Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2008



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December 2008

UK: Private firm may track all email and calls: 'Hellhouse' of personal data will be created, warns former DPP (Guardian, link):

"It would be a complete readout of every citizen's life in the most intimate and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls." Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions

Italy-Tunisia: Allowing someone to live or letting them die: Italy contravenes European Court of Human Rights instructions by deporting Tunisian
by Gabriella Petti:

"Six days have passed since Mourad Trabelsi's expulsion, yet we know nothing about his fate once he arrived in Tunisia. His relatives have looked for him in prisons without any results, and his lawyer has not received any news. The Italian government has probably co-operated with the umpteenth disappearance of an individual involved in trials for international terrorism.* According to lawyers, many of those expelled, when they return to their countries of origin, have been arrested, subjected to torture and and have sometimes disappeared. In this case, we are dealing with someone who was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment that he has just served in an Italian prison, with a further twenty years to serve in a Tunisian jail, following a sentence issued in absentia in his country of origin."

EU: FRONTEX: Frontex General Report 2007 (63 pages, pdf)

Amnesty International report: Migration-related detention a global concern (pdf)

Spain: CEAR expresses concern over asylum law reform (Statewatch)

UK: Jacqui calls Vodafone man to run massive snoop database (Register, link):

"Exclusive A senior Vodafone network architecture specialist has been appointed by Jacqui Smith to draw up proposals for a multibillion pound central silo of communications data, amid a Whitehall row about the future of the project, The Register has learned.

The Home Office team responsible for the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) have been told to make the case for the expansion of state surveillance it would involve again, according to insiders."

EU: Czech Data Protection President: Democracy is flourishing, but not individual freedom (pdf):

"On the threshold of the 21st century we are witnesses to a reinforcing of democracy, but it seems that the freedom of the individual has become less important. As though collective problems such as global climate change or the defence against terrorism have been prioritised to the detriment of personal freedom. Measures are now being implemented regardless of the risks, difficulties and costs they can present for the individual, restricting his or her freedom, such as the right to privacy."
Igor Nemec. President of the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection.

UK: Information Commissioner's response to Home Affairs Select Committee report: A Surveillance Society?: Information Commissioner’s Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2007–08 (pdf). Background: A Surveillance Society?: The Government reply to the report from the Home affairs Committee (pdf). See: Government stands by data sharing: The Home Office has said that joining up existing government systems reduces the need for big new databases (link) Background: Report on the "Surveillance society" by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: Report: Vol 1 (1.5 MB, pdf) Evidence Vol 2 (1.6 MB, pdf).

UK: What terror jury was not told: "They tore my nails out. Then I was interrogated by MI5" (Guardian, link) - Britons found guilty of al-Qaida membership - Convicted man alleged torture by Pakistani agents

EU: Justice and Home Affairs "Agenda": Statewatch analysis: The EU’s JHA agenda for 2009 (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex

ECJ: Huber v Germany: The processing and storage of those data relating to Union citizens for statistical purposes or with a view to fighting crime is contrary to Community law (Press release, pdf) and Judgment - full-text (Judgment, pdf)

"as regards the question of the use of the data contained in the register for the purposes of fighting crime, the Court holds, in particular, that that objective involves the prosecution of crimes and offences committed, irrespective of the nationality of their perpetrators. The register at issue does not contain personal data relating to nationals of the Member State concerned. Consequently, use for the purposes of fighting crime is contrary to the principle of non-discrimination and hence contrary to Community law." (emphasis in original)

EU-FRONTEX: Pro Asyl: Appeal to the European Parliament ”Stop the death trap at the European Borders!“ More than 1500 documented cases of deaths at the doors of Europe over the last 12 months illustrate a serious human rights record (Press release, pdf) and Petition to the European Parliament:
Year by year thousands die at Europe´s borders. Stop the deathtrap at the EU borders!
(Petition, pdf)

EU: Ombudsman criticises age discrimination by the Commission Special report, pdf):

"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has criticised the European Commission's discrimination against freelance interpreters who are older than 65. This follows a complaint from an interpreter who stopped receiving job offers after he turned 65, although he wanted to continue working.

The Ombudsman made a proposal for a friendly solution in which he asked the Commission to abandon this discriminatory policy. He also suggested that the Commission compensate the complainant. The Commission rejected his proposals. The Ombudsman has now sent a special report to the European Parliament (EP) asking it to support his position.

Mr Diamandouros said: "The European Parliament has abolished its discriminatory policies after my intervention. It is therefore even more regrettable that the Commission still discriminates against persons on grounds of age."

Also from the European Ombudsman: Follow-up to Critical and further remarks: How the EU institutions responded to the Ombudsman's Recommendations in 2007 (pdf)

How a child dies in Venice: 11-year-old Afghan boy dies to avoid controls by the border police

"He was fifteen years old. No, he was twelve. Maybe, in reality, he was only eleven. As the day progressed, his age changed several times, turning increasingly younger. In any case, he was a boy. He was found dead in Via Orlanda in Mestre, Venice, run over by the lorry under which he had hidden to escape the checks by the border police. Why, one would wonder, does an Afghan minor, a figure that is well protected by international conventions, by the ECHR, and even by the Bossi-Fini law [on immigration], risk his life in such a way in order to avoid being intercepted by the border police?"

USA-TORTURE: Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry into the treatment of detainees in US Custody (pdf)

EU-EP: Conservatives and Socialists block search for rendition truth - Ludford (Press release, pdf):

"The Socialist (PSE) and Conservative (EPP) groups, which together have a majority in the European Parliament, have allied to deny a request made by the Liberal, Green and the Communist groups for a debate on Guantanamo and the CIA extraordinary rendition programme in next week's European Parliamentary plenary session in Strasbourg."

Deadline: 31 December 2008: THE ALTERNATIVE CONSULTATION ON EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS POLICY

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future priorities in the field of Justice and Home Affairs policy. The European Civil Liberties Network has produced an alternative questionnaire to provoke a more wide ranging debate about EU policy and practice.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey and have your say on EU justice and home affairs policy:
Complete survey

For more information about the ECLN survey, see: the
ECLN survey

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) repeals a provision of the Data Retention in the Internet Regulation

EU-EP: Report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union 2004-2008: Committee on Civil Liberties: Rapporteur: Giusto Catania (As adopted by the LIBE Committee, pdf)

Renditions/Italy: Interpretation of "state secret" leads to suspension of Abu Omar trial

GREECE: The police shooting and death of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos: Athens riots spin totally out of control Athens riots spin totally out of control (kathimerini, link):

"Epaminondas Korkoneas, the 37-year-old police officer who is alleged to have shot the teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos is a special guard, a force that was created in 1999 but fully inducted into the police only this year.

Special guards were intended to take on more menial tasks, such as guarding buildings, so that regular police officers would be able to take up other duties.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the legal counsel of the Attica Police Officers’ Union, Vaios Skambardonis, said that police officers are advised that they should only use their revolvers if human life is in danger.

However, footage of Saturday’s shooting, captured by a witness on her mobile phone does not appear to show Korkoneas and his colleague coming under any kind of threat.

The blurred, dark images appear to show the police officer standing at some distance from the 15-year-old and other youths.

There appear to be no signs of the police officers coming under any kind of attack.

Korkoneas has been charged with murder and illegal use of a weapon while his colleague has been charged as an accomplice."

See also: Riot-hit Athens to bury teenager (BBC News, link); Greece, Thessaloniki: Communique from the Ocupied School of Theatre (Indymedia, link) and Indymedia - Greece (English, link)

EU/Africa/Indian Ocean: Fortress Europe blog details 41 deaths in November 2008

EU: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Compromise report on fingerprinting children (pdf). The LIBE Committee will today consider this report which "provisionally" sets the age limit for the taking of fingerprints from children as 12 years old - Member States which have already adopted national laws for a lower age are allowed to carry on - for these states a lower age limit is set at 6 years old. The Commission is to prepare a report:

"based on a large scale and in-depth study carried out by an independent authority and supervised by the Commission, which shall examine the reliability and
technical feasibility, including through an evaluation of the accuracy of the systems in operation, of using the fingerprints of children under the age of 14 for identification and verification purposes, including a comparison of the false rejection rates occurring in each Member State and - based on the results of that study - an analysis of the need for common rules regarding the matching process."

An interesting Joint Statement is attached as regards: "unreliable "breeder documents"":

"The passport in itself is only one link of a security chain starting from the presentation of the breeder documents, to the enrolment of biometric data and ending with the matching at the border check points. This chain will only be as secure as its weakest link.

The European Parliament and the Council note that there is a great diversity of situations and procedures in the Member States regarding which "breeder documents" should be produced in order to request the issuing of a passport and that normally these documents have less security features than the passport in itself, and are more likely to be subjected to forgery and counterfeiting.

The Council shall therefore prepare a questionnaire for the Member States in order to be able to compare the procedures and which documents are required in each Member State in order to issue a passport or travel document."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It is to be welcomed that the European Parliament has insisted on a "provisional" limit of 12 years old for the taking of fingerprints from children. However, the taking of childrens' fingerprints is not just a "technical" question it is a moral and political one. Children do not have the right of "informed consent" and their fingerprints will be kept for the rest of their lives.

The Joint Statement on "unreliable "breeder documents" which recognises they "are more likely to be subjected to forgery and counterfeiting" begs major questions. To put in place a binding Regulation before ascertaining what the situation is in every member state, setting common security and privacy standards and providing sufficient time for these standards to be implemented is quite simply irresponsible."

Europe's big brothers - As we celebrate the human rights legacy of the last 60 years, the right to a private life is threatened more than ever (Guardian, link) by Thomas Hammarberg (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights) and Ben Hayes (Statewatch) See also: The Shape of Things to Come - the EU Future Group

UK: Sussex students arrested under anti-terror laws - A new interactive online map reveals the nature of police activity in Brighton during an anti-war march

CoE: Excellent report from the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammerberg: Protecting the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism (pdf). From Press release: "Counter-terrorism measures must not trample on the right to privacy" says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 4 December 2008 - "Freedom has been compromised in the fight against terrorism after 11 September. Government decisions have undermined
human rights principles with flawed arguments about improved security" says the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, on the eve of the publication of his issue paper on "Protecting the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism."

"Not only terrorism, but also our reaction to it pose a long-term, engrained threat to human rights. The time has come to review steps taken to collect, store, analyse, share and use personal data" said Commissioner Hammarberg. "Data protection is crucial to the upholding of fundamental democratic values: A surveillance society risks infringing this basic right."

"In the war on terror, the notion of privacy has been altered" he continued. "General surveillance raises serious democratic problems which are not answered by the repeated assertion that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. This puts the onus in the wrong place: It should be for States to justify the interferences they seek to make on privacy rights."

EU: European Network Against Racism: Executive summary: racism in europe enar shadow report 2007 (pdf)

Renditions/Spain: Damning evidence surfaces of Aznar government collusion in Guantánamo flights

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: The Council of Ministers of the European Union must not adopt the outrageous directive! Joint press statement by Anafé, APDHA, Arci, ATMF, La Cimade, Gisti, IPAM, LDH-Belgique, Migreurop and Statewatch against the formal approval of the Returns Directive on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights:

In English
In French (original)
In Spanish
In Italian

ECJ-COUNCIL: The Court annuls, for the third time, a Council Decision freezing the funds of the People's Mojahdin Organisation of Iran (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf)

"The Council has violated the rights of defence of the PMOI by not communicating to it the new information which, according to the Council, justified maintaining it on the European list of terrorist organisations; by refusing to communicate to the Court certain information about the case, the Council has equally infringed the fundamental right of the PMOI to effective judicial protection."

ECHR-UK: Major victory in the European Court of Human Rights: European Court of Human Rights unanimously finds that the UK practice of keeping indefinitely the fingerprints and DNA of people not convicted of an offence is a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR Convention: Marper case press release (pdf) and Full-text of Marper judgment (pdf). The Court findings are expressed in damning terms of UK law and practices:

"The Court noted that England, Wales and Northern Ireland appeared to be the only jurisdictions within the Council of Europe to allow the indefinite retention of fingerprint and DNA material of any person of any age suspected of any recordable offence."

"The Court was struck by the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the power of retention in England and Wales. In particular, the data in question could be retained irrespective of the nature or gravity of the offence with which the individual was originally suspected or of the age of the suspected offender; the retention was not time-limited;"

"In conclusion, the Court found that the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offences, as applied in the case of the present applicants, failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests, and that the respondent State had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard. Accordingly, the retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants’ right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Editor, comments:

"The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Marper case roundly condemns UK law and practice in taking and keeping indefinitely fingerprints and DNA from everyone arrested but not charged and of those arrested and charged but found to be innocence in court which is why the UK has the largest DNA database in the world.

The judgment will also have profound implications for EU plans to allow automated access to fingerprints and DNA by agencies across Europe under a recent Council Decision on cross-border cooperation (incorporated under the Prum Treaty) - especially for the transfer of UK biometric data to other EU countries.

As the Court notes at the moment the UK is the only place which allows the indefinite retention of fingerprint and DNA material of any person of any age suspected of any recordable offence - in most EU states this biometric data is only kept if a person is convicted for a specific serious offence. However, discussions in EU fora hint at removing legal "obstacles" to the collection and storage of DNA and fingerprints in order to "harmonise" policies based on the UK model."

UK Background: 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), Comments posed by the ECHR in the case of S. and Marper (APPLICATION 30562/04 & 30566/04) and which relate to the application of data protection law to the retention of DNA personal data by Chris Pounder (pdf) and Historical background article by Statewatch: Law enforcement and DNA technology: the irresistable march? UK database to be expanded, EU member states to begin exchanging DNA “profiles" (pdf)

EU background: Council of the European Union: DNA compiling of the answers (EU doc no: 9445/1/06 Rev 1) and the incorporation of the Prum Treaty into the EU: COUNCIL DECISION on the implementation of Decision 2008/…/JHA on the stepping up of cross border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (pdf) and Statewatch article: Searching for Needles in an ever expanding haystack: Cross-border DNA data exchange in the wake of the Prum Treaty with EU country-by-country DNA figures (pdf). And context : Statewatch's: The Shape of Things to Come (pdf)

UK: Police and immigration given powers to demand to see identification: Police and immigration officers will be able to stop Britons and demand they prove their identity under proposed sweeping new powers (Daily Telegraph, link) and Full-text: Draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill (pdf): See Clause 26.

EU: Commission proposals:

- Council Regulation listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (COM 716, pdf)

- Directive laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers (COM 815, pdf)

- Regulation concerning the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No […/…] [establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] (825/3, pdf)

- Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (COM 829, pdf)

EU-HEALTH RECORDS: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf). The EDPS expresses:

"concerns about the fact that current Community healthcare-related initiatives are not always well co-ordinated with privacy and security considerations - especially with regard to the use of new information and communication technologies, thus hampering the adoption of a universal data protection approach towards healthcare. This is also evident in the current proposal where, although references to data protection can be found, these are mainly of a general nature and fail to specifically address the data protection dimension of cross-border healthcare."

European Parliament-CIA: Question to the Commission by the ALDE group (Liberal) (pdf)

Council of Europe: Council of Europe Adopts Second-rate Treaty on Access to Information: Civil Society Groups express disappointment, call for strong monitoring body (pdf)

UK: De Menezes family walk out of inquest as coroner rules he was not unlawfully killed (Guardian, link)

EU: BODY SCANNERS: Commission launches short consultation: deadline Now changed to 19 February 2009: The impact of the use of body scanners in the field of aviation security on human rights, privacy, personal dignity, health and data protection (press release, link) and Questionnaire (Word file)

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Press release: EDPS sees adoption of Data Protection Framework for police and judicial cooperation only as a first step (pdf): "the EDPS repeatedly called for significant improvements of the proposal to ensure high standards in the level of protection offered and warned against a dilution of data protection standards."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The process of adopting this Framework Decision was a democratic fiasco with law enforcement officials deciding on issues of privacy and peoples' rights and coming down on the side of the state every time..

While the views of the European Parliament, the EDPS, national Data Protection Commissioners and civil society were virtually ignored the demands of the USA to retain unregulated bilateral access to personal data exchanges was endorsed."

See Statewatch Observatory on: Data protection in the EU

UK: 10,000 TASERS for UK police (Home Office, pdf)

EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE: Judgment: Press Release: The Court explains the scope of the speciality rule which states that a person surrendered under a European Arrest Warrant for the purpose of prosecution for a criminal offence may be prosecuted only for that offence (pdf)

HUNGARY: The Hungarian Constitutional Court declares several rules of the act regulating the criminal registry (hereinafter: CRA) unconstitutional - the Court nullified rules on the scope of the registry, on data transfer from the registry and on rules of dactyloscopic and photo registry

SPAIN: ACCESS TO INFORMATION: Report claims right of access to information is not fully recognised

Racism in policing: the experience of Moroccan car enthusiasts' club members on their trip to Spain

November 2008

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism (June-November 2008) (pdf), Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism (pdf) and EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - Discussion paper (pdf). The discussion paper includes the following comment on Europol (JSB is the Joint Supervisory Body of data protection commissioners)::

"While the JSB has acknowledged the fact that there is a need for Check the Web to include some personal data, their extreme interpretation of the data protection rules means that a number of high value analysis documents received from Member States cannot be input in the system, some of them because they contain the name of well-known terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden…"

The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator is keen on the idea of a "European Security Label" and says:

"Such an EU Security Label would stimulate innovative technologies that provide the best value for money in the long term, while ensuring interoperability. By introducing a compulsory 'privacy & freedom-compliance requirement', the Label would at the same time express respect for European civil liberties."

The idea of a "European Security Label" was raised in the Future Group report, see: Statewatch's: The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) and the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) report in September, see: European Security Research and Innovation Forum intermediate report (pdf).

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The background documents to the Future Group and the ESRIF report show that PET (privacy enhancing technology) with a European Security Label would allay fears that law enforcement and internal security agencies could gain access to communications and personal data. But equally they show that the agencies are opposed to PET because this could be exploited by criminals and others. The likelihood is that such an official "Label" would give the impression that privacy would be respected while built-in trap-doors would give the agencies access whenever they want"

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 27-28 November 2008 - Background documentation: Press release, 27 November - including story below (French, pdf): "B" Points Agenda (pdf) and "A" Points Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf). Background note (pdf); Council information note (French, pdf); Notes from French presidency website (link); Broadcast material from EU media library (pdf)

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, Brussels, 27 November: Restriction on the freedom of movement within the EU for people who have been convicted of serious crime in the past or for "repeated offences" (which may be "low level")

"Ministers are discussing the adoption of Council Conclusions: Free movement of persons: abuses and substantive problems – Draft Council conclusions on abuses and misuses of the right to free movement of persons (16151/1/08, 26 November 2008, pdf). These say that: "Only those exercising their rights in the spirit of the Treaty should benefit from freedom of movement." While referring to third country nationals the proposals would apply to EU citizens as well and allow Member States to deny entry to those who:

"break the law in a sufficiently serious manner by committing serious and repeated offences"

The scope of "repeated offences" is undefined and could apply, for example, to protectors who take part in cross-border demonstrations.

These Conclusions are based on a proposal put forward by the UK: Statewatch Analysis: The UK proposals on EU free movement law: an attack on the rule of law and EU fundamental freedoms by Professor Steve Peers - University of Essex (pdf):

The draft conclusions constitute an attack on the rule of law and the fundamental freedom of EU citizens and their family members to move freely within the Community. They indicate an intention to:

- ignore a recent important ruling of the Court of Justice as well as many prior rulings of the Court;
- attempt to dictate to the Court how to interpret EC legislation;
- amend or re-interpret EC legislation at the dictat of interior ministries, without applying any form of legislative process; and
- dictate to the Commission how to perform its independent task as guardian of EC law.

The UK proposal includes considering: "the cumulative damage caused by continuous low-level offending can amount to a sufficiently serious threat to public policy"

United Kingdom delegation: Free movement of persons: abuses and substantive problems - Draft Council Conclusions (EU doc no: 15903/08. 18 November 2008, pdf)

GREECE: PROASYL REPORT: “The situation in Greece is out of control”: Research into the situation of asylum seekers in Greece (pdf)

ITALY: Draft Report on the LIBE delegation to Italy on September 18th/19th (nomads camps emergency) (pdf) and Annex I and Annex II to the Draft Report of the LIBE delegation to Italy on September 18th and 19th (pdf)

DENMARK: PET in security quandary (link)

"The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) was outmanoevred today after the Supreme Court determined it had been wrong to detain one of two men the Service alleged had planned to kill one of Denmark's Mohammed cartoonists.

The man was one of two men detained in the case, and while the Supreme Court said there had been grounds to detain one of the men, evidence had not been sufficiently forthcoming to support the detention of the other man.

Both men were made subjects of an administrative order to leave the country. While one of the men left Denmark voluntarily, the other remains in the country as there are fears for his safety if he returns to his own country."

Profiling Web Users – Some Intellectual Property Problems by Nicholas Bohm and Joel Harrison in "Computers and Law", publication of the Society for Computers and Law (November 2008, pdf).

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Speaking of Terror: A survey of the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on freedom of the media in Europe (pdf) A new report by Privacy International for the CoE Media and Information Society Division examines how the “war on terror” has affected access to information, the growth of incitement, glorification and “extremism” restrictions on speech, blocking of internet sites, increased surveillance of journalists and limits on protection of journalists’ sources. The report finds that the laws have already seriously affected freedom of expression while providing little benefit in fighting terrorism. The report also examines the roles of the United Nations Security Council, European Union and Council of Europe in promoting new laws while paying little attention to human rights.

UK-EU: British government sues EU Council over decision to exclude UK from decision on police access to Visa Information System (VIS) (Case C-428/08, pdf). Having chosen not to participate in the common EU visa policy and the development of VIS, the UK was also excluded from the decision to grant Europol and law enforcement agencies in the member states access to VIS data. The British government is now seeking annulment of the latter decision (i.e. access to VIS for UK law enforcement agencies) on the grounds that the EU decision was given an incorrect legal basis in the provisions developing the Schengen area.

EU: Revised proposal on telecoms regulation: 'Citizens' Rights Directive' (pdf): This is a draft Directive amending the 2002 Directive on privacy in telecommunications. It addresses aspects of data protection, data security, confidentiality, traffic data, location data, caller ID, subscriber data and unsolicited communications but will not apply to activities falling outside of the 'first pillar', including access by law enforcement agencies to data collected under the EU's mandatory retention regime.

MALTA: Scandalous: Borg Olivier requests confidential data of ‘complaining citizens’ (Malta Today. link) In an email to government ministers, PN secretary general blurs state and party lines by requesting personal data of individuals who complained to ministries

EU: European Commission drops proposals for "body scanners" at airports (which strip people naked). On 18 November the Commission announced that it was to drop its proposal for "body scanners" to be used as part of airport security after opposition from the European Parliament and civil society groups. Lack of EU rules means member states can choose whether or not to use "body scanners".

See: Letter from Commissioner Tajani to EP (pdf)

See also: EU: Body Scanners at airports: MEPs say that fundamental rights are under threat (EP Press release, pdf) and The measure was proposed in the Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf).

EU-UN-ROMA: UN experts call for European action to stop violence against Roma (UN press release, pdf):

"Effective action is required to stem the growing tide of hostility, anti-Roma sentiment and violence across Europe" stated the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall. "Where a hard-core of extremism exists in society and is willing to perpetrate violence, the full force of the criminal justice system must be used to protect targeted populations."

Equally, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, Githu Muigai, stressed that "such actions reveal serious and deep-rooted problems of racism and discrimination against Roma at the heart of modern Europe that must be addressed in the most vigorous manner and through the rule of law."

See also: Ethnic riot erupts in Czech town (BBC News, link)

UK: INTRODUCTION OF ID CARDS: Home Office: Consultation press release (pdf) and full Consultation document (pdf) and see story below.

UK: Home Office: Identity and Passport Service: Introducing the National Identity Scheme: How the Scheme will work and how it will benefit you (pdf). The No2ID campaign comments:

"The document doesn't mention that once your details are in the database they are in there for life, that it is your responsibility to keep that data up to date and to not lose your card, that you can't check your record, that there are fines for any errors or if you fail to keep your data up to date, and that the National Identity Register Number will be used to track you for the rest of your life."

CoE-FRANCE: “French detention and immigration policies risk reducing human rights protection” says Commissioner Hammarberg (Press release, pdf) and Memorandum by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf):

"Security concerns should not undermine a full respect for human rights norms. Some French policies on detention and immigration risk undermining these standards.” With these words, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, presented today his report on France, identifying problems as regards prison conditions, preventive detention (rétention de sûreté), juvenile justice and rights of migrants.

Grinding down the human rights defenders (link). The Autumn 2008 issue of the IRR's European Race Bulletin examines the resistance and the criminalisation of solidarity and protest, also contains an article on the the Austrian general election and the death of Jörg Haider.

EU: "CHECK THE WEB" PROJECT which looks for terrorist websites with the object of closing them down: From "terrorism" to "Islamist propaganda from moderate Islamist websites": Draft Council conclusions on the continuation of work on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 15684/08, dated 14 November 2008, pdf) These Conclusions say there is a need:

"to combat the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and in particular to participate in the European "Check the Web" project, inter alia on subjects such as "Islamist propaganda from moderate Islamist websites"" (emphasis added)

But see: EU: Revised EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism (EU doc no: 15175/08, dated 14 November 2008, pdf), which says that factors leading to "radicalisation" include: "unresolved international and domestic strife" (as before there is no mention of Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan). The Strategy report goes on to say that:

"We need to empower mainstream voices by stepping up the dialogue with political, religious and separatist groups which favour moderation and exclude recourse to violence."

Presumably "mainstream voices" that "favour moderation" include "moderate Islamist websites"? Or does "moderate" only extend to websites categorised by EU police and internal security agencies as not carrying "Islamist propaganda"?

Background: Most documents on the EU's "Check the Web" project are pretty bland or censored, see: Conclusions of the Kick-off conference "Check the Web" - Berlin, 26-27 September 2006 (EU doc: 13930/08, dated 10 November 2008, pdf)

EU-US DATA-INFORMATION-SHARUNG: Data chief attacks transatlantic police plan (Inquirer, link)

Italy: Raft of restrictive amendments under discussion, as new norms on asylum and family reunion come into force

ASGI, the Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione, has presented a number of documents highlighting the problems that would result from amendments that have been submitted to the law decree on security (Ddl 773) that is undergoing scrutiny in the Senate since 11 November 2008 and the latest reform of the education system.

See also: Italy: Institutionalising discrimination by Yasha Maccanico (Statewatch Bulletin, Vol 18 no 2 April-June 2008):

"The racist scape-goating of Roma and Sinti has paved the way for an ominous crackdown by the Berlusconi government with echoes of a terrible past and could lead to a shift to authoritarianism that will be difficult to reverse.
"

USA: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Documents Reveal U.S. Knowingly Transfers Detainees To Countries That Torture (link) The documents obtained by the ACLU and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic (link)

EU: "Freedom, Security and Justice: What will be the future?" – Consultation on priorities of the European Union for the next five years (2010-2014, pdf): Opinion of the National Red Cross Societies of the Member States of the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

European Parliament lifts immunity of far-right MEP (euobserver, link)

Italy: High ranking police officers acquitted in sentence for brutal G8 Diaz school raid

GREECE: Protests in Greek prisons: Public support for prison protests - Greece in the Spotlight (pdf)

CoE: RENDITION: Dick Marty: Brief to US Supreme Court: Khaled el-Masri case (pdf)

Press Release: European Union sets its military sights on space - Venus to Mars: full-text of report (pdf)

Amsterdam, 17 November. For immediate release. European space policy is increasingly driven by military rather than civilian objectives, according to From Venus to Mars: the European Union´s steps towards the militarisation of space, a new report from the Transnational Institute and Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade).

“Under the guise of ´dual use´ technologies, we are witnessing the creeping militarisation of European space policies” says Frank Slijper, author of the report. “The EU is now investing large sums in new military space technologies at the behest of the very businesses that stand to profit from its policies.”

From Mars to Venus charts the emergence of a military role for the formerly purely civilian ESA. The report highlights how projects that are initially presented as civilian or civil security initiatives often have ´dual´ or multiple use that includes a strong military component. For example, the main rationale for the Kopernikus project, which gives the EU a global monitoring capacity, is now more clearly stated in terms of its capacity for providing intelligence to support future European and NATO military interventions.

Updated: EU-EXCHANGE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS:
Draft Guidelines on the implementation of the "Swedish Framework Decision" (13942/REV1/08, 107 pages, pdf).

"The aim of this publication is to provide guidelines for the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union."

plus: Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union - draft Guidelines (pdf)

See also the underlying measure - which goes much wider as it covers both the exchange of "information" and of "intelligence" (that may be "hard" and reliable, or "soft" and unreliable, uncorroborated: Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (pdf)

GENOA-2001: No justice in Genoa - The G8 protesters were brutalised, yet the Foreign Office showed complete indifference (Guardian, link). See Statewatch's Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU

EU/Libya:
Petition against detention camps for migrants in Libya (Fortress Europe, link)

A petition "for an international investigation on the detention conditions of migrants and refugees arrested in Libya on their way to Europe" was launched by the directors of the documentary "Come un uomo sulla terra", which features stories told by African refugees about their journey through Libya. The petition, to be sent to Italian and EU authorities as well as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, highlights Italy's responsibilities as a result of bilateral agreements whereby Italy provides "financial and technical support to Libya" to control migration flows.

