British Medical Association: The use of drugs as weapons: The concerns and responsibilities of healthcare professionals (link)
UK: IPCC report is damning indictment against Metropolitan Police Service Menezes Family say (pdf)
No justice for Jean Charles: The police misled us all over the shooting of our cousin. Someone must now be held accountable by Patricia de Silva Armani and Allesandro Pereira (Guardian, link)
Independent Police Complaints Commission: Report into information released by the Metropolitan Police after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes (142 pages, pdf)
"The family complained that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, alone or with others, released inaccurate public statements concerning the circumstances of his death, concurred with inaccurate information, or failed to correct such information. The officers subject to investigation were Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, and Assistant Commissioner Andrew Hayman.
In relation to statements made on 22 July, the complaint against the Commissioner is not substantiated and there is no evidence of misconduct. However the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) should consider why the Commissioner remained uninformed of key information emerging during 22 July 2005.
The investigation report finds that the matters relating to Assistant Commissioner Andrew Hayman are substantiated. It is recommended that the MPA consider what action they intend to take concerning the conduct issues identified in relation to AC Hayman.
The report concludes that AC Hayman's actions in relation to his briefing the Crime Reporters' Association (CRA), at about 4.30 p.m., and then misleading the attendees at the 5.00 p.m. management board meeting and sub-meeting led to inaccurate or misleading information being released by the Metropolitan Police.
See also: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announces that no charges will be brought against the officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station on 22 July 2005: Press release: Menezes killing (link) and Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign Public Meeting: Justice for Jean - Two years too long to wait for justice.
EU-REFORM-TREATY: Main text now available in English:
- CIG 1: Draft Treaty amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community
- CIG 2: Protocols
- CIG 3: Draft declarations
- CIG 4: Draft Preamble
EU-EAW: European Arrest Warrant partial figures for 2006 - eight member states, inlcuding Germany, Italy and UK had not submitted statistics by 27 July 2007: EAW figures for 2006 (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: CounterTerrorism Policy and Human Rights: 28 days, intercept and postcharge questioning (160 pages, pdf)
"Recent Ministerial statements envisage an increase from 28 days in pre-trial detention limits. The Committee is not convinced of the need for this and recommends thorough scrutiny of the evidence, stronger judicial safeguards and improved parliamentary oversight."
UK-VISAS: Report of The Independent Investigation: breach of data security in the VFS online UK visa application facility, operated through VFS websites in India, Nigeria and Russia and the Government's response (pdf)
UK: Home Office information released under the FOI: Details of all the deaths in prison since 1st July 2006 until 15th April 2007 (pdf)
UK-MI5-RENDITION: Revealed: MI5's role in torture flight hell (Observer, link) and main feature: 'I helped MI5. My reward: brutality and prison' When Bisher al-Rawi agreed to work for the British government, he thought he was doing the right thing. He spent four gruelling years at Guantanamo Bay for his efforts. In this remarkable interview he breaks his silence and tells his extraordinary story to David Rose
Beware of Mr Brown. He's after your rights The new Prime Minister is subtler than Mr Blair, but he also believes our freedom gets in the way of security by Henry Porter (link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Latest draft of the Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (dated 13 July 2007, pdf) See for full documentation and background Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU-SUPERVISION ORDERS: Report from the House of Lords European Union Committee: European Supervision Order (pdf)
"It is estimated that at any one time some 4,500 EU nationals are held in custody in EU countries other than their normal country of residence. Persons resident in the Member State where they are suspected of having committed a crime may be granted bail while suspects resident in another Member State may be remanded in custody because they are perceived to be more likely to abscond.
In the absence of an international instrument specifically enabling the transfer of bail from one Member State to another, these foreigners may be detained for many months pending the outcome of the criminal investigation or trial. The Commissions proposal for a European supervision order (ESO) seeks to address this problem."
OXFAM: Foreign Territory: The Internationalisation of EU Asylum Policy (pdf, link)
"This study measures the fast-moving internationalisation of EU asylum policy against the very principles of refugee protection to which the EU has publicly re-affirmed its commitment. We trace asylum policy from EU territory to its borders and periphery, then from nearby transit countries to host countries in regions of origin, and finally to refugees own countries."
UK: 'You are crushed": Plans to hold terrorism suspects without charge for up to 56 days were unveiled by Gordon Brown this week. But do the police really need more powers? Mouloud Sihali, cleared of plotting to spread ricin poison on London's streets, tells Duncan Campbell about his nightmare in detention (Guardian, link)
UK: House of Commons Transport Committee report on: Passengers Experiences of Air Travel (pdf) Airport security searches: "intrusive and degrading process" The Airport Operators Association sums up the situation:
"The combination of long queues, substantial disrobing and complicated searching leaves the passenger with an experience of having been through an intrusive and degrading process Airport staff report to us that the government has lost the goodwill that passengers initially afforded it Airport Security Managers are reporting that they are seeing similar trends in terms of goodwill among their security staff, who likewise are struggling to accept complexities associated with the current regime."
and Professor Alan Hatcher of the International School for Security and Explosives Education and Michael Todd, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester both pointed out to us in October 2006 that lengthy queues in check-in areas presented a significant security threat:
"One of my concerns is that we are creating new targets. We have lines of people in terminals now, 200, 300 people in a queue, your bag is not searched when you go in or out, you can take 23kg of baggage with you and 23kg of ammonium nitrate mix would make a good impact."
The Committee also reports that: "7,000 tonnes of prohibited material being collected every year." and Mr Hutcheson of BAA, explained that:
"the most effective security regime is one that the public willingly participate in, the public today do not understand it; it is complex, they do not accept it and there is strong evidence that they even resist it.
UK: Report to the House of Commons: Report of the Investigation into the disturbances at Harmondsworth and Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centres by Robert Whalley CB (pdf)
European Human Rights Advocacy Centre: European Court condemns cold-blooded execution of civilians by the Russian armed forces in Novye Aldy, Chechnya (press release)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion on Data protection directive: EDPS wants full implementation before considering changes to the framework(pdf) and Press release (pdf)
UK: Report from the Constitutional Affairs Committee: The creation of the Ministry of Justice and Press release
"The creation of the new Ministry of Justice goes far beyond a mere technical Machinery of Government change as the Government has tried to suggest and should have been subject to proper consultation and debate,"
EU: RAXEN report on Racism and xenophobia: 1997-2005 (pdf)
UK: Statement by the Prime Minister to parliament on national security plans (pdf). Includes consultation over period of detention in terrorist cases (currently up to 28 days), possible use of intercept evidence in court and separation of powers between the Joint Intelligence Committee and the government's policy advisor (as a result of the "dodgy" Iraq dossiers on WMD in Iraq). The statement also makes great play on "border management" (e-Borders) and "identity management":
"The way forward is electronic screening of all passengers as they check in and out of our country at ports and airports - so that terrorist suspects can be identified and stopped before they board planes, trains and boats to the United Kingdom."
But then goes on to talk about "terrorists", "criminals" and "illegal immigrants" and access to "criminal records" from across the EU plus the need for "ID security within our own borders"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Nobody wants to get on a plane or boat with a known or suspected terrorist and all necessary measures should be taken to stop terrorist attacks in the UK.
However, by proposing the monitoring of everyone's travel in and out of the UK for just about any purpose and the introduction of ID cards the government is seeking to legitimate the surveillance society in the name of the fight against terrorism."
Other background documents (25.7.07):
- Possible measures for inclusion in a future Counter Terrorism Bill
- Options for pre-charge detention in terrorist cases
- Scrutiny of pre-charge detention in terrorist cases
- Government Discussion Document Ahead of Proposed Counter Terror Bill 2007 (previous Home Secretary)
- Letter from John Reid to Lord Carlile
UK-USA RENDITION: Damning report from the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee: UK agencies and Rendition (pdf) Committee press release (pdf) Government's response to the report (pdf) It is perhaps convenient that on the same day as the Statement on national security above the government should choose to release this report. Among the Committee's findings:
- in the case of Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna where UK agencies provided evidence to the USA with the caveat "speicifcally prohibiting any action being taken - this was disregarded by the USA and Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna triggered their arrest and "Rendition to Detention". Moreover, the Security Service failed to tell Ministers about their relationship with Bisher al-Rawi and that it: "took *** years, and a court case, to bring it to their attention"
- the SIS (MI6) and Security Service (MI5) were "slow" to appreciate the "change in US rendition policy": "the Agencies should have detected the emerging pattern of renditions sooner and used greater caution in working with the U.S. at an earlier stage."
- "in fighting international terrorism it is clear that the U.S. will take whatever action it deems is necessary, within U.S. law, to protect its national security.
Although the U.S. may take note of UK protests and concerns, it does not appear materially to affect their strategy"
- the Committee had difficulties in a number of areas getting information: GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, which runs - with NSA - a global communications surveillance system) passed intelligence to the US National Security Agency (NSA) which could have passed it to the CIA. The Committee simply had to accept that the GCHQ-NSA agreement that this required "explicit permission" actually worked. Similarly "General Aviation Reports" on flight plans "appears to be systematically flawed" so complete data on flights was not available.
- the Committee recommends that despite "caveats and assurances" any future requests which could lead to rendition should be referred to Ministers for approval.
CIA discounted British concerns, say MPs (Guardian, link)
See also: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006: On the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners - EU governments have colluded by turning a blind eye, by failing to ask any questions or exercising any control and Statewatch's Observatories on: "Terrorist lists": monitoring proscription, designation and asset freezing and Rendition: the use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detewntion of prisoners
EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN: Citizens should have greater access to EU documents (pdf) and Press release (pdf)
UK: Guidance on biometric technologies in schools (pdf) and Information Commissioners' Office: Fingerprinting in schools (pdf) "In view of the sensitivity of taking childrens fingerprints, schools should respect the wishes of parents and pupils who object to their (or their childrens) fingerprints being taken in school."
EU-HEALTH-INTEROPERABILITY: Draft Revised document in preparation of Draft Recommendation of the Commission on eHealth interoperability (pdf) The aim is that access is available of: "a patients electronic health record, patient summary, and emergency data from any place in Europe: within countries, in cross-border regions, and between countries."
EU-REFORM TREATY: TEU: Statewatch analysis: Reform Treaty Analysis no. 2.1: Revised text of the Treaty establishing the European Union (TEU) (except for the foreign policy provisions) - Annotated version (pdf) and Statewatch analysis: Reform Treaty Analysis no. 2.1: Revised text of the Treaty establishing the European Union (TEU) (except for the foreign policy provisions)- Clean version (pdf) Prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. See Treaty proposals in full below
EU-REFORM TREATY-TEC: JHA PROVISIONS: Annotated: Full-text of the justice and home affairs provisions in the revised TEC (pdf) Full-text - Clean version (pdf) Prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. See Treaty proposals in full below
EU-REFORM TREATY: First texts: Projet de traité modifiant le traité sur l'Union européenne et le traité instituant la Communauté européenne (CIG 1, 145 pages, pdf) Protocols (CIG 2, 69 pages, pdf) Projet de déclarations (CIG 3, 63 pages, pdf). 277 pages in all.
EU-USA relations: US "blacklists EU multinationals for trading with "State Sponsors of Terrorism" See: also: US steps up effort to stop EU firms trading with Iran (Guardian, link)
UK: No2ID campaign plots location of passport/ID "interrogation" centres: Map (link)
EU-MEDITERRANEAN: Malta ship-boarding agreement with the USA (98 pages, pdf) This agreement is currently being discussed in the Maltese parliament. It is intended to cover the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related matters. It covers, in great detail, the rules to be followed when officials board and search suspected vessels.
Two more documents, submitted in the consultation on the EU Maritime Policy, concern the Mediterranean:
- Chiefs of the European Navies (CHENS)
"CHENS forum meets annually and its members comprise, at this time, the Chiefs of Navy from 23 nations of the European continent, either members of NATO or the EU, along with observers from NATO HQs, the EU Military Staff and the Commander US Naval Forces Europe Command."
- THALESs Contribution to the Consultation Process
"In this economical environment illegal and criminal activities on the sea and from the sea have developed dramatically during the last 10 years and are impacting massively on European societies."
UK: Constitutional Affairs Committee report on: Constitutional Role of the Attorney General (pdf)
"Our Report identifies inherent tensions in combining ministerial and political functions, on the one hand, and the provision of independent legal advice and superintendence of the prosecution services, on the other hand, within one office....
the offices role in three particular controversial matters have highlighted further concerns: advice on the legality of invading Iraq; potential prosecutions in the "cash for honours" case; and the decision to halt investigations by the Serious Fraud Office into BAE Systems....
We therefore recommend that the current duties of the Attorney General be split in two: the purely legal functions should be carried out by an official who is outside party political life; the ministerial duties should be carried out by a minister in the Ministry of Justice."
EU-USA-PNR: The formal Council adoption of the PNR agreement notes that Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland and Finland have to comply with the requirements of their constitutional procedure in accordance with Article 24 TEU. Article 24 says that the agreement is not binding on these states until this process is completed. The other EU member states can provisionally apply the agreement: EU doc no: 11493/07 See for full historical background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on EU-US PNR
UK: Defence Vetting Agency: Annual report Over 142,000 people were cleared for access up to "Secret" classified information and over 13,000 to "Top Secret" category
EU-US relations: Visa Waiver Programme checks for all
The official view in the EU is that the recently concluded agreements - PNR and SWIFT - with the USA represent finding "common ground" and balancing privacy and security - a view not shared by many. In the wings there is another issue where the USA is seeking to lay down the rules for the EU: the US Via Waiver Programme (VWP)
UK: Committee for the Administration of Justice press release: Calls for internment must be resisted (pdf) The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) today urged that the UK authorities bear in mind the unmitigated disaster that internment proved to be in Northern Ireland when considering appropriate lengths of detention without charge.
Background: Lock terror suspects up indefinitely say police (Observer, link) The proposal, put forward by the President of the Association of Police Chief Officers (ACPO), Ken Jones, who said: "'We are now arguing for judicially supervised detention for as long as it takes" (the current limit for detention without charge is 28 days). This drew the following comment: "It is coming to the point when we have to ask serious questions about the role of ACPO in a constitutional democracy,'" said Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty. "We elect politicians to determine legislation and we expect chief constables to uphold the rule of law, not campaign for internment."
