Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2010
News Online Archives: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The EU Justice and Home Affairs agenda in 2011 (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: This analysis sets out the current and planned JHA proposals for legislation, and the likelihood of agreement on these measures in 2011.
EU: Council Presidency (Hungary): Provisional Justice and Home Affairs Council Agendas: February, April and June 2011 (edited, pdf) which contains:
- "A" items - Legislative
- "A" items - Non-legislative
- "B" items - Legislative
- "B" items - Non-legislative
- Mixed Committee
"A" items are "nodded through" and adopted without debate. "B" items are discussed by Ministers in the meetings and at the MIxed Committee..
"B" items - Non-legislative items for the Feburary 2011 meeting include the following: Presentation by the Commission of the Communication on the evaluation and future strategy for EU readmission agreements; (poss.) Implementation of the Internal Security Strategy; Adoption of the Council conclusions - Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the EU; Adoption of the Council conclusions: A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the EU; Adoption of the Council conclusions: European Arrest Warrant implementation report; Report by the Commission on the revision of the first six months of the implementation of the EU-US TFTP agreement.
Statewatch Analysis: Case Law Summary: EU access to documents Regulation (142 pages, small pdf). Prepared by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"The following summary sets out systematically the case law of the EU Courts (the Court of Justice and the lower court, the General Court previously known as the Court of First Instance) concerning the EUs access to documents regulation (Reg. 1049/2001)."
Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan
UK: Metropolitan Police face legal action for kettling children during tuition fees protest - Human rights group Liberty sues Scotland Yard over violent tactics against teenagers during London tuition fees demonstration (Observer, link)
Germany: Under permanent observation by Rolf Gössner
"Since 1970, I have been under uninterrupted observation and investigation for nearly four decades by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC), the domestic secret service, which is difficult to monitor and has an anti-communist character. They watched me as a law student and later throughout my working life, in all my professional and voluntary roles - as a commentator on current affairs, as a lawyer, a parliamentary adviser, a board member of the International League for Human Rights, co-editor of the yearly Report on Constitutional Rights and of the fortnightly Ossietzky, and as a member of the jury awarding the negative prize the 'Big Brother Award'."
2010 The year of kettling (Global Sociology blog, link):
"The term, of course, refers to a form of containment used by law enforcement against protestors who are then surrounded by a thick cordon of police, with either one narrow exit or no exit at all as police advances and reduces the space available to those kettled. Once duly kettled, sometimes for hours, protestors can be made to conform much more easily"
EU: European Parliament: Draft report: On the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (COM(2010)0094 C7-0088/2010 2010/0064(COD)) (pdf): Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Rapporteur: Roberta Angelilli
European Parliament: Commission proposal and EP amendments proposed: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)
EU-funded police research on policing protests: Good practice for dialogue and communication as strategic principles for policing political manifestations in Europe (GODIAC) (pdf). This project is lead by the Swedish National Police Board with 20 partner organisations in 11 countries with a budget over three years of 1,206,431 euro. It is 70% funded by the Commission DG on Home Affairs under the programme: "Prevention of and fight against Crime". This outline argues that: "With the internationalisation of demonstrations, there is a need for an internationalisation of knowledge", which includes: "knowledge on demonstrators and activists, their ideology, mobility and strategies towards the police."
SWEDEN-USA: Wikileaks: November 2008 Note the exchanges of intelligence information (Secret: due for declassification in 2018, pdf) The Note shows that both sides went along with the existing "informal channels" as a formal agreement might be "highly difficult". The exchange of intelligence with the USA covers not just that on terrorism but also on "asylum cases" and "a wide range of law enforcement". See also: Calls to probe Sweden-US intel contacts (The Local, link)
EU-USA: European Commission: Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and the United States Department of Health and Human Services on Cooperation Surrounding Health Related Information and Communication Technologies (pdf):
"The scope of this Memorandum of Understanding is cooperation on topics directly pertaining to the use and advancement of eHealth/health IT, in pursuit of improved health and health care delivery as well as economic growth and innovation" which raises fundamental issues of data-sharing, privacy and data protection as it goes on to say:
"Development of internationally recognised and utilised interoperability standards and interoperability implementation specifications for electronic
health record systems that meet high standards for security and privacy protection". To be sure everyone wants the "high standards" of security for their personal health records (ie: they should not be lost) but what chance is there of the "highest standards" for privacy?
USA: Monitoring America: (Washington Post, link): "Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.
The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyses information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing."
EU-USA: Think tanks report: "Shoulder to shoulder": Forging a Strategic US-EU Partnership (pdf) Includes proposals on justice and home affairs such as:
"Improve U.S.-EU cooperation in justice and law enforcement: Establish a transatlantic arrest warrant... Establish joint investigation teams, including Europol and Eurojust... Collaborate on security-related research...Launch a public-private Global Movement Management Initiative (GMMI) as an innovative
governance framework to align security and resilience with commercial imperatives in global movement systems...Improve U.S. cooperation with FRONTEX.. Include transatlantic cooperation in EU discussions of the external dimension of internal security...Establish solid coordination between U.S. and EU operation centers...."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU Internal Security Strategy: "Security and privacy concerns should be equally taken serious" says EDPS (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf)
"Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "Internal security is an area where there are clear risks of intrusions into the citizens' privacy. This is why security and privacy concerns should be equally taken serious. I am convinced that an effective Internal Security Strategy can not be put in place without the support of a solid data protection scheme complementing it. In other words: no zero sums of privacy and security, we need them both!"
EU: European Commission: Communication on the procedures for the scrutiny of Europols activities by the European Parliament,
together with national Parliaments (pdf)
UK: Kettle tactics risk Hillsborough-style tragedy doctor: Crush of student protesters on Westminster Bridge compared to 1980s stadium disaster (Observer, link)
EU: Plans to open a cyber crime centre: The director of Europol Rob Wainwright on 15 December briefed House of Lords EU sub-committee F - Home Affairs on plans for a European cyber crime centre. According to Mr Wainwright, Europol already had a "dedicated intelligence project designed to identify the most significant cyber criminals operating in Europe". He stressed the need for establishing a European cyber crime centre managing an internet crime reporting online system to collect all internet crime reported online at a national level, in a harmonised way. EU cyber crime centre is planned to be launched by 2014 if funding by the European Commission can be secured. See: EU could turn to 'crowd sourcing' in cyber crime fight (BBC News, link) and Wainwright's hearing on Parliament TV
EU: New SitCen Director appointed: Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, announced on 17 December the appointment of Ilkka Salmi as Director for the EU Situation Centre. Baroness Ashton pointed out, "Ilkka Salmi will have an important role in establishing the credibility of the EAS in key areas of its work, handling the fight against terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other global threats".
See: Ashton picks Fin to be EU 'spymaster' (EU Observer, link) , EU High Representative Catherine Ashton appoints Director of the European Union Situation Centre (SITCEN) for the External Action Service (Council Press Release, pdf )
UK-EU: Europe tells Britain to justify itself over fingerprinting children in schools (Daily Telegraph, link)
GREECE: Marching -and rioting- in the streets (Athens News, link)
UK: Police may ban future marches to prevent disorder - Police may ban anti-Government marches through central London to prevent further disorder and strain on officer numbers (Daily Telegraph, link)
DENMARK: All mass arrests during COP15 last year declared illegal by Copenhagen City Court (Climate Justice Action, link): "The City Court of Copenhagen ruled today that the all the mass arrests during the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 were illigal and the police have to pay 9.000 DKK in damages to the protestors, who have complaint so far. The verdict declares that all the preventive arrests from the 11th to the 16th of december 2009 were illegal, and so the actions of the police during the COP15 is not accepted by the court. Nearly 2000 people were preemptively arrested last year during the COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen." See also: Danish police commanders order the police to assault the press during the COP15 (Climate Collective, link): Recordings from Danish police radio communications show that a Danish police commander encouraged police officers to assault members of the press during the COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen outside of the conference center on the 16th of December 2009.
EU: European Commission: Fifth report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security (COM 725-10, pdf):
"While, overall, a high level of security continues to be ensured in the EU, Commission inspections have as in previous years revealed some shortcomings. These most commonly related to staff screening and cargo processing requirements."
FRANCE: Letter to the French Government and Members of the Parliament against behaviour controls on public data reuse signed by 35 NGOs (pdf). See: Access-Info: Press release (link)
See also: Statement by Collectif Liberté Egalité Justice (CLEJ, Collective for Freedom, Equality and Justice): LOPPSI 2: not in our name!