See also: Italy/Libya: "Special and privileged" bilateral relationship treaty

EU-EUROPOL: Report from the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: EUROPOL: Coordinating the fight against serious and organised crime (285 pages, pdf)

EU-USA-DATA PROTECTION: Opinion from the European Data Protection Supervisor: Final Report by the EU-US High Level Contact Group on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (pdf)

EU/Africa/Middle East: Fortress Europe blog details 108 deaths in October 2008

UK: Mohamed Raissi falsely imprisoned (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Court Judgment (pdf):

"Today the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment confirming that Mohamed Raissi was falsely imprisoned by officers of the Metropolitan Police when they arrested and detained him at Paddington Green Police Station on 21 September 2001.

Mohamed Raissi is the brother of Lotfi Raissi who was wrongly accused of training the 9/11 hijackers. The Court of Appeal confirmed in February this year that Lotfi was “completely exonerated” in a strongly worded judgement that was critical of the part played by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police in the failed attempt to extradite him."

UK-PAKISTAN: Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the Transfer of Prisoners (pdf)

Joint UK-French charter to repatriate Afghans narrowly averted?

GREECE, Athens: ASYLUM-SEEKERS PROTEST - MIGRANT DIES: Press release from NGOs (pdf)

ARSIS - Social Association for the Support of Youth, Ecumenical Refugee Programme, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (Athens), Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (Thessaloniki) ,Hellenic League for Human Rights Movement for Human Rights, Solidarity with Refugees in Samos, National Focal Point on Racism and Xenophobia, KEMO PRAKSIS "PROS-FYGI", Initiative for Solidarity with Refugees in Mytilini.

"during the weekend of 25-26 October, after having been barred from the asylum process for two months, an unprecedented number of asylum seekers (around 3000) queued up outside the building of the Aliens' Directorate at Petrou Ralli Street, in order to claim asylum under conditions which degraded their human dignity.

The response of the police was to resort to violence in order to repel the crowd; as a result, many were injured while the death of a migrant during these events is being treated as suspicious following witness accusations."

UK: Academics are not immigration officials (Letter to the Guardian, 10 November 2008, link). See also news story with a slightly insensitive headline: Academics balk at 'spying' on students to nail migrant scams (link)

Italy/Libya: "Special and privileged" bilateral relationship treaty

On 30 August 2008, Italy and Libya signed a friendship, partnership and co-operation treaty for the purpose of developing a "special and privileged" bilateral relationship involving a strong and wide-ranging partnership in political, economic and other fields. The treaty also seeks to end the "painful" chapter of the past involving suffering inflicted on Libyan people during Italy's colonial adventure, for which Italy expressed its regret in a joint statement in 1998.

Catching History on the Wing by A. Sivanandan, November 2008, speech by the IRR's director, at the IRR's fiftieth celebration conference (Full-text of speech, IRR, link):

"the refugees and asylum seekers, thrown up on Europe's shores, stem from the uprooting and displacement of whole populations caused by globalisation, and the imperial wars and regime change that follow in its wake. Globalisation and immigration are part of the same continuum. We are here because you are there."

THE ALTERNATIVE CONSULTATION ON EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS POLICY

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future priorities in the field of Justice and Home Affairs policy. The European Civil Liberties Network has produced an alternative questionnaire to provoke a more wide ranging debate about EU policy and practice.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey and have your say on EU justice and home affairs policy:
Complete survey

For more information about the ECLN survey, see: the
ECLN survey

UK: Government black boxes will 'collect every email' (Independent, link): "Internet "black boxes" will be used to collect every email and web visit in the UK under the Government's plans for a giant "big brother" database"

VICHY-FRANCE: Protests as France's Vichy hosts first conference since war (link)

VICHY, France (AFP) Protesters against Europe's immigration policy descended on the town of Vichy Monday as the shamed capital of France's former pro-Nazi dictatorship hosted its first international government conference since World War II.

EU: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (EU doc: DS 1006/08, pdf). Report from the Council Presidency to SCIFA setting out the latest positions on the proposed Directive.

However, you will not find this document listed on the Council public register of documents because it has been classified as a Room Document and thus to be kept hidden.

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: The EDPS and EU Research and Technological Development: Policy paper (pdf)

UK: Total spending ban on men accused of funding al-Qaida: Pair caught in legal trap they cannot challenge - Funds frozen under power never discussed by MPs (Guardian, link)

UK-USA: Cross-party attempt to fight extradition of British hacker (Guardian, link) "Senior politicians from all parties are urging the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to halt the extradition of the computer hacker Gary McKinnon unless she receives a guarantee from the US that he will be allowed to serve any sentence imposed in Britain."

Background: 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

October 2008

EU-PNR: Latest Council document: General discussion of matters relating to the analysis and transmission of PNR data and data-protection (pdf) and PNR: Opinion of the Fundamental Rights Agency (pdf)

UK: Joint Human Rights Committee: Parliamentary Committee criticises government's "unacceptable delay" in removing breaches of human rights standards by UK: Full-report (112 pages, pdf) In this year's report the Committee again considers a number of issues including corporal punishment of children; investigations into cases involving the use of lethal force and the total ban on prisoners' voting. Chair of the Committee Andrew Dismore MP said;

"This report highlights some of the cases where a breach of individual rights has been identified, yet the Government has failed to respond with decisive action to prevent repeat violations arising. Providing an effective, speedy and transparent response to the decisions of the courts must be part of the Government's commitment to bring rights home."

ID CARDS: Northern Ireland HUman Rights Commission: More than just a card: Intrusion, exclusion and suspect communities: implications in Northern Ireland of the British National Identity Scheme (pdf) and Ethnic Profiling, ID Cards and European Experience (pdf) See also: The Irish dimension to the case against ID cards (IRR News, link)

EU: PROPOSED ENTRY-EXIT SYSTEM: National responses to questionnaire: Presidency project for a system of electronic recording of entry and exit dates of third-country nationals in the Schengen area (68 pages, pdf), Belgium response (pdf) and Portugal response (pdf)

EU: Police Cooperation - Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg): Police cooperation within the Benelux (EU doc no: 14509/08, pdf)

EU: Undercover police: Latest: Overview of replies to questionnaire on undercover officers (EU doc no: 5001-Rev 4-08, pdf)

EU: "Friends of VIS" set-up: Draft Council Conclusions on a group of "Friends of the VIS" (pdf)

UK-EU: All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition: Report (pdf)

EU: DATA RETENTION: Press release by Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung (German Working Group on Data Retention), 29 October 2008:

"Resistance against watering down of traffic data protection

In a letter to EU Commissioner Viviane Reding published today, 11 German organisations are criticising a European Parliament move that would allow telcommunications providers to collect traffic data for "security purposes".

The civil liberties, journalists, lawyers and consumer protection organisations are warning in the letter that the European Parliament's vote on the telecom package of 24 September contains a "blank cheque" for the collection of more traffic data than is currently being collected even under the directive on data retention, without setting a time limit. The series of data abuses and incidents that have occurred in Germany, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary in recent years demonstrates that only erased data is safe data, the letter continues. The EU Council (where the telecom package will be debated on 27 November) is asked to reject the proposal.

A background paper published today by the German Working Group on Data Retention points out that the European Parliament move is the result of lobbying by the US-based Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA recently sent a hitherto unpublished paper to EU member states, pushing for even more extensive data collection powers and for exempting Internet usage data from data protection law."

See Amendment 181 in the European Parliament ameding the proposal:

The letter sent by 11 organisations (in German):
The Working Group's background paper on the issue (in English)
The Business Software Alliance's lobbying paper (in English):

UK:
Bigger databases increase risks, says watchdog (Guardian, link)

"The proliferation of ever larger centralised databases is increasing the risk of people's personal data being lost or abused, the government's official privacy watchdog claims today. The warning from the information commissioner, Richard Thomas, comes as he discloses that reported data losses have soared in the past year."

EU: ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS - FINLAND: Commission proposals would "constitute a backward step": Ministry of Justice, Finland, Press Release (pdf)

"If adopted in the proposed form, the proposal, however, would be more restrictive than the current rules on access to documents. The Commission proposes to exclude some document categories totally from the scope of implementation of the Regulation. The Commission also proposes that documents be accessible to the public only if they are registered and meet certain technical requirements....

The Government finds that the regulation on access to documents has worked well on the whole and that there is no reason to change its fundamental principles. The Commission proposal would, if adopted as such, constitute a step backwards."

and Opinion of the Grand Committee in the Finnish Parliament (pdf)

"The Grand Committee emphasises that if approved, the Commission's proposal would lead to a major reversal of the Union's transparency and the public's access to documents. The proposal is thus in contradiction to goals that have been repeatedly affirmed by the European Council.

The Grand Committee considers it worrying and reproachable that the Commission has advanced in support of its proposal justifications that must be considered untrue and misleading. Such conduct is liable to weaken the Commission's public credibility."

SPAIN: Report to the Human Rights Committee, October 2008 (pdf). Its Conclusions include:

"Torture and ill-treatment are an on-going reality in the Spanish state prisons, police stations, minors’ centres or alien centres, as well as in the streets and public spaces. This violence is a Spanish state exclusive responsibility. The more than 5.000 complaints compiled during the last 7 years show us the size of this problem."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24 October 2008: Press release (English, pdf)

UK: Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street (Guardian, link)

EU-AFRICA: European Commission: One year after Lisbon: The Africa-EU partnership at work (COM 617, pdf) and One year after Lisbon: The Africa-EU Partnership at work: Commission contributions to the implementation of the EU-Africa Action Plan (2008-2010) (SEC 2603, pdf)

EU: Exchange of criminal information and "intelligence": Draft Guidelines on the implementation of the "Swedish Framework Decision" (105 pages, pdf). This is a "partially accessible" document with the names of officials removed:

"The aim of this publication is to provide guidelines for the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union."

EU: Statewatch analysis: Proposals for greater openness, transparency and democracy in the EU (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

"The European Union’s titanic treaties keep hitting the icebergs of public opinion. Despite some undoubted improvements in ensuring openness and transparency in the EU since 1991, there is still a widespread and justified perception that:

- the EU’s activities are too secretive and convoluted,
- the EU does not listen enough to the general public or organised civil society; and
- there is too little control of the activities of the EU by the public, and in particular there is insufficient control of EU actions by directly elected parliaments....

The steps toward further openness, transparency and democracy in the European Union outlined in this analysis could largely be taken separately from any initiative relating to ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 24 October 2008: Press release (French, pdf); Background Note (pdf)  "B" Points agenda (pdf). "A" Points agenda (pdf) The agenda includes discussion on the following two documents:

- Draft Council conclusions on setting up national alert platforms and a European alert platform for reporting offences noted on the Internet (EU doc no: 14071/08, pdf). Council "Conclusions" are enabling measures (known as "soft law"). A European alert "platform" is to be set up to deal with cybercrime with:

"the aim is to promote common practices with regard to the tracing, acquisition, compilation and storage of data, search and seizure of computer data".

The question though is: What is cybercrime? Up to now this has only covered terrorism and child pornography. But there is talk now of extending what the EU calls "cyber patrols" to other crimes, as yet undefined.

-
Police cooperation within the Salzburg Forum - an example for successful Regional Cooperation - Joint Presentation of the Salzburg Forum on EU level (EU doc no: 14304/08, pdf). Report of a group, "the Salzburg Forum", that you might never have heard of:

"The Salzburg Forum which was founded in 2001 constitutes a platform for regional cooperation in the field of internal security between Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Croatia takes part in the Salzburg Forum as an observer."

UK: Why are fear and distrust spiralling in twenty-first century Britain? Joseph Rowntree Foundation (pdf)

EU: Body Scanners at airports: MEPs say that fundamental rights are under threat EP Press release, pdf)

EU:
Social Movements Against the Global Security Architecture (pdf) A Critique of the Militarisation of Social Conflict and the Securitisation of Everyday Life: Assessment of the Strategy Papers of the 'Future Group' (on the future of EU Home Affairs policies) and the 'new strategic directions' of NATO, put forward in the publication, 'Towards a Grand Strategy in an Uncertain World' - Proposal for a campaign against the new EU policies to be ratified under the Swedish Presidency of the EU in 2009. This analysis uses Statewatch's: The Shape of Things to Come (pdf)

UK: Farnborough Airport: 'terrorist' plane spotters (Indymedia, link)

USA: The TSA and DHS released their final rule for the so-called Secure Flight program to require each would-be airline passenger, even on domestic flights within the USA, to get individualised per-person, per-flight prior permission from the TSA before they would be "allowed" to board a plane: See: The Practical Nomad (link)

EU: Kopernicus – what’s in it for Joe public? by Philip Hunt, October 2008.

"The GMES forum in Lille on the 16-17 September 2008 was a perfect example of why so many EU institutional efforts fail to get a good press. The event marked the launch of Kopernicus, the new EU umbrella for a host of different earth surveillance services from satellites and ground sensors. Yet the occasion singularly failed to impress."

What is Kopernikus? "Kopernikus is a European initiative, formerly called Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES), which uses satellites and other sensors on the ground, floating in the water or flying through the air to monitor our natural environment as well as keeping an eye on the security of every citizen."

UK: Identity minister moots ID cards on driving licences (The Register, link) "Speaking at the Biometrics Conference 2008, Home Office minister Meg Hillier said there was 'nothing to stop' drivers' licences or other documents from being designated to work as ID cards.... Under the Identity Card Act 2006, the Home Secretary can "designate documents" that will require anybody applying for them to be placed on the National Identity Register (NIR), the backbone of the ID card scheme." Hillier's presentation to the Biometrics Conference 2008: "showed ID cards also playing a part in accessing public services from 2015, with the minister showing a slide referencing maternity allowance, tax returns, TV licences and incapacity benefit."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This idea supports the contention, not just in the UK but across the EU, that it is only a matter of time before there is one state-issued card. This would include biometrics (eg: finger-prints) and cover passports, ID cards, driving licences, health records and so-called e-government (ie: going to the doctor, getting out a library book etc). When this data is combined with other information held by the state (eg: tax, employment, criminal record, travel history, phone-calls, internet usage etc) the surveillance of everyday life of everyone living in the EU is going to be all pervasive."

Background: The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) including the "Internet of Things", the "digital tsunami" and surveillance by public security agencies.

EU: European Criminal Record Information System: ECRIS latest draft proposal (EU doc no: 12858/08, pdf) ECRIS is intended to create: "efficient mechanism of exchange of information extracted from criminal records."

Among the offences listed are:

- Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols
- Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority
- Public order offences, breach of the public peace
- Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy
- Unintentional damage or destruction of property

- Offences against migration law - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Offences against military obligations - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

- Unauthorised entry or residence
- Other offences an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Other unintentional offences
- Prohibition from frequenting some places
- Prohibition from entry to a mass event
- Placement under electronic surveillance ("fixed or mobile" - eg: home, car, mobile phone etc)
- Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license
- Prohibition to play certain games/sports

- Prohibition from national territory
- Personal obligation - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- "Fine" - all fines. inc minor non-criminal offences
- Community service

and if these are not borad enough:

- Other penalties and measures - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

This proposal replaces an earlier draft: EU doc no: 12007/08 (pdf)

Background: European Data Protection Supervisor: European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) (Press release and Opinion, pdf). Commission proposal for ECRIS (pdf) and Outcome of first discussions in the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime (pdf) - yet another instance where law enforcement agents and officials will be deciding on the transfer of personal data.

UK: Our rights are priceless in the relentless struggle against terrorism says Sir Ken Macdonald (Crown Prosecution Service, link). See also: Sir Ken Macdonald: "The response to terror should not include surrender" (Independent, link)

The creeping database state: UK: Passports will be needed to buy mobile phones (Times, link) and EU: Draft Council conclusions on the use of closed-circuit television surveillance in combating terrorism

The latter includes enabling: "police and security services to benefit from a full national or regional mapping of CCTV installations, which could help them to carry out their missions." and "Advantage should be taken of the possibilities offered by developments in technology."

This is a reference to the next generation of CCTV cameras which collect and store digital images which can be searched for facial matches, See The Shape of Things to Come of "Internet of Things", the "digital tsunami" and surveillance by public security agencies.

THE "WAR ON TERRORISM": Free agent: Former MI5 chief and spy novelist Stella Rimington speaks her mind - on Iraq, the 'huge overreaction' to 9/11, and why the secret service is much more liberal than we think (Guardian, link) and Response to 9/11 was 'huge overreaction' - ex-MI5 chief (link)

OECD Group demands rapid UK action to enact adequate anti-bribery laws (Press release, link) and Full-text of OECD report on UK (link, pdf). See also: Britain's failure to tackle corruption damned amid new claims against BAE (Guardian, link)

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Annual report on access to documents, 2007 (pdf). The low number of visitors to the Commission's public register of its documents - only 39,013 over the full year, 3,251 per month - tells us that it is not seen as a useful source of documentation. Many, many documents are not listed and of those that are many do not give access to the text of the document. And this leads in turn to:

"The constant increase in the number of initial applications since the Regulation was adopted was again observed in 2007, when 4196 initial applications were registered by departments, 355 more than in 2006."

The Commission's failure to list all the documents its receives or produces is the subject of a Statewatch complaint to the European Ombudsman.

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Migreurop statement on the first effects of the returns directive: Three months on from the return directive's approval by the European Parliament, Migreurop notes how its implementation of an approach involving the systematic detention of migrants is being followed by Member States approving measures that follow the same rationale, namely the detention and criminalisation of migrants. Highlighting developments in France and Italy, the European network reaffirms its commitment to struggle against human rights abuses in detention centres through its campaign to guarantee a right of access to detention sites:

Detention of foreigners : the first effects of the "return" directive (English)
Détention d'étrangers : les premiers contrecoups de la directive retour (French, original)
Detenzione degli stranieri : i primi effetti della direttiva Rimpatri (Italian)
Detención de extranjeros : los primeros efectos de la Directiva " retorno" (Spanish)

Basque Parliament resolution strongly condemns the Returns Directive: In its plenary session on 10 October 2008, the Basque Parliament approved a resolution that strongly condemns the Returns Directive, described as "a serious violation of fundamental human rights", for "penalising and criminalising" people who merely seek to enter Europe to work and improve their living conditions. It encourages Basque institutions, political groups and society to devise ways of opposing and minimising the impact of its implementation to stop the "limiting of fundamental human rights", and the creation of a category of human beings "who are even more vulnerable, and who may be subjected to all manners of abuses due to their being considered irregular". It also calls on European Union member states to reconsider the Directive's contents, drawing a comparison with the time when "many of us, men and women... were forced to emigrate... as a consequence of the civil war and dictatorship, or for economic reasons".
Original (in Euskera - Basque - and Spanish) (pdf, pp. 5-8). Unofficial Statewatch translation Thanks to Mugak/SOS Arrazakeria for drawing our attention to this document.

EU: European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (full-text, EU doc no: 13440/08, pdf) The European Pact on Immigration and Asylum is still not officially online on the Council's public register of documents as we write, even after its adoption by the EU Summit (15-16 October 2008). No draft has ever been online, even after it was agreed by the last Justice and Home Affairs Council - five versions are listed but their text is not publicly accessible.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"After all the media speculation as to what is and is not in the Pact it is a disgrace that its text was not made publicly available at any stage. It was not officially available before the JHA Council agreed it, when parliaments and civil society might have wished to express a view. It was not available after it was agreed by the JHA Council, nor now when it has been adopted by European Summit. This is no way to instil trust in democracy at the EU level."

An unofficial version was made available by Statewatch in July:
Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Cannes:
European Pact on immigration and asylum

EU-PNR scheme being re-written by the Council: EU-PNR system to cover all flights in and out of the EU and to cover everyone, EU citizens and visitors - in addition any EU state that wants to (like the UK) can extend this to cover flights within the EU as well. Processed PNR data to be checked against: "national, international and European files"

EU-DETENTION CENTRES/CAMPS: Migreurop have updated their map of Europe: Detention centres/camps (link)

ECJ-MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Advocate General in the European Court of Justice considered that the EU directive on data retention was enacted on the correct legal basis in a case brought by Ireland: Press release (pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf). The Advocate General says that "Article 95 EC must be intended to improve the conditions for the establishment and functioning of the internal market" and is therefore the correct legal basis. Then in bizarre reasoning states that:

"As regards Ireland’s argument that the sole or main purpose of the directive is the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime, the Advocate General accepts that there is no doubt that the rationale of the obligation to retain data lies in the fact that it facilitates that objective. Nevertheless, he considers that the mere fact that the directive refers to such an objective is not sufficient for a finding that it is an act falling within the area covered by police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters."

See Statewatch Observatory The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

USA: High level report condemns data-mining: Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment (link) and Executive Summary (pdf). See also: ACLU press release: ACLU Hails DHS-Funded Report Condemning Data Mining (link)

UK: Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Statewatch and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC). A seminar series on: “Terrorist lists”, Proscription, Designation and Human Rights: Fourth Seminar: Tuesday 21st October National security, proscription and foreign policy ‘War on terror’, new world order? Seminar leaflet (pdf)

UK: Storm over Big Brother database (Independent, link) "Early plans to create a giant "Big Brother" database holding information about every phone call, email and internet visit made in the UK were last night condemned by the Government's own terrorism watchdog."

EU-EP-COMMISSION: "Body scanners": Civil Liberties Committee unanimously calls on the Commission to appear before the parliament to explain itself:

"European Parliament to debate on airport body scanners: On initiative of the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats for Europe, today the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties unanimously decided to ask the Commission to come before the Parliament and refer on a proposal to allow European airports to introduce body scanners at security check points.

"The introduction of systems to scan the naked body of an airplane passenger poses a serious challenge to individual privacy and fundamental liberties. This is a decision that cannot be dealt with merely at a technical level. The European Parliament must have a say on this decision," said Marco Cappato MEP (Radicals/ALDE), author of the oral question on the matter which will be debated in plenary by the European Parliament." (ALDE press release)

Question to the Commission (pdf)

See story below: The lead Transport Committee in the European Parliament decided not to act.

PORTUGAL-CIA FLIGHTS: Jornal de Notícias, Portugal, 9.10.08. Secret CIA flights: Along with other European countries, Portugal granted fly-over rights in the past for CIA planes carrying presumed Islamic terrorists. Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado explained yesterday that if Portugal's government has not made a statement on the matter, it was to avoid prejudicing EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who was Portuguese prime minister at the time. Jornal de Notícias critices this position: "Luís Amado is entirely right, Barroso should be spared inconvenience. He is an important man in the EU, and we are always proud when one of our emigrants is successful. ... As citizens, however, we have the right to know whether our government was aware at least of this one flight between Guantánamo and Cairo with a stop-over at the Portuguese military base [on the Azores Islands]. ... We have the right to know if the government authorised these flights or not, and if so under what conditions." See also: REPRIEVE submission to Portuguese Inquiry into rendition, 2 April 2008 (pdf)

EU-EP-COMMISSION: Body scanners: The European Parliament's Transport Committee is not going to use its powers to oppose the Commission's plans to introduce new airport security measures including body scanners (which strip people naked) because Commission Vice-president Tajani has told the Committee that the Commission intention is to allow the use of body scanners only as an additional option for the screening of passengers, not an obligation.

The measure was proposed in the Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf). As it is being considered as a "technical measure" falling within the powers of the Commission the European Parliament has either to accept or reject the whole proposal - which the Transport Committee is choosing not to do. The Commission's view is set out in a letter from Vice-President Tajani in a letter to Mr Costa, Chair of the Transport Committee: Tagani letter (pdf)

The Commission's position is a bit different from that taken in its: Third Report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No. 2320/2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security (COM 582 dated 29 September 2008, pdf) which says:

"A number of trials have been progressed during 2007, involving the use of body scanners (millimetre wave and backscatter) and dogs. At the end of the trial period, the Commission will decide whether the new method should be included in EU legislation. It is highly likely that this will soon be the case for body scanning equipment, which is expected to considerably facilitate passenger flow through screening points as well as raising standards." (emphasis added)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The notion that the Commission's proposal for introducing "body scanners", which strip people naked, is OK because their use is only "optional" is irresponsible - all EU states could decide to exercise this option.

In an EU of "common values" and standards a proposal which would subject people including women, old people and children to such a shameful and undignified experience and that offends against proportionality, privacy and civil liberties should not be sanctioned anywhere."

EU: Fingerprinting children for EU passports: The European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee voted in favour of fingerprinting children from the age of 12 for passports, the same age as agreed for visas. The plenary session of the EP now has to vote on the issue: Letter from Sarah Ludford MEP to the rapporteur (pdf), BIODEV II: Children Fingerprinting Intermediary report to the European Commission (pdf) Biometrics of Juveniles (Sagem, pdf) and UK test figures (pdf). Background: Civil Liberties Committee votes for finger-printing children from the age of 12 and above for EU passports (EP press release) and Google Search for Statewatch coverage

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Thirteenth Report): Counter-Terrorism Bill (pdf)

EU: European Commission Communication: Strengthening the global approach to migration increasing coordination, coherence and synergies (pdf) and Report on: The application of Directive 2003/86/EC on the right of family reunification(pdf)

UK border facial scan tests hit by errors and breakdowns (Register, link) "A trial of automated border control using facial scanners is already in trouble, according to UK Border Agency (UKBA) sources quoted by the Daily Telegraph. The scanners at Manchester airport, said one source, are breaking down on almost a daily basis, and the automatic booths are unable to detect 'tailgating', where two people go through on one passport."

UK: The all-seeing state is about to end privacy as we know it - Plans for a vast central database of our emails, phone calls and texts will see everyone monitored as a potential suspect (Guardian, link).

The number of accesses to communications data held by service providers:

1 January 2005 - 31 March 2006: 439,054 giving an adjusted annual figure of :    351,243
1 April - 31 December 2006: 253,557, giving an adjusted annual figure of:            338,076
1 January - 31 December 2007: full 12 month figure:                                                 519,260

The great majority of requests are by law enforcement agencies who have automated access to the data.

In addition, surveillance warrants ("telephone-tapping") issued by the Home Secretary have risen from 1,712 when the Labour government came to power in 1997 to 7,970 in 2007 - the highest figure on record.

See: Statewatch's Observatory: Telephone tapping (and mail-opening figures) 1937-2007

See also: There’s no hiding place as spy HQ plans to see all (Sunday Times, link) and Communications Data Bill (pdf) Announcement of government plans to retain internet usage in forthcoming Bill (in addition to powers already adopted to retain communications data for phone-calls, faxes and mobile calls)

For context see: critique in: The Shape of Things to Come of "Internet of Things", the "digital tsunami" and surveillance by public security agencies.

Institute of Race Relations (IRR): CATCHING HISTORY ON THE WING On 1 November 2008 the Institute of Race Relations shall be celebrating fifty years of its existence with a conference on anti-racism - past and future. The event will provide the chance both to celebrate IRR's achievements and have serious debates on the anti-racist struggles ahead with Lord Ouseley, Colin Prescod, A. Sivanandan, David Edgar, Victoria Brittain, Salma Yaqoob, Ruqayyah Collector, Arun Kundnani and Liz Fekete, among others. Catching History on the Wing on Saturday 1 November 2008, 1-6pm at Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.

The full agenda can be viewed here: http://www.irr.org.uk/pdf/CatchingHistoryOnTheWing.doc Tickets cost £10 waged, and can be ordered online at: http://www.irr.org.uk/2008/november/ha000001.html, by phone with a credit card or by sending us a cheque in the post. A limited number of free tickets are available for the unwaged, but must be booked in advance.

Also to mark our 50th birthday, a collection of writings by A. Sivanandan, entitled Catching History on the Wing, is being published by Pluto Press. Advance copies can be purchased from the IRR now at a special price of £12, for a limited time only. For more information and to order your copy, go to http://www.irr.org.uk/2008/september/ha000014.html

European Parliament: Draft Committee reports on: On problem of profiling, notably on the basis of ethnicity and race, in counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration, customs and border control (Sarah Ludford MEP, pdf) and The Annual Reports of the European Parliament, Commission and Council on public access to documents (Marco Cappato MEP, pdf)

Proposals you might have missed:

NATO: Albania and Croatia to join NATO (pdf)
UK & IOM:
UK government proposal to grant full international status to the IOM (International Organisation on Migration, pdf) including "immunity from jurisdiction and execution" and "immunity from personal arrest and detention". The IOM in the UK (links) works with the Home Office to "return" people to third world countries and says that: "Since 1999 IOM UK has assisted more than 27,000 people to return to some 130 countries."

EU: The Internet of Things - French Council Presidency Conference Nice, 6-7 October (link) Allegedly a conference bringing together "stakeholders", while the speakers are pre-dominantly from multinationals. European Commission: Early Challenges regarding the “Internet of Things” (September 2008, pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor: RFID (pdf) Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on personal data (WP 136, pdf)

Background: See critique in: The Shape of Things to Come of "Internet of Things", the "digital tsunami" and surveillance by public security agencies.

European Commission press release: Security research for a safer world (pdf) and The Third European Security Research Conference (SRC’08) held in Paris on 29 and 30 September 2008. Organised under the French Presidency of the European Union, this event will bring together more than 1,200 representatives from the worlds of research, industry and European institutions. List of speakers and full-text of some presentations (link) and European Security Research and Innoviation Forum intermediate report (pdf)

Background: Statewatch Report: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complex by Ben Hayes (pdf). The EU is preparing to spend hundreds of million on new research into surveillance and control technologies, a report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch.