EU-ECJ: The Opinion of the Advocate General (Case C-64/05 P) Kingdom of Sweden v Commission of the European Communities and Others: Full-ext of Opinion (pdf) Would overturns a member states veto on releasing Council documents.
EU: First report by the European Data Protection Supervisor on Eurodac (contains fingerprints of more than 250.000 asylum seekers)
UK: Terrorist arrest figures: Home Office figures show that of 1,228 arrested 669 released without charge
NETHERLANDS: Mass Police Raid on Immigrants in Amsterdam (link)
EU: House of Lords European Union Committee: The Further Enlargement of the EU: follow-up Report
EU: Statewatch analysis: Reform Treaty: Likely revised text of the Treaty establishing the European Union (TEU) (clean text, pdf) and Annotated text (pdf), prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
UK: Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign Public Meeting: Justice for Jean - Two years too long to wait for justice. (pdf) 6.30pm, Monday 23rd July 2007, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1
EU-USA-PNR: European Parliament Resolution on the new EU-USA PNR agreement: "substantially flawed" (pdf) MEPs fear that new PNR agreement fails to protect citizens' data (EP press release) For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR with USA
EU-BORDER CONTROL AGENCY: Frontex annual report for 2006 (pdf)
UK: Medical Justice Network launched (link) For improving health care for asylum seekers health care for asylum seekers and refugees often fails to meet acceptable standards. They have serious problems getting access to NHS care, and in presenting clinical evidence to support legitimate claims for refugee status. The medical services for those who are detained are especially problematic.
Updated: 15 July 2006: EU: European Commission to propose EU PNR travel surveillance system
- why have we heard so little about the EU's API system?
- what is the difference between API, APP and PNR?
- new US PNR list the same as the old one
EU: European Commission evaluation report on the European Arrest Warrant and surrender procedures (COM 407, pdf) The report notes that a number of member states have refused to surrender their own nationals and that in a number of countries the designated competent judicial authority is, directly or indirectly, the Ministry of Justice (a political not a judicial authority). The only statists referred to are for 2005 and the Annex to the report has not yet been published.
An issue not raised in the Commission's evaluation is the principle of proportionality, which under case law, means that in each case a comparison must be made between the seriousness of the offence and on the other hand the resources to be used and that an EAW involves depriving an individual of their liberty.
EAW issued for the "theft of a piglet": The Council's Working Party on cooperation in criminal matters is carrying out its fourth evaluation visits process and has issued a report on the "principle of proportionality" because some member states have issued EAWs "for what is perceived as very minor offences". These include:
"- detention of 0.45 grams of cannabis;
- detention of 1.5 grams of marijuana;
- detention of 0.15 grams of heroin;
- detention of 3 ecstasy tablets;
- theft of two car tyres;
- driving a car under the influence of alcohol, where the limit was not significantly exceeded (0.81 mg/l)
- theft of a piglet"
See: EU doc no: 10975/07 (full-text, pdf)
EU-ECJ: The Court of First Instance anuls the Council Decisions ordering Jose Maria Sison and Stichting Al-Aqsa' funds to be frozen in the figt against terrorism (Press release). Court judgments, full-text : Sison (pdf) and Al-Asqa (pdf)
EU: "REFORM TREATY": European Commission: Reforming Europe for the 21st Century
EU: Lobbying the European Union by Committee: The strategies of corporate influence in the Commissions expert groups, Councils working groups and comitology committees - Corporate Observatory Europe (link)
EU-PUBLIC-ORDER-COUNTER-TERRORISM: The final version of the Security handbook for the use of police authorities and other agencies at international events (EU doc no:10589 Rev 1, 4 July 2007)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs: External Relations Multi-Presidency Work Programme
Interview with UN Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin (Voltairenet, link)
US-VISIT exit system not in place, nor likely to be in the foreseeable future The US VISIT programme, which is intended to record the entry and exit of every visitor, is still not working nor is there any prospect of it doing so. While most of the the 300 air, sea and land "points of entry" are operating "biometrically enabled" entry records "comparable exit capabilities are not"
NORTHERN IRELAND: Statement from the Pat Finucane Centre: Operation Banner-An Analysis of Military Operations in Northern Ireland (link)
While carrying out research the PFC recently discovered a document outlining the British military view of its own role, function, successes and failures from 1969 to 2006. The document, Operation Banner-An Analysis of Military Operations in Northern Ireland, offers an unprecedented and deeply worrying insight into the thinking of senior military officers and civil servants at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. Above all the document betrays a profoundly colonial mindset towards the conflict here and those involved in it."
EU:"REFORM TREATY": Statewatch analysis: EU Reform Treaty: Likely text of the First Pillar External relations provisions (clean version, pdf) EU Reform Treaty: Likely text of the First Pillar External relations provisions (Annotated version) Prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
UK-ASYLUM-SEEKERS: Report by the parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Government Response to the Committee's Tenth Report of this Session: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers (pdf) Joint Human Rights Committee: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers (pdf) It calls for an end to the detention of children and condemns the present system of dealing with those seeking asylum
EU: Sanctions on "illegally staying third-country nationals: UK government position - Explanatory Memorandum (pdf)
Background: European Commission Staff working paper: SEC 596/07 ; Summary of Impact Assessment (SEC 604/07) and Impact Assessment (SEC 603/07) ; Proposal for a Directive providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (COM 249/07)
EU-USA-SWIFT-AGREEMENT: Swift agreement - Processing of EU originating Personal Data by United States Treasury Department for Counter Terrorism Purposes - "SWIFT" (full-text, pdf) and Swift agreement exchange of letters, full-text (full-text, pdf)
- the "Processing" statement says bank customers are to be: "informed about the processing of SWIFT data, including transfers to the United States for commercial purpose and the possible processing of those data by the US Treasury for counter terrorism purposes." (emphasis added)
- the exchange of letters does not constitute an agreement between the EU and the USA under international law. The processing of data statement was unilaterally adopted by the US Treasury which it could unilaterally change.
- European Data Protection Supervisor's opinion on the role of the European Central Bank in the SWIFT case
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"SWIFT's compliance with EU data protection laws appears to mean simply informing people that all their data will be transferred to the USA for any purpose connected to terrorism with no obligation to tell them when and to whom it is passed, how it is processed, to whom it is passed on to, and for how long it is held, and to whom they can apply for their records or to whom they can appeal against the content and use of processing or further processing by un-named agencies and bodies. Nor is the agreement legally binding.
If this is what data protection means then it is utterly worthless."
EU-HAGUE-PROGRAMME: The European Commission has produced:
- Report on the implementation of The Hague programme for 2006 (COM 373, pdf)
- Commission staff working document: Annex to the Communication: Report on the implementation of The Hague programme for 2006 (Institutional Scoreboard Table 1) (SEC 896, pdf)
- Commission staff working document: Annex to the Communication: Report on the implementation of The Hague programme for 2006: Follow-up of the implementation of legal instruments in the fields of justice, freedom and security at national level 2006: Implementation Scoreboard Table 2 (SEC 897, pdf)
UK: The Governance of Britain (pdf) Includes removal of use of the royal prerogative to go to war and to sign international treaties.
G8: Summary of the monitoring of demonstrations at the G8 summit from Grundrechtekomitee (Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: Article 29 Working Party (national Data Protection Commissioners) Opinion: On the concept of personal data (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Monitoring the government's response to court judgments, findings and breaching of human rights (154 pages, pdf)
EU: Council provisional agendas for next six months including justice and home affairs
EU-USA-PNR AGREEMENT: Agreement, letter, 28 June 2007: full-text (pdf) Letter (pdf) European Data Protection Supervisor, Peter Hustinx, letter to the German Council Presidency: Hustinx letter, 27 June 2007: full-text (pdf). The letter expresses "grave concern" at the proposals
UK: Removal of asylum seekers to third countries, incompatible with ECHR law: Judgment: Full-text (pdf)
EU-ECHR: Advocate-General's opinion on the EC's powers over criminal law: Opinion (pdf)
EU-GERMAN COUNCIL PRESIDENCY: The German Presidency of the Council of the European Union: Taking stock of Germanys EU Presidency (pdf) It says that in the Reform Treaty: "it was possible to preserve the most important innovations of the Constitutional Treaty and thus retain its substance" (emphasis in original)
Call to sign Letter of protest to Spanish authorities on the gagging and killing of a Nigerian citizen Osamuyiwa Aikpitanhi during his forced deportation: The Nigeria Village Square, a virtual meeting spot for Nigerians all over the world, published a "Protest Note to Spanish Authorities", which has so far been signed by more then 3.000 people. The protest note will be delivered to Spanish embassies around the globe at 12pm on FRIDAY June 29^th . The organisers are calling on people to coordinate the delivery of the note to Spanish embassies in their cities. Sign the protest note here: http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/component/option,com_philaform/Itemid,195/form_id,1 See also: Nigerian dies during deportation from Spain by the IRR News Team
EU-USA-PNR: European Data Protection Supervisor, Peter Hustinx, letter to the German Council Presidency: Hustinx letter, 27 June 2007: full-text (pdf). The letter expresses "grave concern" at the proposals to:
- extend the time personal data is held from 3.5 years to 15 years:
- data can be passed to a "broad range of US agencies" with "no limitation" on its further processing;
- the absence of a "robust legal mechanism" for EU citizens to "challenge misuse" of their data;
- and the fact that the US "wants to avoid a binding agreement"
Previous Statewatch coverage (21 June 2007):
EU-USA-PNR (passenger name record): EU negotiators agree that PNR data will be held for 7 years, doubling the current 3.5 years, and in addition agree that data can be access for a further 8 years (so-called "dormant" data).
An "Extraordinary meeting" of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) was held in Luxembourg on 12 June 2007 during the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The sole subject on the agenda as the EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement: Minutes of COREPER meeting: EU doc no: 10994/07
The current "Undertakings" state that PNR data will be held for: "3.5 years from the date the data is accessed (or received) from the air carrier's reservation system. After 3.5 years, PNR data that has not been manually accessed during that period of time, will be destroyed. PNR data that has been manually accessed during the initial 3.5 year period will be transferred by CBP to a deleted record file."
Under the proposed new agreement: "PNR data would be kept for 7 years as "active" data and 8 years as "dormant" data."
Under the existing agreement data which has not been accessed for 3.5 years is destroyed. Under the proposed agreement all data will be held for 15 years.
Moreover, the new agreement will be
"supplemented by an exchange of letters acknowledging the unilateral undertakings that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is ready to adopt to protect the PNR data through a Statement of Record Notice (SORN). The precise nexus between the two is not agreed yet (the US side wants to avoid that the exchange of letters amounts to an agreement)."
The EU negotiators thus intend to accept the US demand that the protection of personal data is not covered by the formal agreement.
Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would get access to PNR data and not only the Customs and Border Protection Department (CBP).- the DHS, under US law, has to ensure that "terrorism information" is passed promptly "to the head of each other agency that has counterterrorist functions". The EU is effectively agreeing that the USA can pass personal data to a multitude of agencies (who may further process it).
The only apparent concession is that the data fields will be reduced from 34 to 19 - though it is not known which will be deleted.
Background: EU-USA PNR agreement renegotiated to meet US demands - when the law changes in the USA so too does access to data and how it is processed: EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement of 6 October 2006: Full-text plus Original agreement of 17 May 2004 (pdf) US Undertakings attached to agreement, 2004 (pdf). See: House of Lords EU Committee report: The EU/US Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement (139 pages, pdf) See for full historical background: Statewatch's Observatory on EU-US PNR
UK: Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (245 pages!! pdf) The 55th Bill on "law and order" and immigration since 1997. It is said to introduce 19 new criminal offences.
UK-RENDITION: All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons: Press release: Government in denial
EU-AI: Amnesty International letter to the Portuguese Council Presidency: The ambitions and ambivalence of EU human rights policy: Amnesty Internationals ten-point programme for the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union (pdf)
EU-REFORM-TREATY-JHA: Statewatch analysis: EU Reform Treaty: Likely text of the Justice and Home Affairs provisions prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, 25 June 2007
- EU Council Conclusions: "IGC mandate" turning the EU Constitution into a "Reform Treaty".
- Corrections to the IGC Conclusions
- Opinion of the Council Legal Service: Primacy of EC law The opinion says nothing of substance (ie whether primacy would apply to the CFSP)
- European Parliament: The Reform Treaty, le traité « modificatif » : ce qui va changer ? (French, pdf)
EU-LIQUIDS-BAN: Draft Resolution from the European Parliament Transport Committee to be taken at the plenary session: Draft resolution: full-text
EU-SIS II: Title IV of the Schengen Convention Updated text and Updated list of competent authorities which are authorised to search directly the data contained in the Schengen Information System- covers all EU states (except UK) plus Norway and Iceland
G8: European Democratic Lawyers Press Statement on the G8 summit, held in Heiligendamm from the 6th-8th of June: During the G8 summit, held in Heiligendamm from the 6th to the 8th of June 2007, a large number of German lawyers belonging to the RAV (Association of Republican Lawyers), the Strafverteidigervereinigung von Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (association of defence lawyers) as well as lawyers belonging to the EDL (European Democratic Lawyers) and to the Legal Team Europa committed themselves to defend the fundamental rights of those who had come from all over Europe to express their dissent.
EDL Press statement on what happened
EDL home page
NORTHERN IRELAND: Human Rights Commission response to collusion prosecution failure (pdf)
"The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission regrets that no prosecutions will be brought in connection with Lord Stevens most recent investigation into alleged collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries."
"TERRORIST" LISTS: Updated: Statewatch's Observatory on "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing including UK: Never mind the Baluch? Article by Ben Hayes on the UK government's blacklisting of the Baluchistan Liberation Army and the situation in Baluchistan
UK: Constitutional Affairs Committee opposes government plans to extend powers to reject Freedom of Information requests: Report - full-text (pdf)
"We have not received any evidence to show that the new charging regime would be transparent and subject to adequate review, nor how such a review process would operate; the proposed regime could result in public authorities avoiding answers to embarrassing, contentious or high-profile cases as the number of internal consultees rises in proportion to the sensitivity of particular requests"
NEW: EU-CONSTITUTION-TREATY: EU Council Conclusions - p16 onwards covers the "Draft IGC mandate" turning the EU Constitution into a "Reform Treaty".