EU Internal Security strategy: towards a EU-USA common path? (ESFJ, link)
EU: European Parliament: Residence rights for refugees and people under international protection (Press release, pdf): "Refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection may acquire long-term resident status in the EU, under new rules agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers and endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday." (Plenary session).
See also: Statewatch Analysis: Extending EU long-term resident status to refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex and Positions of national parliaments (IPEX, link)
EU: European Parliament: Parliament approves tougher rules to combat trafficking in human beings (Press release, pdf). See also: Statewatch Analysis: The new Directive on trafficking in persons (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex and Positions of national parliaments (IPEX, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch police search home of Rwandan opposition leader: At the request of the Rwandan government, Dutch police searched the house of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire in Zevenhuizen on Monday 13 December. Ingabire lived there as a refugee, but returned to Rwanda to participate in the presidential elections in January 2010. She was arrested and kept prisoner since. Her husband and 8 year old son were present in the house, and were forbidden to use a phone during the search. A lawyer for Ingabire declares the invasion 'embarrassing and illegal'. "The Netherlands are collaborating with the dictatorship of Kagame". See: Volkskrant (link)
EU: ACTA: Finalised version: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: 3 December 2010 (pdf)
EU: European Union Crisis Response Capacity (pdf)
Hungary: Hungarian Media Law fuels international concern (pdf):
"The European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), expressed concern at a draft law that would impose extensive fines against journalists and publishers if they refuse to disclose their sources or publish information deemed inappropriate by the government."
See also: European Journalists Reject the new Hungarian Media Bill and Call for New Talks (European Federation of Journalists, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Data protection compliance in the EU administration: EDPS adopts comprehensive policy on supervision and enforcement (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf):
"the EDPS believes that the time has come to take a more robust approach to enforcement, particularly in cases of serious, deliberate or repeated non compliance with data protection principles."
UK: Student protester operated on after being 'hit with police baton' - Alfie Meadows, 20, treated for bleeding on the brain over incident at tuition fees demo which has been referred to IPCC (Guardian, link) and Police officers 'tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester' (GUardian, link) Also see: Police dragged me from wheelchair twice during protests, says demonstrator - A disabled protester is to lodge a complaint against the Metropolitan Police, claiming he was twice dragged out of his wheelchair by riot officers during last week's chaotic protests against student fees (Sunday Telegraph, link)
Council of Europe: The role of judges in the enforcement of judicial decisions (Press release, pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf)
EU: European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR): New ECCHR-Report - Blacklisted: Targeted sanctions, preemptive security and fundamental rights (Press release, pdf), Executive Summary (pdf) and Full-report: Full report (130 pages, pdf) written by Gavin Sullivan and Ben Hayes with a foreword by Martin Scheinin, the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: European Court of Justice: Case T-452/09 before the General Court - ClientEarth v. Council of the European Union (pdf). This case taken by Client Earth concerns the refusal of access to the advice of the Council of the European Union's Legal Service on the European Parliament's amendments to the European Commission's proposals to change the EU Regulation on access to documents (1049/2001) because it:
"failed to explain how full disclosure would damage the protection of legal advice, in particular in the light of the Turco judgment of the Court of Justice" See Turco judgment full-text (pdf) and on which the Court's press release had said:
"The Court takes the view that disclosure of documents containing the advice of an institutions 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."
The released version of the Council's Legal Service is massively censored containing no information on the issues: Opinion of the Legal Service (dated 17 February 2009, pdf). However, the substantive point in the Council Legal Service's Opinion was clearly stated in Council document no: 7791/09 (pdf). The Council Legal Service argued that the EP could amend the Commission proposals but could not introduce new amendments of its own - this rejecting 27 EP amendments. The Opinion of the Legal Service of the European Parliament's (EP): Opinion on the EPs' amendments (issued in 14 April 2009) took on, and rejected, the arguments used by the Council Legal Service. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "The opinion of the Council's Legal Service was an "open" secret."
France: Statement by Collectif Liberté Egalité Justice (CLEJ, Collective for Freedom, Equality and Justice): LOPPSI 2: not in our name!
"In the name of the protection of the State against its "enemies", measures that derogate common law are about to become the norm, surveillance and social control are extended,"
France to keep repatriating illegal immigrants (TVNZ, link)
EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Data Retention Directive evaluation: expect the unexpected? (Bits of Freedom, link):
"The evaluation of the controversial Data Retention Directive takes an unexpected turn, for the worse. At a crucial one-day conference in Brussels, aimed at gathering input for the evaluation, long-term critic of the Directive Commissioner Malmström (Home Affairs) surprisingly announced that data retention is here to stay."
Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said of the "notorious" Directive
"Let me underline this today: retaining communication and location data of all persons in the EU, whenever they use the telephone or the internet, constitutes a huge interference with the right to privacy of all citizens. The Directive is without doubt the most privacy invasive instrument ever adopted by the EU in terms of scale and the number of people it affects."
- Commissioner Cecilia Malmström speech: Taking on the Data Retention Directive (3 December 2010, pdf)
- European Data Protection Supervisor: speech (3 December 2010, pdf) and Press release (pdf)
- Data retention conference, 3 December 2010: Discussion paper (pdf)
- Note on the consultation meeting, 3 December 2010 (pdf)
- Civil society letter to Commissioner, September 2010 (pdf)
- NGO Letter to EU Commissioners rejecting the Directive on mandatory data retention (pdf). The Letter signed by 106 NGOs
- Joint Statement by the Panoptykon Foundation and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (pdf)
- Directive on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC (pdf)
See also Statewatch Observatory The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU on the controversial adoption of the Directive and what followed
EU: Joint Letter: NGOs perspective on the EU accession to the ECHR: The proposed co-respondent procedure and consultation with civil society (pdf) signed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, Justice, International Commission of Jurists, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Aire Centre.
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) : Commission proposal for a Council Decision amending Decision (2008/203/EC) of 28 February 2008 implementing Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 as regards the adoption of a Multi-annual Framework for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for 2007-2012 (pdf). At last this would extend the remit of the FRA to enable it to cover polcing and criminal law.
EU: European Parliament: Question to Council of the European Union: 'Radicalisation' and data collection (pdf) from MEPs Sarah Ludford, Rui Tavares, Hélène Flautre.
See: Statewatch Analyses: Intensive surveillance of violent radicalisation extended to embrace suspected radicals from across the political
spectrum Targets include: Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc (pdf) and Protests in the EU: Troublemakers and travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted
EU: Issuing visas: Lists of the authorities and organisations to which the persons designated by the Member States to represent them belong (pdf).
UK: PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN: Kurdish community leaders questioned by MI5 officers (Press release, pdf):
"Peace in Kurdistan has been informed that over the last few days several leading members of the Kurdish community in the UK have been questioned by members of MI5.
As far as we can establish to date, a total 15 individuals were visited at their homes by officers who identified themselves as British security. They informed our Kurdish friends that their movements had been under surveillance for some time and that some of their activities constituted a breach of UK law. Furthermore they were instructed that they should cease these activities forthwith.
There has been absolutely no suggestion that the individuals involved have been engaged in any criminal or illegal activities whatsoever... Peace in Kurdistan is extremely concerned at this latest development which we believe amounts to a further attempted criminalisation of the Kurds."
EU Fundamental Rights Agency reports: Separated, asylum-seeking children in European Union Member States Comparative Report (pdf) and Developing indicators for the protection, respect and promotion of the rights of the child in the European Union (pdf)
UK: Citizens Advice Bureau report: Uncivil Recovery: Major retailers use of threatened civil recovery against those accused of shoplifting or employee theft (link):
"the practice of threatened civil recovery, as described in this report, is not only unfair (and arguably illegitimate), but provides no panacea for the (undoubtedly substantial) cost of retail crime... Indeed, the principal beneficiaries of the practice would appear to be the civil recovery agents, who collectively profit by millions of pounds and have no obvious interest in seeing the reduction in retail crime sought by public policy."
See: Original CAB report: Unreasonable demands? Threatened civil recovery against those accused of shoplifting or employee theft (link) and see also Statewatch Analysis: UK: "Speculative invoicing" schemes target internet file-sharers and individuals accused of minor retail crime, by Max Rowlands (link): "Law firms are threatening innocent people with civil court action unless they make large compensatorypayments for their alleged wrong-doings. Scared, intimidated and unsure of the law, some are choosing to pay up."