Council of Europe: Convention on access to documents: European Parliamentarians call on Council of Europe To Redraft Substandard Convention on Access to Official Documents (Press release, pdf):

"Strasbourg, 6 October 2008: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Friday (3 October 2008) adopted unanimously a resolution expressing concern that the world’s first treaty intended to guarantee public access to information had significant flaws. In a rare step, PACE called for the Convention on Access to Official Documents to be redrafted."

EU-EP: "Body scanners" proposal: Draft question to the European Commission for the European Parliament plenary session (ALDE group, pdf) It is proposed by Marco Cappato and co-signed by Ignasi Guardans, Jeanine Hennid-Plasschaert, Renate Weber, Ona Juckneviciene, Sarah Ludford, Alexander Alvaro and Sophie in't Veld:

"Although such a measure has a fundamental impact on fundamental human rights, such as the right to privacy, to data protection and to personal dignity, it is being examined in the framework of the comitology procedure, as if it was a merely technical measure related to civil aviation. The European Data Protection Supervisor has not been consulted on the matter, nor the Fundamental Rights Agency, while the Commission did not accompany the proposal with an impact analysis on fundamental human rights."

European Commission proposes "Virtual strip searches" with "body scanners" able to strip people naked at airports to be introduced by April 2010:
Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf). See below for press coverage.

EU: Damning report from Court of Auditors on EU agencies including FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States, pdf) Even the Council's draft Conclusions recognise the problems: EU doc no 13528/08 (pdf) and notes:

"WITH CONCERN the general findings of the Court that the audited decentralised agencies do not plan their activities adequately nor, for most of them, have at their disposal sound tools for monitoring their activities, and that the reporting of the activities and the evaluation of the results need to be improved; CALLS on the agencies concerned to remedy to this situation."

And the Council has put out a questionnaire to Member States: EU doc no 13332/08 (pdf)

Spain: SOS Racismo on creation of "Brigade for the Expulsion of Foreign Offenders" A day after the announcement on 25 September 2008 by the Secretary of State for Security, Antonio Camacho, that a special police brigade (Brigada de Expulsiones de Delincuentes Extranjeros, Bedex) would be set up to pursue foreign nationals involved in crimes that cause social alarm, such as membership of organised criminal gangs, terrorism or gender-based violence, SOS Racismo issued a statement describing the measure as a further step towards "legal apartheid".
"A new police brigade that increases legal apartheid" [English, Statewatch translation]
"Una nueva brigada policial que aumenta el apartheid jurídico" [original, in Spanish]

Italy: Ghanaian student beaten up by local traffic police in Parma. Emmanuel, a 22-year-old Ghanaian student, was beaten up by the vigili urbani (local traffic police) in Parma, after he was picked up on suspicion of drug dealing on 29 September 2008.

This is one of the latest in a long list of attacks that have taken place over the last few weeks, which, alongside the Berlusconi government's policies on immigration and security, have resulted in a national demonstration against racism being organised that will take place in Rome tomorrow, on 4 October 2008.

"Emmanuel - beaten up and insulted in Parma by the municipal police". (link, progetto Melting Pot Europa)
Contro tutti i razzismi, national demonstration blog

UN human rights chief spotlights plight of millions of detainees worldwide: Press conference by new Commissioner Navanethem Pillay (UN link). In another report Immigrants among millions unlawfully detained: rights chief (Reuters, link) the Commissioner singles out the EU for criticism of excessively long periods of detention of migrants::

"We have a number of concerns with increasingly restrictive and often punitive approaches to migration in many developed countries of which the EU's recent return directive is one example," she told a news conference.

"The great majority of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are not criminals and therefore should not be confined in detention centres like criminals," Pillay said.

Under the EU plan agreed last May, illegal immigrants to the 27-member bloc can be detained for up to 18 months before being sent home, and also face a five-year re-entry ban.

Referring to that maximum detention period, Pillay said: "This appears excessive, especially if obstacles to removal are beyond the immigrant's control, for example if their home country fails to provide the necessary documentation." "

UN human rights chief spotlights plight of millions of detainees worldwide EU/Africa: Fortress Europe blog details 191 deaths in September and 619 in the third quarter of 2008 The Fortress Europe blog which tracks the deaths of migrants during their migration journey, has published its figures for September 2008, noting that there were 191 deaths, with incidents entailing the most fatalities taking place in Egypt (83), in the Channel of Sicily (35), in Sudan (21), in Spain (15) and in Greek minefields in the Evros region near Turkey (4). The death count in August was the worst in the whole of 2008, with 270 deaths, a majority of which occurred between Libya and Italy (179), with deaths also occurring in Algeria (14), Spain (45), Greece (1), Egypt (1) and Iran (30). In July, there were at least 158 deaths, including 13 infants and two pregnant women, of which 48 occurred in the Channel of Sicily, the same number in Spain, and 38 disappeared on the route between Algeria and Sardinia.
For the break-downs, monthly reports and more, see:
Fortress Europe (link)

EU-AFRICA: Counter EU-Africa Summit - Citizens' Summit on Migration, Paris 17-18 October 2008: Call for a Citizen Summit on migration (English, link), Sommet Citoyen sur les Migrations (link) and Dossier for the Press (pdf). Over 250 NGOs are supporting the Citizens' Summit including Statewatch.

COE-UK: Council of Europe report criticises 42-day detention - Plan could breach human rights legislation - Separate report criticises conditions for detainees (Guardian, link) Report to the UK Government on the visit to the UK carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 2 to 6 December 2007 (pdf) and UK government response (pdf) plus CoE: Parliamentary Assembly report: Proposed 42-day pre-charge detention in the United Kingdom (CoE, link)

September 2008

EU: European Commission proposes "Virtual strip searches" with "body scanners" able to strip people naked at airports to be introduced by April 2010: Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf). The Commission proposal is being considered by the Transport Committee in the European Parliament. Letter from Paolo Costa (Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee) to the Commission (pdf) raises questions on the continuing liquids ban - has the Commission carried out the promised review? And on the introduction of "body scanners".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The Commission's proposal that "body scanners", which strip people naked, are to be part of a new aviation security package is not explained or justified at all. It would appear that this is yet another case of "if it is technologically possible it should be used" without any consideration of proportionality, privacy and civil liberties.

The screening methods proposed include metal detection, explosive trace equipment and bottled liquid scanners, what else will be revealed by body scanning? And if there is another need then it should be targeted with a specific technology without subjecting people including women, old people and children to such a shameful and undignified experience"

See: Press coverage (1 October) and EU to introduce 'virtual strip searches' at airports by 2010 - Digital body scanners which leave little to the imagination will be used by airport security on passengers travelling across the European Union within two years (Daily Telegraph, link)

See: ACLU Backgrounder on Body Scanners and “Virtual Strip Searches”
See: US newspapers and information on implementation:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2008-06-05-bodyscan_N.htm
http://www.tc2.com/what/bodyscan/index.html
http://www.slate.com/id/2160977/

UK:
Investigation into claims of abuse on asylum-seekers (Independent, link) See: Outsourcing abuse: The use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers A report by Birnberg Peirce & Partners, Medical Justice and the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (pdf)

EU: FOI in the EU: When is a “document” not a “document”? (pdf) Analysis by Tony Bunyan.

The European Commission has put forward a number of changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents adopted in 2001. Controversially it proposes to change the definition of a "document" which in turn affect which would or would not be listed on its public register of documents. Does this have anything to do with the fact that the European Ombudsman has just ruled that the Commission must abide by the existing definition of a "document" in the Regulation and that it must list all the documents it holds on its public register?

EU: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - State of Play:

- The "Blue Card" proposal for so-called "legal migration": EU doc no: 13163/08 (pdf)
- The "Blue Card" proposal:
EU doc no: 13009/08 (pdf)
- Employer sanctions: Working Party on Migration and Expulsion:
EU doc no: 12634/08 (pdf)
- Employer sanctions: Working Party on Migration and Expulsion:
EU doc no: 11366/08 (pdf)

EU: The European Commission has launched a consultation on: "Freedom, Security and Justice: What will be the future?", consultation on priorities for the next five years (2010-2014)": Consultation (link). First, the texts of the Tampere programme (1999-2004) and the Hague programme (2005-2009) are provided but there is no reference to the Future Report: Freedom, Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an open world (pdf) report from the Council - this has been sent to the Commission who will draft a proposal for the next 5 years, the "Stockholm" programme (2010-2014) and the final content will be decided and adopted by the Council (the 27 EU governments).

Indeed in the Briefing Note (from the French Council Presidency to JHA Ministers) for the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 25 July it says the:

"Commission reaffirmed that it [Future Group report] is an excellent contribution and that they will be a source of inspiration during the development of the post The Hague.programme" (EU doc no: 12418/08)

See also critique of the Future Group report: The Shape of Things to Come

Second, some of the questions in the consultation are really pretty basic, eg: "Do you think that the EU should step coordination to curb illegal immigration into the EU? and "Do you think the EU should do more to help Member States seize and confiscate profits from criminal activities in order to ensure that crime does not pay?" and "Should the EU do more in the fight against corruption?" Full text of consultation (pdf).

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It would be very naive to expect the responses to the consultation to have much influence on what the Commission proposes because many of the questions are far too general. In addition, not to tell people what the Council - who will make the final decision - has already sent to the Commission in its "Future Group" report means that many questions which should be asked are not."

See also Statewatch's Observatory: "The Shape of Things to Come" - the EU Future group

UK: First sight of the ID cards that will soon be compulsory (Independent, link) "The Government was accused yesterday of cynically targeting immigrants to boost support for its controversial £4.7bn compulsory identity cards scheme as the Home Office unveiled the documents it plans will eventually be held by every adult in Britain." and Editorial: An assault on our freedom (link)

EU: JUSTICE & HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, Brussels, 25 September 2008: Press release (pdf), "A" Points agenda (pdf), "B" Points agenda (pdf) and Background Note (French, pdf)

 EU-USA: Exchange of letters show that the USA wants an agreement with the EU signed in December 2008 on the US ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authorisation) system while the US side fails to answer derailed questions on privacy and protection. EU Commissioner Barrot wrote to Michael Chertoff, Head of US Homeland Security on 8 September 2008: Full-text of letter to Chertoff (pdf). This says that the EU wrote to the US on 4 August but that the reply of 29 August "fails to answer any of the specific questions we asked". The reply from Chertoff, on 15 September 2008: Full text of Chertoff reply (pdf) says that while they are "committed" to privacy:

"the data we gather under US law from those seeking to enter the United States is not subject to negotiation."

The Chertoff response then refers to the EU-US "High Level Contact Group" on data protection and exchange as providing the solution and the matter should be resolved "in time for our signing an agreement when you come to Washington in December".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This is typical of the EU-US relationship. The US lays down the law and expects the EU to comply and if it does not then - as on visas - the US simply negotiates behind its back with individual Member States. The idea that the High Level Contact Group report could provide privacy and data protection to EU citizens is simply nonsense as the ACLU has observed."

Letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to the European Parliament: Full-text of ACLU letter (pdf)
EU-US:
Final Report by EU-US High Level Contact Group on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (pdf)

Background: United States Plans New Travel Procedures for 27 Countries (US EU Mission, link) Known as ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authorisation). An application to travel to the USA has to be made and authorisation given prior to boarding a plane or boat.

This will apply to the EU countries currently included in the Visa Waiver Programme who are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In addition, the following are being considered for inclusion at a later date include Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Malta - all of whom have signed MOUs with the USA.

The ESTA form asks about health, any criminal record including those "involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance" (whether spent or not under EU law), whether you are seeking "entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities" and whether you have ever been involved in espionage, sabotage or terrorism.

The European Commission has yet to decide whether ESTA constitutes a breach of the visa waiver programme (see below). See also: US to screen foreign air passengers (euobserver, link)

EU: European Parliament: Combatting terrorism/Protection of personal data: MEPs underline freedom of expression (Press release) Resolution on the Council Framework Decision amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism (pdf) and Resolution on the draft Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (pdf). See:EU makes headway on anti-terror law (euractiv, link).

By a massive majority, with 600 MEPs in favour and only 21 against plus 39 abstentions the parliament voted to replace "public provocation" by "public incitement in the proposal to amend the definition of "terrorism" as this had a clear legal meaning. They also voted overwhelmingly, 556 in favour to 90 against and 19 abstentions, to reiterate - for the third time - substantial amendments to the proposed Framework Decision on the transfer of personal data in police and judicial matters.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The European Parliament are to be congratulated on the clear stand they have taken on the definition of terrorism and data protection.

Unfortunately they are only being "consulted" and the Council [EU governments] can simply ignore their views and those of national parliaments, data protection authorities and civil society. These two measures, like hundreds of others adopted since 1993, will form part of EU law yet they will lack true democratic input and hence any legitimacy."

Background:

Observatory on data protection in the EU
“White man’s burden”: criminalising free speech

EU: MIGREUROP: No to the deportation agreements (link) Presentation at the World Social Forum on Migrations, Madrid, 11-14 Sept 2008 with the following participants :Migreurop network, AME (Mali), Group 484 (Serbia), Legal Clinic (Bulgaria), HCA/RLAP (Turkey), Halina Niec Human Rights Association (Poland), MRAP (France), AMDH (Morocco), SOMIM (Portugal), Statewatch (UK) plus: No to expulsion agreements: “Campaign Kit” (pdf)

Access to detention camps (link) Presentation at the World Social Forum on Migrations, Madrid, 11-14 Sept 2008 with the following participants: Migreurop Network, Kisa (Cyprus), Legal Clinic (Bulgaria), HCA/RLAP (Turkey), Andalusia Acoge (Spain), APDHA (Spain), Cimade (France), SOLIM (Portugal), Fasti (France), Halina Niec Human Rights Association (Poland) plus: Detention centres: Campaign for the right of access: Campaign Kit (pdf)

ITALY-EU: Italy risks legal battle over expulsion of EU citizens (euobserver, link) "The Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi risks a legal battle with the European Commission over the rules on the automatic expulsion of EU citizens, a part of the so-called security package introduced by Rome earlier this year.

EU commissioner Jacques Barrot, in charge of home affairs and justice, stated on Tuesday (23 September) that the controversial piece of law "poses problems of compatibility with community law". Roma people protesting against fingerprinting, which is part of the new Italian security package. If it is not changed shortly, he warned, the commission "would launch infringement proceedings as provided for by the [EU] treaty".

See also: Italy sends troops into Camorra's heartland after mafia killings of migrants (Guardian, link)

SWEDEN: Ahmed Agiza "rendered" by US agents from Sweden - although still in prison in Egypt - to get compensation. Ahmed Agiza, one of the two Egyptians who was "rendered" from Bromma airport by US agents, with the assistance by the Swedish secret service (security police) to Egypt, and there tortured and sentenced to 25 years (later changed to 15 years) prison, is to get approximately 330,000 euro in damages from the Swedish state. He is still in prison, and had demanded 35.000.000 Swedish crowns (about 4.000.000 euro) in damages, but now the Chancellor of Justice has come to an agreement with his lawyer to accept 330.000 euro.

The decision to allow the rendition was taken by Anna Lindh (at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs, later assassinated) and Thomas Bodstram (Minister of Justice) and led to Sweden being criticised by the
UN Committee against torture (pdf). The head of the Security Service (SS) at the time, Klaes Bergenstrand (who was involved in the Leander case, where he together with Hans Corell produced statements that later forced the Government to give a public apology and Leander appr 45.000 € in tax free damages) died a couple of years ago.

Background:

1. Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt
2. Full-transcript of "The broken promise", TV4, Monday 17 May 2004:
Transcript (pdf)
3. Ambassador's report:
Report (in Swedish, 1.32 MB) which includes the following: TV4:s translation of Embassy report 1, classified part on Page 2: 23 January 2002

EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: Outcome of Proceedings: Procedure to be followed for the review of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 (pdf) The Swedish delegation wrote to all the Permanent Representations asking that the proposal be examined by an ad hoc working party set up specifically for that purpose. It pointed out that "as constituted at present the Working Party on Information had neither the expertise nor the time necessary for the examination of the proposal". Moreover:

"as a general rule it was not appropriate for the same authority both to chair the body responsible for the preparation of a legal act (the Council General Secretariat in the present case) and to implement that act (the Council). "

This was an attempt to shift the lead role in setting the agenda and conducting negotiations from the Council's permanent General Secretariat to the Council Presidency (ie: a member state government). Though the Antici Group did not agree to set up an ad hoc working party it did take overall control away from the Council General Secretariat - decisions on contacts and consultations would be agreed jointly by the Council Presidency and the Chair of the Working Party on Information and that negotiations with the European Parliament would be conducted by the Chair of COREPER (the Head of the permanent Brussels-based representation of the member state holding the Council Presidency).

Note: The Antici Group (named after its Italian founder) is made up of assistants to the Permanent Representatives and a Commission representative, a member of the Secretary-General's Private Office and a member of the Council Legal Service. The Group is responsible for deciding on the organisation of Coreper II proceedings. The meeting, which usually takes place on the afternoon before Coreper, is chaired by the Presidency 'Antici'.

Freedom of Information: Updated, final version: Overview of all 86 FOIA Countries (pdf) by Roger Vleugels

Amnesty International: Security and Human Rights: Counter-Terrorism and the UN (link, pdf): "counter-terrorism laws, policies and practices have eroded human rights protections as governments claim the security of some can only be achieved by violating the rights of others."

UK-COE: Commissioner Hammarberg releases human rights report on asylum-seekers and immigrants (pdf) Full-text of Memorandum (pdf) See: Asylum rules 'risk human rights' (BBC link) "Yarl's Wood detention centre was visited by the commissioner this year. Changes to Britain's asylum and immigration controls could breach human rights, a European watchdog has warned"

Danes face jail for 'terrorism' T-shirts (euobserver, link)

EU: FINGER-PRINTING CHILDREN: Civil Liberties Committee votes for finger-printing children from the age of 12 and above for EU passports (EP press release) and Press release from Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE): MEPs reject fingerprinting of 6 year olds (pdf). This decision puts the European Parliament on a collision course with the Council (27 governments) who want the age to be six years old and above (some governments want it lower still) - the measure is subject to co-decision. Six years old was accepted by the Civil Liberties Committee rapporteur but rejected by the Committee. If accepted by the EP plenary session this would put the age of finger-printing children the same for EU passports and for EU visas.

Background: The fingerprinting of children for inclusion on the Eurodac database (asylum applicants) is set at 14 years old. Statewatch first raised this issue to public attention in July 2006:
EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible: when Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, commented: "All the discussions by EU governments in the Council about the age at which children should be subject to compulsory fingerprinting are based on the technological possibilities - not on the moral and political questions of whether it is right or desirable" and EU: Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on

EU-ECRIS: European Data Protection Supervisor: European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) (Press release and Opinion, pdf). Commission proposal for ECRIS (pdf) and Outcome of first discussions in the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime (pdf) - yet another instance where law enforcement agents and officials will be deciding on the transfer of personal data.

EU: Brussels urged to take 'closer look' at NGOs (euactiv, link) Commission Vice President Siim Kallas told a public hearing on the issue in the European Parliament that: "Less than 20% of the 334 bodies included in the register so far are NGOs. "It puzzles me that some NGOs have not yet registered, and even ones funded by the Commission have not disclosed their funding sources," Kallas said." Proposed rules for lobbyists (pdf) The proposed "Rules" include an obligation to:

"ensure that, to the best of their knowledge, information which they provide is unbiased, complete, up-to-date and not misleading"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"What does "unbiased" mean? Is a Commission press release "biased" because it presents its point of view? Or is any point of view that disagrees with it biased?"

EU-ECJ: Mandatory data retention challenge: European civil liberties groups lodge objection to the EU's Data Retention Directive with the European Court of Justice: (Full-text of submission to the ECJ, pdf) saying that the Directive breaches a fundamental right to privacy in the European Convention on Human Rights. 43 civil liberties groups from across the EU including Statewatch have submitted an intervention supporting Ireland's case to have the Directive repealed.

EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM, Malmo, Sweden: War on terrorism and human rights (link). The US-led “war on terror” has seen a devastating attack on international law and the framework of human rights around the world. This seminar will focus on the role of European governments in the practices of enforced disappearance and secret detention and how this ‘war’ has contributed to the erosion of the human rights of targeted communities. Amnesty, Statewatch, WILPF.

EU: FUTURE GROUP REPORT: An interesting postscript on the Council's (EU governments) Freedom, Security, Privacy - European Home Affairs in an open world (pdf) report is that the Council Presidency (France) sent this report to COREPER (high-level committee of Brussels-based representatives of all EU member states) and the Council (Ministers) in a document dated 9 July 2008 - it was discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 24-25 July. However, it was not "archived" (made publicly available) on the Council's public register of documents until 11 September 2008 - two months later and the same day that Statewatch released its report on the Future Group's report on European Home Affairs: The Shape of Things to Come Statewatch had put this document on its website: Future Report: Freedom, Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an open world (pdf) on 7 August 2008.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The Council's report on the future direction of EU justice and home affairs policies raises fundamental questions on privacy, civil liberties and the kind of society we want to live in. Statewatch's analysis on "The Shape of Things to Come", was published on 11 September, by which time over 10,000 copies of the EU Future Group's report had been downloaded from our website. The very same day the Council made the report available to the public - but if Statewatch had not published "The Shape of Things to Come" when would the Council have made it public?"

EU opens migration centre in Mali: "Outpost watchtower of Fortress Europe" (link) "Next October 6th, the European Union (EU) will open a Centre for Migration in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Refugee organizations strongly criticise this “Centre d’Information et de Gestion de Migrations” (Cigem) even before it has become fully operational. They call it an “outpost watchtower of Fortress Europe”. "

German Institute for Human Rights:
Human Rights at the EU’s common external maritime border: Recommendations to the EU legislature (pdf)

"A usual summer in the Mediterranean: thousands of deaths and cases of refoulement. Thousands of migrants – some only looking for a better life in Europe, some in need of international protection – leave the North and West African coasts."

EU: SPECIAL STATEWATCH REPORT: The Shape of Things to Come by Tony Bunyan

The EU is currently developing a new five year strategy for justice and home affairs and security policy for 2009-2014. The proposals set out by the shadowy "Future Group" set up by the Council of the European Union include a range of highly controversial measures including new technologies of surveillance, enhanced cooperation with the United States and harnessing the "digital tsunami". In the words of the EU Council presidency:

"Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts."

Seven years on from 11 September 2001 and the launch of the "war on terrorism" this major new report The Shape of Things to come (60 pages) examines the proposals of the Future Group and their effect on civil liberties. It shows how European governments and EU policy-makers are pursuing unfettered powers to access and gather masses of personal data on the everyday life of everyone – on the grounds that we can all be safe and secure from perceived “threats”.

The Statewatch report calls for a “meaningful and wide-ranging debate” before it is “too late” for privacy and civil liberties.

The report also contains four Case Studies:
1) the "digital tsunami" and the surveillance state; 2) The "convergence principle"; 3) Privacy and data protection; 4) EU-US area of cooperation.

Press release:
Eight page Conclusions
The Shape of Things to Come: Full report (pdf)

ITALY: European Commission Standpoint Fails to Address Discriminatory Nature of Fingerprinting in Italy: two leading human rights groups asked the European Commission (press release), Full-text of letter (pdf) Background (link)

"In a letter to European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) expressed concern that the EC was endorsing Italy's plan to forcibly fingerprint all Roma living in the country. The groups noted that such fingerprinting would be a form of discrimination because it targets people based solely on their ethnicity."

FRANCE: French cabinet row over 'Big Sister' database (Daily Telegraph, link) "An embarrassing row has erupted within the French cabinet over a controversial "Big Sister" database in which the intelligence services will store details on millions of citizens, including their health, social life or sexual orientation" and French revolt over Edvige: Nicolas Sarkozy's Big Brother spy computer (Times, link)

ITALY: Italian minister pays homage to fascist troops (Guardian, link) "Italy's defence minister yesterday paid tribute to fascist soldiers who fought in Italy alongside German troops during the second world war, inflaming a row prompted on Sunday when Rome's mayor refused to condemn fascism as evil."

EU: French Council Presidency: Latest draft: European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (3 September, 2008, pdf)

UK: Our obsession with crime is crushing our freedoms by Henry Porter (Observer, link)

France/Romania: Ratification of agreement to increase repatriations of unaccompanied minors underway

EU-FOI: European Ombudsman Open Letter to Commissioner Wallstrom (European Voice) on access to EU documents:

"You defend the Commission’s new definition of “document” by explaining that documents drawn up by the institutions are documents as soon as they have been sent to their recipients or otherwise registered. But in fact, the Commission’s proposal does not say “sent to their recipients”, but “formally transmitted to one or more recipients” (my emphasis)."

See for full background and documentation: EU-FOI: Statewatch's: Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008 - 2009

UK: Pressure to deport foreign national prisoners by Frances Webber (IRR, link) As the drive to deport foreign criminals goes on, Frances Webber, a leading human rights lawyer, reports on new legislation affecting foreign national prisoners and their families.

Statewatch analysis: EU implementation of UN Security Council's 'terrorist list' breaches fundamental rights - Kadi and Al Barakaat Foundation asset-freeze unlawful

In a judgment with far-reaching implications the European Court of Justice has today [3 September 2008] annulled the Council Regulation freezing the assets of Yassin Abdullah Kadi, a resident of Saudi Arabia, and the Al Barakaat International Foundation of Sweden, part of the 'Hawala' banking system used by the Somali Diaspora to transfer funds internationally.

Background:
Observatory on "Terrorist" Lists: monitoring, proscription, designation and asset-freezing

Switzerland: Parliament approves use of Tasers in deportations In March, the Swiss parliament approved the use by police of Taser stun guns when forcibly deporting foreigners from the country.

Spain: Illegal database held by local police in Sada (Galicia)

European Parliament: Commission proposal for a Directive on: Universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks, Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (pdf) Draft report from the EP Internal Market Committee (pdf) Opinion of the Civil Liberties Committee (pdf) Comments by the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf).

The European Data Protection Supervisor raise the question of whether Internet Protocol addresses ("IP") are personal data as the Data Protection Directive and the Privacy Directive apply whenever personal data are processed:

"If IP addresses are not deemed personal data, they can be collected and further processed without the need to fulfil any legal obligation arising from the two above mentioned Directives. For example, such an outcome would enable a search engine to store for an indefinite period, IP addresses assigned to accounts from which, for example, materials related to specific health conditions (eg: AIDS) have been searched."

EU: Red Cross-EU Office: European Commission Policy Plan on Asylum: Opinion of the National Red Cross Societies of the Member States of the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (pdf)

UK: Jean Charles de Menezes • 7th January 1978 - 22nd July 2005: 3 Years - No Justice (pdf)

"Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on 22nd July 2005 at Stockwell tube station by Metropolitan Police officers. Despite two official IPCC investigations and a guilty jury verdict at the Health and Safety trial at the Old Bailey no officer has ever been held to account for their actions. On 22nd September 2008, the inquest into his death will finally take place. The inquest will be the first opportunity the Menezes family have had to ask their questions and confront the police officers involved in the operation in a public court."

August 2008

ECHR: Calls for surveillance law reform after Strasbourg court victory (Irish Council for Civil Liberties, link). Full-text of judgment (pdf)

"Leading human rights groups in Ireland and the United Kingdom have today called for urgent reform of surveillance laws, after securing a significant victory in their case before the European Court of Human Rights.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Liberty and British-Irish Rights Watch took their case to Strasbourg because, over a seven year period, all telephone, fax, e-mail and data communications between the UK and Ireland, including legally privileged and confidential information, were intercepted and stored en masse by an Electronic Test Facility operated by the British Ministry of Defence.

The European Court of Human Rights has found that the rules governing data interception in the United Kingdom did not “as required by the Court’s case-law, set out in a form accessible to the public any indication of the procedure to be followed for selecting for examination, sharing, storing and destroying intercepted material. The interference with the applicants’ rights under Article 8 (the right to privacy) was not, therefore, “in accordance with the law”. It follows that there has been aviolation of Article 8 in this case.”

International Action Day "Freedom not fear - Stop the surveillance mania!" on 11 October 2008 (link) "A broad movement of campaigners and organizations is calling on everybody to join action against excessive surveillance by governments and businesses. On 11 October 2008, concerned people in many countries will take to the streets, the motto being "Freedom not fear 2008". Peaceful and creative action, from protest marches to parties, will take place in many capital cities."  The demands are:

- no blanket registration of all air travellers (PNR data)
- no information exchange with the US and other states lacking effective data protection
- no secret searches of private computer systems, neither online nor offline
- no blanket surveillance and filtering of internet communications (EU Telecoms-Package)
- abolish the blanket logging of our communications and locations (data retention)
- abolish the blanket collection of our biometric data as well as RFID passports
- abolish the blanket collection of genetic data
- abolish permanent CCTV camera surveillance and automatic detection techniques
- scrap funding for the development of new surveillance techniques

EU:
Proposed new EU border control system (pdf) Report for the European Parliament LIBE Committee by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex

EU: An analysis of the Commission Communications on future development of Frontex and the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (pdf) Report for the European Parliament LIBE Committee.

"The [Commission] evaluation, however, falls short of critically assessing the consistence of Frontex activities with the fundamental values upheld by the EU. In this regard, it seems important to recall that Frontex is a first-pillar, Community body, which should not only respect the EU fundamental values in its activities, but also work for their promotion, particularly in a field which touches upon critical questions related to migration and freedom of movement."