Statewatch analysis: The proposed Reform Treaty for the European Union by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex based on background document: First draft of "Treaty" proposals: full-text (pdf)
UK-USA: Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the United States of America with Exchange of Notes (pdf) See Statewatch analysis: The UK-US Extradition Treaty (pdf) - removes or restricts key protections for defendants and signed and adopted with no parliamentary scrutiny
UK-IRR NEWS SERVICE: The Blair legacy by Frances Webber. As Blair leaves office, he leaves a country more divided - by race, class and status - than he found it.
EU:European Commission: Progress report on the Visa Information System (SEC 833, 2007)
- Council: European Union autonomous/additional restrictive measures (sanctions) - Recommendations for dealing with country-specific EU autonomous sanctions of EU additions to UN sanctions lists
- European Commission: Report based on Article 9 of the Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA of 22 July 2003 on combating corruption in the private sector
- European Parliament: Conciliations and Codecision activity report: July 2004 to December 2006
- UK government Explanatory Memorandum: Council Decision on stepping up cross-border cooperation, especially in combating terrorism and cross border crime- (transposing the Prum Treaty provisions)
- UK government Explanatory Memorandum: Framework Decision on criminal procedural rights
- UK government Explanatory Memorandum: Framework Decision on criminal procedural rights - Council of Europe's observations
UK: The Government Reply to the Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. Report on the Operation in 2006 of the Terrorism Act 2000 ; Lord Carlile: Second annual report on the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005
EU-AI LETTER: Amnesty International Open letter to Heads of State or Government of the European Union to ban CIA renditions (pdf)
London: Public meeting and film showing of Outlawed: Rendition, torture & disappearances in the war on terror, 6.30pm Friday 22 June - programme (pdf) Organised by CAMPACC in cooperation with the London Guantánamo Campaign, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and Garden Court Chambers.
EU CONSTITUTION-TREATY: The Council Presidency has released two general documents on the proposed process of adopting a "Treaty" rather than a "Constitution": Pursuing the treaty reform process and EU doc no: 10837/07. The relevant section of the Constitution covering justice and home affairs: JHA full-text (pdf) For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the EU Constitution
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System (pdf)
"young black people are overrepresented at all stages of the criminal justice system. Black people constitute 2.7% of the population aged 1017, but represent 8.5% of those of that age group arrested in England and Wales. As a group, they are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, less likely to be given unconditional bail and more likely to be remanded in custody than white young offenders. Young black people and those of mixed ethnicity are likely to receive more punitive sentences than young white people."
EU: European Parliament study on "The implementation of the EU guidelines on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", carried out by the Policy Department of the Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union at the request of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.
EU-JHA COUNCIL: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 June 2007: Final press release (pdf)
UK: The House of Lords appeal court, ruled on 13 June that European human rights law does apply to UK troops serving in Iraq in the case of an Iraqi man who died in their custody four years ago: Full-text HoL judgment (pdf)
EU SECURITY SERVICES: "Venice Commission" (CoE): Report on the democratic oversight of the security services (56 pages, pdf).
"Security services have inbred in them a potential of abuse of State power. The subjectivity and flexibility of the notion of national security, combined with its vital importance to the State, mean that governments have a wide margin of manoeuvre in this area. They could be tempted to use the security services to pursue illegitimate aims. It is thus necessary to establish mechanisms to prevent political abuse, while providing for effective governance of the agencies."
G8 summit Heiligendamm: Press release by the 'Media Bus Amsterdam' on Riot Police confiscating the bus and obstructing journalists "Severe infringement of press freedom mobile media bus confiscated by police."
Spain: Another death in deportation class On Saturday, 9 June 2007, 23-year-old Osamuyia Aikpitanhi died during a deportation flight with an Iberia jet from Spain to Nigeria. Aikpitanhi's family blames police of punching and kicking him before he died - with a restraining gag over his mouth. The Spanish police declined to name a cause for the man's death and a spokesman said that an investigation was under way. Press overview in English: http://no-racism.net/article/2143; Spanish report (espanol): Muere un inmigrante nigeriano asfixiado durante una deportación http://estrecho.indymedia.org/newswire/display/68704/index.php
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg: JHA press release on 12 June (1st day decisions)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: Latest Council draft of the Framework Decision on data protection in police and criminal issues: EU doc no: 7315 rev 2 (dated 6 June 2007). See story below and Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU-DATA PROTECTION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) blasts the Council's attitude to data protection and calls on the incoming Portuguese Council Presidency to take a different direction: Full-text of EDPS letter to incoming Council Presidency (pdf) and Press release (pdf). The EDPS, Peter Hustinx says:
"I fear that messages such as 'no right to privacy until life and security are guaranteed' are developing into a mantra suggesting that fundamental rights and freedoms are a luxury that security can not afford. I very much challenge that view and stress that there should be no doubt that effective anti-terror measures can be framed within the boundaries of data protection" (press release) and
"more and more statements are being made by leaders and representatives of Member States which seem to suggest that rights afforded by privacy and data protection legislation are viewed as incompatible with security and justice in the face of the threats posed by international terrorism...[including] a similar statement made at the latest G6 summit in Venice by the Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Franco Frattini." (letter to incoming Presidency) and this position:
"ignores the lessons learned about the abuse of fundamental rights from dealing with terrorism within Europe's borders over the last 50 years... In the past examples can be found in different parts of Europe where the failure to protect fundamental rights has served as source of continued unrest rather than ensure safety and stability."
- Conclusions on the Draft data protection proposal on police and judicial cooperation (EU doc no: 10200 rev 1 2007) - adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg (12 JUne 2007) - state that:
"These rules will build upon the minimum data protection principles set by the Convention of 28 January 1981 for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data and its Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001, and take account of Recommendation (87)15 regulating the use of personal data in the police sector, both adopted in the framework of the Council of Europe."
When the opinions of the European Data Protection Authorities, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the Council of Europe say that the draft being discussed up in secret Council working party meetings does nothing of the sort.
The Council Conclusions also state that it:
"will examine all solutions suggested by the European Parliament, in the spirit of co-operation that is reflected in the opinion."
The European Parliament report: Adopted 2nd report (dated 24.5.07, pdf) propose 60 amendments to the draft on the table in the Council working party.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"So far there is absolutely no evidence - both in its response to the European Parliament's first report last year and and its new one that the Council is taking any notice at all. Nor is there, as yet, any evidence that it is responding to the detailed critiques from the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Data Protection Authorities.
It is to be hoped that Mr Hustinx's intervention will shame the Council (and the Commission) in calling a halt to the catalogue of measures - of which data protection is one - which have consistently put the demands of "security" before fundamental rights and civil liberties."
Commissioner Frattini's press release (12.6.07) adds nothing to the Council Conclusions.
For the full background and documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 June 2007 in Luxembourg:
- B Points agenda (for discussion)
- A Points agenda (for adoption without any discussion, 61 items!)
- Background Note (pdf)
- Incorporating the Prum Treaty: 10232/ rev 1 2007
Comment: euobserver: Controversial data-sharing deal to get the go-ahead (link)
- SIS II: Conclusions (EU do no: 10586/07) Quick incorporation and automated searches for finger-prints planned (see point 15)
Renditions: US/Italy: Boeing subsidiary to face lawsuit for servicing CIA rendition flights
Euskadi/Spain: Illegalisation of lists for May municipal elections
Belgium: RFID passports containing sensitive information discovered to be unencrypted, and encrypted ones are easy to decipher
EU: Public order and counter-terrorism: Security handbook for the use of police authorities and other agencies at international events (EU doc no: 9679/1/07, dated 6 June 2007) Previous version: EU doc no: 15226/1/06)
The Council of the European Union (representing the 27 governments) is proposing that the existing handbooks on public order at EU events and that on counter-terrorism should be combined: "The scope of the manual is now such that it applies to the security (both from a public order point of view as well as counter-terrorism) of all major international events, be it political, sporting, social, cultural or other."
As regards public order and cross-border demonstrations, the agencies should: "prevent individuals or groups who are considered to pose a potential threat to the maintenance of public law and order and/or security from travelling to the location of the event" and for those who have entered make: "The necessary arrangements for a quick and efficient implementation of the potential expulsion measures"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Cross-border demonstrations, like those is Gothenburg, Genoa and Davos, where people are exercising their democratic right to protest should never be put in the same bracket as terrorist attacks where the aim is to kill and maim indiscriminately"
France: Human Rights Watch report : In the Name of Prevention: Insufficient Safeguards in National Security Removals (pdf)
"France has pursued unapologetically a policy of forcibly returning non-French citizens accused of links to terrorism and extremism to their countries of origin since the 1980s.
Over the past five years France has forcibly removed dozens of such foreigners. Some were deported after serving prison sentences for terrorism-related offences. Others were Muslim religious leaders (imams) expelled for preaching ideas deemed
by the authorities to advocate extremism and contribute to radicalization. Available government figures indicate that 71 individuals described as Islamic fundamentalists were forcibly removed from France between September 11, 2001, and September 2006."
- Commission: Green Paper on the future Common European Asylum System (COM 301)
- Report from the Commission on the evaluation of the Dublin system (COM 299)
- Commission Staff working paper on the evaluation of the Dublin system (SEC 724)
- from the Council: Evaluation report on the fourth round of mutual evaluations "the practical application of the European Arrest Warrant and corresponding surrender procedures between member states" report on Spain
Council of Europe: Clandestine CIA operations authorised through NATO including those in Poland and Romania: Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: Second report (link to press release). Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving CoE members: second report by Dick Marty (full-text, pdf)
- Disguised CIA flights to Poland (link to graph)
- The "secure zone" for CIA transfers and secret detentions in Romania (link)
- Flight logs related to the secret "homeward rendition" of Khaled El-Masri in May 2004 (pdf)
- The investigation into secret detentions in Europe: a chronology (link)
EU: Commission report in response to the European Parliament's report on CIA detention and rendition in Europe: Commission response to EP report (pdf)
US-DISAPPEARED-DETAINEES: Leading Human Rights Groups Name 39 CIA Disappeared Detainees & Three Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Information about Ghost Detention (press release) Briefing: Off the record: US responsibility for enforced disappearances in the "war on terror", full-text with names (pdf)
In the most comprehensive accounting to date, six leading human rights organisations today published a briefing paper revealing the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody and whose current whereabouts remain unknown.
The list - drafted by Amnesty International, Cageprisoners, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, Human Rights Watch, and Reprieve - provides new names of missing detainees, new information about those known to be disappeared, and names relatives of suspects who were themselves detained in secret prisons, including children as young as seven.
Spain: Annual report on torture documents the "persistence of torture and ill-treatment"
The 2007 annual report by the Coordinadora para la prevención de la tortura, presented in Santiago de Compostela on 12 May 2007 by this network encompassing 44 civil society groups working on the issue of torture, reports on the cases of 616 people who reported incidents of torture and ill-treatment in 2006 in relation to 270 incidents. It demonstrates "the persistence of torture and ill-treatment" on an almost daily basis in Spain.
UK: Home Secretary proposes new anti-terrorism powers: New measures proposed to fight terrorism (Home Office, 7 June 2007, pdf). These include:
- longer pre-charge detention - the government has made it clear that it believes it is right to hold suspects beyond 28 days, but the Home Secretary said he wants, if possible, to build a broad agreement on the issue before action is taken;
- enhanced sentences - when terror suspects are charged with general offences, the government believes sentences should be longer than in non-terror cases
- intercept as evidence - a review will be conducted into the potential ramifications of allowing intercept to be used in terrorism court cases
- stop and question - the government is conducting an internal consultation on the possibility of enhancing police powers to allow them to stop and question people about their activities, but the matter is at a very early stage
A Bill is expected in the autumn.
G8 summit Heiligendamm: Riot Police confiscate media bus and obstruct journalists
A media bus offering space for independent journalists covering the protests and police repression in Heiligendamm, Germany, was confiscated around 6-7 pm (Thursday) from a central parking lot in the city of Bad Doberan, near Heiligendamm.
This is a serious violation of the democratic principle of the protection of journalists's sources and a severe infringement of press freedom. The independent media bus had an official permit to park in the centre of Bad Doberan as part of independent info points located around Heiligendamm, with the aim of providing objective and up-to-date information on the protests and their treatment by the German authorities. Riot police storming this bus and bringing it to an unknown location is in line with the criminalisation of the protest movement by the German authorities as seen during the past months. More information: http://de.indymedia.org/
EU-SUSPECTS RIGHTS: Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union (EU doc no 10287/07, dated 5 June 2007). General scrutiny reservations were been laid down by the UK, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Slovakia delegations (who want a non-binding Resolution). UK, Malta and Cyprus have a specific reservation on whether the Council can adopt a binding text covering domestic criminal proceedings. Ireland has a reservation on the legal basis. All the "Options" presented by the Council Presidency are being blocked. See Statewatch's analysis by Steve Peers: Rights for Criminal Suspects and EU law (pdf)
EU/Africa: Chilling details of refoulements from Morocco revealed In-depth analysis of events and the legal implications of large-scale operations involving the "Detention, deportation and degrading treatment of 42 black persons of sub-Saharan origin, asylum-seekers and refugees, in Morocco in the early morning hours of 23rd to 24th December 2006".
UK: Home Office: Proposed code of practice to search, question, fingerprint, strip-search and detain people for up to nine hours at airports, ports and borders (pdf) and Consultation on the code of practice (pdf) New concerns over right to detain travellers (Guardian, link)
EU-USA-PNR: The House of Lords EU Committee raises concerns over passenger name record agreement with the US (press release) Full-text of the report: The EU/US Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement (139 pages, pdf) See for background: Statewatch's Observatory on EU-US PNR
EU-COE: Is the Additional Protocol on racism and xenophobia to the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention dead?
The Additional Protocol on racism and xenophobia: Protocol - full-text (pdf) List of signatories and ratifications of the Protocol on racism (COE, link) As at 5 June 2007 just 20 signatories states and 11 ratifications - only 6 EU member states have ratified the Protocol and only 19 out of 27 EU member states are signatories. Eight EU member states have not even signed up to the Protocol, including the UK. Nor has the USA signed the Protocol on racism.