French police kill Mali man with Taser (Press TV, link): French police tasered an African immigrant who died in the Paris suburb of Colombes after he allegedly resisted police who tried to check his identification papers.
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Extending EU long-term resident status to refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
"The European Parliament (EP) and the Council have recently agreed on a Directive to extend long-term resident status to refugees and persons with subsidiary protection. This Directive is a modest but significant step towards fair treatment of persons needing international protection...
This legislation has been agreed at first reading in the ordinary legislative procedure, ie following wholly informal contacts between the EP and the Council which in practice were not at all transparent.... the EP gave up pressing for some of the amendments which it sought in its original vote in 2008 the softening (for refugees and persons with subsidiary protection) of the conditions concerning integration and the income requirements which Member States can apply before obtaining longterm resident status....
Since the exclusion of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status from long-term residence status could never be plausibly justified, this new Directive can only be welcomed. It is unfortunate that it took so long to achieve, and that a greater relaxation of the rules applicable to qualification for long-term resident status was not agreed for refugees and persons with subsidiary protection."
Norway/Italy: Wholesale seizure of activist e-communications service provider's data
On 6 November 2010, on request from the Italian police, the Norwegian police seized the data on the Norwegian servers of Autistici/Inventati (A/I) "a group of people who mantain and develop electronic communication services for individuals, associations, informal groups and movements and, among their particular aims, defend the freedom of expression and privacy" by confiscating and cloning the disks in its server. It hosts mailboxes and a number of activist discussion groups, providing encryption services.
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The new Directive on trafficking in persons (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
"The European Parliament (EP) and the Council have agreed on the first substantive criminal law measure to be adopted by the EU after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty a Directive on trafficking in persons. The following analysis examines the content of the new measure, the negotiations of the new measure, and the particular position of the UK, which has opted out of the negotiations but could opt in to the Directive at any time after its formal adoption."
EU: Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (JHA Council), 2-3 December 2010, Brussels: Press release, 2-3 December 2010 (pdf) B Points Agenda (pdf) and A Points Agenda: non-legislative (pdf)
IRAQ-USA-GAO REPORT: Displaced Iraqis: Integrated International Strategy Needed to Reintegrate Iraq's Internally Displaced and Returning Refugees (link). See also Statewatch Analysis: EU-IRAQ: The forgotten causalities of the war (pdf)
Human Rights in Ireland: EU Updates its Counter-Terrorism Action Plan (link)
EU: EUROPEAN INVESTIGATION ORDER (EIO): Statewatch Analysis: Update The Proposed European Investigation Order (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"while the proposed changes will entail a significant improvement as compared to the original proposal, there remain significant flaws with the proposed EIO.
It remains the case that at least in some cases, the combined abolition of dual criminality and territoriality requirements under the Directive represents both a
fundamental threat to the rule of law in criminal law matters which is required by Article 7 ECHR (legal certainty of criminal offences) and Article 8 ECHR in this field (invasions of privacy must be in accordance with the law) and an attack on the national sovereignty of Member States, which would in effect lose their power to define what acts are in fact criminal if committed on the territory of their State." (emphasis in original)
EU: INTERNAL SECURITY STRATEGY: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU Counter-Terrorism policy: EDPS calls for a systematic and consistent approach to avoid unnecessary restrictions to privacy (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf)
EU-ACTA: European Parliament Resolution on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): The Joint Resolution RC7-0617/2010 (the resolution proposed by the S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups) rejected with 306 votes in favour, 322 against and 26 abstentions while Resolution B7-0618/2010 (proposed by the EPP and ECR groups) adopted by 331 votes in favour to 294 against with 11 abstentions, with one amendment.
- Text agreed in Tokyo: Consolidated Text: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Informal Pre-decisional/Deliberative Draft: 2 October 2010 (pdf)
- EP gives wrong message to the Commission ahead of final ACTA negotiations, say Stavros Lambrinidis and Françoise Caste (Press release, S & D group, pdf)
UK: Home Office: Statistics: Racist incidents, England and Wales, 2009-10 (pdf). See: Figures show large rise in number of hate crimes
(Independent, link): "More than 50,000 hate crimes were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, figures showed today. These included more than 43,000 race-related crimes and almost 5,000 incidents motivated by whether a person was straight, gay or bisexual, the police service figures showed. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said the figures, published for the first time today, showed a more than 12% rise in hate crimes from 46,300 in 2008."
EU: Council of the European Union: Nearly complete dossiers on Council's position before beginning negotiations with the European Parliament:
- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to information in criminal proceedings: - General approach on main text (pdf). Earlier Council discussions: EU doc no 16371-rev1-10 (pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (pdf)
EU: Commission Staff Working Paper: On the fulfilment of the 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration adopted at the JHA Council meeting, on 25 and 26 February 2010 (pdf)
UK: CCTV: Report from Big Brother Watch: The price is wrong: The cost of CCTV surveillance in the United Kingdom (pdf)
UK: Open Rights Group: Home Office: citizens not directly concerned by interception law (link).and Home Office concedes to meeting
(link) See: Home Office proposal: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Proposed amendments affecting lawful interception: A consultation (pdf) which is in reaction to: European Commission: Commission refers UK to Court over privacy and personal data protection (pdf)
EUROPE: Report by Border Monitoring Project Ukraine: Access to Protection Denied: Refoulement of Refugees and Minors on the Eastern Borders of the EU - the case of Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine (pdf)
European Centre for Constituional and Human Rights: Blacklisted: Targeted Sanctions, Pre-emptive Security and Fundamental Rights (pdf): by Gavin Sullivan and Ben Hayes and with a foreword by Martin Scheinin - UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism: Launch: Friday 10 December 2010 at 18:30 20:00, ECCHR-Office, Berlin
EU: European Commission report: Study on the feasilibty of establishing a mechanism for the beneficiaries of international protection (144 pages, 2.5 MB, pdf)
FRANCE: France proposes police controls on who uses public information (Access-Info, link)
EU-USA GENERAL AGREEMENT ON THE TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA: European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee to Council: Letter (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Internal Security Strategy: Press release (pdf) and The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe (COM 673, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Action Plan on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 15893/10, pdf) and Updated version of the implementation of the legislative instruments listed in the Declaration on terrorism (EU doc no: 15893/10 ADD 1, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on the role of the police and civil society in combating violent radicalisation and recruitment of terrorists (pdf) See also: Instrument for compiling data and information on violent radicalisation processes and Statewatch analysis: Intensive surveillance of violent radicalisation extended to embrace suspected radicals from across the political spectrum: Targets include: Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
- Draft Council Conclusions on the fight against crimes committed by mobile (itinerant) criminal groups (pdf), see also: Council of the European Union intervenes in the France-Roma controversy - proposing the targeting of "mobile (itinerant) criminal groups": "itinerant"=travellers=Roma
EU: Belgian Council Presidency: CoPPra Community Policing Preventing Radicalism & Terrorism: Project CoPPra (link)
EU: Council of Europe: Council of Europe adopts new recommendation on judges independence, efficiency and responsibilities (Press release, pdf) and Recommendations - full-text (pdf)
Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Statewatch: European Union R&D subsidises for Israeli security actors Submission to the London Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (pdf)
EU-USA AGREEMENT: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Data protection authorities call for strict general privacy agreement with United States (Press release, pdf) and Opinion: EU-US General Agreement (pdf):
"the Working Party is however concerned about the possible outcome of the negotiations. It therefore urges the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament to ensure a strict and far reaching negotiating mandate, to obtain a high level of data protection. Coherence is needed in light of current developments, including the review of the EU data protection legal framework and the proposed negotiations with the US on a new PNR agreement."
CANADA-USA: U.S. Secure Flight plan worries privacy watchdog (CBC News, link)
EU: European Arrest Warrants (EAW): Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant Year 2009 (pdf). The Member States issuing the greatest number of EAWs were Poland: 4,844 and Germany: 2,433. The greatest number receiving requests for arrest under EAWs were: Spain: 1,629, Netherlands: 683 and France: 967.
EU-UK: Statewatch Analysis: The UK's European Union Bill (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, Law School, University of Essex:
"In November 2010, the UK government tabled a Bill which would provide for a referendum in the UK in many cases before the EU treaties could be amended in future. The Bill would also enhance parliamentary control of UK government decisions in relation to the UK in many other respects. The following analysis explains this complex bill and comments on the underlying principles underlying it."