Spain/Senegal: Repatriation agreement for minors comes into force

EU: Commission finally publish full decision on air travel passenger rules: Regulation laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (pdf)

UK: MI5 criticised for role in case of torture, rendition and secrecy (Guardian, link)

Council of Europe:
Application of Convention 108 to the profiling mechanism (pdf)

France: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: France (pdf)

UK: Border Agency: A strong new force at the border (pdf)

Italy: Silvio Berlusconi under fire as Pope appears to back warning about fascism (Guardian, link)

UK: PRIVATE SECURITY: The new spies by Stephen Armstrong (New Statesman, link) When the Cold War ended, it didn't spell curtains for the secret agent. Private espionage is a booming industry and environmental protest groups are its prime target.

EU: Statewatch analysis: The surveillance of travel where everyone is a suspect (pdf) by Tony Bunyan.

- “all travellers are... considered a priori as potential law breakers”
- travellers to be checked by “an automated gate and kiosk” (machines)

EU: European Parliament: Scientific Technology Options Assessment STOA: RFID and Identity Management in Everyday Life: Striking the balance between convenience, choice and control: Study (pdf)

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 (eg: by EU data protection standards). There is also evidence of "policy-laundering", for example, detailed G8 questionnaires drafted by the US which all EU governments have to respond to (eg: use of intelligence in criminal investigation and prosecution).

UK: MANDATORY RETENTION OF ALL INTERNET USAGE: Home Office consultation: Transposition of Directive 2006/24/EC (pdf), which concerns:

"the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks.. [to] ensure that certain data is retained to enable public authorities to undertake their lawful activities to investigate, detect and prosecute crime and to protect the public."

In plain english the government wants to keep and access everyone's internet usage and internet telephony in the UK - more than 1 billion items a day.

See: 'Snooper's charter' to check texts and emails (Guardian, link) and
Statewatch's Observatory:
The Surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

ITALY: Fundamental Rights Agency Incident Report: Violent attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli district of Naples, Italy (pdf)

EU-PNR: European travel operators and travel agents' comments on the EU-PNR (passenger name record) system reveal strong reservations on the proposal: European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations letter to Council Presidency (EU doc no: 12360/08, pdf).

- Scope: the Framework Decision: "ECTAA considers that the proposal for a Framework Decision should only cover data for passengers on flight into and out of the EU. It is essential that it is not extended to intra-EU flights."

- Scope: "it is fundamental that data will not be used other than for border purposes"

- Costs: "This proposal will have significant technical, operational and financial consequences for carriers. Inevitably that cost will be passed on by the carriers to the end user, the passenger" - so we will be paying for our own surveillance

- US demands: PNR data is currently transmitted to the USA after a flight departs. The USA demand for data 24 hours in advance and immediately after flight closure is called "an uneccessary duplication". In addition: "Charter carriers in particular rarely receive such information in advance of 24 hours" and "To put in place an advance system for charter carriers would be costly and require considerable time as the current systems used by tour operators do not lend themselves to this."

Background: The Council working party has abandoned discussions on the Commission's proposal for an EU-PNR scheme and are going to start again drawing up their own proposal because a number of EU governments want to go much further. With the UK in the lead a number of member states want:

- the system to cover not just flights in and out of the EU but also flights between EU countries plus all flights within each country;
- the system to cover not just all flights but all sea and land travel as well;
-  the data and information gathered to be used not just for entry-exit but also for any law enforcement purpose.

See: Note from the Austrian delegation: EU doc no: 11724/08 Council Presidency Note: EU do no: 11281/08 and Council Presidency Note: 11772/09 plus penultimate draft of the proposal during discussions in the Council's Multidisciplinary group on organised crime: EU doc no: 7656/08 Rev 2

EU: Schengen police cooperation handbook - National Fact Sheets (618k, pdf) Contains useful summary of national laws/powers concerning the carrying of guns by officers, surveillance and pursuit plus listing of relevant agencies.

EU: Tear down the walls - Europe's war against immigration is immoral and unwinnable. It's time for a radical rethink by Philippe Legrain (Guardian, link)

Italy: European Race Bulletin: The Italian general election and its aftermath (IRR link, pdf)

EU: Secret report by the Future Group on new five year plan for "European Home Affairs" proposes creation of an EU-USA Area of cooperation for "freedom, security and justice" (justice and home affairs): Future Report: Freedom, Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an open world (full-text, pdf)

"By 2014 the European Union should make up its mind with regard to the political objective to realise a Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation in the field of freedom, security and justice with the United States."

Contrary to some press reports (see below) the proposed Area of EU-USA JHA cooperation would not just cover terrorism and passenger data but would cover the whole area of justice and home affairs - policing, immigration, sharing database data and biometrics and harmonising laws.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"All the evidence from dozens of high-level EU-USA meetings on justice and home affairs since 11 September 2001 shows that it is a one-way street with the EU trying to fend off USA demands. When the EU does not cave in the USA simply negotiates bilateral deals with individual member states.

A permanent EU-USA pact would be disastrous for privacy and civil liberties."

See:
-
Secret EU security draft risks uproar with call to pool policing and give US personal data (Guardian, link)
-
EU plan: The rise and rise of the securocrats (Daily Telegraph, link)
- Interesting background:
Bush letter to the EU, 16 October 2001

EU: FUTURE GROUP - JUSTICE REPORT: In addition to the above report on "European Home Affairs" the EU Future Group has also presented a report by the High Level Advisory Group on: The Future of European Justice Policy Proposed Solutions for the Future EU Justice Programme (pdf)

UK: Home Office: Police use of taser figures as at August 2008 (pdf) and Police: Amnesty voices concern as use of Taser guns grows (Guardian, link)

UK-USA: European Court of Human Rights (Press release) and Abu Hamza extradition postponed for hearing (Channel 4 News, link)

EU: Report from UK House of Lords Select Committee: Initiation of EU Legislation (216 pages, pdf):

"The purpose of this report is to explore the processes by which ideas are transformed into EU legislation, principally by the Commission, and to draw conclusions as to the appropriateness of those processes in today’s EU. Our starting point was to ask: “Where do the ideas for legislation come from?” and “How are ideas developed to the point when they are brought forward as formal legislative proposals?”

UK: TERRORIST LAW - 42 DAYS: House of Lords: Select Committee on the Constitution: Counter-Terrorism Bill: The Role of Ministers, Parliament and the Judiciary (pdf). See: Terrorism: Lords say 42-day law will put fair trials at risk (Guardian, link)

UK-USA-RENDITION: Reprieve Press Release: As New Evidence Emerges that ‘War on Terror’ Prisoners were Held on Diego Garcia, Reprieve Demands Immediate Action from the British Government (pdf)

July 2008

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information (pdf)

"We, over 125 members of the global access to information community from 40 countries, representing governments, civil society organizations, international bodies and financial institutions, donor agencies and foundations, private sector companies, media outlets and scholars, gathered in Atlanta, Georgia from February 27-29, 2008, under the auspices of the Carter Center and hereby adopt the following Declaration and Plan of Action to advance the passage, implementation, enforcement, and exercise of the right of access to information"

ITALY: Deployment of armed forces to guarantee security in cities

UK: UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (pdf) Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Press release: UN urges greater protection for women’s rights in Northern Ireland (pdf) NIHRC Submission: Shadow Report on the Sixth Periodic Report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (pdf)

UK: Statement from The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade in response to Law Lords' judgments in BAE-Saudi appeal by The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (link) Full-text of Lords judgment (pdf)

UK: Human Genetics Commission report: A Citizens’ Inquiry into the Forensic Use of DNA and the National DNA Database (1 MB, pdf) Summary of report (pdf). See: DNA records 'criminalise people' (BBC News, link) "Thousands of DNA samples from innocent people are now retained. DNA profiles of those not convicted of a crime should be removed from the database in England and Wales, a government-funded inquiry has said."

COE-ITALY: Memorandum: full-text (38 pages, pdf) Press release: Italy: “Immigration policy must be based on human rights principles and not only on perceived security concerns”, says Commissioner Hammarberg presenting a special report (pdf)

"Mr Hammarberg also criticised the decision to criminalise migrants’ entry and irregular stay. He sees this as a worrying departure from established international law principles. “These measures may make it more difficult for refugees to ask for asylum and is likely to result in a further social stigmatisation and marginalisation of all migrants - including Roma” . "Commissioner Hammarberg also noted with grave concern that Italy had forcibly returned migrants to certain countries with proven records of torture."

 EU-USA: United States Plans New Travel Procedures for 27 Countries (US EU Mission, link) Known as ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authorisation). An application to travel to the USA has to be made and authorisation given prior to boarding a plane or boat.

This will apply to the EU countries currently included in the Visa Waiver Programme who are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In addition, the following are being considered for inclusion at a later date include Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Malta - all of whom have signed MOUs with the USA.

The ESTA form asks about health, any criminal record including those "involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance" (whether spent or not under EU law), whether you are seeking "entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities" and whether you have ever been involved in espionage, sabotage or terrorism.

The European Commission has yet to decide whether ESTA constitutes a breach of the visa waiver programme (see below). See also: US to screen foreign air passengers (euobserver, link)

UK: Annual Report: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2007 (pdf). As usual a bland repetition of the legal position and little more.

Greece: "Humanitarian crisis" at Greek migrant camp - MSF (Reuters, link)

EU: VISA WAIVER RECIPROCITY: Commission: Fourth Report on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity.. the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders (COM 486, pdf) Press release: "No tangible progress has been made regarding the USA" (pdf) Threat to impose visa conditions on US diplomats threatened.

Ireland strongly opposed to Lisbon revote (euobserver, link) and Poll reveals Irish animosity towards referendum rerun (euractiv, link)

UK: Report from the parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: UN Convention Against Torture: Discrepancies in Evidence Given to the Committee About the Use of Prohibited Interrogation Techniques in Iraq (pdf). MPs 'misled' over interrogation (BBC News, link) "MPs and peers have said they may have been misled over UK troops' use of banned interrogation methods in Iraq. Not all troops had known "conditioning" techniques such as hooding and sleep deprivation were banned, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said."

ITALY: "State emergency" extended from three regions to whole country: According to a press release from the Italian Council of Ministers meeting of today (25 July 2008), the government has declared the "state of emergency" for the whole of Italy in relation to the persistent and extraordinary influx of non-EU citizens, as proposed by the Interior Minister Maroni, with the aim of strengthening the activities of fighting and management of the phenomena. The "state of emergency" is thus enlarged from 3 regions to all Italian territory. A decree will probably be issued by the government together with orders, as for the "nomads' emergency". See full background below.

EU-ECJ: Grand Chamber judgment: Judgment overturning Akrich and making it absolutely clear that third country national family members can enter without any requirement of prior lawful residence in another MS: Full-text of judgment (pdf) See: Court gives backing to foreign spouses of EU citizens (euobserver, link)

UK-IRELAND: Since 1925, 83 years ago, there has been a Common Travel Area between the Republic of Ireland and the UK. The UK Home Office is proposing to introduce border controls and biometric checks: Home office consultation (pdf) Partial Impact Assessment (pdf). Proposals for controls on UK and Ireland travel (Irish Times, link)

EU-PNR: EU endorses idea of collecting air passenger data (euobserver, link). EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers say they have "reached an agreement on the principle of the European PNR". In fact, they have abandoned discussions on the Commission's proposal for an EU-PNR scheme and are going to start again drawing up their own proposal because a number of EU governments want to go much further. With the UK in the lead a number of member states want:

- the system to cover not just flights in and out of the EU but also flights between EU countries plus all flights within each country;
- the system to cover not just all flights but all sea and land travel as well;
-  the data and information gathered to be used not just for entry-exit but also for any law enforcement purpose.

See: Note from the Austrian delegation: EU doc no: 11724/08 Council Presidency Note: EU do no: 11281/08 and Council Presidency Note: 11772/09 plus penultimate draft of the proposal during discussions in the Council's Multidisciplinary group on organised crime: EU doc no: 7656/08 Rev 2

EU: JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL Brussels, 24-25 JULY 2008: Press release for 24-25 July 2008 (pdf). Background Note (pdf) "A" Points agenda (pdf) "B" Points agenda (pdf).

ITALY: SECURITY PACKAGE & DOCUMENTATION: On 23 July the Italian Senate approved the law transforming the security package decree into law: Link to full-text. The main measures adopted - having an impact on EU and non-EU citizens - are similar to those already contained in the decrees:

- Aggravating circumstance of being irregular on Italian soil: being a clandestine/illegal immigrant becomes an aggravating circumstance: penalties are 1/3 higher for illegal immigrants who commit a crime; this is valid for EU citizens and non-EU citizens (which amounts to a discrimination on the basis of nationality among EU citizens);

- Easier Expulsions: judges can order expulsions in a wider series of circumstances; foreigners, including EU citizens, can be expelled if they have no revenue or have been caught committing a crime. Expulsion, also of EU citizens, can be ordered for crimes punished with 2 years detention (before it was 10 years). Those who violate the repatriation order, including EU citizens, can be punished with a custodial sentence of between 1 and 4 years (violation of the free movement directive);

- "Centri di permanenza temporanea" (Cpt - Centers for temporary permanence) and "centri di permanenza temporanea e assistenza" (Cpta - Centers for temporary permanence and assistance) are renamed and becorme "centri di identificazione ed espulsione" (Cie - Centers for identification and expulsion). Those who admit false identity risk a penalty of between 3 and 6 years;

- Prison for those who provide housing to clandestines: anybody renting or anyway providing housing to foreigners who are not regularly on the Italian soil can bee punished with a custodial sentence of between 6 months and 3 years. The house or apartment can also be seized;

- Mayors and Prefects will have more powers in terms of public order, while local and State police will collaborate more. The Mayor will indicate those who are in an irregular situation on Italian soil to be expelled (the application of the free movement directive is left to local authorities, making it difficult to check compliance)

- Ministry of Interiors: Cabinet of the Minister: Guide lines for the implementation of the ordinances of the President of the Council of Ministers 30/05/2008,N.3676, 3677 and 3678, regarding settlements of nomad communities in the Regions Campania, Lazio and Lombardy

- Ministero dell Interno: GABINETTO DEL MINISTRO LINEE GUIDA PER L'ATTUAZIONE DELLE ORDINANZE DEL PRESIDENTE DEL CONSIGLIO DEI MINISTRI DEL 30 MAGGIO 2008, NN. 3676, 3677 E 3678, CONCERNENTI INSEDIAMENTI DI COMUNITÀ NOMADI NELLE REGIONI CAMPANIA, LAZIO E LOMBARDIA

- SECURITY A LA ITALIANA: Fingerprinting, Extreme Violence and Harassment of Roma in Italy - by European Roma Rights Centre, Open Society Institute, Romani Criss, Roma Civic Alliance in Romania and Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

- Situation of Roma in Italy and Report of the visits and meetings of Marco Cappato and Viktoria (ALDE MEPs) in Rome, 17-18 July 2008

- Red Cross document

- European Parliament Resolution: Census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy: European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy

- Letter from Jonathan Faull, Director General DG Justice, Freedon and Security, to Italian government Permanent Representative in Brussels: Letter full-text (pdf)

- Italy to jail clandestine migrants (euobserver, link)

EU-LATIN AMERICA: THE "OUTRAGEOUS" RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Letter to EU governments and parliamentarians (Six languages, pdf) Signed by people from: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, USA, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela:

"It seems that a convenient amnesia prevents Europe from remembering what Europe would be like without cheap labor from abroad, and without the services that the entire world has provided her with. Europe would not be Europe without the massacre of indigenous peoples in the Americas and without the enslavement of the sons and daughters of Africa, to mention only a few forgotten examples.

Europe should apologise to the world, or at the very least give thanks for what the world has given her, instead of legalising the hunting down and punishment of hard working people who have come to Europe, fleeing the hunger and the wars that the masters of the world have sent them."

EU: TERRORIST FINANCING: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Revised Strategy on Terrorist Financing (pdf)

UK-UN REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS LEVELS VERY STRONG CRITICISMS AT UK GOVERNMENT: Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee (pdf). Including:

On deporting people to countries where there is evidence of torture or inhumane or degrading treatment:

"The State party should ensure that all individuals, including persons suspected of terrorism, are not returned to another country if there are substantial reasons for fearing that they would be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The State party should further recognise that the more systematic the practice of torture or cruel , inhuman or degrading treatment, the less likely it will be that a real risk of such treatment can be avoided by diplomatic assurances, however stringent any agreed follow-up procedure may be. The State party should exercise the utmost care in the use of such assurances and adopt clear and transparent procedures allowing review by adequate judicial mechanisms before individuals are deported, as well as effective means to monitor the fate of the affected individuals."

On rendition:

"The Committee notes with concern that the State party has allowed the use of the British Indian Ocean Territory as a transit point on at least two occasions for rendition flights of persons to countries where they risk being subjected to torture or ill-treatment.(arts. 2, 7 and 14).

The State party should investigate allegations related to transit through its territory of rendition flights and establish an inspection system to ensure that its airports are not used for such purposes."

On the use of plastics bullets/projectiles:

"The State party should closely monitor the use of Attenuating Energy Projectiles (AEPs) by police and army forces and consider banning such use if it is established that AEPs can cause serious injuries."

UK: SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY: A Surveillance Society?: The Government reply to the report from the Home affairs Committee (pdf). See: Government stands by data sharing: The Home Office has said that joining up existing government systems reduces the need for big new databases (link) Background: Report on the "Surveillance society" by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: Report: Vol 1 (1.5 MB, pdf) Evidence Vol 2 (1.6 MB, pdf).

EU-USA: Letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to the European Parliament:
Full-text of ACLU letter (pdf)

"The negotiations underway between U.S. security agencies and their European counterparts over the transatlantic transfer of personal data are just the latest efforts to overcome a looming problem...The European Union, having enacted strong legislation to protect the privacy of its citizens, cannot be asked to render that legislation meaningless by allowing its citizens’ data to be shared with a country that is, in privacy terms, all but lawless.

If Europe agrees to data-sharing with the United States under the current U.S. open records law, then European citizens will have far fewer protections for their data in the United States than U.S. citizens will have in Europe. U.S. privacy laws are weak; they offer little protection to citizens and virtually none to non-citizens."

Background: EU-USA: How America is snooping on YOU ... and may soon be snooping a whole lot more (link to Mail on Sunday) and EU-US: Final Report by EU-US High Level Contact Group on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (pdf) This report was presented at the EU-US Summit on 12 June 2008.

CROATIA: Every day the Croatian Government is removing tourists, mostly Asians and Africans, from the train between Budapest and Venice - people with visas for their destination - people who are not warned they will be passing through Croatia until it's too late - They are left on the border in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere - while travellers from Western countries are allowed to continue their journey unhindered.

EU-ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Council capitulates and agree to give Mr Turco a document containing the Opinion of the Legal Service: New reply to the confirmatory application made by Mr Maurizio TURCO (1/02) following the judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) in Joined Cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P (pdf)

Background: MAJOR VICTORY FOR ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE JUDGMENT ON ACCESS TO LEGAL OPINIONS - TURCO CASE:

"THE COURT AUTHORISES, IN PRINCIPLE, ACCESS TO LEGAL ADVICE GIVEN TO THE COUNCIL ON LEGISLATIVE QUESTIONS

The transparency of the legislative process and the strengthening of the democratic rights of European citizens are capable of constituting an overriding public interest which justifies the disclosure of legal advice.... The Court takes the view that disclosure of documents containing the advice of an institution’s legal service on legal questions arising when legislative initiatives are being debated increases transparency and strengthens the democratic right of European citizens to scrutinise the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act."
(Court press release) and:

"As regards, first, the fear expressed by the Council that disclosure of an opinion of its legal service relating to a legislative proposal could lead to doubts as to the lawfulness of the legislative act concerned, it is precisely openness in this regard that contributes to conferring greater legitimacy on the institutions in the eyes of European citizens and increasing their confidence in them by allowing divergences between various points of view to be openly debated. It is in fact rather a lack of information and debate which is capable of giving rise to doubts in the minds of citizens, not only as regards the lawfulness of an isolated act, but also as regards the legitimacy of the decision-making process as a whole." (Judgment)

The Court's judgment means that the Council (and the Commission) can no longer claim blanket refusals for the opinions of their Legal Services on legislative matters. The Court's judgment is also interesting because it reasserted the principle of an "overriding public interest" in allowing disclosure.

Currently the Opinions of the Council's Legal Service on legislative matters carries the following warning:

"This document contains legal advice protected under Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, and not released by the Council of the European Union to the public. The Council reserves all its rights in law as regards any unauthorised publication." [BOLD emphasis in original]

-
Press release
-
Court judgment - full-text
- Turco press statement

UK: New Criminal Information Quango sighted - Ex-mandarin hides plans for world domination behind criticism of Police (Register, link). Report: Review of Criminal Information” (ROCI) (156 pages, pdf) and see: Technology and Policing: Implications for Fairness and Legitimacy, by Peter Neyroud and Emma Disley (Policing, link)

ITALY: The bloody battle of Genoa (Guardian feature by Nick Davies, link)

EU: Council Presidencies JHA Programme: French, Czech and Swedish Presidencies: Draft Programme of the trio of Presidencies in JHA (pdf)

EU: Legislative Update: The "state of play" on the following measures:

- Report on European Parliament plenary session: Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications See also: The European Parliament plenary session has backed a report by Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE) calling for the fingerprinting of children to only be allowed for those 12 year old and over - the Council of the European Union (the governments) want it to be just six years old and over. The report was supported by 455 MEPs and opposed by 64, mainly from the conservative PPE group. There were 41 abstentions. Full-text of Resolution (pdf).

- EUROJUST: Draft Council Decision on the strengthening of Eurojust amending Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002, as amended by Council Decision 2003/659/JHA setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime (67 pages)

- EMPLOYER SANCTIONS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals and EU doc no: 11000/08 plus EU doc no: 11727/08

- EJN: Draft Council Decision on the European Judicial Network

- EU-USA PNR: Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Declarations made in accordance with Article 24(5) TEU - State of Play

EU: EXIT-ENTRY SYSTEM: Briefing Paper for the European Parliament: Proposed new EU border control systems (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex

USA: RENDITION-TORTURE-US ASSURANCES: Report from the UK House of Commons foreign Affairs Committee: Human Rights Annual Report 2007 (pdf). It includes the following Conclusions:

"We conclude that, given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the Government does not rely on such assurances in the future."

"We conclude that it is extremely important that the veracity of allegations that the Government has “outsourced” interrogation techniques involving the torture of British nationals by Pakistani author authorities should be ities investigated."

"We conclude that the Government has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that flights that enter UK airspace or land at UK airports are not pa part of the “rendition rt circuit”, even if they do not have a detainee on board during the time they are in UK territory. We recommend that the Government should immediately raise questions about such flights with the US authorities in order to ascertain the full scale of the rendition problem, and inform the Committee of the replies it rece receives in its response ives to this Report."

G8: G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting, Tokyo, 11-13 June, 2008: Concluding Declaration Conclusions including Counter-Terrorism (pdf) and G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Declaration on Capacity Building Assistance (pdf)

EU: Electronic Identity Management (eIDM): Commission press release: Electronic Identity: easy access to public services across the EU (pdf) A Roadmap for a pan-European eIDM Framework by 2010 (pdf) and Factsheet (pdf)

"For eGovernment and eBusiness to function to their full potential, people need a secure, convenient and effective way of identifying themselves – replacing signatures and stamps used on paper – when using electronic communication. To make this a reality, EU Member States are investing tens of billions of euros in interoperable Electronic Identity Management (eIDM)."

EU: HAGUE PROGRAMME: Report on implementation of the Hague Programme (pdf) Brussels, 2.7.2008, COM(2008) 373 final, (SEC(2008) 2048} {SEC(2008) 2049} plus useful SEC documents giving details of implementation and compliance (or non-compliance) at national and institutional levels: SEC (2008) 2048: Commission Staff Working Document: Annex to the Communication: Report on the implementation of The Hague programme for 2007: Follow-up of the implementation of legal instruments in the fields of justice, freedom and security at national level: 2007 Implementation Scoreboard - Table 2 (pdf) and SEC(2008) 2049: Commission Staff Working Document: Annex to the Communication: General overview of instruments and deadlines provided for in the Hague Programme and Action Plan in the fields of justice, freedom and security for 2007 (Institutional Scoreboard): Report on the implementation of The Hague programme for 2007 (Institutional Scoreboard – Table 1 (pdf)

EP: Useful country reports from European Parliament delegations from the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) looking at "reception of asylum seekers and irregular migrants": Cyprus (pdf), Denmark (pdf) and Poland (pdf)

EU: CRIMINAL RECORDS: Council Decision on the exchange of information extracted from criminal records – Manual of Procedure (103 pages, pdf) Interesting summary country by country of the information stored and that required for requests from criminal records from another member state.

EU-JHA-PASSERELLE: Statewatch Analysis: Changing the institutional framework for EU Justice and Home Affairs law without the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

IRELAND-LISBON TREATY: Ireland will have to vote again on Lisbon, says Sarkozy (Irish Times, link).

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"An unspoken timetable has already been decided in Brussels. In October EU governments will agree on a Declaration to be attached to the Treaty, then it will declared that Ireland will vote again in March next year - and 1st April 2009 has already been pencilled in for the formal adoption of the Treaty."

UK: Information Commissioner Press release: A communications database would be ‘a step too far’ (pdf):

"Any government run database holding the telephone and internet communications of the entire population would raise serious data protection concerns, the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, is warning today. Commenting on speculation that the government is considering the development of such a database Richard Thomas will say that it would be ‘a step too far for the British way of life’."

Database threatens our way of life, watchdog warns (Guardian, link)

ITALY: Update story: Genoa riots: 15 guilty of G8 brutality will not go to jail (Guardian, link) and Rape threats, beatings and racist chants: 15 Italians jailed for abuse of G8 Genoa protesters: Verdict likely to embarrass Berlusconi government (Guardian, link)

"Fifteen Italian police officers and doctors were last night sentenced to jail terms of up to five years after being found guilty of abusing protesters detained during riots at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa."

See Statewatch coverage on Genoa and the trials on: Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU

ITALY: Frattini pide un banco de datos europeo con huellas y ADN de niños de etnia gitana (link)

"EFE ROME.- Frattini asks for a European database containing the fingerprints and DNA of Roma children

'If Europe does not adopt this solution, we will adopt it anyway' 'The first way to protect a minor is to give him an identity and a document'. The Italian foreign affairs minister, Franco Frattini, believes that a European database containing the fingerprints and DNA of all the children of the Roma ethnic group(*) living in nomad camps is necessary as, without an identity, they have no rights, nor can they be protected.

The former European justice commissioner pointed out in an interview with Italian newspaper 'Il Messaggero', that "the first way to protect a minor is to give them an identity and a document", know who s/he is, because without this "a Roma child has no right to health or school".

Moreover, "without an identity, it is impossible to rescue these little innocent souls from the hands of paedophiles and child traffickers". Frattini considered that "a European database with the names, fingerprints, DNA indicators of all these children" is necessary "to make their lives safer". The minister indicated that "if Europe does not adopt this solution, that of fingerprints, of DNA, which strikes me as being the only possible one, we will adopt it anyway", although he explained that they will always respect European norms.

The Italian government has embarked upon a process to create a census of the people living in underprivileged neighbourhoods and settlements, that includes the taking of fingerprints, including those of minors."

* Statewatch translation Note: " gitano ", the term used in the Spanish original, would translate as " gypsy " or " zingaro ", the problem being that both in the UK and Italy the term is derogatory, while in Spain a lot of work has been carried out to give it back its positive connotations, largely to do with culture, performing arts and dark beauty... the same has not happened, at least not to the same extent, in Italy and the UK. " Roma " is what tends to be used, but it is inadequate, as there are different ethnic groups (Rom and Sinti in Italy, Calò in Spain, travellers in the UK.

LIBYA-EU: Libya urges EU to revise illegal immigration rules (Reuters, link)

"Libya called on the European Union to revise new rules against illegal immigration on Monday, saying it would urge African Union members to take action if the EU stuck by measures that treated African migrants as criminals.

EU ministers have backed French proposals for a European pact to stem illegal immigration and attract highly skilled job-seekers, weeks after the EU decided illegal immigrants could be detained for up to 18 months and face a 5-year re-entry ban.

"Africa will not accept any law based on repression and in dealing with African migrants, including children and disabled people, as criminals," Libya's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Libyan news agency Jana...... "

ITALY: Memorandum: Request for expedited engagement of follow-up procedure and/or Urgent Action/Early Warning Procedure concerning Italy ICERD Compliance (pdf) Petitioning Organisations: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Associazione Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (“ASGI”), The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the National Roma Centrum (NRC), Cultural Center “O Del Amenca”, Policy Center for Roma and Minorities (“PCRM”), Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies (“Romani CRISS”), Roma Women Association in Romania (RWAR):

"The CERD Committee reviewed Italy’s compliance with the ICERD Convention in February 2008, and duly issued Concluding Observations:

Threats to non-citizen Roma have been severely heightened following the election in April 2008 and the formation on 8 May 2008 of a new right-wing national government including extremist xenophobic and racist elements, as well as success in local elections by the extreme right in a number of municipalities, including the capital Rome. This, combined with years of anti-Roma propaganda by the Italian media, which has unceasingly portrayed Roma primarily as vagrants and criminals, has resulted in exceptional levels of discrimination throughout Italy, as well as other issues implicating emergency aspects of the Convention."