At the EU-US informal High Level meeting on Freedom, Security and Justice on 2-3 March 2006 in Vienna (EU do no: 7618/06) the minutes say::
"US side is worried by the proposal recently made to negotiate a Protocol to this convention. All efforts should be devoted to the ratification of the Convention. The Presidency indicated that it would defend this position at the forthcoming meeting of the CDPC in Strasbourg."
NB: The Council "Presidency" was Austria - which has signed the Protocol but not ratified it.
Background: European Commission Communication on Cyber-crime (pdf) Commission press release (pdf) As this Communication does not contain a proposed measure the Commission notes that all EU member states are signed up to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. However, out of 27 member states only 11 have ratified it and brought it into force and 16 have not even ratified it. The only non-EU state which is a signatory, the USA, ratified it in 2006 and it came into force on 1 January 2007. The USA only joined the lengthy discussions on the CoE Convention at a late stage and significant changes.were introduced: Final CoE Convention; Explanatory report and List of Signatories and state of ratifications (COE, link). See also: EU data protection advisers issue highly critical report on draft Cyber crime Convention
UK-EU-JHA: Report from the Home Affairs Select Committee on: Justice and Home Affairs Issues at European Union Level (111 pages, pdf)
US-RENDITIONS: Statewatch's Observatory on rendition updated: US firm to be sued over torture flights and UN Committee Against Torture report on Poland
EU-RABITS: Regulation for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams This is now ready for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. Yet another example of a "fast-track", 1st reading, deal.
EU-DATA PROTECTION: No agreement on the draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters under German Council Presidency - who have put forward a set of "Conclusions" to be agreed: EU doc no: 10200/07 (dated 30 May 2007, pdf). These Conclusions note that two issues are outstanding: "the scope of application and the provisions governing the transfer of data to third countries." There is no indication at all the the Council intends to address the fundamental criticisms by the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Data Protection Authorities.
EU DATA-PROTECTION-GOOGLE: The EU's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (representing all EU countries) has sent a Letter to Google (pdf) asking them to justify keeping server logs for 18-24 months when this information "can be linked to an identified or identifiable natural person". Asking Google to justify its policy the Working Party says:
"Although Google's headquarters are based in the United States Google is under legal obligation to comply with European laws, in particular privacy laws, as Google's services are provided to European citizens and it maintains data processing activities in Europe, especially the processing of personal data that takes place at its European centre"
UK: Lecturers vote unanimously to throw out government spying plans (pdf)
"University and college lecturers this morning (30 May) voted unanimously to reject government plans to instruct university staff to report students for 'extremism'"
EU-DATA-PROTECTION: European Parliament adopts 2nd critical report with 60 amendments on the Councils's draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters, see Statewatch's Observatory on Data protection in the EU
G8-JUSTICE AND INTERIOR MINISTERS: Munich, 23-25 May 2007: Concluding Declaration (pdf) As usual lots of generalities and little detail on the discussions and decisions. Counter-terrorism section includes measures similar to the EU's "Check the web" to locate and criminalise use of the internet for terrorist purposes and the UK government's pre-occupation with removing people who are terrorist suspects but against whom they have insufficient evidence to present in a court. Other statement: International security policy and judicial cooperation
EU-UPDATE: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Council Resolution on deployment of undercover agents in other EU countries about to be adopted: EU doc no: 6678/3/07 (pdf) Earlier draft: EU doc no: 6678/1/07 and Council conclusions, EU doc no: 16936/1/06 Germany presses reluctant European partners to allow armed police and undercover agents to operate with impunity outside their own country (Observer, link)
UK-USA-WIRE-TAPPING REPORTS: It is salutary to compare the official reports provided on telephone-tapping and interception in the UK and the USA. In the USA a highly detailed report with tables including historical data (ie: how many arrests and convictions resulted) are provided: 2005 Wiretap report (Overview, pdf), Historical data (pdf) and 2005 Wiretap Report - Administrative Office of the United States Courts (link to detailed tables of information). In 2005 there were 1,773 authorised interception warrants in the USA, compared to the UK's 1,926: Interception of Communications Commissioner. In the USA warrants are authorised by the courts, in the UK by the Home Secretary. The way UK warrants are issued and the length of time is also different, see: Changes in telephone-tapping warrant procedures disguises true figures
The UK figures do not include warrants issued by the Foreign Office to GCHQ and MI6 nor those issued by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, similarly surveillance by US security and intelligence agencies are not fully accounted for. See also: Statewatch's Observatory on telephone-tapping warrants 1937-2005/6
UK: Home Office Briefing on why no inquiry is needed into the bombings in London on 7 July 2005 (Source: Home Office, released under FOI)
GERMANY-DETENTION-CENTRES: Excellent report from anti detention network buendnis gegen lager (Alliance Against Camps): Systematic exclusion and deprivation of rights: centre deportation motard straße - Aspects of contempt for Humanity in Europe (pdf)
EU: First meeting in Hesse, Germany of: High-level advisory group on the future of European home affairs policy (Future Group) (Press release) The German EU Council Presidency - who initiated the group - says that its work should be transparent and: "Reports on the groups progress will be published regularly on the websites of the European Commission (VP Frattini) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior." Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Will these reports be bland press releases like this one or will we see that agendas, documents discussed and minutes?"
UK-BORDERS-BILL: Report by the parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee on the UK Borders Bill and its implications (pdf) Minister's letter (pdf) Borders Bill - full-text (pdf) Discrimination fear over ID cards (BBC News, link)
Update: GERMANY-G8: Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy (Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e. V.): Press Release: The Rostock police authority - not the demonstrators - are severely damaging the reputation of the Federal Republic of Germany "On 16 May 2007, the police authority Rostock passed a general decree, curtailing the right of assembly on the occasion of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. This means that the fundamental rights of assembly and freedom of expression are suspended also outside of the 12 km-long fence the so-called technical barrier around Heiligendamm."
See also: German police use Stasi scent profiling on G8 protesters (Guardian, link) and Police raid G8 activists plus Background on G8 and other protests: Statewatch's Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU
EU-TERRORISM: Updates from the Council on the Action Plan on terrorism:
- Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism (21 May 2007)
- Counter Terrorism Coordinator (Useful summary of the national implementation of anti-terrorism measures listed in the Declaration on terrorism of the European Council of 25 March 2004 - State of play as on 10 May 2007)
- Follow up of policy recommendations on counter terrorism (Working Party on terrorism)
EU: Update: Proposed Framework Decision on data protection on police and judicial matters: EU doc no: 9732 rev 1 2007 and "Check the web": EU doc no: 8457 rev 2 2007
EU: Three European Commission Communications on migration and "illegal employment":
- On circular migration and mobility partnerships between the European Union and third countries (COM 248/07)
- Applying the Global Approach to Migration to the Eastern and South-Eastern Regions Neighbouring the European Union (COM 247/07)
- Proposal for a Directive providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (COM 249/07)
BULGARIA-EUROPEAN ELECTION: Bulgaria elects new MEPs amid corruption worries (euobserver, link) In Bulgaria's first election for the European Parliament only 26% of the people voted. "The ultranationalist Ataka party had a strong showing and is likely to send three MEPs to Brussels, strengthening the new far-right political group - Identity, Traditions and Sovereignty - which is based on an anti-EU, anti-Turkey and anti-immigration programme. Ataka currently has one far-right MEP in the European Parliament."
UK-PREVENTION OF TERRORISM: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Government response (pdf) to its report on the continuance of sections of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005: JCHR report (pdf)
EU-GALILEO: The consortium which bid for the initial contract has now withdrawn. The European Commission is now trying to salvage the project. . The Galileo satellite "global positioning" system with 30 satellites and ground stations is planned to carry out a range of surveillance functions from vehicle location to border controls. Galileo at the crossroads (COM 261, 16 May 2007) and Commission Staff Working document (SEC 624)
EU: Portuguese Council Presidency programme of meetings (pdf)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: Draft Framework Decision on data protection on police and judicial matters: European Parliament's draft report (pdf) This proposes a number of substantial amendments to what is termed "the Commission proposal" - in fact this is the completely re-drafted German Council Presidency version of March 2007 to which the Commission acceded (this therefore replaced its original proposal of October 2005).
In the meantime the German Council Presidency has produced a new document (EU doc no: 9732/07, dated 16 May 2007) to try and deal with two issues on which the Council (the 27 governments) are divided: First, the scope of the measure - should it only cover exchanges of personal data between member states or led to new national laws? This is the most convoluted and incomprehensible idea seen in many years.
And second, what rules should govern the passing of data outside the EU. The Presidency proposal further "waters down" rules on passing personal data outside the EU by saying that instead of these states having "adequate" protections (ie: in line with EU laws) we get "appropriate safeguards". All existing bilateral and multilateral (ie: EU) agreements with the USA are left untouched in the proposal.
Strong criticism voiced by the European Data Protection Authorities meeting in Cyprus on 11 May: Declaration by the European Data Protection Authorities (pdf): "the version of the draft framework decision as presented by the German Presidency on 13 March 2007 does not present a solid and high data protection regime and has neither taken on board our European data protection Authorities' Opinion issued on 24 January 2006 nor the EP's opinion from May 18, 2006."
See also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) damning report, "strongly advises the Council not to adopt the current proposals without significant improvements". Full-text of Opinion and Statewatch's analysis of the revised proposal See: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU with full documentation since 2005.
EU-DATA PROTECTION: The European Data Protection Authorities have produced a: Declaration, Common Position and Checklist on the "principle of availability" covering the collection, use, access to personal data for the purpose of law enforcement (pdf)
UK: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announces that no charges will be brought against the officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station on 22 July 2005: Press release: Menezes killing (link) BBC News: 11 Menezes police face no action (link) Mr Menezes' cousin said: "It is a travesty of justice". Comments from Liberty's Director Shami Chakrabarti (link)
EU-USA: A report in the European Voice newspaper says that a new law going through the US Congress will mean the removal of visa-free travel (Visa Waiver Scheme) for 15 EU countries whose citizens currently do not need a visa. While EU is arguing that all 27 EU states should have visa-free travel - as do US citizens coming here. The move would mean people wanting to go to the USA would have to make an internet application giving their personal details and get authorisation before leaving. Stavros Lambrinidis MEP commented: "If a third country changes its visa requirements for European citizens then the Commission would have to change the requirements for that third country." EU citizens face US visa clampdown (link)
USA-AIR-TRAVEL-PRIVACY: Multiple pre-screening processes use passenger information and transfer it to various systems: Government Accountability Office report: Aviation security: Efforts to Strengthen International Passenger Prescreening are Under Way, but Planning and Implementation Issues Remain (pdf)
"Federal privacy law requires agencies to inform the public about how the government uses their personal information. Although CBP officials have stated that they have taken and are continuing to take steps to comply with these requirements, the current prescreening process allows passenger information to be used in multiple prescreening procedures and transferred among various CBP prescreening systems in ways that are not fully explained in CBPs privacy disclosures. If CBP does not issue all appropriate disclosures, the travelling public will not be fully aware of how their personal information is being used during the passenger prescreening process."
See: Washington Post report. The paper also reports that one of the five members of the newly-created US Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has resigned because the Bush administration made over 200 changes to its first annual report: 2007 Report with deletions (pdf)
EU-PNR: Did Chertoff lie to the European Parliament? (link to: The Practical Nomad, Edward Hasbrouck's blog). Contrary to the impression given by USA Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff when he gave evidence to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 14 May Edward Hasbrouck says that: "there is no mention of whether any of the suspects and allegations he uses as examples has ever been brought before a court of law. Indeed, the very idea of subjecting any of these allegations to normal judicial process appears never to have occurred to Chertoff." Moreover:
"Chertoff claimed that "PNR data is protected under the U.S. Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act, among other laws, as well as the robust oversight provided through ... American courts." But the Privacy Act applies only to U.S. persons, not EU citizens and residents. The DHS has exempted the Automated Targeting System (ATS), the database in which it stores PNR's, from most requirements of both FOIA and the Privacy Act. EU or other non-USA citizens and residents have no standing under these laws in any American courts. And since the PNR "agreement" has not (and apparently isn't intended to be) ratified as a treaty by the U.S. Senate, it can't be enforced in U.S. Courts or provide a cause of action even for U.S. citizens."
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Transatlantic Dialogue, Monday May 14 2007 (unofficial record) (pdf)
UK: Statewatch analysis: Mandatory retention of telecommunications traffic to be "nodded" through in the UK (pdf)
- the EC Directive on mandatory retention will be adopted in the UK without any meaningful debate by simple "affirmative" votes in parliament
- the government is saying that the EC Directive covering serious crime can be used for any crime however minor
- the government is saying that there is no need for public or parliamentary discussion on privacy, civil liberties or human rights issues as these have
already been discussed at the EU level
- the annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner says there were a staggering 439,054 requests to service providers for
communication data by the law enforcement agencies
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
The collection and retention of everyones communications data is a momentous decision, one that should not be slipped through parliament
without anyone noticing as the government plans to do.
The governments proposal changes a voluntary agreement into a binding law, on these grounds alone there should be primary legislation.
Moreover, the EC Directive limits the purpose for which data can be retained to serious crime but the government intends to extend the scope to all
crime however minor."
EU: European Commission has not responded to the European Ombudsman on Statewatch complaint after six months.
Statewatch lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman regarding the European Commission failure to maintain a proper public register of its documents under Article 11 of the 2001 Regulation on 11 October 2006 - the complaint was accepted by the Ombudsman on 23 October and forwarded to the Commission for its comments. The deadline for a response was set for 31 December 2006. The Commission requested an extension until 28 February 2007 and then to 31 March 2007.
By the 23 April 2007 the Commission had still not responded so the Ombudsman wrote to them asking for a response by 31 May either with a reply or "a timetable for a reply".