EU: Final version: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: 15 November 2010 (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Proposal for the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 (Remedial) Order 2010 (pdf)
Italy: State offers Aldrovandi family compensation: On 7 October 2010, a deal was struck whereby the family of Federico Aldrovandi, the teenager who died in Ferrara after an early-morning encounter with the police during which he was beaten on 25 September 2005, was granted two million euros in compensation.
EU: Migreurop annual report: European borders: controls, detention and deportations (6 MB, pdf) and Introduction (link)
"For its second annual report on the European borders, Migreurop has chosen to emphasize three main steps of the fights led by the authorities against the candidates to migration : the controls of their movements, detention and deportation.
Based on evidences from fact finding missions, the report gives dramatic examples of this war against migrants which implies a general decline of the law protecting the freedom and integrity of human beings."
UK: FITWATCH shut down: Met closes down anti-police blog - Police force suspension of website that offered advice to students involved in last week's rioting (Guardian, link)
EU: European Court of Justice: European Arrest Warrant: A national court which issues a European arrest warrant may declare that an earlier judgment given under its legal system does not cover the same acts as those referred to in the arrest warrant As a general rule, the judicial authority which arrests the accused may not then refuse to surrender him (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf)
MICROSOFT: Is Your Videogame Machine Watching You? (Wall Street Journal, link)
EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Decision on the list of travel documents entitling the holder to cross the external borders and
which may be endorsed with a visa and on setting up a mechanism for establishing this list (pdf)
Euro-Drones update: more funding from FP7, FRONTEX and EDA (Neoconopticon blog, link)
EU: Amnesty International: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe's complicity in rendition and secret detention (57 pages, pdf), Letter (pdf) and Executive Summary (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: Data protection reform strategy: EDPS urges Commission to meet the challenge of an ambitious reform for a strong and effective data protection (Press release, pdf)
EU: European Commission: Taking on the Data Retention Directive - a discussion paper (pdf)
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Data protection authorities critical on sharing passengers data - No objective proof that PNR data are valuable when combating terrorism (Press release, pdf) and Opinion 7/2010 on European Commission's Communication on the
global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Legislative Scrutiny: Terrorist Asset- Freezing etc Bill (Second Report); and
other Bills (pdf):
"we sought clarification as to whether this raising of the threshold means that the standard of proof has also been raised to the civil standard of balance of probabilities.
The Government response makes clear that the Treasury do not consider that reasonable belief requires the Treasury to be satisfied of the relevant facts to the civil standard of proof. As the Bill stands, therefore, a persons assets can be frozen even if the Treasury are not satisfied of that persons involvement in terrorism on the balance of probabilities.
In our view, there is scope to amend the Bill to provide for a standard of proof which is higher than that which is currently in the Bill, but which is still lower than the standard required to charge the person with a criminal offence."
EU: FRONTEX: first ever RABIT operation deployed on 2 November (European Area of Security Freedom and Justive, link)
UK: Surveillance Society Network: Information Commissioners report to Parliament on the state of surveillance (pdf) and see: Surveillance society soon a reality, report suggests: Update to 2006 study prompts information commissioner to press parliament for new privacy safeguards (Guardian, link)
EU: European Parliament: MEPs pressing for Wikileaks Iraq torture follow-up at US summit (euobserver, link): Euro-deputies on Thursday (11 November) called for a "transatlantic inquiry" into Iraqi torture cases described in US war logs published by Wikileaks and pressed EU leaders to follow up on the issue at a meeting with US President Barack Obama next week. The Resolution adopted at the parliament's plenary session on 11 November said:
"Although aware that the leaking of classified military documents runs the risk of endangering military personnel, is highly concerned at the recent serious allegations that torture has been condoned in Iraq; calls for this issue to be raised at the EU-US summit with a view to an independent transatlantic inquiry."
EU: Security chief criticises EU approach to air safety (euobserver, link): "The head of security at one of Europe's busiest airports has said that EU governments should invest more resources in old-fashioned human intelligence and fewer in new regulations and screening technology."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: First thoughts on the EUs Internal Security Strategy (pdf ) by Tony Bunyan:
"Lessons from history tell us that only a state can construct and implement an Internal Security Strategy and the EU state is beginning to flex its muscles with its emerging security-industrial complex, the state-private surveillance society and a free market in the exchange of personal information, the proposed EU-PNR, EU-SWIFT and EU exit-entry system, and aggressive new agencies like FRONTEX. When it finally comes together the ISS will embrace these and other initiatives into its operational planning."
UK-EU: Coalition government publishes: European Union Bill (pdf) covering referendum on future EU treaty changes plus Explanatory Notes (pdf). See: UK could transfer powers to Europe without referendum (BBC News, link)
IRR News Service: The politics of voluntary returns (link): Outrage greeted French prime minister Sarkozy's description of the mass expulsion of Roma as 'voluntary' - but what is the reality of voluntary return programmes in the UK?
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opinion on the European Protection Order and the European Investigation Order in criminal matters (pdf)
EU-USA: European Parliament: Hearing Data Protection in a transatlantic perspective: Future EU-US data protection agreement in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Brussels, 25/10/2010) (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Conclusions on the fight against crimes committed by mobile (itinerant) criminal groups (dated 5 November 2010, pdf) The Council expresses tacit backing for France in its row with the Commission over the expulsion of Roma people with the full force of Europol, the EU Internal Security Strategy and Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) to be deployed. The latest version includes involving non-governmental organisations "reporting threats arising in their surrounding" and, at the suggestion of France, the "criminal misuse and anonymous use of telecommunications" See: EU doc 12694/4/08 (pdf)
See: Council of the European Union intervenes in the France-Roma controversy - proposing the targeting of "mobile (itinerant) criminal groups": "itinerant"=travellers=Roma
"The EU already has in place a multitude of measures to combat organised crime including criminal groups "internationally active" starting in 1998 and updated in the Council Framework Decision on the fight against organised crime of 2008. Europol also has a major role in targeting EU-wide organised crime. The proposed Council Conclusions are clearly intended to supplement current measures by the inclusion of the term "itinerant" which means travellers-Roma."
EU: European Commission: Sixth report on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity (pdf)
"When addressing the other remaining cases of non-reciprocity, i.e. as regards the U.S. (visa requirement for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Poland) and Canada (visa requirement for Bulgaria and Romania), the EU is confronted with the limits of its reciprocity mechanism as set out in the current acquis. In these cases indeed Member States are considered by third countries not to meet objective criteria for visa waiver set out unilaterally by these third countries in their domestic legislation (e.g. not issuing biometric passports, not meeting thresholds set for visa refusal and/or overstay rates)." (emphasis added).
EURODAC: Ten EU governments want law enforcement agencies to have access to the EURODAC database (which holds the fingerprints of asylum-seekers). The Austria demand is backed by Germany, Spain, France, Lithuania, Slovenia, Portugal, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Hungary. See: CATS Outcomes/Minutes (pdf). The Commission put forward a proposed Regulation amending the one in 2000 on EURODAC on 3 December 2008. This was amended in September 2009 and then again in October 2010 (see text below). The latest proposal removes provision on access for law enforcement agencies: See: EURODAC (SEMDOC, link)
The Commission said that: "a proposal for access to Eurodac for the security services had been omitted in this proposal in order to facilitate negotiations with the European Parliament and to speed up the codecision process. A separate proposal for access by the law enforcement services would be presented in 2012."
European Commission proposal on EURODAC (fingerprint database of asylum-seekers) drops the idea of giving access to law enforcement agencies: Amended proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No [ / ] (Recast version) (pdf)
Earlier coverage: European Data Protection Supervisor: Law enforcement access to EURODAC: EDPS expresses serious doubts about the legitimacy and necessity of proposed measures (Press release, pdf) Full text of Opinion (pdf): "The analysis leads to the conclusion that the necessity and proportionality of the proposals, which are both crucial elements to legitimate privacy intrusion, are not demonstrated. As a result, the EDPS has serious doubts whether the proposals are legitimate and whether legislative instruments should be adopted on this basis." (emphasis in original)
See also: Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law (Utrecht) submission to the Commission on: Proposal to give law enforcement authorities access to Eurodac (pdf) and Developing the European surveillance society: German proposal on police access to Eurodac data. Statewatch analysis of EU plans to give police access to central EU fingerprint database of asylum applicants and "illegal" entrants.