UK: Outsourcing abuse: The use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers A report by Birnberg Peirce & Partners, Medical Justice and the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (pdf)

USA: US Terrorism Watch List Tops 1 Million (link)

MALTA-FOI: Citizens and NGOs convened for Freedom of Information forum (link)

EU-VISAS-FINGERPRINTING CHILDREN: The European Parliament plenary session has backed a report by Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE) calling for the fingerprinting of children to only be allowed for those 12 year old and over - the Council of the European Union (the governments) want it to be just six years old and over. The report was supported by 455 MEPs and opposed by 64, mainly from the conservative PPE group. There were 41 abstentions. Full-text of Resolution (pdf). The Green/EFA rapporteur said:

"Speaking on behalf of the Greens/EFA political group, Ms Tatjana ZDANOKA (Greens/EFA - LV):

• stated that her political group cannot accept any use of biometrics in the EU until its necessity is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The introduction of biometrics has crucial implications for data security and for fundamental rights. Therefore the Greens/EFA political group cannot vote in favour of the report at all."
and:

Speaking on behalf of the GUE/NGL political group, Ms Sylvia Yvonne KAUFMANN (GUE/NGL - DE):

• noted that the introduction of biometrics in visa is not acceptable, in particular regarding small children. She asked for an intensive study to verify the implication of such an approach."
UK:
Data Sharing Review report (pdf) Annexes (pdf) Submissions (link). Comment: Voters' data 'should not be sold' (BBC News, link)

UK: Government threatens 11 countries that unless they change their policies on deportations or removals of their nationals and cooperate on crime and terrorism then their citizens visiting the UK will have to get visas: Home Office Press release: Results Of Britains First Global Visa Review (pdf) Statement by Home Secretary on Visa Waiver Test (pdf) These are: are: Bolivia; Botswana; Brazil; Lesotho; Malaysia; Mauritius; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Trinidad and Tobago; and Venezuela. These countries have a combined population of over 300 million – nearly five per cent of the world’s population.

"The criteria for the test included looking at passport security and integrity; the degree of co-operation over deportation or removal of a country’s nationals from the UK; levels of illegal working in the UK and other immigration abuse; levels of crime and terrorism risk posed to the UK; and the extent to which a country’s authorities were addressing these threats."

The "criteria" are a mix of establishing who is wanting to visit and much broader cooperation on policies such as crime and terrorism. It should be noted that Brazil, Malaysia and Venezuela are the European Commission's "white list" of countries not requiring visas.

ITALY: Census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy: European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy (pdf). This Resolution was passed by 336 votes to 220 with 77 abstentions. It was backed by MEPS from the PSE (Socialist group), ALDE (Liberal group), Greens, GUE (United Left) and opposed by the PPE (Conservative group) and UEN (rightwing Europe of Nations group).

- Letter from Jonathan Faull, Director General DG Justice, Freedon and Security, to Italian government Permanent Representative in Brussels: Letter full-text (pdf)
- ALDE Press release:
Roma in Italy: Extraordinary measures are unjustified. EPP deft to appeals from civil society (pdf)

EU: CONCORD Press release: European NGOs condemn putting aid at the service of immigration control (pdf):

"While European and G8 countries are failing to deliver on their international aid commitments, European Development NGOs are deeply concerned about linking immigration control and development cooperation."

EU: Fortress Europe blog details 185 deaths in June. The Fortress Europe blog which tracks the deaths of migrants, details 185 deaths in June alone, 173 of which have taken place in the Channel of Sicily, where arrivals have risen three-fold, with other deaths also reported in the Canary Islands, Venice harbour, Turkey, where a Somali man was shot during a demonstration in a detention centre, and Israel, where three refugees were shot by police along the border with Egypt, including a seven-year-old Sudanese girl. The bulk of the deaths refer to a shipwreck in the high sea off the Libyan coast at Zuwarah on 7 June 2008, in which one survivor was rescued, 40 dead bodies were recovered and at least 100 people disappeared.

For full details, see: http://fortresseurope.blogspot.com/2006/01/giugno-2008.html (original, in Italian)
http://fortresseurope.blogspot.com/2006/01/june-2008.html (English version)

EU:The French Council Presidency is hosting: European Police Chiefs Task Force (EPCTF) Expanded Troika Meeting in Paris on 11 July. What is interesting is that in this Council document: European Council (19 and 20 June 2008): Progress report from the Presidency to the European Council - Preparatory work in view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) it says that the new structures under the Lisbon Treaty meant:

"It was accepted that there would no longer be a need for a formal role for the Police Chiefs Task Force."

Background: Statewatch analysis: The EU's Police Chief Task Force - a tale of self-regulation and self-definition by a body with no legal or constitutional basis, by Tony Bunyan

UK: Biometric Assurance Group (BAG): Biometrics Assurance Group Annual Report 2007 (pdf)

A government expert group has warned of a 'large impact' on the National Identity Scheme from those who cannot use fingerprinting, such as many elderly people. The Biometrics Assurance Group (BAG), in its annual report for 2007, recommends more funding for the handling of people who cannot provide usable biometrics. The report describes the more than 4m people over the age of 75 in Britain as "a group for which it is hard to obtain good quality fingerprints"

"Enrolling people with challenging biometrics: Having reviewed the composition of the test group, which is composed of those with potentially challenging characteristics, BAG suggested that the group should be expanded to include individuals with the following characteristics: being elderly, mute, non-English speaking, blind or visually impaired."

Report fingers prints as ID scheme's point of failure (Register, link)

USA: Passport record system open to abuse, IG finds (link)

"A State Department passport record system that holds personal data on more than 120 million Americans is wide open to abuse and unable to prevent or detect unauthorized access"

Privacy issue will dictate data debate (Computing, link):

"What might the government learn about each of us were it to piece together fragments of our lives scattered across disparate departmental databases? The fundamental principle of data protection legislation is that personal data should only be used for the purpose for which it was originally recorded. Excessive cross-matching would be a clear and controversial infringement - but you can be sure the government will look for more situations where it can claim that the benefits outweigh the risks."

UK: Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System – 2006/7 (pdf). The figures show that black people are still more than 7 times more likely to be stop and searched by the police as white people and that Asian people are more than twice as likely to be stop and searched.

Police stop and search figures up (BBC News, link):

"The figures showed 955,000 people were stopped and searched in 2006/7 alone, an increase of 9% and the highest figure since 1998/9.... There was also a large rise in the number of people stopped by the police and asked to account for themselves - up by a third to 1.87m in 2006/7."

Law and order: Police stop nearly 2m for questioning in year (Guardian, link)

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Cannes: European Pact on immigration and asylum and Presidency Note: Asylum procedures

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"EU Ministers are saying there is no "Fortress Europe", yet anyone with eyes to see knows that there is and that the final building blocks are being put into place.

The EU is denying sanctuary to people fleeing from poverty and persecution while at the same time actively recruiting skilled labour from the Third World in order to maintain its own standard of living - because it has an ageing population.- and thus perpetuate its exploitation of scarce global resources. It is a position devoid of any humanity or morality."

- EU won over to France's hard line on immigration and asylum (euobserver, link)
-
42 days? Try 18 months: This European targeting of illegal immigrants is hypocritical, draconian and undiplomatic by Evo Morales, President of the Republic of Bolivia (Guardian, link)
-
Mercosur anger at EU migrant laws (BBC News, link)
-
Latin American leaders condemn 'racist' EU law (euobserver, link)
- Central American states reject EU Returns Directive:
Full-text of statement (pdf)
- and see below

EU/Africa/South America: Alliance against EU Returns Directive

On 12 June 2008 in Brasilia, a week before the European Parliament voted in favour of the returns directive, the 1st Meeting of High Level Officials of African and South American Countries, involving representatives from 44 countries, the Council of the African Union and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), with a view to preparing the 2nd African-South American Presidential Summit to be held in Venezuela in November 2008, issued a press release condemning the directive. The representatives expressed "concern" over "legislations recently approved or proposed by some countries or regional organisations concerning migration, that contravene commitments adopted in the framework of human rights conventions and the rights of migrants set out in the UN's relevant legal instruments".

The countries represented were: Angola, Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, DR Congo, Egypt, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Libya, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Full text of the press release (from the no-fortress Europe website, in Spanish)

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Resolution on:
Census of Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy (pdf) signed by MEPs from the PSE (Socialist group), ALDE (Liberal group), Green Gorup, GUE (United Left):

"Urges the Italian authorities to refrain from proceeding to the collection of fingerprints of Roma, including minors, as this would clearly constitute an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin forbidden by the art. 14th of the European Convention of human rights and furthermore an act of discrimination between EU citizens of Roma origin or nomads and those who are not and who are not required to undergo such procedures"

EU/Central America: Central American states reject EU Returns Directive. Full-text of statement (pdf)

In Guatemala City on 30 June 2008, PARLACEN (Central American parliament, the regional body representing the governments of central America and the Dominican Republic) issued a declaration to "forcefully reject" the "returns directive" recently approved by the European Parliament as a measure that "undermines migrants human and labour rights". While PARLACEN exhorts its member states to accept their role as countries of origin and to take action to guarantee their citizens' human right to both freedom of movement and to remain in their own countries, it notes that the returns directive "contains articles that criminalise and penalise the migrant population". The declaration describes the measure as "criminalising, discriminatory and xenophobic, which undermines human and labour rights, especially those of boys, girls, adolescents and the norms of civilised co-existence between peoples, and that violates the historical progress made by humanity".

It goes on to challenge the emphasis on security in these measures, the references to people as "illegals", the vision of humans in merely economic terms; reaffirms the right to free movement for humans, calls on regional associations from Latin America and the Caribbean to form a united front against the directive in negotiations with the EU and on the parliaments of EU countries not to adopt the directive.

Spain/Colombia: Information exchange puts Colombian asylum seekers at risk

CEAR, the Spanish Commission for Assistance to Refugees, warns in its June 2008 legal bulletin that the cross-checking of information on Colombian asylum applicants' documents by the Asylum and Refuge Office with Colombian authorities during asylum proceedings contravenes data protection legislation and the nature of the asylum process, undermining the safety of asylum seekers from this country. Problems that are highlighted include the infiltration of Colombian institutions by members of paramilitary groups and the contravening of guarantees of confidentiality that applicants receive when they first apply for asylum.

EU-USA: How America is snooping on YOU ... and may soon be snooping a whole lot more (link to Mail on Sunday)

UK-ECHR: Government must review Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (link to Liberty press release) Full-text: Case of Liberty and others v UK (Application no. 58243/00) (pdf)

"In a significant judgement today, the European Court of Human Rights found that UK surveillance laws had lacked the necessary clarity and accountability to prevent abuses of power when used to intercept cross-border communications."

ITALY: Petition: "No to ethnic profiling of Romani people" (link) This petition is launched by "La voix des Rroms" (France) and "EveryOne Group" (Italy). For German version and for Spanish

ITALY: Renate Weber, MEP: The European Commission must take the Italian Government to the European Court of Justice” (Press statement, pdf).

"The recent statements of Italy’s Minister of Interior, Roberto Maroni, regarding a plan to fingerprint the Rroma ethnic population from the Italian Peninsula, represents a new violation of the fundamental human rights and a new defiance from a high-rank Italian official against the European Union and the values it was build upon, as well as against the European legislation."

EU RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Mercosur anger at EU migrant laws (BBC News, link) Latin American leaders condemn 'racist' EU law (euobserver, link)

STATEWATCH: The following Observatories have been updated:

- Observatory on data protection in the EU
- FOI in the EU:
Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
-
Statewatch analyses post 11 September 2001

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (Press release plus Opinion, pdf)

EU-ECRE: European Council on Refugees and Exiles: Memorandum to the French Presidency: Seizing the opportunity to create a meaningful Common European Asylum System (pdf)

EU: Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU Member States: Part I – Legal Analysis by Olivier De Schutter (164 pages, pdf)

June 2008

EU-US: Final Report by EU-US High Level Contact Group on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (pdf) This report was presented at the EU-US Summit on 12 June 2008. See: EU and US near deal on confidential data sharing (euobserver, link)

The High Level Group was set up on 6 November 2006 with the brief to conduct:

"discussions on privacy and personal data protection in the context of the exchange of information for law enforcement purposes as part of a wider reflection between the EU and the U.S. on how best to prevent and fight terrorism and serious transnational crime."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"In fact the scope would cover "any criminal offence" however minor. There is no guarantee EU citizens will be informed that data and information on them has been transferred to the USA or to which agencies it has been passed or give them the right to correct it. Moreover, the agreement would apply to individual requests and automated mass transfers and allow the USA to give the data to any third state "if permitted under its domestic law".

It would be good to say that the USA must guarantee the same rights to people when personal information is transferred between EU states but this would be meaningless as the Council is about to adopt a Framework Decision which gives individuals few if any protections against misuse and abuse."

The Council of the European Union is about to adopt a: Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (pdf) covering the transfer of personal data and information/intelligence between EU member states. The Council has simply ignored all the criticisms of the measure from the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Article 29 Working Party on data protection and civil society: See: Statewatch's: Observatory on data protection in the EU

EU-USA PNR AGREEMENT: Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Declarations made in accordance with Article 24(5) TEU - State of Play (pdf)

EU-PNR: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes - State of play (pdf) See Statewatch's: Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

EU-PNR: NOTE from: Chair of the Airports Group of the Council of Europe's Pompidou Group (pdf)

- calls for the scope of EU PNR scheme to be extended from flights in and out of the EU to cover also flights within the EU
- calls for scope to be extended from organised crime to serious crime
- calls for Customs agencies should have access to personal name registers
- calls for direct online access to airline passenger reservation systems (not "PUSH" as recommended)

NB: "the Airport Group of the Pompidou Group comprises around 110 police and customs officers working at airports in the area of combating serious crime, especially the illegal trafficking of drugs. Central offices of the competent authorities are represented as well."

See Statewatch's: Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

EU-AUSTRALIA: PNR AGREEMENT: Full-text: Agreement between the European Union and Australia on the processing and transfer of European Union-sourced passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the Australian Customs Service (pdf)

BALUCH-USA-UK: Baluch human rights defender, a British citizen, detained and deported by USA:

"On June 23rd, Baluch human rights defender Noordin Mengal was detained at Newark Liberty International Airport in the US on his arrival from the United Arab Emirates. After being held for nearly 26 hours in the custody of the United States Department of Homeland Security, he was sent back to Dubai after being denied entry to the US. Noordin Mengal, grandson of veteran Baluch leaders Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, is a British citizen and a representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of Interfaith International and is also a member of the Baluchistan National Party."

For background see: Never mind the Baluch (link to Transnational Institute)

For the record: EU-USA "SWIFT" agreement (2007) - documentation

"Following press reports in June 2006, it was revealed that the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") operating on the basis of powers under the TFTP has served administrative subpoenas on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ("SWIFT")1. These subpoenas require SWIFT in the U.S. to transfer personal data held on its United States2 server to OFAC where they are used for counter terrorism purposes regarding suspected individuals or entities.... SWIFT is a Belgium-based company with offices in the United States and which operates a worldwide messaging system used to transmit, inter alia, bank transaction information. It has been estimated that SWIFT handles 80% of the worldwide traffic for electronic value transfers."

EU-ITALY: Plight of the Roma: echoes of Mussolini: "The compulsory fingerprinting of Italy's Gypsy population is the latest example of the country's increasingly repressive attitude towards minorities – and an ominous reminder of the policies of the former Fascist dictator". Peter Popham reports (Independent, link)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"In a EU of "common values" we are all responsible for what happens in Italy"

EU: Following a request for information to the Commission by Professor David Miller, University of Strathclyde, it has supplied a:
List of members of expert group on violent radicalisation (24 June 2008, pdf). An earlier Commission response of 3 June 2008 (pdf)

USA: Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law (NYU IHRC): Rights groups challenge CIA for failure to release more than 7,000 documents relating to secret detention, rendition and torture program (pdf)

"The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must no longer be allowed to use classification arguments in its attempts to prevent the disclosure of illegal or embarrassing conduct in its secret detention, torture, and rendition programs, three prominent human rights groups said today. The statement came just hours after they collectively filed a motion to require the CIA to make certain information public and to provide more details about all the documents withheld."

FRENCH EU COUNCIL PRESIDENCY: European Pact on immigration and asylum (January 2008, pdf)

UK: COUNTER TERRORISM BILL: The House of Commons Justice Committee today publishes the Government's response to its report on the Counter Terrorism Bill, in which the Committee expressed its concerns about the proposals relating to the coroners system which provided for "the Secretary of State to certify that a coroner's inquest may be held without a jury and to appoint a particular security cleared coroner in inquests which are expected to involve the consideration of material that should not be made public". Justice Committee report (pdf). See also: UK parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Counter–Terrorism Policy and Human Rights: Government Responses to the Committee's Twentieth and Twenty–first Reports and other correspondence (pdf)

Hungary: Agreement Between the Government of The Republic of Hungary and the Government of The United States of America for the Exchange of Screening Information Concerning Known or Suspected Terrorists (pdf)

"A joint-agreement to share terrorist screening information between the government of the United States of America and the government of Hungary was passed recently, in exchange for movement toward a Hungarian visa waiver. The agreement, published in the National Gazette on June 20th, 2008, outlines the standards upon which information will be passed between the two governments. Terrorist screening information includes identifying information (full name, known aliases, date of birth, passport, etc.) for individuals reasonably suspect to be engaging in, or who has been related to acts of terrorism or terrorist activities.... This agreement is an step in promoting the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and Hungary. Enacted on March 17, 2008, the MOU strives for Hungarian membership in the Visa Waiver Program. If a participant in the Program, there would be a visa waiver for Hungarians staying in America for 90 days or less."

Council of Europe: New book: CIA above the law? Secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees in Europe (300 pages, link to ordering page, hard-copy 23 euro, pdf 15 euro)

MASRI-UN-MACEDONIA: The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and the Human Rights Committee (HRC) have advised the Macedonia government to undertake a new and thorough investigation into the abduction and ill-treatment of Mr Khaled El-Masri when held by CIA agents in secret detention.

- HRC report (pdf)
-
CAT report, 21 May 2008 (pdf)
-
CAT report, 20 May 2008 (pdf)

See for full background Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition

UK: Report on the operation in 2007 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and of Part I if the Terrorism Act 2006 by Lord Carlile (pdf) and Government Reply to the Report by Lord Carlile (pdf) and Terrorist arrests, charges and conviction figures for 2007 (Source: Lord Carlile's report)

EU: FOI-ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Statewatch Analysis June 2008: Proposal on access to documents: Article-by-Article commentary (pdf) Analysis of the Commission's proposed changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents (1049/2001) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

EU: Latin America could halt EU trade talks over return directive (euobserver, link)

MALTA: Journalists Committee welcomes the decision to open migrants detention centres (pdf)

"The Journalists Committee welcomes the decision taken by the Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carmel Mifsud Bonnici to open migrants detention centres to journalists. Committee chairperson Karl Schembri said this was a positive development for journalists in Malta and recalled the role of the Journalists Committee in calling for open access to detention centres... Today, the new minister has finally taken on board our appeal and open up detention centres to journalists.The Journalists Committee has for years argued that detention centres and prisons were kept closed to journalists against all sense of transparency and accountability"

UK: Review urged on RIPA surveillance powers (pdf) LGA media release 23 June 2008. The Local Government Association has today written to the leaders of every council in England calling on them to undertake an urgent review of surveillance operations carried out under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opinion on safer Internet for children: data protection is an essential prerequisite to the safety of children online (pdf)

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM report: Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism and Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism - Addendum: Adoption of measures plus Implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - Priorities for further action

EU: The Council produces a regular Newsletter on the European Security and Defence Policy (link)

EU: Paper by Professor Steve Peers: Can the Treaty of Lisbon be ratified or implemented?: A legal analysis (pdf)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Global outcry against EU immigration directive (euobserver, link)

Souhayr Belhassen, president of the International Federation for Human Rights, argued that the timing of the European Parliament's vote was particularly unfortunate as the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated later this year. "By adopting this text, the European legislator lets us understand that migrants are not human beings like any other, provided with rights and to whom states owe obligations," Belhassen added. "They are dehumanised." Parliament Votes Jail for Asylum-Seekers by David Cronin

Green group in the European Parliament:
Returns directive: Vote of shame mocks standards of civilisation (Press statement, link)
GUE (European United Left) group in the European Parliament:
Europe no longer the cradle of human rights (link to statement)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: The European Parliament has voted this morning (18 June) 367 in favour, 206 against and 109 abstentions on the amended text approving the "compromise" text with the Council.

EU: UNITED: "Fortress Europe": More than 8800 Deaths, 20 June 2007, International Refugee Day. UNITED has co-ordinated an international refugee campaign since several years, which consists of two complimentary parts: - Protesting against the restrictive asylum and migration policies, that are often referred to as "Fortress Europe": especially focusing attention on the deaths of already more than 8800 people who tried to find a safe haven in Europe and Promoting a safe environment for refugees and asylum seekers where they do not have to fear racism and intolerance.

EU OMBUDSMAN: Ombudsman: new rules on investigations will help in finding the truth (pdf)

EU-FOI: Access to documents: Commissioner Wallströms hits back at critics: ”They can’t have read the text” (Wobbing. link). Report by by Staffan Dahllöf.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The idea that Statewatch, and Steve Peers who represented us at the hearing in the European Parliament on 2 June, had not read the text is sheer nonsense. We have worked on access to EU documents for over 15 years and we know how the current definition of a "document" works in practice - and it works fine. The only institution which does not like the definition is the Commission. In response to Statewatch's complaint to the European Ombudsman, over its failure to put all its documents on its public register, the Commission President repeatedly rejected the definition of a document in the Regulation as being too wide".

EU: Commission is set to agree today two "packages", one on asylum, the other on immigration: (pdf's)

Asylum package:

- Communication: Policy plan on asylum: A integrated approach to protection across the EU
-
Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document to the Policy Plan on the Common European Asylum System Impact Assessment
-
Commission Staff Working Document: Annexes
-
Memorandum to the Commission
-
Green Paper (2.6 MB)
-
Citizens Summary

Immigration package:

- Communication: On common principles for the further development of the Common Immigration Policy: a platform for a new European approach
-
Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document on common principles for the further development of the Common Immigration Policy:
a platform for a new European approach: Impact Assessment
(SEC, 76 pages)
-
Commission Staff Working on common principles for the further development of the Common Immigration Policy: a platform for a new European approach: Impact Assessment (SEC, 60 pages)
-
Memorandum to the Commission
-
Citizen Summary

EU-RETURNS DIRECTIVE:
European Parliament press release on the debate, 17 June 2008 (pdf)

EU: Institute of Race Relations pan-European research project: New report says Islamophobia warps integration efforts: Integration, Islamophobia and Civil Rights in Europe (Press release, link), Download the Introduction (link, pdf), Buy the full report (link)

EU-PNR: UK House of Lords' European Union Committee: The Passenger Name Record (PNR) Framework Decision (89 pages, pdf). A very useful report which considers amongst other issues the scope of the proposed EU-PNR Framework Decision which primarily rests on tackling terrorism:.

"Most significant of all, Ms Hillier’s [Home Office Minister] letter contains no reference to terrorism, and none of the examples she lists bears any relation to terrorism.

Likewise, in oral evidence she was unable to give an example of the successful use of PNR in relation to a terrorist-related offence. She did assert that PNR “has absolutely been a tool in tackling terrorism”, and explained the problems of sharing information about this in public (Q 28). However such a statement is unpersuasive when not accompanied by even a claim that PNR has succeeded in preventing, or assisting in the prevention of, a single terrorist attack, or bringing to justice the perpetrators of such an attack.

Similarly, Mr Hustinx told us that when the US Secretary of Homeland Security was addressing the European Parliament “he was careful to annex a list of some 20 or so examples to his speech and it was all about drugs and people evading paying taxes and things like that, but there was very little in terms of precision on terrorism” "

In this context it is interesting to note that in the UK Border & Immigration Agency: e-Borders: Friends of Presidency Group meeting presentation, Brussels, 27 March 2008 (pdf) it is stated that:

"The UK does not profile terrorists using PNR. In that respect we believe we are different to other governments who do use profiling techniques..." (emphasis added)

EU: An interesting document published the day after the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: European Council (19 and 20 June 2008): Progress report from the Presidency to the European Council - Preparatory work in view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (pdf)

EU: Critical review instead of complacency: Amnesty International’s ten-point human rights programme for the French Presidency of the European Union, June 2008 (pdf)

EU-EP: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: As the European Parliament votes on the Returns Directive there will be a silent demonstration outside the parliament in Strasbourg on 17 June 2008. Demonstrations against the Directive will be taking place in a number of other countries including: Rome (pdf) Lisbon (pdf) Summary of demonstrations (pdf) Bulletin from No to Fortress Europe (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"If passed this will be the 13th measure on visas, borders, immigration and asylum to be adopted by the European Parliament as a result of "first reading deals" negotiated in secret trilogue meetings with the Council.

Neither the final deal nor the penultimate draft are available to the public on the Council's register of documents. Nor was the letter from the Council to the European Parliament setting out the deal of 4 June made available to the public either until a few days ago. There was no time at all for national parliaments and civil society to read, debate and react as the deal was already set in stone. This is no way to run a democracy, especially when the issues at stake concern peoples' fundamental rights."

- the final and penultimate deals are addressed in Statewatch analysis: The Returns Directive: 9 June 2008 (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
- see:
Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit by Tony Bunyan

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: 42 days? Try 18 months: This European targeting of illegal immigrants is hypocritical, draconian and undiplomatic by Evo Morales, President of the Republic of Bolivia (Guardian, link) and Compromise on return directive "totally unacceptable" : For Francis Wurtz, President of GUE/NGL, the agreement on the return directive negotiated between the Council and Parliament's rapporteur - Manfred Weber (EPP) - is totally unacceptable in both form and content" and see also: Appeal to the Members of the European Parliament (pdf)

EU: PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Speech by Professor Steve Peers on behalf of Statewatch at the hearing in the European Parliament on 2 June 2008 (pdf) who concludes:

"I would urge the European Parliament to take the opportunity to improve the Commission’s proposal significantly, as there are major problems with it."

CIA-RENDITION: Rights groups demand investigation of CIA’s Extraordinary Rendition Program: Lawsuits against Germany, US and Macedonia seek justice for Khaled El Masri (pdf)

"The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Berlin, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), both based in New York, met today in Berlin with lawyers from Germany, Macedonia and the United Kingdom to discuss the latest developments in the CIA rendition case of German citizen Khaled El Masri.

ECCHR filed today a lawsuit against the German Government at the Berlin administration court for its failure to demand the extradition of 13 CIA agents suspected of having illegally “rendered” Mr. El Masri from Macedonia to a US prison in Kabul, Afghanistan."

EU: Proposed rules for lobbyists (pdf) The proposed "Rules" include an obligation to:

"ensure that, to the best of their knowledge, information which they provide is unbiased, complete, up-to-date and not misleading"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"What does "unbiased" mean? Is a Commission press release "biased" because it presents its point of view? Or is any point of view that disagrees with it biased?"

UNITED: Football without racism (pdf)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch analysis: The Returns Directive: 9 June 2008 (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

"Despite some positive changes to the text which result from the EP’s involvement in the negotiations, the agreed text of the returns Directive is still fundamentally deficient from the point of view of human rights as well as the basic principles which should underpin EU immigration and asylum law."

EU: Commission proposal on: the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) (pdf)

EU: E-PRIVACY: Commission Press release: Electronic Identity: easy access to public services across the EU (pdf)

EU-EAW: European Arrest Warrant - 2007 (pdf) Figures from 17 member states.

UK-EU: House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee: The Conclusions of the European Council and the Council of Ministers: Follow up report (pdf) The report calls for: "the Government discuss with other Member States whether a clear, definitive and accessible record of the proceedings of the European Council should be made as a matter of course."

UK: Behind Closed Doors: A Report on the Military Influence in UK Universities: Press release (pdf) Behind Closed Doors (Full-report, pdf). "A report by UK scientists reveals the secrecy surrounding the growing influence of the military on the research agenda in British universities."

UK:E-PETITION: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the involvement of arms company Lockheed Martin in the 2011 Census for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, because this company's history of working in American military intelligence will undermine public confidence in the Census process (link to sign the petition, deadline 15 June 2008).

UK: Report on the "Surveillance society" by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: Report: Vol 1 (1.5 MB, pdf) Evidence Vol 2 (1.6 MB, pdf).

Press comment: MPs must act now to set limits on snooping (Daily Telegraph, link) ID cards could help turn Britain into a surveillance society, warn MPs (Guardian, link)

GERMANY: Federal Ministry for the Interior plans to amend the Federal Criminal Police Office Act; including authorisation of online computer searches and video surveillance in private homes. Press release (link) and In a Nutshell: Draft Law on Preventing International Terrorist Threats through the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKAG-E). The proposals are said to be: "restricted to cases of terrorist threats" and include:

"provisions on the surveillance of private homes and telecommunications as well as remote searches of computer hard drives." and:

"Measures concerning telecommunications interception at the source allow the surveillance of telecommunications which is conducted in encrypted form with the help of Voice over IP or other Internet tools either prior to encryption or at the recipient’s computer after decryption. This measure has become imperative given the increasing use of such forms of communication." and:

"The power of the acoustic and visual surveillance of private homes"

UK-LONDON: June 2008 - The EU and UN ‘terrorist lists’ and the European Courts: The slow road to procedural justice (seminar 19 June 2008, pdf). First in a series of four seminars on "Terrorist lists", proscription, designation and human rights organised by Haldane, Statewatch and CAMPACC.

European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, called on the European Parliament (EP) to defend the European Union’s commitment to transparency and the citizens’ right of access to EU documents at a public hearing in the EP's LIBE Committee (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), the Ombudsman said:

"The Commission's proposals would mean access to fewer, not more, documents. This raises fundamental issues of principle about the EU's commitment to openness and transparency."