See: Statewatch complaints against the European Commission lodged with the European Ombudsman
EU-G6: Conclusions of the G6 meetings in Venice, 11-12 May 2007 The G6 group of EU states is comprised of: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK - and this meeting was also attended by the US Homeland Security Secretary. Among the decisions and planned cooperation are:
- Migration: "an informal dialogue to prepare legislation at EU-level"
- Exchange of information on "immigrants' entry and stay"
- To extend "the operational area" of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N) to the "Western Mediterranean"
- To establish an "African platform" and anti-drugs meetings of senior officials of G6 and "Mediterranean African states"
- G6 and USA committed to the "research of shared solutions" in combating terrorism
- To "enhance the Transatlantic Dialogue" by sharing information, research and "law enforcement methods" on terrorism
- "expulsion related to terrorism has proven to be an effective tool.. [and] promoting, in repatriation States, patterns of conduct compliant with international obligations as to the safeguarding of human rights"
For background see: UK Select Committee on the European Union slams G6's role
EU-USA-PNR: European Parliament press release: US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff debates data protection with MEPs - a better headline would be "US Secretary of Home Security tells the European Parliament to stop opposing US demands for personal data". According to reports the USA wants to hold personal data for longer than the three and a half years in the present agreement and to continue to have direct access ("pull system") to airline reservation computer systems in the EU (the EU side wants to change this to a "push"system whereby only relevant data/flights are sent to US agencies). During his appearance before the parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) he was asked: "Are you willing to conclude an agreement ... that reflects the American as well as the EU legal principles and interests, instead of imposing unilaterally U.S. standards and wishes?" Dutch MEP Sofia in 't Veld asked Chertoff. "Do you recognise the extent of the damage that the US ' 'war on terror' has done to the fight against terrorism?" asked Sarah Ludford (ALDE, UK).
EU-US-DATA PROTECTION-PNR-SWIFT: On Monday 14 May there will be a special meeting of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) for the item "Transatlantic Dialogue" at which Michael Chertoff, United States Secretary of State Homeland Security, Minister Dr. Wolfgang Schauble, German Presidency and Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the Commission (and DG JHA) will be speaking: LIBE agenda (pdf). In advance of the meeting Commissioner Frattini sent a letter to the chair of the LIBE Committee: Frattini letter (pdf).
Also being circulated are so-called "15 Principles of Data Protection" and being discussed in the "High Level Contact group on data protection and data sharing" - for which "the US delegation handed over a Proposed Outline" of work. The USA is seeking to get a "global agreement" on the transfer of personal data in order to circumvent the tedious negotiations with the EU on each and every issue where EU data protection laws stand in the way of unfettered access to personal data.
One of the issue dealt with by Mr Frattini is the automated passing of financial transaction through SWIFT (transfers between countries) to the USA. His letter says that SWIFT is negotiating to ensure to "provide their customers with the necessary information". Statewatch has received complaints from people with online UK banking accounts informing them that from 14 May 2007 details of all financial transfers by them through SWIFT will be passed to US authorities for the purposes of money-laundering, terrorism and crime in general (not just terrorism as referred to in Mr Frattini's letter). They are asked to agree or not - and if not they cannot transfer money.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"SWIFT's compliance with EU data protection laws appears to mean simply informing people that all their data will be transferred to the USA for any purpose connected to any crime with no obligation to tell them when and to whom it is passed, how it is processed, to whom it is passed on to, and for how long it is held, and to whom they can apply for their records or to whom they can appeal against the content and use of processing or further processing by un-named agencies and bodies.
If this is what data protection means then it is utterly worthless."
EU-US: Note on the visit by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) to the US Congress (pdf) and The Sui Generis Privacy Agency: How the United States Institutionalalized Privacy Oversight After 9-11 By Marc Rotenberg (pdf)
EU-US COOPERATION: Statewatch article examines the secret minutes of EU-US justice and home affairs meetings: EU-US security "channel" - a one way street?
"What the "Outcomes" of EU-US meetings show is the extraordinary influence that the US has on EU justice and home affairs policies and practice. The dominant theme is US demands for access to EU data, intelligence and databases and ensuring that US interests are not threatened"
EU-PRUM: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union issues highly critical report on the: Prum Treaty report, full-text (pdf) Press release (pdf) "The Committee have today criticised the German EU Presidency for attempting to bypass the proper procedures in trying to incorporate the Prüm Treaty into EU law." The Prum Treaty provisions cover the collection and exchange of DNA profiles, fingerprints and vehicle registration data.
Germany: Police raid G8 activists
ECJ: Judgment of the Court of Justice upholding the validity of the European arrest warrant (pdf)
European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg: Press release and Judgment: full-text (pdf) The applicants were from non-governmental organisations who campaign on behalf of persons of homosexual orientation. In the context of a campaign called Equality Days organised from 10 to 12 June 2005 by the Foundation, the applicants wished to organise a march to take place in the streets of Warsaw. The march was aimed at bringing public attention to discrimination against minorities, women and the disabled. The Mayor of Warsaw banned the planned marches.The Court held unanimously that there had been: a violation of Article 11 (freedom of association and assembly) of the European Convention on Human Rights; a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention; and a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: New police powers threaten press freedom (pdf)
EU-US SUMMIT on 30 April 2007: Conclusions on Promoting Peace, Human Rights and Democracy Worldwide (pdf)
UN-TERRORIST-LISTS: Council of Europe: Press release: Dick Marty strongly deplores flagrant injustice of UN Security Council blacklisting people suspected of terrorist links without evidence of wrong-doing (pdf) Dick Marty: Memorandum full-text: UN Security Council black lists (pdf)
European Ombudsman: Annual Report for 2006 (link to pdf) Press release: Ombudsman: EU administration still not citizen-centred enough
World Press Freedom Day: Set Journalists Free on May 3rd Says IFJ as Impunity and Kidnapping Crisis Threatens Media Freedom (International Federation of Journalists, link)
EU-DATA PROTECTION: New Council Draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters (EU doc no: 7315/1/07, dated 24 April 2007, pdf).
This was produced prior to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) damning report on the proposed Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters. Peter Hustinx, the EDPS, "strongly advises the Council not to adopt the current proposals without significant improvements". Full-text of Opinion and Press release See also: Statewatch's analysis of the revised proposal and Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU with full documentation since 2005.
UK-THE SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY: The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, gives evidence to the Home Affairs Committee (House of Commons) on the surveillance society:
- Evidence (pdf)
- Press release
- Follow-up report on the surveillance society
- Original report on the surveillance society (September 2006)
UK-LEGAL AID: Serious risk for access to justice in Legal Aid plans says the Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee. "It fears that if the proposed reforms to the Legal Aid system go ahead there is a serious risk for access to justice among the most vulnerable in society."
EU-SIS: Draft Council Decision extending the Schengen Information System (SIS) to Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic
EU-EUROPOL: Europol Work Programme 2008 and Europol Five Year Finance Plan It should be noted that three Europol Protocols have now come into effect: Europol Protocols See: Series of Decisions by the Management Board of Europol: 1) Decision on the control mechanisms for retrievals from the computerised system of collected information; 2) Decision laying down the rules governing the arrangements regulating the administrative implementation of the participation of Europol officials in Joint investigation Teams; 3) Decision laying down the rules governing the arrangements on the association of third parties' experts with the activities of analysis groups and 4) Rules for access to Europol documents The third Decision will allow a number of US agencies access and input into Europol's Analysis Files.
UK: Special Immigration Appeals Commission finds that two Libyan men cannot be deported to Libya as assurances will do guarantee they will not be tortured or ill-treated: Full-text of SIAC judgment and BBC News (link)
EU: Homophobia in Europe: European Parliament urges Polish authorities to refrain from proposing a law banning 'homosexual propaganda' in schools (European Parliament press release) Resolution submitted and ILGA press release
UK: Number of DNA profiles by ethnic classification for people under 14 to 34 years of age (Source: Home office, pdf)
EU state & US government agreement on the exchange of classified information: EU-US agreement: full-text, pdf and Approval of Decision, 30 March 2007 (pdf) The agreement is being concluded in accordance with Articles 24 and 38 of the Treaty on the European union (TEU), national and European parliaments are not consulted.It will be signed by the Council Presidency, the Secretary-General of the Council and the Commission. The agreement covers not just the exchange of classified documents by the Council Security Committee (CSG) and for defence and foreign policy but also for justice and home affairs. It also covers private contractors.
The US "signalled" their agreement to the text on 23 March 2007. However, prior to this the EU was putting its "house in order". First, on the military front it "prolonged" the approvals of "temporary" cryptographic devices to communicate with NATO and SHAPE as as EU "approved" devices "could yet not be used" EU-NATO-links (EU doc no: 6289/07). Second, and more surprisingly, it was only in January 2007 that the CSG approved the general use of "the UK line encryptor THAMER" up to and including SECRET EU: Encryption programme up to and including SECRET EU (EU doc no: 5645/07, pdf). THAMER (link to their brochure) is approved by the UK government, is used by NATO (since 2004) and is: "constructed in such a way that tampering is evident if it has occurred" - could it be that a gap had existed in the EU's encryption defences which had to be plugged?
Third country agreements (pdf) This document sets out the level of classified documents that may be given to five groups of countries under specific agreements. EU-NATO unclassified information On the other hand, when it comes to "NATO UNCLASSIFIED" within the EU they must be classified and only distributed on a "need-to-know" basis.
Brussels: ALDE (Liberal group) Public hearing: The impact of aviation security measures from logistics to privacy 2 May 2007, 9.30 am to 1 pm, room ASP 1G2 European Parliament, rue Wiertz, Brussels: Programme (pdf) See also: Amendment to the main Regulation made by the European Commission without any consultation with the European or national parliaments: Commission Regulation (1546/2006) laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (Official Journal of the EU, censored version) which says: "ANNEX: In accordance with Article 1 the annex is secret and shall not be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.": Full-text of the censored Annex (pdf)
UK: Public meeting: Terrorism" lists versus the rights to self-determination and democracy: Wednesday 2 May, 6.30pm, Committee Room 3, House of Lords, Westminster SW1, Hosted by Lord Rea: Leaflet and speakers (pdf)
EP-USA-CIA: Press release from the European Parliament on the delegation to the USA (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Report on Serious Crimes Bill (pdf) The Committee is critical of "Serious Crime Prevention Orders" (SCPOs) - another kind of ASBO and of information and data-sharing provisions.
EU-PRUM: Latest draft of the Council Decision on cross-border policing (EU do no: 7273/1/07)
EU-VIS: Access by agencies to the planned Visa Information System: VIS access by agencies (EU doc no: 8711/07). Outstanding issues on the main VIS Regulation as at 12 April: VIS questions (EU doc 8151/07) and at 18 April: More VIS questions (EU doc no: 8540/07). Latest full: Draft of the EC Regulation setting up the Visa Information System (dated 2 April 2007)
EU-UNDERCOVER AGENTS: Draft Council Resolution on undercover agents/officers in another member state (EU doc no: 6678/1/07)
EU: Commission climb-down on laying down the size of hand baggage to be taken on planes: European Commission postpones introduction of rules on maximum cabin baggage size (pdf) See also: EU backs down on air-security rules (euractiv, link). This also notes that the Commission is to review the "ban on liquids" next month. The "ban on liquids" was introduced EU-wide by the Commission on the basis of information received from MI5 (the internal security service following a series of arrests in the UK) - the Commission did not have the means to independently evaluate this advice.
Brussels conference, Saturday 5 May 2007: The difficult relationship between the left and the European Union (pdf)
EU: Policy Plan on Legal Migration (COM 669, 2007, pdf)
EU: Europol Annual Report for 2006 (pdf)
EU: Fundamental rights, fundamental flaws: Human Rights and the EU's "Area of freedom, security and justice"
Statewatch publishes a damning critique of crucial EU proposals on suspects' rights in cross-border criminal proceedings, data protection in the area of police and judicial cooperation, and the expulsion of migrants from the EU.
Four detailed Statewatch analyses of the draft EU measures show the extent to which powerful member states are driving down standards of human rights protection in the creation of the so-called EU "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice".
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19-20 April 2007 in Luxembourg: Press release (final, pdf) Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia (pdf) Statement on Frontex (pdf) Europol Protocols (pdf) SIS and VIS (pdf)
EU: Fundamental rights, fundamental flaws (press release 19 April 2007): Statewatch has today published a damning critique of crucial EU proposals on suspects' rights in cross-border criminal proceedings, data protection in the area of police and judicial cooperation, and the expulsion of migrants from the EU. Four detailed Statewatch analyses of the draft EU measures show the extent to which powerful member states are driving down standards of human rights protection in the creation of the so-called EU "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice". Two of these measures - suspects' rights and data protection - will be discussed by the Member States at this week's Justice and Home Affairs Council (19-20 April 2007).
EU: Statewatch lodges two complaints against the European Commission with the European Ombudsman (press release, full-text, pdf)
- the Commission has failed to maintain a proper public register of documents with only a fraction of those produced listed
- the Commission failed to produce its annual report on access to documents for 2005 in the year 2006
- Statewatch says both are breaches of the Regulation and therefore cases of maladministration
Tony Bunyan, Director of Statewatch, comments:
The European Commission is not above the law it is the custodian of EU law, responsible for ensuring it is properly implemented. This makes it all the more reprehensible that under the Regulation on access to documents the Commission has failed to maintain a proper register of documents and failed to publish an annual report for 2005.
Open, transparent and accountable decision-making is the essence of any democratic system. Secrecy is its enemy and produces distrust, cynicism and apathy among citizens and closed minds among policy makers.
The European Commission must be called to account for its actions or rather its failures to act
Also going out today for immediate release are:
1. Statewatch Briefing Note on the Commission's Green Paper on the Regulation on access to EU documents:
2. The full-text of the Commission's Green Paper (penultimate version):
3. Statewatch's Observatory on "FOI in the EU" has been re-designed and updated with many new features
Statewatch - Reporting on openness and secrecy in the EU since 1992
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19-20 April 2007 in Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf)
EU: Yet another fast-track, "first reading", deal between the Council and the European Parliament. The second and third columns, which are the nearly identical texts, as agreed within the Council and EP: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (pdf)
Renditions: Italy / Morocco: Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case
EU: European Citizens Action Service, Statewatch, International Federation of Journalists, European Environmental Bureau: Should there be an EU Freedom of Information Act? (pdf) Seminar, Brussels, Thursday 19 April 2007
EU: Armed sky marshals by the back-door? A Regulation being discussed in the EU would allow weapons to be carried by "caib or flight crew" and/or "in-flight security officers" in "accordance with their national laws". The euphemism "national laws" is always singularly uninformative as we are never told which "national laws" would alllow this. Under the Prum Treaty 15 EU states will be allowed to have armed "sky marshals" but 12 EU states will not. So a flight between the 15 may have weapons on-board but not those to flights outside the 15?