EU: European Commission: Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2010 (link)
POLAND: Fight against designer drugs. Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski signed a Bill on 9 November which puts a total ban on the production and sale of designer drugs ('legal highs') in Poland. It grants sanitation authorities the right to examine all suspicious substances at the producer's cost, allows for closing suspicious shops and plants and imposing fines ranging from 5,000 to 250,000. The legislation was passed in an emergency, fast-track procedure following the series of widely reported cases of death from an alleged overdose.
The President signed the new bill despite doubts as to the constitutionality of the legislation voiced by experts and some NGOs. One of them, the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights, wrote an open letter in which it expressed reservations about the way in which the legislation was passed, vague definition of designer drugs as well as the implementation of penal sanctions for breaking the prohibition on the sale of designer drugs. Sources: President Signs Government's Anti-drug Bill into Law (The Warsaw Voice, link); Human rights organisation slams anti-designer drug law (the News, link)
POLAND: Data retention and population surveillance. Poland is leading EU country in terms of access granted to its law enforcement agencies and secret services to retained telecommunication data:
Polish law enforcement agencies requested in 2009 access to traffic data as many as 1.06 million times. This gives 27.5 requests per 1,000 inhabitants, this is in comparison to other EU Member States like the UK (8.6 requests) or the Czech Republic (10 requests), not mentioning Germany (0.2 requests). The statistical data was collected by the Office for Electronic Communications for the purposes of Polish government's response to a questionnaire prepared by the Commission and recently made public by a Polish NGO, the Panoptykon Foundation, in collaboration with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Evaluating directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of communications data both NGOs stressed that the directive 'was transposed in Poland in a semi-secret way, without adequate public debate'. They add that data retention regime as implemented in Poland 'amounts to invasive surveillance of the entire population, which cannot be accepted in a democratic society'. Finally, they concluded that the implementation of the directive has led to a systemic problem with ensuring safeguards for fundamental rights and the rule of law. Joint Statement by the Panoptykon Foundation and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (pdf)
FRANCE: Statewatch Analysis: France Collective expulsions of Roma people undermines EUs founding principles (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico.
Assurances made by French government ministers to the European Commission that the expulsion of Roma people is being conducted on a case-by-case basis have been contradicted by leaked interior ministry circulars which establish a set time frame for the eviction of 300 "illegal" camps "among which Roma ones are a priority." EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding branded France's actions a "disgrace" and called on the European Commission to initiate an infringement action.
SWEDEN-USA: Stockholm to investigate US embassy surveillance - Swedish prosecutor to look into alleged surveillance by embassy without Sweden's knowledge (Guardian, link). See also: NORWAY-USA: US embassy accused of spying in Norway: The US embassy has been accused of spying in Norway, after a television documentary said it had conducted illegal surveillance of hundreds of Norwegians for the past decade (Daily Telegraph, link) ICELAND: US Embassy in Iceland Admits Surveillance Practice (Iceland Review, link); DENMARK: US accused of spying in Denmark (Press TV, link); FINLAND: Finnish Security Police to investigate possible US surveillance work in Finland (HELSINGIN SANOMAT, link)
and Background: Security Incident Management Analysis System (SIMAS) (pdf):
"The Security Incident Management and Analysis System (SIMAS) is a worldwide Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) web-based application, which serves as a repository for all suspicious activity and crime reporting from U.S. Diplomatic Missions abroad (all U.S. embassies and consulates)."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "It is pretty obvious that it is standard procedure for the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) to gather intelligence on "suspicous actvity" across the EU."
EU: European Court of Justice: A person can be excluded from refugee status if he is individually responsible for acts committed by an organisation using terrorist methods (Press release,pdf): "The sole fact that a person has been a member of such an organisation cannot mean that he is automatically excluded from refugee status" and Full-text of judgment (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 8-9 November 2010: Press release, 8-9 November 2010 (pdf). Background Note (pdf); "B" Points Agenda (pdf); "A" Points agenda (non-legislative) (adopted without discussion)
Declaration of the Europe Working Group - Peoples Global Action on Migration (Transnational Institute, link)
EU: European Court of Justice: European Union legislation on the publication of information relating to the beneficiaries of European agricultural funds is partially invalid (pdf) See also: EU court finds transparency rules on farm subsidies 'disproportionate' (euobserver, link) "In a major blow to transparency campaigners, the European Union's highest court on Tuesday (9 November) ruled that the publication of names and details of individual farmers receiving agricultural aid infringes their right to privacy."
ITALY: An appeal against the latest Italian security package (Everyone Group, link), which aims to expel citizens from member states.
Seasonal Workers EU institutions state of play (European Area of Security Freedom and Justice, link)
EU: European Commission: Report: 2010 progress review of the EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012) (COM 630, pdf) and Progress report on the development of the second generation of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) (COM 633, pdf)
Pilots boycott full-body scanners over health fears (link): "The world's largest pilot's association has boycotted full-body scanners over health risks but passengers wishing to avoid the devices may instead be faced with "invasive" pat-down searches. The Allied Pilots Association (APA) made the recommendation in a recent letter to its members, advising pilots to submit to the searches instead of facing the extra radiation from the scanners.
ITALY-EGYPT: Amnesty International calls for an end to mass expulsions Following the expulsion to Cairo of 68 migrants of the 131 who were intercepted in a boat by the Italian authorities off the coast of in Sicily on 26 October 2010 in a charter flight on the following evening, Amnesty International issued a press release on 29 October 2010. This claims that:"this mass expulsion appears to have been carried out without consideration of people's right to claim asylum and in violation of Italy's obligations deriving from international law and standards on the matter of refugees and human rights".
European Civil Liberties Network: Noticeboard: Recent coverage includes
- Ricin! The The Inside Story of the Terror Plot That Never Was: Book launch, Newham UK
- da stefano cucchi a tutti gli altri. un anno di vita e morte nelle carceri italiane. settimo rapporto sulle condizioni di detenzione in italia (Seventh report on the conditions of detention in Italy by Associazione Antigone, subtitled "a year of life and death in Italian prisons")
- Appel pour une manifestation nationale et unitaire contre le ministere de lâ Immigration et sa politique (Call for national and unitary demonstration against the immigration ministry and its policy)
- VII Jornadas Internacionales sobre Derechos Humanos. The seventh edition of this international human rights initiative that will include debates, meetings, exhibitions and efforts to "claim human rights as an ideal for emancipation, as a goal for liberty and a model for a world based on justice and dignity".
EU: Council of the European Union: Common European Asylum System - State of Play (pdf)
EU: Quaker Council for European Affairs: Briefing Paper: Security Co-operation between the EU and Israel (pdf). See also: NeoConOpticon blog
NORWAY-USA: US embassy accused of spying in Norway: The US embassy has been accused of spying in Norway, after a television documentary said it had conducted illegal surveillance of hundreds of Norwegians for the past decade (Daily Telegraph, link):
"According to the TV2 News channel, the US embassy had employed between 15 and 20 people, including former high-ranking Norwegian police officers, to monitor Norwegians in a bid to ward off attacks on US interests in Norway. The surveillance had been going on since 2000, said the report. Embassy-hired employees had photographed people taking part in demonstrations and added their names to a special computer database, SIMAS (Security Incident Management Analysis System), TV2 reported."
See Background: Security Incident Management Analysis System (SIMAS) (pdf):
"The Security Incident Management and Analysis System (SIMAS) is a worldwide Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) web-based application, which serves as a repository for all suspicious activity and crime reporting from U.S. Diplomatic Missions abroad (all U.S. embassies and consulates)."
EU: European Parliament study: Review of security measures in the Research Framework Programme (pdf):
"It is mostly large defence companies, the very same who have participated in the definition of EU-sponsored security research which are the main beneficiaries of FP7-ST funds."
"Security research under its current (and, apparently, future) form fails to address the questions that should be at the heart of any security policy: what is what we want to protect? And what is the impact of measures taken in the name of protection on what we want to protect?"
See: Report from Statewatch and the Transnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes
Italy: Extension of soldiers' deployment in cities
In a joint press conference on 22 July 2010, interior minister Roberto Maroni and defence minister, Ignazio La Russa, announced that "as a result of the good results arising from this synergy", the deployment of soldiers to support police forces in the surveillance of sensitive targets or high-risk areas in cities, which was set to expire on 4 August 2010, would be extended until 31 December 2010.
EU: VIS database: European Court of Justice: Brussels blocks UK from biometric superdatabase (Register, link)
European Commission: Communication: A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European UnionA comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union (COM 609/3-10, pdf) and Press release (pdf). See also: Public consultation (link)
UK-FRANCE: Coalition government signs Declaration on "illegal" immigration: UK-France Summit 2010 Declaration on Immigration (pdf).