Press release (pdf)
Full-text of speech (pdf)

See for full background and documentation: EU-FOI: Statewatch's:
Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008 - 2009

Football: EURO 08: Legal support and helpful advice for football fans: This information sheet is intended for visitors of the EURO 08 football games in Switzerland. It contains some recommendations and legal advice on how to avoid confrontations with the police and private security personnel and to exercise your rights when dealing with police in Switzerland. See: European Civil Liberties Network - Noticeboard

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) 5-6 June 2008, Brussels: Press release, Conclusions on external borders and Conclusions on migration partnerships. For full background and documentation on current Justice and Home Affairs issues see: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch supplementary analysis: The Returns Directive – the final stages? (pdf) The European Parliament and the Council have now reached agreement on a text of the proposed ‘Returns Directive’, although the Council has already changed its position on this agreement and it remains to be seen whether the plenary EP will support it. Despite some positive changes to the text which result from the EP’s involvement in the negotiations, the agreed text of the returns Directive is still fundamentally deficient from the point of view of human rights. MEPs now face a choice of adopting the agreement on the table or pushing for positive amendments with a risk that the incoming Council Presidency will try to lower standards in this area.

A new analysis by Professor Steve Peers concludes: "The fundamental problem with the deal on the returns Directive is that they should never have been forced to make such an invidious choice in the first place".

May 2008

HUNGARY: Constitutional complaint filed by HCLU against Hungarian telecom data retention regulations (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union) (pdf)

EU: E-PRIVACY DIRECTIVE: Council: Progress report (29 May 2008, 79 pages, pdf) and Council Compromise Proposal for Amending Directive 2000/58/EC (Privacy Directive) (pdf),  Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on proposed changes to privacy in electronic communications directive (pdf) and Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion on the review of the Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (e-Privacy Directive) (pdf)

EU-UK: UK Border & Immigration Agency: e-Borders: Friends of Presidency Group meeting, Brussels, 27 March 2008 (pdf) This presentation took place as discussions are underway on a proposal to set up an EU-PNR scheme (see story below). It describes the UK timetable for checking all airline passengers against watchlists to "identify known persons of interest" and that it will eventually cover "all routes in/out on all modes of transport" (air, sea and land). See also: UK: Code of practice of practice on the management of information shared by the Border and Immigration Agency, Revenue and Customs and the Police (March 2008, pdf); Draft Regulatory Impact Assessment: Police and Justice Bill: Data Capture (pdf) and Police and Justice Act 2006 extends data gathering to passengers travelling inside the UK (pdf)

EU-PNR: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes (EU doc no: 7656/2/08, pdf) and later Discussion of the Council's position on EU-PNR (EU doc no: 9514/08). The Council is driving a "coach and horses" through the original proposal including increasing its scope beyond terrorism and organised crime. Although "Passenger Information Units" (PIUs) who will vet passengers are to some extent limited in their use of data national "competent authorities", to whom all the data can be passed, are to be allowed to further process the data if they come across "other offences" (ie: any crime, see Article 4.5).

European Data Protection Supervisor: EDPS expresses serious concerns about EU PNR proposal (Press release and Opinion, pdf). See also: PNR (passenger name record) scheme proposed to place under surveillance all travel in and out of the EU which includes the original Commission proposal and Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

UK: Arrests at Nottingham University and: Stop the Deportation of Hicham Yezza (link)

"Hicham's arrest took place on Wednesday 14th May. Rizwaan Sabir, an MA Politics research student was also arrested. Both were released without charge six days later. It has subsequently become clear that these arrests, which related to so-called "radical materials" involved an Al Qaeda manual downloaded by Sabir from an official US Government website, as part of his dissertation research into political Islam, and emailed to Yezza for printing.

Hicham was re-arrested on immigration grounds. Hicham was re-arrested under immigration legislation and, due to confusion over his visa documentation, charged with offences relating to his immigration status. He sought legal advice and representation regarding these matters whilst in custody. On Friday 23rd May, the Home Office informed his solicitor that he was being removed on Sunday 1st June and Hicham was moved to an immigration detention centre. He now faces imminent deportation to Algeria without due process."

Research into Islamic terrorism led to police response (Times Higher Education, link) and Statement from staff and students (pdf): "Nottingham University Students and Staff Express Serious Concerns about Recent Use of Terrorism Act on Campus and Demand Academic Freedom"

UK: Communications Data Bill (pdf) Announcement of government plans to retain internet usage in forthcoming Bill (in addition to powers already adopted to retain communications data for phone-calls, faxes and mobile calls). Revealed - Government plans to tap phone and internet use (Computer Weekly, link) See also: ‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails (Times, link). For background: Statewatch Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: The full-text of the latest Council draft of the Returns Directive, EU doc no: 8812/08

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Mandatory expulsion and entry ban decisions in Returns Directive violate general principles of Community law (pdf)

Today, the Netherlands based Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of Experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law) published a comment on the draft Returns Directive. On 23 April 2008, a compromise was reached between the Council and the European Parliament on the text of the Returns Directive (2005-0167 (COD), COM(2005) 391). In the meantime some aspects of the text have been changed. Still, the text, in its present form, violates important principles of Community law. Such is in particular the case where the draft directive contains binding Community legislation compelling Member States to take mandatory expulsion measures or mandatory entry ban measures in certain categories of cases. The Standing Committee is of the opinion that the draft Directive must not be accepted by the European Parliament.

Italy: A.S.G.I. Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione: Press Release: From Centres for temporary stay and assistance to Centres for identification and expulsion: the story of a separate health service (pdf)

"Precisely as the new executive passes the “Security package”, someone dies of insecurity. It happened in Turin in the brand new CPT that cost as much as 11,160,184 Euros (source, “La Stampa” 26/5/08 page 56) and which, from now on, will be called an Identification and expulsion centre, as envisaged in the law decree that is due to be issued soon."

Spain/Basque Country: European Democratic Lawyers association criticises trial against prisoner support and human rights organisations

Institute of Race Relations: European Race Bulletin no. 63 - mobilising against "foreign criminals" by Liz Fekete. The Spring 2008 issue of the Institute of Race Relations' European Race Bulletin examines the emergence across Europe of a new mobilisation against 'foreign criminals': Download a copy of the issue (link, pdf)

EU: PRUM IMPLEMENTING DECISION: The near finished Decision which will allow the exchange of fingerprints, DNA and vehicle data between Member States: Draft Council Decision on the implementation of Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (pdf) Detailed 91 page annex (pdf) and Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (January 2008, pdf)

EU-SIS II: Commission Staff Working Document: Annex to the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) Progress Report July – December 2007 (SEC 552, 2008, pdf)

UK-USA 2011 UK CENSUS CONCERNS: The House of Commons Treasury Committee has expressed strong concerns that if the 2011 UK census is run by a US company that the data could be accessed by USA security and law enforcement agencies: House of Commons Treasury Committee: Counting the population:

"We remain concerned that the personal information gathered through the 2011 Census could be subject to the United States Patriot Act and therefore we ask the
Government to take clear legal advice and advice from the US State Department and to publish it in response to this Report."
(see pages 34-35)

Background: Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude? and

In November 2007 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)

Italy: Frattini among the winners of Italy's 2008 Big Brother Awards

Greece, Crete: Surveillance and democracy: International Workshop (Programme and abstracts, link)

Italy: Italy: ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione) and ENAR (European Network Against Racism) issue press releases on violence against Roma and: Italy's crackdown on Roma criticised across Europe (euobserver, link)

UK: Augustine's deportation to Nigeria: On March 27th, Augustine, a Biafran independence activist was deported to Nigeria, where his brother has been killed and his wife and children are missing.

EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: EU transparency proposal criticised by Sweden (euobserver, link) and Swedish Journalist's Association considers draft EU-law 'disgraceful' (Wobbing, link) Full news and documentation is on: Statewatch's: Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008 - 2009

Morocco/EU: Moroccan navy accused of sinking dinghy, causing 29 to die: On the night of 28 April 2008, a chase in the high sea off the coast of Al Hoceima ended when a Moroccan navy officer slashed a dinghy's pneumatic body, resulting in 29 would-be sub-Saharan migrants (including four women and four children) drowning, according to survivors.

UK: ‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails (Times, links)

- Beware: Big Brother has got you fingered
-
Living off the grid – how to escape the spies all around us
-
New database increases power of surveillance over citizens

EU-FOI: Statewatch has created an: Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008 - 2009 which will track and place on record all the news, analyses and documentation concerning proposed changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents.

EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion on the review of the Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (ePrivacy Directive) (pdf)

UK: A source for concern (Guardian, link) This week's court case involving police demands for a journalist's notes is seen as the latest example of a threat to media freedom. Duncan Campbell examines what impact it could have on terrorism coverage

EU: UPDATE: Commission proposals to amend Regulation on access to EU documents: Proposed changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents - COM (2008) 229 final (pdf) with Explanatory Memorandum and annotated text. The text previously put online was the version circulated for the Commission meeting on 30 April - the version that emerged and was adopted contained a number of changes, including a different definition of a "document". Comments on the definition of a "document" in the Commission proposal: Back to the age of the "dinosaurs"? by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, who comments:

"The Commission does not like the current definition of a document so it is proposing to change it to severely limit its scope. The current definition of a document must be left unchanged.

Nor does the Commission like the current Article 11 obliging it to list "without delay" all documents on its public register - which since 2002 it has failed to do - so the new definition of a "document" would allow it to carry on only listing a fraction of the documents it produces and receives.

At a stroke the the new era of openness and transparency promised in the Amsterdam Treaty would be dealt a fatal blow and we will be back in the age of the "dinosaurs". "

Note on "dinosaurs": The forces for secrecy in the EU - were referred to by Mr Söderman, then the European Ombudsman, at a Conference in Brussels on 26 April 1999 as the "dinosaurs" - who under the cloak of implementing the Amsterdam Treaty wanted to turn the clock back so that the institutions could control what documents are released.

Portugal: Report on torture suffered by Leonor Cipriano

SOS Prisões and ACED produced a report that they sent to high-ranking Portuguese authorities with competencies in this field concerning the allegations of torture suffered in September 2004 by Leonor Cipriano at the hands of the judicial police in their offices in Faro.

Netherlands: Human Rights Watch report: The Netherlands: Discrimination in the Name of Integration: Migrants’ Rights under the Integration Abroad Act (pdf)

EU: VISA ENTRY CHECKS TO BE SUSPENDED IF THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of […] amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the use of the Visa Information System (VIS) under the Schengen Borders Code (EU doc no: 8674/08, pdf). The creation of the Visa Information System (VIS) is a major new system being put in place by the EU. It covers all visitors to the EU who have to apply for a visa in their country of origin, be fingerprinted and then security checked before a visa is issued. All the details, including fingerprints are held on the central VIS database so that on entry to and exit from the EU identity checks can be carried out. However, this new proposal from the Council Presidency says that if there are too many people to be checked and "all resources have been exhausted" then only random checks will be carried out.

"By way of derogation, where traffic of such intensity arises that the waiting time at the border crossing point becomes excessive and all resources have been exhausted as regards staff, facilities and organisation and where, on the basis of an assessment of the risk related to internal security and illegal immigration, it is established that the consultation in the Visa Information System need not be systematic, such consultation may be carried out on a random basis for as long as these conditions are met."

EU RETURNS DIRECTIVE: EU states oppose putting lid on migrants' detention (Fortress Europe, link) and AI & ECRE: Press release (pdf) See also: FIDH:Proposal for a “returns” Directive: The FIDH calls for the suspension of the text’s adoption until it conforms to Member States international human rights obligations (pdf) and GUE group in the European Parliament: Press release (link, pdf) Statewatch Supplementary Analysis: The EU's Returns Directive by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex who concludes: "The EP and the Council have to decide whether their endlessly-repeated support for the principles of fairness, human rights and human dignity is a genuine commitment, or simply empty rhetoric." "Against the outrageous Directive!", full-text of speech given by Yasha Maccanico (Statewatch) at the hearing with NGOs organised by the GUE group, European Parliament, Strasbourg on 12 December 2007 (pdf) and Fortress Europe (link) and Migreurop (link)

Council used terror law to spy on fishermen (Guardian, link)

BULGARIA: EU MANDATORY DATA RETENTION DIRECTIVE: We have to abolish Regulation ¹ 40, which gives the Ministry of Interior the right to retain data for every Internet-user (2.5MB, pdf) and Bulgaria: Against Internet “Bugging” (link to Global Voices). For background see: Statewatch's Observatory on The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

EU Ombudsman launches EU-wide consultation on access to databases:
Press release, Letter, Statement, and the Original Complaint (pdfs)

"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has launched a consultation process within the European Network of Ombudsmen on access to information contained in databases. This follows a complaint from a Danish journalist about the refusal of the European Commission to disclose data on beneficiaries of EU agricultural subsidies. The Commission justified its refusal on grounds of confidentiality. Furthermore, it argued that the EU's rules on access to documents apply to databases only if the data can be easily retrieved.

The Ombudsman was not convinced by this approach. He therefore contacted his colleagues in the Member States to find out about "best practices" at the national level aiming to ensure maximum public access to databases. This consultation is particularly important given that this issue at stake forms part of the current debate on the reform of the EU's rules on access to documents."

UK-TREATIES-UAE:
Extradition Treaty: between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates on Extradition (pdf) Treaty between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (pdf)

EU-RETURNS DIRECTIVE: FIDH:Proposal for a “returns” Directive: The FIDH calls for the suspension of the text’s adoption until it conforms to Member States international human rights obligations (pdf) and GUE group in the European Parliament: Press release (link, pdf)

Italy: Beppe Grillo posts list of convicted MPs and senators: Former comedian turned political activist Beppe Grillo, who has engaged in a campaign to prohibit politicians who have received firm judicial sentences from taking up their seats in the Italian parliament and Senate, has posted a list of 17 politicians who will be present in the new legislative chambers. Interestingly, it includes Renato Farina, the journalist of right-wing daily newspaper Libero, who negotiated a six-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to working for the secret services (journalists are forbidden from doing so), and was allegedly involved in the cover-up into the Abu Omar kidnapping and rendition to Egypt in 2003. Source: http://www.beppegrillo.it , May 2008.The list: www.beppegrillo.it/documenti/parlamento_pulito_2008.pdf

UK Government loses appeal against de-proscription of PMOI - how long before the EU backs down? The Court of Appeal has refused to overturn a ruling that it must end the "perverse" listing of an Iranian opposition group as a banned terrorist group, ruling that there were "no valid grounds" to contend that the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission made legal errors when it ordered the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) to be removed from the 'blacklist' (AP, 7.5.08). In December 2006, the EU Court of Justice ruled that the PMOI should be removed for from the EU terrorist list, partly on the grounds that the reasons for its inclusion were "unclear". But the EU has steadfastly refused to remove them from the list, a position that now appears wholly untenable. See: See Statewatch Observatory on "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing

EU-AUSTRIA: To introduce Schengen border controls on entry for European football championship: Full-text of EU doc no: 9068/08, pdf) See also: Expulsion from Belgium and Schengen bans for anti-war protesters - SIS used to curb dissent; Schengen framework used to curb free movement and Football fans taken off records

UK: Damning verdict on police complaints watchdog (press release) and Court judgment: full-text

USA: Congressional Research Service report: Data Mining and Homeland Security: An Overview

EU-ECJ: The Court's judgment today annuls the "safe third country" and "safe country of origin" provisions of the procedures directive - and also states that the co-decision procedure now fully applies to asylum law. The case was brought by the European Parliament: Case C-133/06 - full-text of judgment (pdf).

See for background: Statewatch's analysis and coverage:
EU divided over list of “safe countries of origin” – Statewatch calls for the list to be scrapped (pdf) and EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin" - the list should be scrapped - secret documents reveal a shallow process without any sense of morality or humanity

UK: Police seek to axe anti-arms trade movie (link to SchNews) and Watching You in Big Brother Britain (thanks to SchNews): Car of peace protesters "flagged" on Police National Computer led to them being stopped and questioned under the Terrorism Act.

UK: The UK has the most CCTV cameras in the world: CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police (Guardian, link)

EU: FOI IN THE EU: Revised and Updated: Statewatch analysis of the proposed changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents by Tony Bunyan with additional comments from Steve Peers, May 2008. Full background and documentation since 1993 is on the Statewatch Observatory: FOI in the EU

EU: FOI IN THE EU: Should there be a Freedom of Information Act for the EU? (European Citizens Action Service,pdf) Brussels criticised on access to documents law (euobserver, link) The European Commission proposes to improve public access to documents of the EU institutions (Commission press release, pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Mr Barroso says "the access to document rules are working well. These changes seek to improve the access to documents for European citizens". While Commissioner Wallstrom says "Access to documents is an essential tool for democracy and now we want to improve it".

The rules on access are not working well and these changes will takes us several steps backwards. For example, the Commission does not agree with the definition of a "document" in the Regulation, so it wants to change it. The Commission's public register of documents is a joke so now it wants to change the rules. There would be a longer list of exceptions to refuse access, including mandatory exceptions where applications do not even have to be considered. And would leave in place the rule which allows the institutions to deny access to documents on measures about to be adopted in Brussels - a practice that would never be tolerated at national level.

The Amsterdam Treaty was agreed 11 years ago (1997) and was meant to herald a new era of openness and transparency – we only got half of the loaf and have been waiting for the other half, now the Commission wants to takes away some of this.”

See: Statewatch analysis of the proposals
Full background and documentation since 1993 is on the Statewatch Observatory:
FOI in the EU and see also:

-
Viewpoint by Tony Bunyan: More openness or just a drop in the ocean? The need for Freedom of Information in the EU
-
The right to know or the right to try and find out? The need for an EU freedom of information law, by Ben Hayes
-
"Unaccountable Europe" by Tony Bunyan

ITALY-GENOA 2001: Rete del Sud Ribelle activists acquitted of "subversive association" charges

April 2008

EU: Report from Justice: Human rights and the future of the European Union (pdf)

UK: MI5 accused of colluding in torture of terrorist suspects - British agents alleged to have questioned men at Pakistani interrogation centre after they had been brutally mistreated and 'Endemic, widespread and systematic' use of torture and Fourth Briton accuses MI5 of collusion in torture of detainees (Guardian, links)

Belgian arms transfers to the Middle East - GRIP report (French, pdf) Traditionally, the Middle East is a privileged destination of world arms exports. This region is indeed very keen on new military equipment it can buy easily thanks to oil revenues. For decades, Belgium, almost exclusively through Walloon exports, managed to obtain a share of this market, particularly by building continuing trade relations with one of the states in the region, Saudi Arabia. Yet these Belgian transfers, like those of other states, raised many questions, especially concerning the unintended use that could be made of exported arms, such as internal repression or the risk of diversion by terrorist groups.

Exclusive: Commission proposals to amend Regulation on access to EU documents: Statewatch analysis:

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“The scope of the Commission’s amendments and its consultation do not consider many of the fundamental questions posed by civil society and the European Parliament.

Perhaps the most crucial is the public’s right to know what is being discussed before it is adopted in Brussels – a practice that would never be tolerated at national level.

Moreover, two of the Commission amendments are highly retrogressive. The new definition of a document would mean that if an official does not register it then it is not a “document” – a recipe for abuse. And the obligation of institutions to give public access to the full text of documents would be limited to legislative measures – and not cover the hundreds of thousands of other documents produced and received.

The Amsterdam Treaty was agreed 11 years ago (1997) and was meant to herald a new era of openness and transparency – we are still waiting for this to happen.”

Documentation: NB based on old version - see above for final version and EM:

- Adopted version: Explanatory Memorandum and Annotated text

- Penultimate version: Commission proposals - Consolidated text
- Penultimate version:
Commission Explanatory Memorandum
- Penultimate version:
Memorandum to the Commission
- Penultimate version:
Table comparing current text to proposed changes
- Full background and documentation since 1993 is on the Statewatch Observatory:
FOI in the EU

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: EDPS issues policy paper on his role in EU research and technological development (Opinion - full text, pdf) Press release (pdf)

UK: Face scans for air passengers to begin in UK this summer - Officials say automatic screening more accurate than checks by humans (Guardian, link) Report that the UK Border Agency is to introduce facial scans at airports to compare with "the image.. on the computer chip in their biometric passports" by using facial recognition technology at automated unmanned gates. A machine would accept or reject the match.

Finger-printing, iris and face scans, and DNA taken from people are biometrics giving the state a unique identifier for an individual. With varying degrees of accuracy - none is perfect - these biometrics can be used for verification ("one-to-one", the person from whom the biometric is taken matches that on the passport chip) or identification ("one-to-many", where the person's biometric is checked against the whole database and watch-lists).

The "facial image" held on the chip of recently issued EU passports simply contains a digitised copy of the normal passport picture, this is not a biometric. To try and match this "facial image" with a "facial scan" (plotting 1,840 unique features on a person's face) is quite reliable - but will make errors - for "one-one" checks but not at all reliable for "one-to-many".

As a report from the UK's National Audit Office (NAO) concluded: "current facial recognition technology is not reliable enough to enable the automated checking of applications against the full database of existing passport holders". It also found that the "chips" in ten-year passports only have a guaranteed lifetime of two years and "there are technical concerns that facial features can change a great deal over a decade... the software may fail to find matches where it should." Moreover, consultants for the NAO report concluded that facial recognition technology: "is not sufficiently reliable to enable fully automated searches even in relatively small databases, and performance is known to decline as database size increases."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The UK and other EU governments refer to the digitised passport photo as a biometric when it is not for ideological reasons - to get us used to the idea that they already have one of our "biometrics" so why should we not give them another - our fingerprints.

The process however is very different. In most cases the passport picture is simply submitted by post or at an office whereas the compulsory taking of fingerprints requires the physical presence of the person at an "enrolment centre" where they have to prove "they are who they are"."

UK-USA: Secret pact allows the US to spy on UK motorists (Inquirer, link)

EU: BIOMETRIC VISAS & FINGERPRINTING CHILDREN: Latest version of: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications (dated 22 April 2008, pdf). There are still substantive differences between the Council's position and that of the European Parliament - especially on the age for finger-printing children: Council, 6 years old and above, EP, 12 years old and above.

UK: Breaking news 24 April 2008 - High Court quashes Treasury asset-freezing regime For full details, background and reactions: click here

EU: BORDER MANAGEMENT & DATA PROTECTION: Spring Conference of European Data Protection Authorities, Rome 17-18 April 2008: Declaration on EU border management (pdf): Current Commission proposals indicate:

"a trend to full control and surveillance of persons entering or leaving the Schengen area, irrespective of their nationality."

"the underlying concept of distrusting travellers by isolating selected "good faith" travellers from all other travellers, even considering the latter as potential law breakers. This will involve screening before and at the gate, controlling the passing of borders and the automatic processing of specific data of travellers. This concept does little to translate into reality "the symbolic effect of showing the EU as open to the world"2, as mentioned in the communication of the Commission and it is even doubtful whether it fits in with the values of the European Union."

"Until now no evaluation took place on the effectiveness of the implementation of existing legal measures and no reliable evidence is presented to support the need for new systems nor has any evidence been brought as to the need to supplement the ongoing initiatives in the field."

See also: Spring Conference of the European Data Protection Authorities, Cyprus 10-11 May 2007: Declaration on the principle of availability (pdf)

UK: COUNTER-TERRORISM: The Government Response to the Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C.: Third Report of the Independent Reviewer Pursuant to Section 14(3) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (pdf) Third Report of the Independent Reviewer pursuant to Section 14(3) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, Lord Carlile (pdf)

UK: CONTROL ORDERS: The Government Reply to the 10th report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Ninth Report): Annual Renewal of Control Orders Legislation 2008 (pdf)

EU: Protests: Proposal to create EU-wide "troublemakers" database, full story

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"We can now see a pattern emerging across the EU where people who exercise their democratic right to attend cross border protests are confronted by aggressive para-military policing, surveillance, preventive detention and expulsion.

This is a reflection of the EU's definition of "security" at international events which is now defined as covering both "counter-terrorism" and "public order".

Back in 2003 the bilateral exchange of information on "suspected troublemakers" between EU states for international events was agreed. What is proposed now is not the one-off exchange of information related to a specific event but a permanent EU-wide database of suspected "troublemakers", this is utterly unacceptable in a democratic Europe."

See also:
Policing protests in Switzerland, Italy and Germany

1. Switzerland: Policing of the anti-WEF demonstration in Davos; 2. Italy: Demonstrators convicted for G8 clashes; 3. Switzerland: 200 arrests at peaceful street party; 4. Germany: 60 per cent of G8 investigations dropped

Brussels abandons plans to protect gays and lesbians (euobserver, link)

Britain's financial Guantanamo: This Thursday [24 April 2008], Mr Justice Collins of the High Court will deliver his judgment the case of 'G', 'K', 'A', 'M', and 'Q' v. H.M. Treasury. In the words of Rabinder Singh QC, "the facts of the case are reminiscent of an Austro-Hungarian novel". At issue are two 'Orders in Council' adopted under the 1946 United Nations Act. This Act allows the government to introduce domestic law to implement UN agreements - in this case a series of Security Council Resolutions dealing with the financial sponsors of terrorism - without consulting parliament. See full story.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) 18 April 2008, Luxembourg: Press release (18 April, pdf), A Point agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf), B Point agenda (pdf), Background Note (pdf) For full background and documentation on current Justice and Home Affairs issues see: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC)

USA-EU: THE US IS PLACING UNDER SURVEILLANCE E-MAILS, PHONE-CALLS and INTERNET USAGE and TRANSACTIONS OF EUROPEANS:: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Letter to the President of the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (pdf) The letter, from Barry Steinhardt, Director of ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, says that US agencies, through agreements with EU service providers which allow data and content to "pass through" the USA, is conducting extrajudicial surveillance of Europeans.

- "Internet transactions and email between Europeans is increasingly sent through servers in the U.S."

- "In many ways this situation is similar to the SWIFT case: transactions between two individuals in Europe may well transit through U.S. telecommunications companies and as a result will be made accessible to the U.S. government."

- "This activity involves no oversight or legal protections for non-U.S. persons. As a result, the communications of European citizens are completely vulnerable to abuse."

- "We believe that this situation clearly violates European legal requirements for the fair and lawful processing of personal information."

EU: Latest draft: Council Framework Decision amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 7785/3/08, REV 3, 14 April 2008, pdf):

"The objective of the proposal is to update the Framework Decision and align it with the Council of Europe Convention on Prevention of Terrorism, by including public provocation to commit terrorist offences, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism....

it lies at the interface between fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression. It is therefore essential that the right balance is struck in the instrument."

See Statewatch Observatory on "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing

UK: "You don't have the right to silence" (indymedia, link) "Yes, that's what officer 0801 from West Midlands Police told me today at Birmingham Airport when I said "No comment" to his surprising question: "Have you been involved in organising any protests in this country?" And since I was held for one and a half hours to be asked such silly questions, I thought I would waste another hour and a half writing about it."

and: Recruiting Spies at British Airports (indymedia, link)

For background see: Special report from Statewatch, September 2003: Special Branch more than doubles in size: Analysis of the Special Branch’s role in conducting surveillance for MI5 and on public order by Tony Bunyan

EU: Council of the European Union: Annual report on access to documents, 2007 (pdf). Worthy of note is the growth in the number of classified documents:

"350 (original language) sensitive documents were produced in the period concerned, 26 classified as "SECRET UE" and 324 as "CONFIDENTIEL UE". Of these, 3 "SECRET UE" document and 61 "CONFIDENTIEL UE" documents are mentioned in the register, in accordance with Article 9(2) and Article 11(2) of Regulation No 1049/2001."

Of the 350 classified documents produced during the year only 64 were listed on the Council's register of documents.

In addition, applications were examined for access to 802 documents classified as "RESTREINT UE" - 35,3 % concerned European Security and Defence Policy, 28% Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP and 25.5% Justice and Home Affairs.

The top issue for which documents where applied to the Council for access to was Justice and Home Affairs: 20,1 % in 2004 to 22,5 % in 2005 and 24,5 % in 2006, reaching 26,8 % in 2007.

UK: Free Our Information: Promoting alternative information, news and ideas: Journal Launch: Information, Society and Justice (pdf) Thursday 1st May 2008, Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm. Henry Thomas Room (TG-30), Tower Building, London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB. Speakers: Firoze Manji (The Pambazuka Experience), Duncan Bowie (Debating Radical Politics), Tony Bunyan (Watching the state, informing the people), Shiraz Durrani (Why Information, Society and Justice?), Prof. John Gabriel (Chair)

IT and telecommunications surveillance equipment (quintessenz, link)

"A collection of network monitoring and datamining suites made by Nokia Siemens, Ericsson, Verint and others. All systems are compliant to ETSI and CALEA "lawful interception" standards, the vendors themselves are involved in the standardization. While the official name of the game is still "lawful interception" these suites perform "high speed government surveillance". From Iran to China "intelligence platforms" and "monitoring centers" are used to track down the democratic opposition, dissidents, ethnic and religious minorities. The vendors are mostly European and US companies."