"Who wants to fly on a plane where anyone is carrying a gun? What are their rules of engagement - according to "national laws"?" comments Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor.
European Parliament Transport Committee report (going before plenary)
European Parliament press release
European Commission proposal
The Council's Common Poosition
EU-SIS II: The European Commission has published its latest report on the development of SIS II, which is relatively frank about the problems with the deadline: SIS II report (SEC 408)
EU-Data protection: The Council of Europe: Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data (T-PD) (pdf) The Committee is concerned about transfers of data to third states and that "the legal basis for future treaties with third countries that do not have an adequate level of protection should be clarified". The Committee also believes - like the European Parliament, the EU Data Protection Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor - that the proposed Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters should cover exchanges between states and national law in each member states so that two different sets of rules are not in place. However, the German Council Presidency announced at the Article 36 Committee meeting on 22-23 March that:
"that it had decided to restrict the scope of the proposal to the exchange of data between Member States, thus excluding data processing at a domestic level."
Europol: EU terrorism situation and trends report 2007 It says that 706 people were arrested in 15 member states. Records little right-extremist violence.
EU-US-PNR: At the Article 36 Committee meeting on 22-23 March 207 the German Council Presidency said that at the meetings in Washington on 26/27 February 2007: "the US was reluctant to conclude an other PNR agreement" (EU doc no: 8215/07)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor critical of Prum measure - says that a general framework is needed but this has not been adopted yet: Opinion and Press release See Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
ECHR: Court rules spying on employee's personal communications is illegal - judgment (pdf)
Italy: Criminalising solidarity - Cap Anamur trial underway
The trial of Elias Bierdel, Vladimir Dachkevitce and Stefan Schmidt, respectively president of the German NGO Cap Anamur, and captain and first officer on the ship bearing the same name that saved 37 African shipwreck victims between Libya and Lampedusa in June 2004, began on 27 November 2006 in Agrigento (Sicily)
Spain/Euskadi: Iñaki de Juana Chaos hunger strike raises the political temperature On the margins of the Basque peace process, with the government engaged in a difficult balancing act to keep negotiations alive without being perceived to be making political concessions to ETA, the case of hunger striker Iñaki de Juana Chaos became the focus of heated controversy.
UK: Terrorism arrest statistics
Spain/Africa: Three-fold increase in dinghy deaths as the EU border moves south - "the number sarriving and dying are rising"
UK: Racism and the state 2007: by Institute of Race Relations. In this special edition of Race & Class, leading black and anti-racist activists, campaigners and scholars chart the new parameters of state racism in the UK today (link)
UK: Quarterly figures for control orders (December 2006 - March 2007)
EU: Latest Draft of the EC Regulation setting up the Visa Information System (dated 2 April 2007), together with the outstanding issues between the Council and the European Parliament
UK-GUANTANAMO: Four years in Guantánamo - the man who said no to MI5 (Guardian, link) Unique insight into MI5 and Special Branch attempt to recruit an informer - who then, based on intelligence passed by MI5 to the USA, seized the man and removed him to Guantanamo where he still remains
UK: Border and Immigration Agency launched
EU: Latest draft Council Regulation on a uniform format for residence permits (EU doc no: 7468/07)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers (pdf) It calls for an end to the detention of children and condemns the present system of dealing with those seeking asylum
UK: Home Office: Building on progress: Security, crime and justice (link to 4 MB pdf) Every child to be screened for risk of turning criminal under Blair justice plan (Guardian, link)
GERMANY-USA: Wanted for war crimes: Rumsfeld Lawsuit Embarrasses German Authorities (der Spiegel, link)
EU: The Council has agreed on a letter to the Court of Justice re enlarging the Court's jurisdiction over immigration and asylum, asking the Court to develop one of its two proposals for changing the Court's rules to establish an emergency procedure for JHA cases: Letter, EU doc no: 7646/07 (pdf)
UK: Royal Academcy of Engineering report: Dilemnas of privacy and surveillance - challenges of technological change (link)
EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): Latest statistics (pdf) See also: UK House of Lords Select Committee report on: Schengen Information System II (SIS II) and Statewatch analysis: The dream of total data collection - status quo and future plans for EU information systems
EU: Eurojust annual report for 2006 (89 pages, pdf)
UK: Aftermath of the Anti-Terrorism Police Raids in Forest Gate on 2 June 2006: Newham Monitoring Project (pdf)
EU: Radicalisation and extremism: Council Resolution on information exchange on the expulsion of third-country nationals due to behaviour related to terrorist activity or inciting violence and racial hatred (pdf)
EU: Public Seminar: European Parliament: PNR/SWIFT/Safe Harbour: Are transatlantic data protected? (Transatlantic relations and data protection), Monday 26 March 2007
Papers for the seminar:
Stefano Rodota The European Constitutional Model for Data Protection
The Automated Targeting System (ATS)A Violation of American Law, The EU-US PNR Agreement and Basic Human Rights. Barry Steinhardt (ACLU)
Recent Privacy Developments in the United States, Particularly with Respect to Travelers Using Air Transport, Marc Rotenberg (EPIC)
Transborder Data Flows and Extraterritoriality : The European Position, Yves Poullet (CRID)
UK: The Definition of Terrorism: A Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (52 pages, pdf)
EU: VIS (Visa Information System) update:
- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas Covers Article 10 to 14 plus a number of annexes including draft visa application form (19 March 2007, 28 pages, pdf)
- Draft Council Decision on access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (20 February 2007, pdf)."Designated authorities" is a euphemism for internal security agencies
- Draft Regulation concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) (13 March 2007) Outcomes on discussion with the European Parliament
EU: Galileo satellite system "in crisis" (pdf) German Presidency statement
EU: FRONTEX work programme 2007 - EU Border controls agency
UK: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): Reclaiming our rights - conference report (pdf)
European Parliament inquiry into CIA rendition and detention, Working Document no 9: On certain European countries analysed during the work of the Temporary Committee
UK: 10,000 passports issued to fraudsters (BBC, link) Statement from Immigration and Nationality Department on: Interviews to target passport fraud begin (link). These figures as the result of a "sampling exercise" and are therefore only indicative for a single year. It should be noted that it will take more than ten years, from 2008, for all passports to be replaced with biometric (fingerprints) documents.
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection issues guidance on: Information to passengers about transfer of PNR data to US authorities (pdf) See for background: Statewatch's Observatory on EU-US PNR
Northern Ireland: What did "Bob" do with FRU?
Following the appointment of Jonathan "Bob" Evans as Director-General of MI5, there is growing interest in his role as an MI5 operative in Northern Ireland. According to The Observer (11 March 2007, link) Evans's role in Northern Ireland was to work with the British Army's Force Research Unit (FRU) about which little is known, notwithstanding the steady stream of revelations in recent years about collusion between state security forces and paramilitary organisations. Here Statewatch publishes an article about FRU written in 2003 - this was prepared before the publication of the Cory Reports, the Barron Inquiry Report (to be followed by the McEntee Report) and the Police Ombudsman's reports dealing with collusion (such as the report on the death of Raymond McCord - Operation Belfast).
UK: Home Office figures on: Assisted Voluntary Return programmes (pdf)
EU: German Council Presidency produces new draft of the Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial cooperation: EU doc no: 7315/07 (dated 13 March 2007). After a gap of three months, during which the German Presidency asked the European Commission to prepare a new draft proposal, the Presidency has produced its own new, full draft. For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
UK: The Corston Report: a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system (link)
UK: "Modernising police powers" - or rather sweeping new police powers, including to combat "future offending": Home Office consultation document (pdf). Includes extending police powers to take fingerprints, photos and DNA from "suspects" for any crime however minor - currently this power can be used if a person is simply arrested (since 1 January 2006 fingerprints and DNA can be taken and kept even if the person is not charged or convicted) - which is why the UK has the biggest DNA database in the world. Includes the statement that:
"The absence of the ability to take fingerprints etc in relation to all offences may be considered to undermine the value and purpose of having the ability to confirm or disprove identification and, importantly, to make checks on a searchable database aimed at detecting existing and future offending"
EU: European Commission Communication on: RFID (pdf)
EU: EU Action Plan on combating terrorism, updated 9 March 2007 (pdf)
Europe: New Institute of Race Relations (IRR) report catalogues appalling treatment of Europe's 'foreign' children (link)
Genoa 2001: ECHR declare Carlo Giuliani case admissible
EU: UK Select Committee on the European Union: The Criminal Law Competence of the EC: follow-up Report (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Deaths in custody - further developments (pdf)
EU: Factsheet: The European Union and the fight against terrorism (pdf) Produced for the anniversary of the Madrid bombings.
EU: Civil protection financial instrument (Official Journal, pdf)
Joseph Rowntree Foundation report: Contemporary slavery in the UK
UK-POLAND: Agreement on the exchange of classified information
EU: The long-awaited: Communication from the Commission on the follow-up of the Work Programme for better implementation of the Data Protection Directive COM(2007) 87 final (pdf)
Europe: Exploring the relations of power: 35rd Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, 30 August- 2 September 2007, Utrecht, Netherlands
EU-EUROPOL: Opinion of the Joint Supervisory Body (pdf)
Biometrics and data-mining: Project IRIS (Iris Recognition Immigration System) Pilot Review Report (pdf) and Experian: data-miming
UK: Police use of CS gas spray
EU-Terrorism:Follow-up report on the implementation of recommendations by the Council of the EU on counter-terrorism measures in the Member States - Executive Summary (pdf)
UK: Child fingerprint plan considered (BBC News, link). The government plans envisage that from 2008 children aged 16 and over will have to have their fingerprints taken to get a passport. It is also considering taking fingerprints from 11 to 15 year olds. In the EU the UK government has argued that children of 5 years of age and above should be fingerprinted for visas as should the children of resident third country nationals. As yet no EU standard has been set for the new biometric passports.
See also: Leave Them Kids Alone - against schools fingerprinting our children (link)
Statewatch coverage: EU: Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on and EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible
UK: Parliamentary Joint Committee on human rights: Counter-terrorism Policy and Human Rights: Draft Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Continuance in force of sections 1 to 9) Order 2007 (pdf)
EU: Draft Council Resolution on exchanging information on the expulsion of third country nationals "due to behaviour related to terrorist activity". What started out as concerning "radical preachers" now refers to any third country national expelled. The sentence: "The transmission of information will comply with the principles of Directive 95/46/EC" has been deleted in the latest draft. It should be noted that this measure includes those expelled from an EU state who may well not have been charged with any offence.
EU doc no 5824/07, 5 February 2007
EU doc no 5424/07, dated 18 January 2007
EU doc no 15664/06, dated 29 November 2006
EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee report on: Schengen Information System II (SIS II) (pdf) Highly detailed 195 pages
UK: The Institute of Race Relations has produced three briefing papers on the ways in which community organisations are combating the fall-out - in terms of racial violence, Islamophobia, anti-terror policing and human rights abuses - from the war on terror:
IRR Briefing Paper No.1: Working with the media
IRR Briefing Paper No.2: In defence of multiculturalism
IRR Briefing Paper No.3: Community Responses to the War on terror
UK: A nightmare without end Shahajan Janjua's story is a glimpse of what the war on terror means for young British Asian men by Victoria Brittain including the role of MI5 (Guardian, link) and British Asian faced deportation threat · Officials believed jailed student was Pakistani · Detention meant he could not produce documents (Guardian, link)
ECJ: Court of Justice dismisses appeal concerning inclusion on terrorist list (pdf)
EU: New Prum draft Council Decision on cross-border cooperation (pdf) and Council Communication to the European Parliament calling for it to give its Opinion (under "consultation") by the beginning of June.
Canada: Key provisions in Anti-Terrorism Act not renewed (link) including detention and interrogation of suspects.
UK: Second annual report on the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 by Lord Carlile
UK-ALGERIA: Amnesty International report: Deport to Algeria at all costs (pdf)
EU: European Parliamentary Technology Assessment: ICT and Privacy in Europe: Experiences from technology assessment of ICT and Privacy in seven different European countries (pdf)
EU-USA: EDPS opinion on the role of the European Central Bank in the SWIFT case (pdf) concerning the transfers of personal data from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ("SWIFT"), a Belgian based cooperative active in the processing of financial messages, to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury. SWIFT sides with US in data spat with EU (Register, link)
EU: Statewatch analysis: The dream of total data collection - status quo and future plans for EU information systems (pdf) With the latest figures on the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the breakdown between data on objects and that on people.
EU: Regulation (EC) 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (pdf) The Agency will be controlled by a Management Board dominated by EU governments - each will nominate a member - quite contrary to the "Paris Principles" (UN General Assembly, December 1993) which expressly state that government representatives (both national and EU in this context) should "participate in the deliberations only in an advisory capacity" - not on the management bodies. The Agency will also be precluded from looking at "police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters".
Series of statements on the Regulation EU doc no 6166/07 including:
"The Council agrees to re-examine, before 31 December 2009, the remit of the Agency for Fundamental Rights, with a view to the possibility of extending it to cover the areas of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters." (emphasis in original)
Does the EU need a Fundamental Rights Agency? Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, looks at the proposal and wonders if it will be just another figleaf for inaction (April 2005)
EU-USA: Status of ratification of EU-US Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and mutual legal assistance. Background: Full-text of agreements and Statewatch analysis
EU: Resident third-country nationals: biometric permits: Update: The Council Presidency is proposing that residence permits will be "issued as individual documents, irrespective of the age of the person" and that a new Article in the Regulation saying that all children aged six and over should be fingerprinted: EU doc no: 6201/07 This is despite the Commission's view that: "the reliability of fingerprints is only acceptable for children above 12 years old"
See previous story: Resident third country nationals - biometric residence permits Planned residence permits will have two "chips" - one with biometrics (fingerprints) the other with "national" data and so-called services. Over 17 million people with the right to reside in the EU will be issued with: a two-chip residence permit which will be treated as an ID card too and which will control access and use of "e-government" services (ie: benefits, employment, education, health, driving licence etc) and be used by "e-business" (ie: debit/credit cards and their histories)
EU: Still 46 EU citizens wrongly on the Schengen Information System (SIS): EU doc no: 6071/07 The biggest offender last year was Switzerland which had 283 EU citizens put on the SIS, now this is down to 5. However, the numbers in some countries have actually gone up since May 2006: Lithuania up from 2 to 4 people, Poland up from 4 to 9 people, Spain up from 1 to 3 people, UK up from 2 to 3 people and Greece (3) and Rumania (5) are offenders.