Interestingly the Declaration (p2) refers to decisions made at the G6 meeting in Italy in May 2010 including "strengthened operational cooperation between European and American police forces to optimise intelligence and the coordination of operations designed to dismantle illegal immigration networks." [emphasis added]
Background: G6 Interior Ministers + USA to meet in secret in future: The G6 meetings of Interior Ministers is comprised of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK - the meetings in September 2008 and March 2009 were also attended by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. At the G6 meetings in March 2009 it was agreed that: "No formal conclusions would be issued after meetings."
EU: European Parliament study: Readmission policy in the EU (pdf): Argues that readmission policy has become part of a matrix of external policy demands and that in these cicrumstances it is "reasonable to warn the European Parliament about future guarantees, aimed at ensuring the safety of persons readmitted to a country that has no effective asylum system. Such guarantee can hardly be taken seriously." And that: "the call of the Council of Europe to:
"conclude readmission agreements only with countries that comply with relevant human rights standards and with the 1951 Geneva Convention, that have functioning asylum systems in place and that protect their citizens right to free movement, neither criminalising unauthorised entry into, nor departure from, the country in question."
cannot be dismissed offhand, above all following the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union into the Treaties."
EU: Council of the European Union: European Investigation Order:
- Initiative of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Estonia, the Kingdom of Spain, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Slovenia and the Kingdom of Sweden for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters - Orientation debate (pdf)
- The Delegation of Hungary (pdf) - The Netherlands (pdf) and Sweden (pdf)
See: JUSTICE: Briefing on the European Investigation Order (pdf): Fair Trials International: Submission on a European Investigation Order (pdf) and Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
EU: Council of the European Union:
- Proposal for a Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings: - State of play (pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings (23 pages, pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State (50 pages, pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (recast) (68 pages, pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (33 pages, pdf)
European Civil Liberties Network: Noticeboard: Recent coverage includes:
- Custody death protestors march to Downing Street
- Demonstration against new immigration detention centre in Rotterdam
- Leftist bookshops in Berlin raided again
- Pogrom-like attacks against migrants in Attica Square, Athens
- "Convention Killing: Armed Drones and the "Playstation mentality" - new report
- Computer experts find leaks in new Swiss passport
- Ouvrons les yeux sur les centres fermes: situation of migrant in Belgian detention centres
EU: Legal paper by Marie Diop: Unaccompanied Minors Rights within the European Union: Is the EU Asylum and Immigration Legislation in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child? (120 pages, pdf)
UK: Witnesses 'thrown off plane' during deportation flight - Two students who tried to voice concern about 'violent' deportation say they were questioned by armed police (Guardian, link)
EU: Drones may Track Migrants (Inter Press Service, link). "The notice appeared quietly on the website of Frontex, Europe's agency to fight undocumented migration. It called for expressions of interest in demonstrating "Small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Fixed systems for Land border surveillance" at its workshop."
EU sending 175 armed guards to Greek-Turkish border (euobserver, link): "One hundred and seventy five armed border guards from 25 European countries are to be deployed next Tuesday (2 November) on the Greek-Turkish border for a mission of two months, in a bid to help Athens stem the inflow of undocumented migrants, a move causing concern in the UN's refugee body.... The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed concern about the border crackdown on migrants who may be entitled to asylum. In a statement, the UNHCR said it recognises the need for control of the EU's external border but warned that "asylum needs should not be compromised.""
People entering the EU have the right to claim asylum, it will be interesting to see how many are allowed to do so during this operation.
See: Frontex: Frontex Executive Director signs decision to deploy RABITs (pdf), Frontex to deploy 175 specialist border control personnel to Greece (pdf), Frontex deploys Rapid Border Intervention Teams to Greece (pdf) and Frontex Press Kit: Rapid Border Intervention Teams (pdf)
EU: Entry visas for Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina : Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 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 (pdf), Background Note (pdf). This proposal moves the two countries from the list of those needing a visa for entry to the EU. Visa-free travel is available to those holding "biometric passports". The UK has opted out.
and see: Commission statement (pdf) which says: "Emergency consultation arrangements will be introduced so that the European Union and its Member States can, in cooperation with the authorities of the countries concerned, react in the best possible conditions to any specific difficulties which might arise with flows of persons from the countries of the Western Balkans."
GERMANY: Military to be deployed against Gorleben protesters
Green Party MP, Christian Ströbele, asked the Ministry of Interior if there was any involvement of military units in combating demonstrators that will try to stop a controversial train with nuclear cargo. He did this because this was the case with the G8 protests in Heiligendamm in 2007, when it was discovered afterwards and considered unlawful. In the case of Heiligendamm the main military involvement was aerial reconnaissance by tornado jet fighters. Ströbele
asked if those were being deployed again as there were already daily sightings of those in the Gorleben area. The surprising answer of the Ministry of Interior on 22 October was that the deployment of the Tornado jets was "not planned" but that the army (Bundeswehr) had "promised to execute supportive tasks on demand by the ministry of Interior and Sport of the state of Niedersachsen."
One of the main organizers of the protests, Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg (BI) has now called for the cancelling of the nuclear transport. "We want political solutions, not situations that remind of civil war. The population here is opposed to an outdated energy-policy influenced by industrial lobby's. Instead of answers they send 16.500 policemen and the army". Source: Hintergrund (link) and Reaction BI: (link)
EU: European Commission programme for 2011: Selected proposals - Home Affairs (Internal security and immigration)
- Smart Borders
- Exist-Entry Scheme
- Registered Travellers Programme
- ESTA (EU electronic system for travel authorisation)
- Directive on the use of Passenger Name Records for law enforcement purposes (European PNR)
- European Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (European TFTP)
- Legislative proposal on the establishment of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)
- Communication: Global Approach to Migration
- Proposal for a review of Directive 2006/24/EC (Data Retention)
- Regulation establishing a procedure for the freezing of funds of persons suspected of terrorist activities inside the EU
- EU Immigration Code (inc "legal migration")
Update: ITALY-EGYPT: Over half the migrants who arrived in Catania deported in under a day
As ASGI feared in its statement on 27 October 2010, the explanation for the treatment reserved to the 131 migrants who arrived from Egypt on 26 October 2010 in Catania, held in the PalaNitta sports hall in the outskirts of town without UNHCR or other organisations authorised to provide legal assistance or to monitor their treatment being allowed to visit them, arrived in the evening of the following day when the interior ministry issued a press release that triumphantly announced the expulsion of 68 of them to Egypt.
CANADA: The U.N. Security Councils 1267 Regime and the Rule of Law in Canada (pdf)
The BC Civil Liberties Association is launching a report today at UBCs law school on the UNs 1267 Regime an international blacklist Canada has adopted that is held out to be targeting alleged terrorist affiliates of the Taliban and al Qaeda. The report concludes that the system violates Canadian constitutional and international law.
Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA: In the fight against terrorism, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of what we are fighting for. Liberty, justice, freedom none of that can be secure if we do not protect the rule of law.
EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Subsidiarity assessment: admission of third country nationals as seasonal workers (pdf):
"We recommend that the House of Lords should issue the reasoned opinion set out below to the effect that the draft Directive does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity; and should send it to the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, in accordance with the
provisions of the EU Treaties."
UK: No terror arrests from stop and search, says government (BBC News, .link): "Not one person stopped and searched under anti-terrorism powers in Britain was arrested for terrorism-related offences last year, figures show.... In all, 101,248 people were stopped and searched in England, Wales and Scotland under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Of the 506 arrests that resulted, none was terrorism-related."
Home Office Statistical Bulletin: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes and stops & searches Great Britain 2009/10 (48 pages, pdf) and Home Office press release (pdf)
Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 stop and search powers 506 people were arrested but: "No arrests under Section 44 were identified as being terrorism related." Under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 stop and search powers 26 people were arrested but: "No arrests were identified as being terrorism related."
EU: Council of the European Union: "State of Play": IT agency: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
establishing an Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice Open issues
Preparation of the informal trilogue (pdf). Contains comparative chart of the Council, Commission and European Parliament positions.