EU-JHA-ECRE: Memorandum to the JHA Council: Ending the asylum lottery – Guaranteeing refugee protection in Europe (pdf)

EUROPEAN OMBUDSMAN: Annual report: "Ombudsman: EU institutions must become more transparent": Press release (pdf) Executive Summary (pdf) Annual report - full text (link)

EU: European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) Seminar: Transparency and Data Protection: Cooperating or Conflicting Elements of Good Governance? (Programme, pdf) 15-16 May 2008, Maastricht (NL)

Was it like this for the Irish? Gareth Peirce on the position of Muslims in Britain (London Review of Books, link)

EU: Draft Framework Decision on the enforcement of decisions rendered in absentia and amending Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (EU doc no: 8074/08, pdf)

USA-FUSION CENTRES: EPIC obtains documents revealing Federal role in state fusion centre secrecy: "WASHINGTON, DC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has obtained a Memorandum of Understanding between the FBI and the Virginia State Police that details federally imposed limitations on the Virginia open government law. The memorandum, a January 2008 agreement signed by the FBI and the Department regarding Virginia's fusion intelligence center, references federal exemptions that would limit the ability of Virginia citizens to obtain public records from a state agency." Full-text of fusion centre MOU (3.37 MB, pdf) EPIC, “Information Fusion Centers and Privacy”

ECJ-TRANSPARENCY: Interesting new opinion on transparency issues re aviation security rules which were kept secret: Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston delivered on 10 April 2008, Case C-345/06 Gottfried Heinrich (Full-text, pdf) Aviation security Liberal's & Democrat's opposition to secret annexes vindicated by EU advocate general (ALDE, press release, pdf)

EU: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on proposed changes to privacy in electronic communications directive (pdf)

GREECE: Report by Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM): Report on the violation of asylum seekers’ Human Rights by Greece (Report, pdf) and Press release (pdf)

"The situation for asylum seekers in Greece is alarming. Thousands of asylum seekers live under unworthy conditions, and without any forms of legal protection. The chance of receiving protection in Greece is close to zero. Transferring asylum seekers to the country is therefore irresponsible."

UK: Appeal court blocks deportation of terror suspects (Guardian, link) See: Court of Appeal Othman judgment (Full-text, pdf)

EU: Dick Marty, Chairman of the PACE Sub-Committee on Crime Problems and Fight against Terrorism cautions European Union against endangering cohesion and effectiveness of anti-terrorist action (pdf) Mr Marty questions the Commission's proposal on incorporating the Council of Europe's Covention on terrorism which would:

"establish the criminal offences of public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism. However, it omits to include the convention's Article 12 safeguard clause in the operative text of the framework decision. Mentioning fundamental human rights only in the preamble or in a recital is not enough. The message, outside as well as inside Europe, must be clear: anti-terrorist measures must be conditional on respect for fundamental human rights." (emphasis in original)

and see: “White man’s burden”: criminalising free speech by Ben Hayes (pdf)

"While the recurring publication of the ‘Danish cartoons’ of the Prophet Mohammed continues to provoke anger in the Muslim world and a defence of ‘free speech’ in the West, a proposed EU law on “public provocation” to terrorism could criminalise widely held political views – but it has barely raised a murmur."

GERMANY-USA: United States and Germany Agree to Share Fingerprint Databases and Information on Known and Suspected Terrorists (pdf)

EU: Article 29 Working Party Opinion on: Opinion on data protection issues related to search engines (pdf) Search engine activities threat to privacy, says EU report (euobserver, link)

EU-EUROPOL-TERRORISM : EU terrorism situation and trend report 2008 (pdf)

EU: VISAS, PASSPORTS & FINGERPRINTING CHILDREN: The latest Council (EU governments) text on visas and biometrics comparing their current position with that of the original Commission proposal and that of the European Parliament: EU doc no: 6962/08, pdf) It should be noted that there are many differences between this draft and the views of the European Parliament.

On the controversial issue of finger-printing children for EU passports and travel documents the Council position is that: "the majority view is 6 years with the possibility of going lower on the basis of national law" (EU doc no 75679/08, pdf) Thus any government would be able to adopt a lower age, even at birth.

European NGOs ask Court to annual data retention Directive: Submission concerning the action brought Ireland v Council of the European Union Case C 301/06 (pdf) 43 civil liberties NGOs and professional associations based in 11 European countries today submitted a brief to the European Court of Justice, asking it to annul an EU directive ordering the blanket registration of telecommunications and location data of 494 million Europeans.

USA: American Civil Liberties Union: What's wrong with fusion centres? (pdf)

A new institution is emerging in American life: Fusion Centers. These state, local and regional institutions were originally created to improve the sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence among different state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Though they developed independently and remain quite different from one another, for many the scope of their mission has quickly expanded - with the support and encouragement of the federal government - to cover “all crimes and all hazards.” The types of information they seek for analysis has also broadened over time to include not just criminal intelligence, but public and private sector data, and participation in these centers has grown to include not just law enforcement, but other government entities, the military and even select members of the private sector.

EU-LISBON TREATY: Report from the House of Lords European Union Committee: The Treaty of Lisbon: an impact assessment - Vol 1 (5.4 MB, pdf) and Evidence Vol 2 (4.3 MB, pdf)

Portugal: Head of observatory on prisons charged with "offending" prison guard service

Antonio Pedro Dores, sociologist and professor at Lisbon university and director of the association ACED (Associação Contra a Exclusão pelo Desenvolvimento), which was established in 1999 and runs an observatory on prisons, faces charges of "offending a collective person, body or service" levelled at him by the SNCGP (Sindicato Nacional do Corpo da Guarda Prisional, national trade union of the body of prison guards).

Spain/UK: Extradited suspect complains of treatment in Spain

Moroccan national Farid Hilali extradited from the UK to Spain on 8 February 2008 to face charges of terrorist activity, has complained about his treatment, detention in solitary confinement and the confiscation of legal papers he needs to prepare a defence of his case.

EU: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law: Views on the Commission report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX agency (pdf)

UK: Positive Action For Refugees & Asylum Seekers: Dawn raids PAFRAS Briefing Paper No 4 (pdf) and Mental health, destitution and asylum PAFRAS Briefing Paper No 5 (pdf)

EU-ECJ: Court of First Instance strikes another blow to EU "terrorist list" - legality of "reformed" procedures remains in doubt. The EU Court of First Instance has overturned decisions by the Council of the EU to include the Kurdish organisations PKK and Kongra Gel on the EU "terrorist list" (04.04.2008). In Case T-253/04 bought on behalf of Kongra Gel and 10 other individuals, the EU court ruled that the organisation was not in a position "to understand, clearly and unequivocally, the reasoning" that led the member states' governments to include them. It reached the same conclusion in Case T-229/02, bought by Osman Ocalan on behalf of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

These judgments were widely excepted following the rulings in favour of Jose Maria Sison and Stichting al-Asqa (both based in Netherlands) in July 2007, and the precedent set in the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) ruling in December 2006. In this case the Court found that the EU's proscription regime had denied the PMOI the right to a fair hearing in which it could challenge its designation as "terrorist list" in accordance with its fundamental right to a fair trial (see: Analysis of PMOI judgment). This paved the way for other proscribed groups and individuals to challenge their inclusion in the list.

In response to the PMOI ruling, the EU "reformed" its procedures for listing and de-listing. Whereas prior to the PMOI judgment no mechanism existed for those proscribed to either receive an explanation for their inclusion or to challenge that explanation, the EU now provides affected parties with a "statement of reasons". In turn, they those parties may then write back to the secret EU group responsible for the decision to contest the statement and request de-listing. The EU has maintained in the "terrorist list" those groups and individuals who have already successfully challenged their proscription at the EU Courts on the grounds that its "reforms" remedy the fair trial breaches that the Court has identified. This issue will not be resolved until the PMOI's new challenge to the EU's decision to maintain them in the list (Case T-157/07) returns to the Court, which may take several years. In the meantime, the challenges by other proscribed organisations are mounting up - as are the compensation claims.

Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:

"There isn't a lawyer in Europe who believes that the EU 'reform' of its proscription regime amounts to the fair hearing that EU law demands. On the contrary, the regime remains a recipe for arbitrary, unaccountable and politically-motivated decision making. By ignoring the increasingly clear message from the EU Courts, the member states are doing themselves a great disservice.

Instead of digging its heels in, the EU should introduce a meaningful appeals procedure for affected parties. To wait years for the EU court system or the Strasbourg Court to deliver a judgment that everyone can see coming would be an affront to the EU's stated commitment to human rights."

For full background see Statewatch's Observatory: "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset freezing

EU: Commission stands firm on biometric passports: "The European Commission is pressing ahead with proposals to require the fingerprinting of children as young as six, despite high-level concerns about the efficacy and ethics of the practice" (European Voice, link)

ECJ: An interesting opinion by the Advocate General critical of the German foreigners' database as regards EU citizens: Case C 524/06 Heinz Huber v Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Full-text, pdf)

EU-DUBLIN AGREEMENT: European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) Letter to EU Presidency (pdf) The letter says that "the unacceptable conditions for asylum claimants in Greece, the obstacles to accessing a fair determination procedure and the risk of other serious human rights violations" as its reasons. "Greece is not a safe place for those in need of protection," Bjarte Vandvik, the head of the ECRE, said.

EU: European Parliament Briefing Paper: Human rights concerns relevant to legislating on provocation or incitement to terrorism and related offences (pdf)

ROMANIA-NATO: Police actions against anti-NATO protests in Bucharest On 2 April, hundreds of police raided the convergence centre of the anti-NATO gathering in Bucharest and arrested an estimated 46 people. All the arrests were made inside the convergence centre, no demonstration was taking place at the time. Many police reportedly wore ski masks and were hostile to journalists trying to access the scene. Romanian media did not report any violence during arrests, Indymedia however reports severe beatings by police. The repression against political activists was already stepped up a few days ago, with police arresting and detaining people arbitrarily. Once detained, the police appear to construct "offences", such as interpreting the carrying of a pocket-knife as arms possessions. People coming to or leaving the convergence centre, set up for demonstrators from Romania and other parts of the world, were also arbitrarily detained. The detained are interrogated, photographed and fingerprinted in police stations, and held for up to 24 hours. At the Romanian border several groups of activists have been denied entry into the country.

Protests are directed in particular against NATO's ongoing expansion to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas formerly not within NATO's mandate. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft, thereby violating a UN-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it led an 11-week bombing campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A formal declaration of war never took place. After 11 September 2001, NATO confirmed that the terrorist attacks were an attack against the entire group of members. On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which was the first time in NATO's history to take charge of a mission outside of the north Atlantic area.

Sources:

Indymedia report in English: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/02/18490151.php
Indymedia report in German:
http://de.indymedia.org/2008/04/212209.shtml
English summary:
http://gipfelsoli.org/Home/Bukarest_2008/4906.html
Indymedia Romania
Background information on the protests against the NATO summit in Bucharest and protests against it:
http://www.wombles.org.uk/article2007111364.php

UK: Immigration, faith and cohesion: Evidence from local areas with significant Muslim populations by Hiranthi Jayaweera and Tufyal Choudhury (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, pdf)

UK: COUNTER-TERRORISM BILL: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Press Release (pdf) Briefing (pdf) and Justice: Counter Terrorism Bill Briefing for House of Commons Second Reading (pdf)

March 2008

EU: European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Sharing Responsibility for Refugee Protection in Europe: Dublin Reconsidered (pdf) Press release (pdf)

EU: Europol Annual Report for 2007 (pdf)

EU-RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch Supplementary Analysis: The EU's Returns Directive by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex who concludes:

"The EP and the Council have to decide whether their endlessly-repeated support for the principles of fairness, human rights and human dignity is a genuine commitment, or simply empty rhetoric."

EU: Europol Work Programme for 2008 (pdf)

Netherlands: Two deaths in immigration detention in 2 months

UK-USA: Nuclear terror checks stepped up (BBC, link) "Channel Tunnel traffic is to be screened for nuclear material. Vehicles passing through major ports and the Channel Tunnel are to be screened for radioactive material in a bid to combat "nuclear terrorism"" and Watch out, you're being watched (The Seattle Times, link) Nuclear checks find a cat with cancer that had undergone a radiological treatment.

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion on security features and biometrics on passports and travel documents (pdf) and Press release (pdf)

EU: ALTER-EU: A study on the composition and transparency of European Commission Expert Groups: Secrecy and corporate dominance (pdf)

UK: Government reply to report from the Joint Human Rights Committee: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Eighth Report): Counter-Terrorism Bill (pdf)

UK: BAA grounds Heathrow T5 fingerprinting system - Data protection forces 11th hour climbdown (The Register, link); ICO queries Heathrow T5's huge fingerprint scam scan - National security now wholly funded by shopping (The Register, link) and Privacy International complaint poised to shut down Heathrow passenger fingerprinting (link)

New issue of Surveillance and Society: Surveillance and Inequality (link)

Update: EU-EUROPOL: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the European Police Office (EUROPOL) - consolidated text (pdf)

EU: Standing Committee of Experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law submissions: Draft Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings (pdf) and Framework Decision on the European supervision order in pre-trial procedures (pdf)

SCOTLAND: Town halls resort to spy tactics (Scotland on Sunday, link)

Italy: Abu Omar trial to go ahead as government is accused of "disloyalty"

USA: EPIC Report on: Bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

Statewatch earlier report from 2007: 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.

UK: National Security Strategy (64 pages, pdf)

USA: Stunning New Report on Domestic NSA Dragnet Spying Confirms ACLU Surveillance Warnings (ACLU, link) ACLU FOI request (pdf)

"The American Civil Liberties Union responded today to a stunning new report that the NSA has effectively revived the Orwellian "Total Information Awareness" domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003."

“States should not impose penalties on arriving asylum-seekers” by Thomas Hammarberg (CoE, full-text, link):

"A minimum of solidarity with those oppressed is to receive them when they are forced to flee. The “right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” is indeed a key provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, this right is not fully observed in parts of Europe today. Instead, refugees are met with suspicion and too often even placed in detention."

Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Sur 2007 (Human Rights at the Southern Border 2007), Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía

EU: FINGER-PRINTING CHILDREN: The high-level SCIFA/Mixed Committee, meeting on 12 February 2008 discussed the age at which children should be fingerprinted for visas, residence permits and EU passports and travel documents in: EU doc no: 6138/08 At a subsequent meeting of the Visa Working Party, on 18-19 February 2008 (EU doc no: 6952/08) it was reported in SCIFA that for the:

- age limit: the vast majority of delegations agreed on the age of six and even a lower age where the national legislation allows for it. Two delegations maintained the limit of twelve years."

The two governments referred to - Germany and Austria - support the 12 years old and above proposal from the European Parliament.

The "majority" support finger-printing children six years old and over while allowing any government to have a lower age "where national legislation allows for it".

EU: Solana speech on climate change and international security (pdf)

EU: Commission proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the use of the Visa Information System (VIS) under the Schengen Borders Code (pdf)

UK: Challenges and opportunities in identity assurance (pdf) Report commissioned by the government to look at: "how the public and private sectors might work together in identity (ID) management for their mutual benefit and that of citizens and consumers." Argues for a state-multinational alliance to bring about a universal ID card system. Amongst its main conclusions is that:

"an ID system will only help fulfil national security goals if it achieves mass take up and usage.If citizens don’t use a system regularly, it will be capable of providing very limited data for national security agencies." and "Provided the universal ID assurance system infrastructure embraces public services, banking, transportation and e-commerce, it will produce an unrivalled amount of data for national security agencies."

The report is full of assertions and assumption and little evidence, for example:

"Provided that a universal ID assurance system infrastructure embraces public services, banking, transportation and e-commerce, it will enhance security by making it more difficult for anyone to operate outside the system. It will ensure that suspect individuals leave trails of transactions that are ultimately traceable back to unique identity records, albeit only for the purposes of national security."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, observes:

"We would be utterly naive to believe that mass ID surveillance, "making it difficult for anyone outside the system" and "suspect individuals" would be limited to "national security" purposes - which anyway now extends its tentacles into the everyday life of communities".

See also: National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan 2008 (pdf) Issued by the Home Secretary to try and head-off growing opposition to ID cards. It fails to mention that everyone wanting a new passport from 2009 is going to be compulsorily finger-printed.

UK: Border & Immigration Agency: Introducing compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals (pdf)

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Data Protection and Human Rights (pdf)

"In the Committee’s view, recent lapses in data protection are not unfortunate “one-off” events but are symptomatic of the Government’s failure to take safeguards sufficiently seriously."

UK: Put young children on DNA list, urge police (Observer, link) and MI5 seeks powers to trawl records in new terror hunt (Observer, link)

UK: DATA PROTECTION & 25 MILLION LOST FILES: House of Commons Justice Committee: Government response to report on loss of records (pdf) Justice Committee report (pdf)

GREECE: Pro Asyl report: "The truth may be bitter, but it must be told" (pdf) The Situation of Refugees in the Aegean and the Practices of the Greek Coast Guard.

EU: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: Working Document 1/2008 on the protection of children's personal data (General guidelines and the special case of schools) (pdf)

UK: Third Report of the Independent Reviewer pursuant to Section 14(3) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, Lord Carlile (pdf)

USA-CZECH REPUBLIC MOU: Visa Waiver Scheme: Full text of the US-Czech Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2008 (pdf) The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has held bilateral talks in addition with: Estonia, Germany, Greece, and the UK. The MOU would introduce exchange of personal data on passengers gathered by Czech law enforcement and passed to the USA and the USA would check and inspect the systems in place to gather the data.

The Council of the European Union is seeking to negotiate from a common position on US demands for the implementation of the visa waiver scheme - the USA has been negotiating bilaterally with individual member states. A statement issued on 5 March: US Visa Waiver Program Legislation (Press release, pdf) and EU doc no: 7337/2008, pdf) - unusually from the Mixed Committee at Permanent Representative level (ie: including Schengen members such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).

This sets out negotiating positions in reaction to the MOU circulated by the USA. These include:

- On PNR (passenger name record) the EU says that the EU-US PNR agreement "should suffice and no additional requirements should be added"
- extraordinarily: "No commitment as to access for the US to EU/EC databases or information system". The Czech MOU envisages law enforcement personal data on passengers being passed over to the USA and the US checking the systems through which checks are made
- data on lost and stolen passports should be, as agreed, via Interpol
- international law sets out the obligations to take back expelled citizens and any agreement should be on the basis of reciprocity negotiated at EU level
- the sharing of PNR data obtained from third countries should be consistent with the EU-US PNR agreement

EU-USA: NEGOTIATING AWAY EU DATA PROTECTION: The EU and USA are negotiating in a secret committee - High Level Contact Group - to come up with a proposal covering data protection in all future exchanges of personal data to the USA. To this end they are discussing: Data Protection principles for which common language has been developed (EU document, pdf).

Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US DHS said, in November 2007, on the EU requirement that data can only be passed to third states whose laws passed the "adequacy" test guaranteeing equivalent rights:

"The EU should reconsider its decision to apply notions of adequacy to the critical area of law enforcement and public safety. Otherwise the EU runs the very real risk of turning itself into a self-imposed island, isolated from the very allies it needs" (Privacy and Security Law)

He is also opposed to the EU's draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and criminal matters (covering the exchange of personal data within the EU), on this:

"The draft seeks to apply the same tired, failed standards of adequacy that it has applied in its commercial laws." [EC Directive 95/46/EC)

The 1974 US Privacy Law gives no protection to non-US citizens, from the EU or elsewhere.

UK: IRAQ CABINET MINUTES: Decision of the Information Commissioner on release of minutes and records relating to meetings it held from 7 to 17 March 2003 where the Attorney General’s legal advice concerning military action against Iraq was considered and discussed (pdf)

UK-ID CARDS: Government "re-think" makes little difference to ID for all: Plan for ID cards announced (Home Office release, pdf) Home Secretary's speech (pdf) Although the words "enjoy", "benefit" and "voluntary" figure from 2011 everyone getting a new passport will "automatically be registered for ID cards when they apply for new biometric passports containing fingerprints", a person can then "choose" whether to have just a passport or a passport and an ID card. But wait a minute, if you choose to have just a passport which is then demanded by business and state to establish your identity its the same as having an ID card. First the government intends to target foreign nationals, workers in "high risk" jobs and students. As Liberty asks: Is Government’s ID card roll out first step toward compulsion? See too: No2ID website

UK: Liberty report: Overlooked: Surveillance and personal privacy in modern Britain (pdf)

Council of Europe: Access to Information Convention: Seven Key Problems Remain in the Draft European Convention on Access to Official Documents (pdf)

Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis: We cannot win the fight against terrorists with secret prisons and torture (press release, pdf)

EU: COMITOLOGY: European Parliament draft Recommendations on implementing measures (pdf) An important issue on a seemingly obscure area of EU decision-making.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"EU decision-making does not finish with the formal adoption of a legislative measure, the detailed implementation is decided in secretive comitology committees of member state representatives and the Commission - for example, the discussion over the age at which children should be fingerprinted for passports and travel documents.

The European Parliament is right to insist that all documents should be made public as soon as they are put on the table and that they should be accessible on a public register. Otherwise there will be no public access until after measures have been adopted which is quite unacceptable in a democracy"

EU-USA: Status of ratification of EU-US Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and mutual legal assistance and of bilateral instruments (21 February 2008, pdf)

UK: 11 MILLION - CHILDRENS' COMMISSIONER REPORT: Claiming asylum at a Screening Unit as an unaccompanied child (pdf):

"The oppressive nature of large parts of the asylum screening process makes it difficult for children to give a full and accurate account of themselves. This may have implications for the decision made on their asylum claim."

EU-BORDERS: EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISOR: Border Management (press release, pdf) EDPS issues first comments on EU border management package (7 pages, pdf) Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says:

"It is crucial that the impact on the privacy rights of individuals crossing the EU borders is adequately taken into account. A lack of data protection safeguards would not only mean that the individuals concerned might suffer unduly from the proposed measures, but also that the measures will be less effective, or even counter productive, by diminishing public trust in government action."

The EDPS comments cover:

- piling up of legislative proposals in the area...making it difficult for stakeholders to have a comprehensive overview;
- heavy reliance on biometric data;
- lack of evidence supporting the need for new data systems;
- lack of evaluation of existing systems.

EU: EUROJUST Annual Report 2007 (pdf)

EU: The European Network of Ombudsmen Statement (pdf)

"The European Network of Ombudsmen has prepared this statement to make the European Union (EU) dimension of the work of ombudsmen better known and to clarify the service they provide to people who complain about matters within the scope of EU law."

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT-CIA: Follow up to the investigations of CIA illegal activities in Europe (pdf)

February 2008

EU-JHA COUNCIL: Brussels: Press release, 28 February 2008 (pdf) Advance press release (pdf) Background Note (pdf)

Basque Country, Andalusia and Galicia: Justice: Article that highlights contradictions between the treatment the justice and political systems reserve to officers when suspected or found guilty of torture or ill-treatment, and that reserved to citizens. It draws on cases including allegations of torture in the Basque Country, a pardon granted to officers from Vigo found guilty of abducting and torturing a Senegalese man (Mamadou Kane), the death of a farmer after a lengthy beating by officers in a Guardia Civil station in Almeria and the situation of three protestors from O Eixo arrested during a demonstration. These are some of the themes dealt with by "En Movemento" the new monthly Galician civil rights newspaper produced by the Movemento polos dereitos civi´s, which is available at: http://www.drop.io/enmovemento/media#

European Court of Human Rights: 28 February 2008: Grand Chamber Judgment: Saadi v Italy (Press release, link) "The European Court of Human Rights has today delivered at a public hearing its Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Saadi v. Italy (application no. 37201/06). The Court held unanimously that if the decision to deport the applicant to Tunisia were to be enforced, there would be a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment)." European Court of Human Rights upholds absolute prohibition against torture (Liberty, link)

EU: RIFID and privacy: The European Commission is consulting on the use of RFID chips, privacy and security: Consultation (link) Background: Commission propsal, COM 96, 2007 (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf) Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on personal data (WP 136, pdf) Thanks to EDRI see: EC Draft Recommendation on RFID Privacy and Security published

UK: Counter-Terrorism Bill: Campaign Against Crominalising Communities (CAMPACC): Briefing (pdf) Counter Terrorism Bill (90 pages, pdf) Explanatory memorandum (pdf)

UK: Public meeting, London: Creating a Climate of Fear: Counter-Terrorism and Punishment Without Trial (pdf) Friday 14 March 2008, 6.30pm-9.00pm. London Muslim Centre, 46 Whitechapel Road, (Tube: Aldgate or Aldgate East). Organised by CAMPACC, with Centre for the Study of Terrorism - Co-sponsored by the London Muslim Centre, Islamic Forum of Europe, Cage Prisoners and the Newham Monitoring Project. Chaired by Hugo Charlton, Barrister, CAMPACC: Speakers: Gareth Peirce Human rights lawyer; Saghir Hussein Cage Prisoners; Azad Ali Muslim Safety Forum; Ben Hayes Statewatch, Mahan Abedin Editor of Islamism Digest, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman Islamic Forum of Europe, Les Levidow CAMPACC, Victoria Britain Journalist, Asad Rehman Newham Monitoring Project

UK: Report on bugging conversations of MP and constituent in prison: Report on two visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill: Report of investigation by the Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner (pdf) Bugging of MP on prison visit did not break the rules, inquiry finds (Guardian, link). Apparently the bugging of the conversations of an MP and a constituent - a "terrorist" suspect - in prison did not contravene the "Wilson doctrine" that MPs should not be placed under electronic surveillance as it was "lawful". This is despite the fact that a number of officers knew Khan was an MP. The report is silent on the broader question that if privileged conservation between an MP and a constituent can be surveilled is that between a lawyers and their client in prison also "lawful"?

EU-SIS: Schengen Information System Article 99 report

- Massive discrepancy among member states use of SIS for surveillance
- France and Italy responsible for 83 % of all Article 99 alerts
- Schengen data protection authority demands more checks and balances

Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:

"The massive discrepancies in the current use of the SIS by certain member states are unacceptable. There is clear need to restrict the scope for entering alerts and improve significantly the arrangements for supervision and control.

Instead of 'harmonising' the use of SIS II and encouraging more surveillance, the EU should impose much stricter limits to ensure it is only used when justified as absolutely necessary. This demands far more robust mechanisms for accountability and control than we have at present".

Search Statewatch database for SIS

UK-LISBON TREATY: Government response (corrected) to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report (pdf) Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the Lisbon Treaty (full-text, pdf) It said: "We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the Government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied."

USA-UK: Homeland Security's Chertoff, Britain's Interior Minister Discuss Travel Security Issues (US Mission in the EU, link) Mr Chertoff was asked about reported US demands that it will require passenger details for all flights from the EU over-flying the USA. His response is interesting in the context of the difficulties faced by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe requesting information from EU governments on over-flying CIA flights:

"Under the Chicago Convention, which I think goes back almost 50 years, anybody who wants to come into the airspace of a country has to submit to the rules and regulations of the country whose airspace they're entering, whether it’s to land or to overfly. We generally require, and will require, under a program called Secure Flight: name, passport number, and maybe one or two other items of information from the manifest of anybody who is going to overfly the United States – and that’s pursuant to this international arrangement.

EU: CONSTITUTION-REFORM-LISBON TREATY: Cementing the European state - new emphasis on internal security and operational cooperation at the EU level by Tony Bunyan and EU Reform Treaty: The rhetoric of transparency and public debate in the EU by Deirdre Curtin

EU: Second Report from the Commission: Implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the European Communities’ financial interests and its protocols (COM 77, 2008 pdf) makes some interesting threats regarding possible suits against Member States before the European Court of Justice and Annex to Report (SEC 188, 2008,pdf)

EU: Overview of replies to questionnaire on undercover officers - texts of national legislation (pdf) Useful summary of the national laws on the use of undercover officers. Survey ((EU doc no: 5001-Rev 1-08, pdf) and Replies to questionnaire on undercover officers - Discussion paper (pdf)

Italy: Milan city council found guilty of discriminating migrant children

UK-RENDITION FLIGHTS: Reprieve report: Enforced disappearance, illegal interstate transfer and other human rights abuses involving the UK Overseas Territories (pdf) UK apology over rendition flights (BBC, link) "David Miliband has admitted two US "extraordinary rendition" flights landed on UK territory in 2002. In a statement to MPs the foreign secretary said in both cases, US planes stopped on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia to refuel."

EU: European Commission borders package:

- Preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union (COM 69 2008, pdf)
-
Preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union - Impact Assessment (SEC 153 on COM 69 2008, pdf)
-
Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (COM 68 2008, pdf)
-
Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) - Impact Assessment- (SEC 151 on COM 68 2008, pdf)
-
Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (COM 67 2008, pdf)
-
Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency - Impact Assessment (SEC 148 on COM 67 2008, pdf)
-
Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (SEC 150 on COM 67 2008, pdf)

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Counter–Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Ninth Report): Annual Renewal of Control Orders Legislation 2008 (pdf) In a press release the Committee said:

"The Committee has discovered that seven of the current 15 individuals subject to control orders have been in this position for more than two years and two individuals have been on control orders for almost three years, since the powers were introduced. It is likely that these two individuals were also detained in Belmarsh under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 before that, a total of six years detention without trial.

The Committee is in favour of a maximum limit on the duration of a control order and will be proposing an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Bill to enable this issue to be debated in Parliament."

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: MEPs reject report on factors favouring the support for terrorism and recruitment of terrorists (Press release, pdf)

"MEPs rejected a report on factors favouring the support for terrorism and recruitment of terrorists. A lack of consensus among the main political groups regarding the best instruments to fight radicalisation led to MEPs rejecting the report as a whole with 241 votes in favour 332 against and 87 abstentions."

EU: AMENDING THE FRAMEWORK DECISION ON TERRORISM: Council Framework Decision amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 6561/08 , pdf) The purpose is to:

"update the Framework Decision and align it with the Council of Europe Convention on prevention of terrorism, by including public provocation to commit terrorist offences, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism"

EU: TERRORISM GUIDELINES: Guidelines for a Common Approach to the fight against terrorism (EU doc no: 9864/03 EXT 1, Partially Accessible, pdf) Includes a series of definitions and tries to explain why "state terrorism" is not covered.