Article 96 which allows aliens to be refused entry. Article 96 concerns data placed on the SIS "relating to aliens who are reported for the purpose of being refused entry" by a member state (from its own state or other EU states). The grounds include "a threat to public order or national security" (Art 96.2). In April 2005 the Heads of national units (SIRENE Bureaux) "were kindly requested to check their national data and to delete the respective data from the system". In June 2005 a report from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority recommended that member states: "prevent Article 96 alerts on nationals from EU Member States." Previous relevant reports: EU doc no: 8281(pdf) (previous: EU doc 7005/05 (pdf).
Article 96 is primarily used to exclude from entry "illegal aliens" including refugees deported from the EU, See: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area and Report of the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority on an inspection of the use of Article 96 alerts in the Schengen Information System (pdf). See also: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway
EU: Europol: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the European Police Office (EUROPOL) The EDPS calls for: "more consistent underlying framework for data protection in police cooperation" See also: Statewatch analysis: Europol - The final step in the creation of an Investigative and Operational European Police Force
EU: UK Select Committee slams G6's role
UK: Reports from: Interception of Communications Commissioner (and Intelligence Commissioner)
- interception warrants reach a new high
- a staggering 439,054 requests lodged for communications data
Statewatch's Observatory on telephone-tapping warrants 1937-2005/6
Update: Italy/Morocco: Renditions: Britel pardon request imminent. Statewatch has learned that a pardon request calling on Moroccan authorities to release rendition victim Abou Elkassim Britel from Äin Bourja prison in Casablanca has been supported by 62 Italian MPs, 25 senators and 12 MEPs, and is due to be delivered by a delegation travelling to Morocco next weekend. Italian diplomatic representatives were also reportedly involved in talks to seek a positive outcome, that is, Britel's inclusion in a list of prisoners who are set to receive a royal pardon on occasion of celebrations for the birth of the king's daughter, expected to take place in a month's time. See: MPs set to request pardon for Britel
ITALY-CIA-RENDITION: Americans and Italians are indicted in CIA kidnapping case (International Herald Tribune, link) MILAN, Italy: An Italian judge on Friday indicted 26 Americans and five Italians for what will be the first criminal trial over the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The judge set a trial date for June 8. Prosecutors allege that five Italian intelligence officials worked with the Americans - almost all CIA agents - to abduct terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003. See: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 15-16 February 2007: Provisional press release for 15 February 2007 (pdf)
- "B" Points agenda
- "A" Points (adoptedwithout discussion) agenda
- Background Note
UPDATE: EP: The European Parliament has adopted (14 February 2007) a highly critical report on CIA renditions and detentions and on the activities of a number of EU governments including the UK, Austria, Italy, Poland and Portugal. The report: "gives detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Germany, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bosnia and Romania."
Full-text of the European Parliament Resolution adopted on 14 February 2007 on CIA rendition and detention (pdf) Press release on the CIA rendition debate and amendments agreed (pdf)
Excellent summary in Working Document no 9 of the key evidence (eg: cases and flights) gathered on Italy, UK, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania and Poland to back up the Resolution above: Evidence gathered on key EU states - CIA rendition and detention (pdf) This should be read in conjunction with: Working Document no 7 (extraordinary renditions) and Working Document no 8: Companies working for the CIA and stop-overs in the EU. See: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The European Parliament's committee of inquiry has done a great public service in gathering evidence to show not just the extent of CIA renditions through and abductions in the EU but also the collusion - by "turning a blind eye" - of EU governments. This have been achieved with little or no help from the other EU institutions (European Commission and the Council of the European Union)."
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, press release: Commission calls for urgent action to address inquest verdict
EU: Standing committee Secretariat of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (The Meijers Committee): Regarding: Note on the draft proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas. COM (2006) 403 final; 2006/0142 (COD) (pdf)
UK: BAE obtain copy of an e-mail to CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade) from their lawyers regarding a court action against BAE: For how much longer will BAE be allowed to run its own secret service and overrule the armed forces? by George Monbiot (link) Previous Statewatch coverage: Private agency put protest groups under surveillance
Update: Italy: G8-Genoa policemen's trial continues in spite of 'lost' evidence. A week after the disappearance of the moltov cocktails cocktails planted by police in the Diaz school to justify a raid during the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, which involved the beating of 93 activists who were sleeping in the school, on 25 January 2007 judge Gabriele Barone, hearing the case in Genoa, dismissed requests by lawyers defending policemen to exclude elements of charge involving the missing evidence from proceedings as "unfounded". The prosecuting magistrates' efforts to find the missing evidence was met by a reply from the Genoa questura (police headquarters) stating that they may have been "destroyed by mistake". ANSA, 24-25.1.2007. In-depth information on the Diaz trial, including transcripts of the hearings, are available at: http://www.supportolegale.org/ Previous story: G8-Genoa policemen's trial suspended as planted molotov cocktails disappear
Libya/EU: The fruits of EU-Libyan cooperation on immigration - Thousands arrested and deported Libyan press agency Jana has released statistics concerning the detention and expulsion of "illegal" immigrants, described as "infiltrators" seeking to illegally emigrate to Europe, by Libyan security forces. Just in the month of January 2007, 2,866 people have been apprehended, and a slightly higher number, 2,931, have been expelled. Jama, Libyan press agency (http://www.jamahiriyanews.com), 23.1.2007 and 12.2.2007.
UK: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: National newspaper editors join campaign to save Freedom of Information (Press Gazette, link) Campaign for Freedom of Information: Parliamentary briefing (link) and Home page
Italy: Renditions: Abu Omar freed in Egypt: Rendition victim Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, aka Abu Omar, was released on 11 February 2007 from Tora high security prison in the outskirts of Cairo. He was kidnapped on 17 February 2003 in Milan, in a case that has resulted in arrest warrants being issued against 13 CIA officers and charges being brought against Nicolò Pollari, the head of the Italian military secret service (SISMI), and other high-level SISMI officials.
Abu Omar's Egyptian lawyer noted that the depression that he had experienced in prison had led to three suicide attempts, and his wife, Nabila, expressed her happiness while noting that "He is happy but tired the prison and torture have deeply marked him. They have changed him". (Repubblica, 12.2.2007).
GUE (United Left in the European Parliament: Press statement (link)
See: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
Netherlands: Groningen makes listening cameras" permanent (pdf)
EU-LIQUIDS ON AIRCRAFT POLICY: Series of questions put down by five party groups in the European Parliament to the European Commission (link) For background see story below.
EU-LIQUIDS ON AIRCRAFT POLICY: Amendment to the main Regulation made by the European Commission without any consultation with the European or national parliaments: Commission Regulation (1546/2006) laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (Official Journal of the EU, censored version) which says: "ANNEX: In accordance with Article 1 the annex is secret and shall not be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.":
Full-text of the censored Annex (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The new liquid rules were adopted in secret by the Commission. There is nothing in the text of the Annex which should not be public, indeed quite the reverse, publication would ensure that people know what the new rules are - and have some basis for complaint if they are interpreted in an arbitrary way".
USA, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy have refused to sign up to the UN Convention on banning disappearences and secret detention. Fifty-seven countries joined at the treaty signing in Paris on 6 February 2007. The Covention was adopted by the general assembly on 20 December 2006 and becomes operational when a minimum of 20 states have ratified it. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons and Enforced Disappearance places an "absolute ban" on on secret detentions, provides for tracing the whereabouts of the "disappeared" and for the right of reparation. France led the initiative for the Convention and its officials estimated that 51,000 people have been disappeared by governments in over 90 countires since 1980. International Convention for the Protection of All Persons and Enforced Disappearance - full-text (pdf) UN press release (pdf) US refuses to sign UN ban on renditions and secret detention (World Socialist Website, link) See: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
Appeal from Canada: Detainees on hunger strike for 76 days (from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group)
UN report: Nanotechnology and the environment (pdf)
UK: Two men freed after being arrested for terrorist offences: Police forced to defend terror investigation after two freed over alleged beheading plot (Link) Two of nine men arrested last week were released without charge and say they were never asked about the police-inspired media coverage that that "plot" involved kidnapping and beheading a British Muslim soldier. Their lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said: "They have left the police station without any better understanding of why they were there than when they first arrived seven days ago. Not a word was ever mentioned to either of them about a plot to kidnap, or the grisly suggestion of a beheading - or even of a soldier at all." Liberty letter (pdf)
Ireland - Dublin: Collusion conference, 10 February 2007, 10.30 - 2pm, North Star Hotel, Amiens Street, Dublin: speakers include:Mary Lou McDonald MEP, Margaret Urwin (Justice for the Forgotten), Amanda (Eddie Fullerton for Justice), John Finucane (brother of Pat Finucane), Aengus O Snodaigh TD (SF Justice spokesperson), Paul O Connor (Pat Finucane Centre), Mark Thompson (Relatives for Justice) and a relative of the Ludlow family.
EU-PRUM TREATY: We previously reported that there were two draft Council Decisions to transpose parts of the Prum Treaty into EU law. One of these (Schengen-related) has now been dropped, that on "improving cooperation on request": Draft Council Decision on improving cooperation on request (as it is now said to be already covered by the adopted Framework Decision, 960/2006/JHA of 18.12.06). The second, a draft Council Decision on cross-border cooperation, has now been formally proposed: Draft Council Decision on cross-border cooperation (pdf) (previous draft: Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime) This second Decision is a "third pillar" measure coming under the Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
A Council Presidency Note (5.2.07): EU doc no: 6003/07 indicates that no view has yet been taken whether to propose a "first pillar" Decision covering immigration and asylum matters.
The Presidency Note however is quite adamant that the "technical implementation of the provisions", adopted by the seven Prum member states, "must remain unchanged" - in other words the 20 other governments have to accept every "dot and comma" of the implementation Annex (145 pages, see below)
Integration of the Prum Treaty into the Union Legal Order (EU doc no: 6220/07)
The Prum Convention was adopted by seven member states in May 2005 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria): Prum Treaty (full-text, pdf). This has now been supplemented by (in true Schengen fashion) with: Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (16 pages, pdf) ANNEX to Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (145 pages, pdf)
UK: Report from the National Audit Office: Identity and Passport Service: Introduction of ePassports (pdf) Reveals that the "chip" (containing a digitised image of the passport photo) on new "e-passports" is only guaranteed for two years even though the passport is issued for ten years.
EU: Draft Framework Decision on the recognition and supervision of suspended sentences and alternative sanctions (69 pages, pdf). Contains useful summary of each member states' practices.
EU: Useful survey of each member state's practices on criminal records : Council Decision on the exchange of information extracted from criminal records - Manual of Procedure (103 pages, pdf)
Statewatch - Viewpoint: The Constitution is Dead: Long Live the Constitution: an EU state in the making by Heiner Busch (pdf)
Portugal: Renditions: Judicial investigation into CIA flights begins
EU: The monitoring of passengers in airports and on board aircraft - Questions to the European Commission by Sophie In 't VEld MEP (ALDE group) The questions concern two EU funded projects: SAFEE which includes installing cameras and microphones on aircraft to detect suspicious behavior SAFEE (link) and OPTAG which involves RFID tagging of boarding cards to track the movements of passengers before boarding - the consortium argues this is simply to track late boarding passengers: OPTAG (link) See: story below for general background.
Press coverage: Kathimerini (Greece, link)
EU: Data protection and detection technologies - Opinion of the data protection Working Party - "not everything that is technically feasible is also socially and politically acceptable, ethically admissible and legally allowable." Background: Statewatch analysis: Detection technologies and democracy
EU: European Court of Justice rejects Sison appeal against denial of access to EU documents (Judgment in case C-266/05 P, 1.2.07, pdf). The European Court of Justice has rejected Professor Jose Maria Sison's appeal against the EU Council's decision to refuse access to the documents relating to his inclusion on the terrorist list. For full background see Statewatch's "terror lists" observatory
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Government prevents Human Rights Commission from undertaking investigations into past abuses Press release, pdf)
Italy: Report by the Commission set up by interior minister Giuliano Amato to investigate conditions in Italy's detention centres (in Italian, link, pdf)
EU: Two historical documents: Trevi, Europol and the European state, by Tony Bunyan (from Statewatching the new Europe, 1993) and The Langdon Report (1995): Justice and Home Affairs Cooperation with Associated Countries
EU-Visa Information System (fingerprint database): Latest draft proposal compares the Commission proposal and the Council of the European union (the 27 governments) current position: EU doc no: 5213/07 and the state of play in the Council's position and negotiations with the European Parliament: EU doc no: 5456/07 Background:
Statewatch coverage: EU: Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on and EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Note on the recent proposal by the Commission to amend the EC Visa Regulation (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor, January 2006, EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS and Study for the extended impact assessment of VIS (2004)
Bulgaria: The Commission for Personal Data Protection in Bulgaria has done little for the protection of personal data - 1.35 million euro were spent instead
EU: European Arrest Warrant (EAW) report for 2005 (pdf) In 2005 France issued the most arrest warrants, 1,914 followed by Poland (1,448), Austria (975) and Spain (519) - the UK issued 131.The number of people surrendered as a result was topped by France (162) and Poland (112) - and in the UK 63. Background see: Report for 2004 (pdf)
GERMANY-CIA RENDITION: A German court in Munich has issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping and rendition of Khaled al-Masri who was abducted in 2003 in Macedonia, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan and tortured: Speigel Online (link) and BBC News (link). Full documentation is on Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
EU-PRUM TREATY-SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS: The Prum Convention was adopted by seven member states in May 2005 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria): Prum Treaty (full-text, pdf). This has now been supplemented by (in true Schengen fashion) with: Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (16 pages, pdf) ANNEX to Administrative and technical implementing Agreement to the Prüm Convention (145 pages, pdf)
ITALY-CIA: Italian judge issues arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping and rendition of Abu Omar to Egypt where he was tortured: Abu Omar: Evidence as presented to the courts (pdf, 210 pages) See also Statewatch's Observatory on CIA renditions and detention (documents) and CIA team wanted over Milan 'kidnap' (Guardian, link)
European Parliament inquiry into CIA rendition and detention: Inquiry report as adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties (pdf). The report now goes to the plenary session. Press release on committee report For full background documentation see: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA renditions and detention
UK: Human Rights and Human Wrongs - National Critical Lawyers Group Conference 2007, 24-25 February 2007, Kent University, Canterbury (pdf)
UK: Borders Bill - full-text (pdf) Includes giving powers of detention (up to three hours), search and seizure, and use of "reasonable force" to immigration officials; the taking of biometrics (fingerprints) to issue a "biometric immigration document", and the further taking of fingerprints to confirm the data on the document. The biometric and information gathered may be used "for specified purposes which do not relate to immigration". Also introduces "automatic deportation" for a non-British people sentenced to prison for 12 months or more.