See also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opinion (pdf)
FRANCE-ROMANIA: Agreement to repatriate unaccompanied Romanian minors ratified
As the French government announced in the wake of president Sarkozy's controversial statements about Roma people and illegal camps in July 2010, presenting it as one of the key points in its plan to tackle the problem, the French Assemblée Nationale (the lower house of parliament) ratified the bilateral agreement for the return of unaccompanied Romanian minors to their home country on 7 October 2010
EU: European Commission: Report on the development of the VISA information system (VIS) in 2009 (submitted in response to the obligation under Article 6 of Council Decision 2004/512/EC) (pdf). Confirms that the VIS database (holding the details and fingerprints of visitors to the EU) was not launched in December 2009 as planned but is now expected to start in December 2010.
ITALY: Press Release: ASGI asks for the rights of the migrants and refugees who landed in Catania to be respected
"ASGI expresses deep concern over the development of events concerning the management by the law enforcement agencies of the arrival of 128 foreigners, several of whom are minors, on 26 October at around 12 o'clock on the coast near Catania. The way in which the intervention took place when the fishing boat laden with migrants was blocked at sea and the use of force in this context remain unclear.
It appears that all the foreigners have been placed in police custody and are held in a makeshift structure in a sports hall that is located in the outskirts of Catania."
POLAND: CIA detainee gets victim status
Warsaw Appellate Prosecutor granted victim status to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi alleged terror suspect. This enables his claim to demonstrate that he was mistreated by the CIA. Al-Nashiri says he was transported by "Guantanamo taxi" to Poland in December 2002 where he was to be held in a secret CIA site in northeast Poland. Representing al-Nashiri, Polish law office Pietrzak & Sidor in Warsaw demanded last September investigation in the case of possible abuse of power by Polish public officials in connection with the secret activities of the CIA and prosecution of persons responsible for al-Nashiri's transfer and detention in Poland.
Source: Terror suspect gets victim status in Polish probe (AP,link)
EU: New challenges - old problems: Commission proposals on revising the 1995 Data Protection Directive
This is intended to be the first step in revising the 1995 Directive in the light of shortcomings in the implementation of the 1995 Directive and to meet "new challenges" emanating from new technologies (social networking and cloud computing). Following reactions to this Communication there will be an impact assessment and legislative proposals presented in 2011.
"In the very different worlds of the 1990s and 2010s there should be an obligation to inform the data subject each and every time data not obtained from them has been added or disclosed to third parties. Not to do so renders meaningless the right of correction because the data subject has not been told and can have no idea what has happened to their data."
See: Commission Communication: A comprehensive strategy on data protection in the European Union (pdf)
ECJ-UK: The European Court of Justice has rejected the UK's challenge to the validity of the third-pillar Decision on police access to the VIS (on grounds of not allowing the UK's full participation): Full-text of judgment (pdf)
EU-GREECE: EU sends border guards to Greece (European Voice, link): "Rapid-response teams to help tackle flow of migrants. The European Commission has sent rapid-response teams of national border guards to help Greece deal with an influx of illegal migrants via Turkey. This is the first time that the Rapid Border Intervention Teams operated by Frontex, the EU's border management agency, have been used since they were set up in 2007. The Greek government requested their deployment yesterday (24 October)." And: EU to deploy armed patrols at Greek-Turkish border (euobserver, link). See also: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, issued the following statement on his Mission to Greece: UN statement (pdf)
UK: New rights to protect Britons abroad (Justice Department, link): "New rules which make sure that Britons arrested abroad are informed of their rights in a language they understand are being negotiated in Brussels."
European Commission: Report on the application of Directive 2004/81 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities (pdf) and Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union (pdf)
European Parliament: Strengthening democratic scrutiny over EU external instruments (Press release, pdf): "Parliament approved proposals on Thursday to give MEPs a power of scrutiny over how the European Commission finances projects intended to promote stability in non-EU countries, improve cooperation with developing and other countries and promote democracy and human rights."
EU: Rightist parties plan opposition to EU centralization, immigration (M&C News, link): "Right-wing parties from six European Union countries met in the Austrian capital Vienna on Friday to plan their opposition to a more centralized EU and to immigration."
USA: Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC): Documents Reveal Far-reaching DHS Biometrics Program: LInk to documents (17 MB, pdf)
"EPIC has obtained hundreds of pages of government biometrics plans as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request. The documents, from DHS, detail the agency's plans to implement biometric technology, including facial recognition, DNA identifiers, and iris scans.
These documents reveal that the agency plans to create vast biometric databases, which will be shared not only with other agencies, but also with other countries. The list of cooperating countries currently includes Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. DHS plans to expand this information sharing community to include Germany, Korea, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Malta, Italy, Spain, Portugual, and Mexico. These biometrics databases will also be linked the terrorist watchlists.
The documents also reveal the agency plans to implement several new technologies related to biometrics. The DHS will implement biometric technology on mobile devices and in crowd scanning technology."
UK: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Legislative Scrutiny: Terrorist Asset- Freezing etc. Bill (Preliminary Report) (pdf):
"The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) expresses concern over some of the significant human rights issues raised by the Government's Terrorist Asset-Freezing Etc. Bill, including the fairness of using secret evidence in the same way as it is used to make control orders."
UK: Film makers face jail over terror suspect on Newsnight (Evening Standard, link). See: Terror suspect on life under 'house arrest' (BBC Newsnight, link): "A man judged to be a threat to national security has decided to break his strict bail conditions so he can speak out about the difficulty of his life under virtual house arrest."
EU: Full list of deaths during deportations from Europe (IRR News Service, link)
UPDATE: Germany has failed multiculturalism not vice versa (IRR News Service):
"Angela Merkel tells a CDU conference that multiculturalism in Germany has 'utterly failed', yet Germany has not even tried it... Germany has until recently not extended citizenship rights to its many Turkish residents, or even to the descendants of the Gastarbeiter who were born on its soil, unlike the UK which gave citizenship automatically to its black commonwealth workforce. Germany has never provided support in its education system to those who did not have German as their mother tongue, unlike here where there were classes for those with English as a second language and special funding for areas with particular needs emanating from ethnic minority pupils. Germany has been slow in implementing any national plan against racism and fast to divert part of the funds set aside to fight Neo-Nazis (a serious and increasing threat) to fight leftwing and Islamist extremism."
FROM MULTICULTURALISM TO MONOCULTURALISM: Angela Merkel declares death of German multiculturalism - Chancellor's remarks, which claimed multiculturalism had 'failed utterly', interpreted as a shift rightwards from previous views (Guardian, link) and Merkel stokes anti-immigrant discourse in Germany (euobserver, link): "In the beginning of the Sixties, we called on foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country." She added: "We kidded ourselves for a while by saying they won't stay, sometime they will disappear, but this isn't reality.... [the multicultural idea] that we can live side by side has failed"
UK: G4S security guards accused over restraint of Colombian deportee - José Gutiérrez's claim he was mistreated comes after officers from same firm accused over death of Jimmy Mubenga (Guardian, link)
GREECE: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, issued the following statement on his Mission to Greece: UN statement (pdf). See also: Greek gateway to EU is 'inhuman and degrading' (euobserver, link)
EU: Directive on the mandatory retention of communications data is being reviewed see: Full documentation (link). For full background on its introduction see Statewatch Observatory: Surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
UK: INTERCEPTION MODERNISATION PROGRAMME (IMP) to be resurrected: Alarm bells started to ring when the Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (pdf, published 19 October) contained the following government commitment to:
"introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework... We will legislate to put in place the necessary regulations and safeguards to ensure that our response to this technology challenge is compatible with the Governments approach to information storage and civil liberties." [emphasis added]
The fact that the announcement came through the Defence Review and not the National Security Strategy: A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty (pdf, published 18 October) indicates that GCHQ's (Government Communications Headquarters, the UK's equivalent to the USA NSA electronic spying agency) long-held demand to run the £12 billion Interception Modernisation Programme is back on the agenda.
See: Green light for spooks' net snoop plan (The Register,link) "The coalition government has approved a multibillion-pound plan by the intelligence agencies to store details of every online conversation.
The reemerging Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) means internet providers will be forced to install interception equipment in their networks to capture details of who contacts whom, when, where and how via services such as Facebook, Skype, webmail, and online games.
Under the most likely scenario, Deep Packet Inspection technology will be configured by GCHQ to grab such data from passing traffic and store it in vast silos run by communications providers. The same technology will also allow for the content of communications to be intercepted"
Note 1: The ability to "intercept" communications as they happen in "real-time" (which only GCHQ can do) is quite distinct from the existing powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) which only covers obtaining access to communication data: See Interception figures: 1937-2009 (pdf).