EU: FRONTEX: Conclusions from the Expert Meeting on the Follow-up of the Joint Frontex Europol Report on the High Risk Routes of Illegal Migration in the Western Balkan Countries within the Frontex Risk Analysis Network (EU doc no: 5685/08, pdf)

UK-IRAQ INVASION: Dodgy wmd memo - John Williams draft released by the Foreign Office (2.2MB, pdf) Feature by John Williams: Dodgy judgments (Guardian, link) Iraq weapons dossier draft reveals role of "spin doctor" by Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch Analysis: The Proposed EU Returns Directive by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex (pdf)

"The Council’s version of the Directive sets standards so low that it would be difficult for Member States go any lower – most obviously with the indefinite period of detention (along with the weak rules on judicial control of detention), but also as regards exclusions from the scope of the Directive, the deletion of the general human rights safeguard, the limited grounds for mandatory postponement of removals, the mandatory re-entry ban following a return decision, the lower standards for remedies, the accelerated procedures without a right to any remedy at all in the Directive, and the nearly non-existent safeguards pending removal."

Germany: Amendment Act marks continued hostility towards foreigners and second generation immigrants (pdf)

"Decades of restrictive handling of asylum and migration rules have, in Germany as in the rest of the EU, led to a large number of asylum seekers and migrants living permanently without a secure legal status. Forced into illegality, undocumented migrants are economically marginalised and often excluded from basic social services that help to meet a decent standard of living with regard to housing, food, clothing, health care, legal advice, education and training. As a result of this structural violation of migrants' basic rights in Europe, the sans papiers, asylum and migrant rights groups in Germany and other EU countries are demanding the regularisation of undocumented migrants and rejected asylum seekers living in the EU without a secure residency status."

UK: Control Order figures from Home Office, February 2008

EU: FINGER-PRINTING CHILDREN FOR VISAS, EU PASSPORTS AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: The Council of the European Union (the 27 governments) and the European Parliament are currently in co-decision negotiations over the content on which includes the issue at what age should children be finger-printed for the issuing of visas. The Council is proposing children of 6 years of age and above while the European Parliament wants it to be 12 years of age and above: EU doc no: 6067/1/08 REV 1 (the document contains a useful chart comparing the positions of the Council, Commission and European Parliament, pdf).

In a different, but complementary Council fora, the SCIFA/Mixed Committee is discussing the same issue not just for visas but also for all EU passports and travel documents (ie: resident third country nationals, Schengen ID cards): EU doc no: 6138/08 In this high-level Working Party the Council Presidency notes that while there is a "majority" of governments in favour of 6 years and above three governments - Czech Republic, France and Portugal - think it would be "possible" to take:

"fingerprints even for children below the age of 6 years"

While two governments - Germany and Austria - support the 12 years old and above proposal from the parliament.

The Council Presidency is proposing that it should be decided whether each government should be able to decide its own limits - some would be 12 years, some 6 years and some at birth?

"It needs also to be decided if member States should be allowed to collect fingerprints of children under the age of 6 on the basis of the national
legislation."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It is to be hoped that the European Parliament will not budge on this issue. EU governments have been discussing this issue as a technological one, at what age is it possible to take reliable fingerprints from children, when it is a moral and political question.

This comes in parallel with the Commission's idea that peoples' visas, passports and travel documents, including those of children, will be processed in an enclosed box by machines. What kind of Europe are we heading for?"

France: Suspension of Internet access envisaged to tackle Internet piracy

EU: Schengen police cooperation handbook (119 pages, pdf)

Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ): The War on terrorism: Lessons from Northern Ireland (pdf)

ECtHR vs. POLAND: Unprecedented inquiry about temporary arrests

EU: Brussels attacks new US security demands (euobserver, link) "The text is unacceptable. It's just way beyond anything that can be done," Jonathan Faull, the head of the commission's home affairs department, said on Wednesday (13 February), referring to a US-proposed memorandum of understanding distributed to EU capitals."

EU: Integrated European Border Management Strategy: "None of the policy options contribute markedly to reducing terrorism or serious crime" Perhaps the most revealing document in the EU's Justice and Home Affairs package on exit-entry and border management is:
Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document to the Communication New tools for an integrated European Border Management Strategy: Impact Assessment, Draft v (17/1/2008) (pdf)

- On the role of EU databases like the Schengen Information System (SIS) and terrorism: As the "perpetrators" have mainly been EU citizens or living in the EU with official permits: "None of the policy options contribute markedly to reducing terrorism or serious crime...In view of the latest terrorist acts in the area of the EU, it can be noted that the perpetrators have mainly been EU citizens or foreigners residing and living in the Member States with official permits.

Usually there has been no information about these people or about their terrorist connections in the registers, for example in the SIS or national databases. The entry/exit system does not register entries or exits of the EU citizens or their relatives. Therefore, the entry/exit system will not be able to have an impact on this specific target group."

- USA entry-exit procedures: "A total of 1,500 people were rejected at the border (but it is not clear how many of them could be classified as serious criminals or terrorist).Information on how many terrorists were rejected at the border is not available."

- a number of Case Studies are cited but these include those using irises as the biometric identifier - which are not going to be used in any EU-wide system and none of the examples involved large-scale numbers of passengers being handled.

Finally, the proposed "Automated Border Control" processing is described in detail - which is labour-saving as no people are involved:

"Automated Border Control processes normally consist of the following: Fingerprint matching would be used in conjunction with an automated gate and kiosk.The traveller enters the automated gate area, possibly by presenting their passport in order to open a door that closes behind them once they have entered ( to ensure only one passenger uses the gate at a time).

The kiosk prompts the traveller to present the e-passport for scanning (visual and electronic) and is prompted to present one or two fingerprints for scanning. The fingerprint image is captured and the system converts both the captured image and the image stored on the e-passport into templates and attempts to match them, according to predetermined thresholds. If a good match is achieved, a second gate opens and the traveller is allowed to cross the border. If there is not a good enough match, or any other problem occurs, the gate does not open and the traveller is directed for processing by a border guard." (p65)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The idea that visitors and possibly EU citizens - including children aged six and above - should enter an enclosed box and be told what to do by machines and for computers to decide whether to let us out or not is a quite appalling proposal.

We are told it will save money because no officials need to be involved and that the EU should embrace all the benefits of modern technological developments. If this is the price of "progress" it is a bridge too far"

EU: JHA PACKAGE: Press Releases: 13 February 2008:

-
A comprehensive vision for an integrated European border management system for the 21st Century
-
Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)
-
The FRONTEX Agency: evaluation and future development

EU: JHA PACKAGE announced on 13 February 2008: Early drafts and Inter service consultations:

- Commission Inter-service Consolation document on the future of FRONTEX, 11 December 2007 (pdf)
-
Commission exit-entry system draft and Inter-Service Consultation document, 12 December 2007 (pdf)
-
Commission Inter-Service Consultation on European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), 11 December 2007 (pdf)

See below.

EU: European Commission proposes "entry-exit" system (Communication, pdf) The Commission is proposing that the entry and exit of all visa-holders will be recorded automatically - these visa-holders have to give their finger-prints and be vetted before getting a visa in their country of origin. However, non-visa entrants (eg: from the EU's "white list" countries like the USA) will also have to be fingerprinted and cleared - EU's "white" and "black" visa lists (pdf).

Hidden inside the Communication is a reference to "Automated Border Control systems" which could apply to EU citizens as well as visitors:

"The introduction of Automated Border Control systems can enable the automated verification of travellers’ identity without the intervention of border guards. A machine reads the biometric data contained in the travel documents or stored in a system or database and compares them against the biometrics of the traveller, accelerating border checks by creating automated separate lanes replacing the traditional control booths."

Experiments are taking place along the above lines where a person enters a closed box, is automatically checked and cleared or not cleared - if a person is not cleared a side door opens and they are taken away for questioning.

The Communication proposes the issuing of "tokens" to EU citizens who do not have biometric passports (ie: those who have not had their fingerprints taken) subject to vetting as the full "roll-out" of EU biometric passports will not be complete until 2016.

Also proposed is the adopted of "common vetting criteria" across the EU.

These developments need to be seen alongside the introduction of biometric passports and travel documents across the EU requiring the taking of everyone fingerprints, see: EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports and EU: "biometric passports" We will not just have to be finger-printed once but over and over again and the Commission's proposed introduction of an EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) covering everyone (citizens and visitors) leaving and entering the EU: See Statewatch's Observatory on EU-PNR

EU: FRONTEX: Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (pdf) Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document: Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency: Impact Assessment (pdf) Commission Staff Working Paper: Annex to the Report from the Commission on the evaluation and future development of the Frontex Agency: Statistical data (pdf)

EU: German Institute for Human Rights:
Border Management and Human Rights A study of EU Law and the Law of the Sea by Ruth Weinzierl and Urszula Lisson (Final Study: 95 pages, pdf)

Updated: EU-USA: Ministers confirm that US wants armed guards on transatlantic flights - American demands could put visa-free travel at risk - East Europeans ignore Brussels united-front plea (Guardian, link) Bush orders clampdown on flights to US: EU officials furious as Washington says it wants extra data on all air passengers (Guardian, link) and EU plans to require biometrics of all non-European visitors (International Herald Tribune, link)

EU: UNDERCOVER OFFICERS: Overview of replies to questionnaire on undercover officers

EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: 10741/2/07 REV 2 (pdf), 10741/07 ADD 1 REV 2 (pdf) 10741/1/07 REV 1 (French, pdf)

EU-USA: Review of the Framework for Relations between the European Union and the United States: An Independent Study (Prepared for European Commission, Directorate General External Relations, Unit C1 . Relations with the United States and Canada, pdf)

EU-USA-PNR: Dissertation: Freedom, Security, and Democracy in the European Union: the intervention of the European Parliament in the negotiation of the Passenger Name Record Agreement by Richard M Spooner (pdf)

Norway suspends Dublin transfers to Greece: Norway suspends asylum seekers referrals to Greece because of rights violations. Iraqi asylum seeker alleges ill-treatment and deception (Greek Helsinki Monistor, pdf)

GREECE: CPT REPORT: The CoE's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reviewed the treatment of persons detained by law enforcement officials and examined the conditions of detention in police and border guard stations, coast guard posts and in special facilities for illegal migrants in order to evaluate progress made since the CPT's last visit to Greece, in 2005. The CPT also paid a targeted visit to Korydallos Men's Prison in order to examine the conditions of detention in the segregation units and to assess developments in relation to the prison?s health-care service: CPT Greece report (pdf) and Government's response (pdf)

EU: PRUM IMPLEMENTATION: Draft Council Decision on the implementation (Detail on DNA and vehicle registration access and exchange, 93 pages, pdf) Council Decision on the implementation of Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf)

UK:USE OF INTERCEPT EVIDENCE IN TERRORIST COURT CASES: Privy Council Review of intercept as evidence (pdf)

UK: Pandora's box of bugs: Whisper it: the byzantine world of surveillance oversight has had a very bad week indeed (Guardian, link) See Statewatch coverage on telephone tapping below)

MALTA: The Journalists' Committee together with the Institute of Maltese journalists this morning presented a letter of protest to the Chairman of GO against the newly declared corporate policy to ban all political coverage (pdf) In the letter (attached), the two representative organisations of Maltese journalists condemn this policy, particularly when the country is facing a general election and Maltese citizens need information more than ever, before they go to vote. As announced on the di-ve.com website itself: "As a result of new corporate policy, di-ve.com will not, for the foreseeable future, cover political activities and statements as part of its day-to-day operations."

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Eighth Report): Counter-Terrorism Bill

The Committee rejects 42-day pre-charge detention period for terrorism suspects and proposes alternative procedures and it highly critical of the proposal for the state to appoint special coroners and for inquests to be held without a jury. Chair of the Committee, Andrew Dismore MP, said:

“We are seriously alarmed at the prospect that under these provisions inquests into deaths occurring in circumstances like that of Jean Charles de Menezes, or British servicemen killed by US forces in Iraq, could be held by a coroner appointed by the Secretary of State sitting without a jury. Inquests must be, and be seen to be, totally independent, and in public to secure accountability, with involvement of the next of kin to protect their legitimate interests. When someone dies in distressing, high profile circumstances their family need to see and feel that justice is being done, and where state authorities are involved there is a national interest in accountability as well.”

EU-EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY (ESDP): Series of research reports from the European Parliament:

- Parliamentary Oversight of civilian and military ESDP Missions: The European and national levels
-
The impact of the Lisbon Treaty on ESDP
-
The Lisbon Treaty and its implications for CFSP/ESDP

EU: EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANTS: Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant - Year 2006 (pdf)

EU-SIS: SIS Database Statistics - 01/01/2008 (pdf) See: Statewatch Analysis: SIS II: fait accompli? Construction of EU’s Big Brother database underway (pdf) Search Statewatch database for "SIS" (link)

RENDITIONS: Portugal: Over 700 prisoners flown to Guantánamo through Portuguese airspace

Statewatch launches new SEMDOC website providing comprehensive information about EU Justice and Home Affairs policy

Statewatch has been systematically monitoring and documenting the development of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) policy since 1991. The Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre on Justice and Home Affairs in the European Union seeks to increase public understanding and debate about JHA policy through the provision of comprehensive information about adopted and proposed legislation.

More than 500 specific EU JHA measures are now detailed in the Observatory which covers every adopted and proposed JHA measure, together with international treaties and EU case law. It provides details on the legal base, legislative procedures within the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, full-text documentation and links to additional information sources.

EU-UK: European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons report: The Conclusions of the European Council and the Council of Ministers (pdf) It says:

"The Conclusions of the European Council have an important influence — sometimes, a decisive one — on the future of the EU and the 500 million people who live in it. Yet there is no written record of what is actually said by the Heads of State and Government.... So national parliaments, the public, the press and everyone else is denied any possibility of checking the accuracy of the Presidency’s Conclusions or understanding how the meeting reached its decisions... his is all the more unacceptable when, as the National Parliament Office’s report says, the drafts have a wide informal circulation in Brussels and are widely reported in the press."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This report highlights the way that the European Council - the Prime Ministers - meet in secret and set the agenda for the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Draft Conclusions, Actions Plans and Programmes are not published in advance for parliaments and civil society to discuss and make their views known.

For example, the Tampere and Hague Programmes which set the agenda for EU Justice and Home Affairs policies from 1999 onwards were discussed and agreed in secret and only made public after they were agreed. The whole process is a travesty of the democratic process."

EU: Note of the Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law on the proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2003/109/EC to extend the scope to beneficiaries of international protection (pdf)

EU-BIOMETRIC BORDER CHECKS: Commission wants two systems to track travellers entering the EU by Judith Crosbie (European Voice, link) "The European Commission will propose in February two new systems for tracking and monitoring people entering the EU. One system will require airline passengers to register online before flying to Europe while the other system will use biometrics to track people entering and leaving the Union through air, land and sea borders."

Last November the Commission put forward a proposal for a EU-PNR scheme whereby airlines compile and pass over details of passengers to national security agencies to check against watch-lists (See Statewatch's Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)) It is now proposed that in addition all passengers wanting to fly into the EU (both visitors and citizens) will have to get permission to travel. The story above also says that the Commission is intending to propose a third measure to take biometrics (fingerprints) of everyone entering and leaving the EU by air, land and sea.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Let us be clear about the effect of these three proposals. Everyone - citizens and visitors - travelling in and out of the EU is going placed under surveillance, have to get permission to enter and checked against national watch-lists whose scope is unknown, with data transferred to unspecified agencies in the EU and outside and records of movements held for years."

UK-NO2ID: National Identity Scheme: Options Analysis Outcomes (pdf) This document, annotated by NO2ID - http://www.no2id.net , relates to the previously-leaked "NIS Delivery Strategy - Aligning strategy and delivery" Annotated.

January 2008

UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK (pdf): "the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights says the Government has done “nowhere near enough” to use the Human Rights Act to improve the delivery of public services and has allowed a catalogue of myths to build up around the true purpose and use of the Act in the UK."

UK: Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2006–2007 (pdf) With lots of *** censored content. See: MPs' anger over withheld spy documents (Guardian, link)

France: MEP denied access to migrant detention centre

Update: EU: Seven EU governments propose mutual recognition of offences and convictions where the person is not present at their trial: Slovenia, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, UK and Germany:
Full-text of proposal (pdf) Explanatory report (pdf) To: "establish common rules for the recognition and (or) execution of judicial decisions in one Member State (executing Member State) issued by another Member State (issuing Member State) following proceedings where the person was not personally present"

UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner (for nine months, April-December 2006, pdf). As usual this is singularly useless. The Commissioner tells us that he is responsible for overseeing the work of MI5, MI6 (SIS) and GCHQ and their use of surveillance, property warrants and informers but provides not even the overall figures for "warrants and authorisations issued to the agencies" because this would "assist those hostile to the UK"

EU: Summary of the public seminar on Data protection on the Internet (Google-DoubleClick and other case studies) of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, held in Brussels on 21 January 2007 (pdf)

UK: "SUS" LAW TO RETURN: Stop and search back in London (Evening Standard, link) Under current laws, put in place after the Brixton and other uprisings nation-wide in 1981, police have to have "reasonable suspicion" to stop and search a person. The government is to propose that in "designated areas" in a number of cities people can be stopped and searched simply on "suspicion" alone. See Background:

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)

Background: Statewatch analysis: UK: Stop & search: Ethnic injustice continues unabated

REPRIEVE: The “Journey of death” - Over 700 prisoners illegally rendered to Guantanamo with the help of Portugal (pdf) "Reprieve can now conclusively show that the Portuguese territory and airspace has been used to transfer over 700 prisoners to torture and illegal imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay."

Interview with the Wife of Abou Elkassim Britel (Cageprisoners, link) See also:

Italy: Renditions: Britel announces hunger strike
Renditions: Italy / Morocco: Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case

UK: Statewatch Observatory: Telephone-tapping and access to communications data (1937-2006) - updated 29 January 2008 - with the publication of the Interception of Communications Commissioner's report for 1 April 2006 to 31 December 2006 (pdf). This report contains two sets of figures which are of interest:

a) Rise in telephone tapping: The number of warrants issued for the interception of communications (eg phone-tapping etc). The figures in the latest report are for only nine months of 2006, however, when adjusted to give an annual figure these show that the total adjusted figures for the previous period give a total of 5,723 (ie: warrants issued plus the modifications) and the new adjusted figure shows a rise to an annual figure of 6,597.

b) Requests for access to communication data by law enforcement agencies remains very high: The number of requests for access to communications data (ie: traffic data) under RIPA Part I Chapter II from service providers: in the nine months covered by the latest reports a total of 253,557 requests were made. As noted in the Commissioner's report for 2005-6 (p17): "A large number of the Law Enforcement Agencies, who are the principal users of communications data, have acquired fully automated systems [of access]" The total number of requests in this 15 month period in 2005-6 were: 439,054.

The figures in the Daily Telegraph story (link) have confused telephone tapping warrants with a separate power for law enforcement agencies etc to request access to traffic data from service providers.

Greece: Emergency Call for Action for the rights of people without papers in Patras, Greece (pdf)

BULGARIA: Immigration Detention in International Law and Practice (In search of solutions to the challenges faced in Bulgaria) Valeria Ilareva by Valeria IIareva (pdf)

Finnish e-voting system is a trade secret

EURO-MEDITERRANEAN HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK Report: Freedom of Association in the Euro-Mediterranean region (5MB, pdf)

UK-EU: Home Affairs Select Committee Report: Bulgarian and Romanian Accession to the EU: Twelve months on (pdf)

EU: "FUTURES GROUP": Report of the High Level Advisory Group on the future of EU Home Affairs Policies as discussed at the Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Slovenia on 24-25 January 2008. This is an Interim Report - with a final report in July 2008 - intended to succeed the Tampere (1999-2004) and Hague programmes (2005-2009).

EU-USA: STATE OF RATIFICATIONS OF AGREEMENTS: Status of ratification of EU-US Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and mutual legal assistance and of bilateral instruments (EU doc no: 5916/3/07 Rev 3, pdf) Full background and documentation is on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU

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 (Latest draft as at 11 December 2007, pdf)

EU: Informal Meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council: Slovenia 24-25 January 2008: Conclusion of informal council meeting of justice and home affairs ministers: to strengthen legal safety and fundamental rights in an area of freedom, security and justice (link)

EU Interior Ministers discuss the Second-generation Schengen Information System and the Use of Passenger Name Record for Law Enforcement Purposes (link): "there was agreement that SIS II must be operational by September 2009 at the latest." Over "lunch" the Ministers also discuss the EU-PNR scheme and referred to the Draft Framework Decision on data protection in police matters which is still being discussed - a highly disputed measure which offer little protection to individual rights, see: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU and Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

EU Interior Ministers on Asylum and Future European Home Affairs Policy (link)

UNHCR Statement: Subsidiary protection under the EC Qualification Directive for people threatened by indiscriminate violence (pdf)

EU-UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report on: EU-PNR proposal (pdf)

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Concern about Deployment of Tasers (pdf)

USA: New travel document requirements for USA citizens (The Practical Nomad, Edward Hasbrouck's blog, link) Under new regulations and procedures announced to take effect over the next month, citizens of the USA will, for the first time, be required to obtain USA government permission in order to return home to their own country from abroad -- from anywhere else in the world, by air or sea or land.

European Ombudsman: NGOs can help EU institutions do their job better (pdf)

"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has underlined the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in pointing out possible instances of maladministration in the EU institutions. Over the past ten years, the Ombudsman's office has received almost 1 000 complaints from NGOs and associations. They included alleged maladministration concerning environmental projects, late payment for EU contracts, and lack of transparency in the EU institutions. Among the NGOs that complained were Statewatch, Corporate Europe Observatory, and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)."

UK: Counter Terrorism Bill (90 pages, pdf) Explanatory memorandum (pdf)

CoE-TERRORIST LISTS: PACE demands review of UN and EU blacklisting procedures for terrorist suspects, which ‘violate human rights’ (press release, link). See below for Marty report and recommendations.

EU-JHA: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Slovenia (links):

-
Informal Meeting of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs, 24 -26 January at Brdo
-
Joint SCIFA & CATS Seminar

ECJ-TERRORIST LISTS: Another excellent Opinion by the Advocate-General who finds that the Court of First Instance was wrong to say that it could not rule on a person/group placed on the UN list and the EU list. The Opinion now goes to the Court of Justice: Al Barakaat International Foundation v Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities (Full-text of Opinion, pdf)

See also: Press release: Advocate General Poiares Maduro suggest that the Court annul the Council Regulation freezing the funds of Mr Kadi (pdf) Full-text of Opinion (pdf)

UK: ID card scheme put off until after election: Leaked documents show starting date of 2012 · Pilot plan for foreign nationals to start this year (Guradian, link)

EU-JHA: Council Presidency:

-
Slovenian Presidency programme
-
Priority tasks of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament Brussels, 22 January 2008
-
Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia, in Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, 22 January 2008

UK: Informed choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom An independent report by David Gee. Research and publication funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (Executive Summary, pdf)

EU: Consolidated text of the Lisbon Treaty published by the UK Foreign Office (336 pages, pdf) and Comparative tables (pdf)

EU: Latest list of Working Parties in the Council of the European Union (pdf)

UK-EU: Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the Lisbon Treaty (full-text, pdf) It says:

"We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the Government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied."

EU-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: MEPs’ quick-deal concerns (European Voice, link) "MEPs are concerned that the increasing trend for reaching quick deals with the Council of Ministers is detrimental to the Parliament’s" Under the co-decision procedure (between the parliament and the Council) 80% of measures have been agreed at 1st reading including 19 out of 23 measures going before the Civil Liberties Committee. Full-text of the EP's Working Party report on Parliamentary Reform on Co-decision and Conciliation pdf)

Background: - Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit by Tony Bunyan (first published in Statewatch bulletin November-December 2006). 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.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It is to be hope that the European Parliament follows this advice and resists pressure from the Council to decide new laws in closed meetings. To reverse present practice the parliament needs to insist on a revision of the 2007 Joint Declaration which presumes that secret trilogues and first reading agreements are the norm.

Crucially the documents and drafts which are circulated for the trilogue meetings must be made public as they are produced or else any reforms will be meaningless. Democratic procedures mean that people know what is being discussed and have a chance to intervene before a measure is agreed. The Working Party is silent on this issue."

Malta: Courts set yet another dangerous precedent against the Free Press

EU-FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT AGENCY (FRA): ALDE disappointed with lack of ambition of EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (pdf) The is precluded from looking into police and internal security matters in the EU member states and "Key areas are excluded from its remit - homophobia, anti-gypsism, violation of privacy and the erosion of civil liberties in the fight against terrorism are of very real concern in a number of Member States."

UK-USA: 1948 UKUSA agreement and ECHELON states behind "Server in the Sky" project: Press coverage reporting that the FBI is seeking to set up a global alliance to target suspected terrorists and criminals has not so far noted the historical origins of "Server in the Sky" project to collect and exchange personal biometrics and data. The group behind the initiative is the "International Information Consortium" comprised of the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The same five states started intelligence gathering in the Cold War era under the 1948 UKUSA agreement which set up a global monitoring system led by the NSA (USA) and Government Communications HQ in the UK (GCHQ).

And the very same five states set up the ECHELON surveillance system in the 1980s which extended communications gathering on a huge scale from military objectives to political and economic targets by trawling the ether for keywords, phrases and groups.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The USA and the UK have been running global surveillance systems since the start of the Cold War through the NSA and GCHQ and their scope was extended by the ECHELON system in the 1980s. For nearly 60 years, since 1948, these hidden systems have been beyond democratic control and now we see this alliance extending its tentacles to cover not just suspected terrorists but criminals as well. Its activities are likely to be as unaccountable as ever, by-passing standards of privacy and data protection."

Background

- European Parliament: Echelon report (pdf)
-
Appraisal of technologies of political control (for the EP STOA Committee, pdf)
-
European Union and the FBI launch global surveillance system: A Statewatch report, 10 February 1997
- News report:
FBI wants instant access to British identity data - Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints (Guardian, link)

CANADA: Court decides that the USA is not a "safe third country: In a 124-page decision Mr. Justice Michael Phelan ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement, which came into effect on Dec. 29, 2004 and regulated refugee movement between Canada and the U.S., violates refugee rights and that the United States did not meet the conditions required to be considered a "Safe Country" under the terms of the Agreement. Full text of judgment (pdf)

xecuting Member State) issued by another Member State (issuing Member State) following proceedings where the person was not personally present"

UK: Prisoners 'to be chipped like dogs' (Independent, link)

UK: Parliament Square Peace Campaign: supporters of Brian Haw and the right to protest: Briefing paper on SOCPA and see: Website

UK: Liberty's
"Charge or release" campaign against extension of detention period (link)

EU: European Commission: Co-Decision Procedure: Guide to Internal Procedures (Introduction in French, text in English, pdf) Detailed description of the co-decision process.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs: External relations programme for Slovenian Council Presidency (pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Draft agenda items for February, April and June: Draft JHA agendas (pdf)

European Parliament Hearing, 21 January 2008: Data protection on the Internet: (Google-Doubleclick and other case studies) (pdf)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: "Against the outrageous Directive!", full-text of speech given by Yasha Maccanico (Statewatch) at the hearing with NGOs organised by the GUE group, European Parliament, Strasbourg on 12 December 2007 (pdf)

UK: Official secrets prosecution collapses (Bindmans, link)

Poland: Infringements of the right to fair trial and personal freedom Key case on the infringement of presumption of innocence and the abuse of pre-trial detention pending in the European Court of Human Rights

Germany: High Court rules police raids against anti-G8 protesters unlawful

UK: Barnados's: Asylum seeker children entrapped in poverty (Press release, link) Executive Summary (pdf)

EU: European Commission publishes Annual Report on access to documents for 2006 (pdf)

UK: MI5 exemption from the Data Protection Act Certificate (pdf)

UK: Border and Immigration Agency report: Border and Immigration Agency Detention Estate (pdf) Racism at immigration centres revealed in report (Guardian, link)

UK: Parliamentary Committee slams government data security: Protection of private data (Full-text of report by Justice Committee, pdf) Tougher data laws needed say MPs (BBC News, link). This follows the loss of 25 million personal records.

UK: Data Sharing Review: A consultation paper on the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors and Consultation response form

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Current data protection laws are utterly worthless. The right to privacy and the protection of personal data will only become meaningful if all public and private bodies have a legal obligation to inform every person on whom they hold data each time data is transferred and to provide an annual statement of how it has been used. This should include: details of data held, every instance of exactly who it has been passed to and when and for what purpose, whether in the UK, the EU or outside."

EU-Poland: Opt-out Protocol to the Charter of Fundamental Rights

EU: Fingerprinting children - VIS (Visa Information System): This document shows the latest position of the Council of the European Union (27 governments): See: EU doc no: 16598/07 (pdf) There would be limited use of the fingerprints of children aged 6-12:

"Fingerprints given by children aged between 6-12 at the time of collection may only be used for verification purposes"

"Verification" means that only "on-to-one" checks can be carried out to confirm that the child is the same as that recorded in the travel document. But Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria and Estonia want childrens' fingerprints to be checked "one-to-many", that is against the whole database.

The European Parliament wants the age from which children can be fingerprinted to be set at 12 years old and more, the EU governments want it to be 6 years old. The standard set for visas is likely also to apply to resident third country nationals and all EU citizens too.


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