EU: Statewatch analysis: Europol - The final step in the creation of an Investigative and Operational European Police Force, by Professor Steve Peers, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. Among its conclusion are:
"replacing the Europol Convention by a Council Decision will reduce the power of national parliaments to control the development of Europol, and furthermore will accelerate the pace of the development of Europol's powers and competence"
"it would be open to Europol, for instance, to create a database of supposed violent demonstrators, in order to exercise its public order tasks"
"the need to prepare Europol for involvement in implementation of the 'principle of availability', ie uncontrolled access by national police forces to all of the data in each others' databases"
"What new safeguards are proposed to ensure the accountability of these new 'operational and investigatory powers'? None"
"With this proposal, Europol comes much closer to becoming a form of federal police force, and indeed Europol's development has consciously paralleled that of the German federal police agencies. But the development of Europol's accountability is not remotely comparable to that of a national police force - even assuming that a federal Europol force could compare to national police forces and regards its efficiency or legitimacy"
UK: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2005 onwards (Institute of Race Relations, Factfile, link)
Italy/Morocco: Renditions: Italian and European MPs set to request pardon for Abou Elkassim Britel
EU-DATA PROTECTION: German Presidency admits the Council is in a mess on the draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters and - most unusually - is to ask the European Commission to go back to the drawing board and prepare a "revised" proposal. See page 4, point 7 in Presidency Note for discussion at the Article 36 Committee on 25-26 January: EU doc no: 5435/07 (pdf)
The Commission submitted the proposal in October 2005, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued an Opinion in December 2005, the European Parliament agreed its report (with 60 amendments) in May 2006 and adopted it in September 2006, in November 2006 the EDPS issued a second critical Opinion and in December 2006 the European Parliament adopted a report saying that it intended to re-examine the issue as the Council had ignored its views. Between November 2005 and November 2006 the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime produced 29 reports - substantially changing the Commission proposal and ignoring the views of the EDPS and the European Parliament - without reaching agreement on the text.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"It has to be hoped that the Commission when revising the proposal takes into account the views of the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Parliament and not just those of the Council.
When it does return to the table the Council must give it to the Working Party on Data Protection and not to the working party comprised of law enforcement officials who have proved quite incapable of balancing their demands with the rights of citizens to meaningful data protection"
See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU: PRUM CONFUSION: The effect of making two proposals (see story below) for the third pillar aspects of Prum is that the short proposal would not be governed by the rules on data protection in the Treaty of Prum (ie as set out in the longer proposal). Instead, as a measure building on the Schengen acquis, the short proposal would be governed by the Schengen data protection rules, ie arts 126-130 of the Schengen Convention, which would in turn be replaced by the Framework Decision on data protection if agreed (see story above).
UK: Serious Crimes Bill (pdf) Ministers overturn data protection rules in fight against organised crime: - · Bill sanctions private and public sector data sharing - 'Super Asbos' aim to crack down on gangland bosses (Guardian link)
UK: Home Office Research Study on: Exploring the decision making of Immigration Officers:
a research study examining non-EEA passenger stops and refusals at UK ports (pdf) Annex (pdf) and Non-whites 'more likely to be questioned at airports' (Guardian, link)
EU: NEW - Two draft Council Decisions to transpose parts of the Prum Treaty into EU law: Draft Council Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime and Draft Council Decision on improving cooperation on request
Statewatch Summary of the comparison of the provisions in the Prum Treaty and draft Decision on cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross border crime
These two draft Decisions have been prepared by the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (full-time officials) for the meeting of the Article 36 Committee (high-level officials representing the 27 member sates) in Brussels on 25-26 January 2006. They are both based on the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) which means the governments have to agree unanimously but the European Parliament is only "consulted" (ie: its opinion can be ignored).
It is expected that at least two more Council Decisions on "first pillar" (TEC) aspects of the Prum Convention will be proposed by the European Commission - these will be subject to qualified majority voting in the Council and codecision with the European Parliament. That is, one on the introduction of armed "air marshals" on flights in the EU and another on the immigration aspects eg: the joint deportation of asylum-seekers.
Background: The Prum Convention (full-text, pdf) The Prum Convention was adopted by seven member states in May 2005 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria). House of Lords report: Behind Closed Doors, Statewatch: Some remarks on Schengen III (the Prum Convention) and - Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Collusion report demonstrates need for effective scrutiny and accountability of national security (press release, pdf). See story below.
Northern Ireland: Damning report on the use of informers and their links to murders: Statement by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland on her investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Raymond McCord Junior and related matters (full-text, 162 pages, pdf)
"The Police Ombudsman can confirm that a police informant is a suspect in the murder of Mr McCords son."
"The majority of them [police officers] failed even to reply. This was despite the fact that witness details would be anonomised in any public statement. Amongst those who refused were two retired Assistant Chief Constables, seven Detective Chief Superintendents and two Detective Superintendents."
"Intelligence was also found which implicated police informants, and in particular, Informant 1, in a significant number of crimes in respect of which no action or insufficient action was taken: Armed robbery; Assault and Grievous Bodily Harm; Punishment shootings and attacks; Possession of munitions; Criminal Damage; Drug dealing; Extortion; Hijacking; Intimidation; Conspiracy to murder; Threats to kill."
"Intelligence reports and other documents within the RUC and the PSNI, most of which were rated as reliable and probably true, linked informants, and in particular one man who was a police informant (referred to in this report as Informant 1) to the following ten murders:
Mr Peter McTasney who died on 24 February 1991;
Ms Sharon McKenna who died on 17 January 1993;
Mr Sean McParland who was attacked on 17 February 1994, and died on 25 February 1994;
Mr Gary Convie who died on 17 May 1994;
Mr Eamon Fox who died on 17 May 1994, in the same attack as Mr Gary Convie;
Mr Gerald Brady who died on 17 June 1994;
Mr Thomas Sheppard who died on 21 March 1996;
Mr John Harbinson who died on 18 May 1997;
Mr Raymond McCord Junior who died on 09 November 1997
Mr Thomas English who died on 31 October 2000."
Italy: G8-Genoa policemen's trial suspended as planted molotov cocktails disappear
UK-COE Convention on terrorism: "the Government cannot and should not ratify the Convention because the UKs domestic law is not compatible with it"
Convention on terrorism: Report from the UK parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (pdf) The report finds that: "The most significant difference concerns the definition of terrorism. The offence of encouragement of terrorism in s.1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 is much wider than the offence which is required to be criminalised by Article 5 of the Convention and the Committee remains of the view that it therefore carries with it a considerable risk of incompatibility with the right to freedom of expression in Article 10 ECHR" and
"The Committee takes the view that the offence of encouragement to terrorism as defined in s.1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 is likely to have a disproportionate impact on freedom of expression, contrary to the express requirement in Article 12 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. It therefore concludes that, on the current state of the law, the Government cannot and should not ratify the Convention because the UKs domestic law is not compatible with it"
UK-Algeria: Return of Algerian Refugees: Statement from Gareth Peirce, lawyer
EU faces split on police powers: Germany presses reluctant European partners to allow armed police and undercover agents to operate with impunity outside their own country (Observer, link)
Background document: Council conclusions on simplifying the cross-border deployment of undercover officers in order to step up Member States' cooperation in the fight against serious cross-border crime (pdf)
EU: Developing the European surveillance society: German proposal on police access to Eurodac data. Statewatch analysis of EU plans to give police access to central EU fingerprint database of asylum applicants and "illegal" entrants
EU: European Court of Justice overturns decision to deny appeal by PKK (Judgment in case C-229/05 P, 18.1.07, pdf). The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the Court of First Instance (CFI) was wrong to declare inadmissible a case challenging the inclusion of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) in the EU's "terrorist" list. See Statewatch obervatory on "terrorist lists" for analysis and background
Differentakes no. 45: Control Freaks: Homeland Security and Interoperability, by Ben Hayes and Roch Tassé. Published by the Population and Development Program, Hampshire College: link
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting, Dresden, Germany, 14-16 January 2007 - Press releases: - The Cross-border Use of Information Technology in the Justice Sector - Interior ministers want to work closely with countries of origin and transit on migration issues - Providing impetus for future European home affairs policy starting in 2010
UK: Data-sharing between databases: For government "spin" on the benefits see the Annual report (from the Cabinet Office website). However, there are two detailed reports on the specific implications elsewhere: Data protection and sharing: This covers "resilience" and is about data protection and emergencies which also includes provisions under the Civil Contingencies Act (eg: public order) and another on the "removal of barriers to the sharing of non-consensual credit data" (pdf)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Minister meeting, Dresden, Germany, 14-16 January 2007 - Documents:
- Stepping up cross-border police cooperation by transposing the Prüm Treaty into the legal framework of the EU
- Shaping European home affairs policies after the expiry of the Hague programme in 2010
- Initiative concerning the European migration policy
Data protection: It is looking increasingly likely that the German Council Presidency is intending to drop the draft Framework Decision on data protection on police and judicial matters - proposed by the Commission in October 2005 and the subject of Opinions from the European Parliament and two from the European Data Protection Supervisor and lengthy discussions in the Council Working Party - and replace it by the data protection provisions in the Prum Treaty. The draft Framework Decision is not listed as one of the issues to be discussed at the JHA Council meetings during the German Presidency. For background see: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
Prum Treaty: The document on the Prum Treaty - adopted in secret meetings by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain - confirms that it intended to make it part of EU law without any amendments being allowed. See: House of Lords report: Behind Closed Doors; Statewatch: Some remarks on Schengen III (the Prum Convention) and the Prum Convention (full-text, pdf)
Immigration: The immigration document confirms that policies agreed by the self-appointed G6 group of EU governments (comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK) are to form the basis of EU-wide policies.
Future JHA programme: "the German Presidency proposes to set up a high-level advisory group on the future of European home affairs policies as from 2010" This group would comprise Mr Frattini from the European Commission, Home Affairs Ministers and "specific experts designated ad personam may support the group as needed". Its work is to be " transparent and open", that is, only to government ministers and their officials. The group is to draw up a programme to follow on from Tampere (1999) and Hague (2005) - neither of these programmes were publicly available until they were adopted thus side-lining parliaments and public alike.
Open letter by Moroccan, African and European associations: In Morocco, the rights and dignity of men and women are scorned in the name of the protection of Europe's borders
UK-COE: A statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe: Do not blame the Council of Europe for the criminal records backlog (press release, link) I am surprised by John Reids attempt to blame the 1959 Council of Europe Convention for the backlog of unrecorded crimes committed by British citizens abroad. It is clear that the origins of the problem are in London, not Strasbourg", he said.
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Dresden, Germany, 14-16 January 2007, Press release
Two articles by Phil Scraton, Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queens University, Belfast: Children, Violence and Transition (pdf) and the Allen Response is to a strategy document written by Rob Allen, ex-Youth Justice Agency, that was the centre of a recent London seminar (pdf)
Statewatch's Observatory: "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing: Updated. Includes: EU terrorist list updated and Successful challenge to EU terrorist list by PMOI (Statewatch report)
UK: Terror suspects' control orders face new court challenge (Guardian, link)
EU: Third country nationals - biometric residence permits Planned residence permits will have two "chips" - one with biometrics (fingerprints) the other with "national" data and so-called services. Over 17 million people with the right to reside in the EU will be issued with: a two-chip residence permit which will be treated as an ID card too and which will control access and use of "e-government" services (ie: benefits, employment, education, health, driving licence etc) and be used by "e-business" (ie: debit/credit cards and their histories)
EU: German Council Presidency: Justice and Home Affairs External Relations Multi-Presidency Work Programme and Living Europe Safely Work programme of the Federal Ministry of the Interior for the German EU Presidency
EU-CIA-RENDITION: Deep in Le Carré country, the remote Polish airport at heart of CIA flights row - Former director tells how planes were met by vehicles from nearby military base (Guardian, link) Confirmation that Szymany airport was used extensively for CIA rendition flights.
EU: European Commission Proposal for a Council Decision on Europol (COM 817, 2006, pdf) For backgound see: Statewatch analysis: The Future of Europol - more powers, less regulation, precious little debate by Ben Hayes. The EU is currently discussing the future of Europol but is ignoring critical issues in favour of giving the agency more powers and a more flexible legal framework.
EU: Draft Council Decision concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by the authorities of Member States responsible for internal security and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (as at 22 December 2006)
Main proposal: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (as at 20 December 2006) plus EU doc no: 16229/06 (covering negotiations with the European Parliament, dated 6 December 2006)
EU-Morocco: In the name of commitments made to the EU, migrants and refugees are rounded up in Morocco (Statement by the Migreurop network)
EU: The centrepiece of the German Council Presidency is to be the incorporation into the EU acquis of the Prum Treaty - agreed in secret by the governments of Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Austria (the five original Schengen states plus Spain and Austria). Their national parliaments could not change a "dot or coma" nor will the other 18 EU parliaments be able to. As the UK House of Lords observed:
"if the Convention does become part of the legal framework of the EU, that framework will for practical purposes have been imposed by seven Member States on the other eighteen"
For background see:
- Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora
- House of Lords report: Behind Closed Doors
- Statewatch: Some remarks on Schengen III (the Prum Convention)
- The principle of availability Statewatch analysis.
- and the Prum Convention (full-text, pdf)
News Online Archives: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X.Material may be used providing the source is acknowledged. Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.