Note 2: the Interception Modernisation Programme will also have the ability to collect and store records covering e-mails, faxes, phone-calls, mobile-phone calls (including location), Internet usage (including content) plus IP based communications used by Facebook, Skype etc.
Note 3: Background: LSE: Briefing on the Interception Modernisation Programme (pdf) and Database state (pdf)
EU-USA AGREEMENT ON DATA PROTECTION & EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL DATA: European Parliament: Working document no 1 (pdf) and Working document no 2 (pdf): Public Hearing: Data Protection in a transatlantic perspective, 25 October 2010 (link)
Background: Commission mandate: a) Explanatory Memorandum and proposed Recommendation (COM 252-10): Proposal for a Council Recommendation to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
b) Mandate: Negotiating Directives (pdf)
And see: Reports by the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (EU doc no: 15851/09, pdf) with EU-US High Level Contact Group on data protection and data sharing (HLCG) (EU doc no: 14574/09, pdf)
EU: The fiction of migration control policies - Voluntary return programmes (pdf) by Peio M. Aerbe - Mugak/Sos Racismo
EU: The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights ELDH and the Association for Democracy and International Law MAF-DAD: European Lawyers demand: Take the PKK off the Terrorist List of the European Union (Press release, pdf)
UK: Coalition government presents National Security Strategy: A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty (October 2010, pdf).
See also Previous: National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an interdependent world (adopted March 2008, pdf) and National Security Strategy: Report on Progress (March 2010, pdf) plus to the Joint National Security Committee: Memorandum from the Cabinet Office (March 2010, pdf) and Supplementary memorandum from Lord West of Spithead (April 2010, link)
EU: European Commission report on internal borders: On the application of Title III (Internal Borders) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006
establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (COM 554-10, pdf). Includes use of police powers at internal borders: "The Commission is of the opinion that in order to assess whether or not police checks have an effect equivalent to border checks, it needs more information from Member States on the reasons and frequency of checks carried out in internal border zones...The Commission is concerned by the difficulties reported by travellers in connection with alleged regular and systematic checks carried out in certain internal order
EU: Council of the European Union: Council seeking to draw up non-legislative guidelines to extend its "returns" policy to removals by land (generally under the Returns Directive these are by air): Transit by land of returnees (EU doc no: 14541/10, pdf). The Council is seeking: "to find effective solutions to implement voluntary departures in full compliance with legal instruments, such as the Return Directive and without causing excessive administrative burdens."
The Council's Contact Committee on the Return Directive proposed drawing up Recommendations for the transit by land of returnees and "A technical working group of interested Member States (CZ, HU, LV, PL, SI), together with the Commission have elaborated such recommendations. These are based on voluntary involvement of Member States and do not imply any legal obligations."
UK: IDENTITY CARD BILL: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Legislative Scrutiny: Identity Documents Bill (pdf). The Committee says: "Joint Committee on Human Rights welcomes Identity Documents Bill but says more clarification needed" including:
"Information sharing and passport related information
Clause 10 of the Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to compel a range of public and private bodies to provide any relevant information for purposes connected with the issuing of a passport. These powers engage the right to respect for private information, but it is unclear what information the Minister would seek and what safeguards apply, as the power in Clause 10 is widely defined. The Government should provide further detail about the information to be sought and the safeguards that will apply, in order to clarify the proportionality and necessity of the power."
UK: 'Racist' UK policies blamed for deaths of 77 asylum seekers and migrants - Fatality figures likely to be an underestimate, according to report for Institute of Race Relations (Guardian, link) See: IRR Report: Driven to Desperate Measures: 2006-2010 (link)
UK: Black people are 26 times more likely than whites to face stop and search (Observer, link). Background: Statewatch Analysis: Published in 2005 and based on 2003-2004 figures per 100,000 of the population: Stop & search: Ethnic injustice continues unabated: "Black people are nearly seven times and Asian people over twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people."
GERMANY: Polizei lässt Atomkraftgegner von Kopf bis Fuß erfassen (Hannoverfche Allgemeine, link): Summary: In preparation for the coming protests against storage of nuclear waste, police in Wendland Area (between Hamburg and Berlin) wants to store extensive profiles of known protesters (including fingerprints, tattoos, pictures). At least five protesters received a n 'invitation' to come to the police station to hand over this information. The letter contained the warning that in case of refusal force could be used to bring the person to the police station.
USA-POLAND: Border Boletín: UA to take lie-detector kiosk to Poland (Arizona Daily Star, link): Computer specialists from the National Center for Border Security and Immigration Research of the University of Arizona visited Poland to present their newest technical finding: a lie detector machine that can
be used to apply to migrants to decide if the story they are telling to demand asylum, is correct.
EU: European Commission proposal on EURODAC (fingerprint database of asylum-seekers) drops the idea of giving access to law enforcement agencies: Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on 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] (Recast version) (pdf)
UK: UPDATE: MPs demand inquiry over flight death (Guardian, link) and Jimmy Mubenga: Questions raised over flight guidelines for deportations (link). Earlier report: Security guards accused over death of man being deported to Angola - Exclusive: Witnesses on BA flight say Jimmy Mubenga was being heavily restrained by guards from private security firm G4S (Guardian, link)
Yesterday's story: Police investigate as man dies while being deported from UK - Angolan man, who was in custody of private security company, 'taken ill' on board plane at Heathrow (Guardian, link)
IRELAND-NORTHERN IRELAND: Human Rights Commissions: Joint Committee Meeting in Dublin calls on British and Irish Governments to
commit to key international standards (pdf)
Council of Europe: Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg: Airlines are not immigration authorities (pdf)
UK: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): Submission to the Joint Committee for Human Rights on the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Bill (pdf) and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC): Year 10: Six Extraordinary State Powers at the Close of the First Decade of the War on Terror Response From SACC to the Coalition Government's Review of Counter-Terrorism and Security Powers 2010 (pdf)
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection Opinion 3/2010 on the principle of accountability (pdf)
UK: Gareth Peirce: Why I still fight for human rights' - Justice dies when the law is co-opted for political purposes.' (Guardian, link)
Libya/Italy: Machine gun attack on Italian fishing boat by Libyan coast guards: what happens during patrols against "illegal" immigration?
In the evening of 12 September 2010, an Italian fishing boat with ten crew members on board was fired at repeatedly with a machine gun during a lengthy chase after it failed to stop when called upon to do so by Libyan coast guards in international waters in the Gulf of Sirte (off the Libyan coast).
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency reports: Police Stops and Minorities (pdf) and Understanding and Preventing Discriminatory Ethnic Profiling: A Guide (pdf)
UK-EU: The EU Data Protection Directive is to be reviewed. The UK Information Commissioner: The Information Commissioners response to the Ministry of Justices call for evidence on the current data protection legislative framework (pdf)
EP-FRANCE-ROMA: ALDE MEPs question to the European Commission: Roma databases and discrimination in France and in the EU (pdf)
GREECE: Officer guilty of boy's murder that sparked Greek riots (BBC News, link): "Witnesses said Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot deliberately A police officer in Greece has been found guilty of murdering a schoolboy during protests in 2008, in a case that sparked weeks of rioting. A court in the town of Amfissa convicted Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, of the culpable homicide of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. He was shot dead during anti-government protests on 6 December 2008 in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia."
France: Unlawful gendarmerie database on Roma people
"A new chapter was added to the recent controversy over France's treatment of Roma people when lawyers Françoise Cotta and William Bourdon told Le Monde newspaper that they had filed a lawsuit on behalf of four associations of Roma people and travellers in Paris on 6 October 2010 concerning an unlawful database held by the gendarmerie (police force with a military status) in Arcueil (Val-de-Marne)."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 October, 2010, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf):
and "B"Points Agenda (pdf) "A" Points Agenda - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points - non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf)
BELGIUM: Pluto author arrested and tortured in Belgium (pdf):
"Having just entered Belgium, some two hours earlier, she witnessed violent arrests on the street. When Marianne began taking pictures, she was arrested. She was taken into police custody where she was violently dragged by her hair, chained to a radiator, hit, kicked, spat upon, called a whore, and threatened with sexual assault by the police. She also witnessed the torture of another prisoner also chained to a radiator."
See also: Statewatch coverage: Policing of 'noborder camp' in Brussels violates basic civil rights
FRANCE: MENS, le fichier ethnique illégal sur les Roms (Lemonde, link): The French gendarmerie run a database collecting data on ethnicity and race called "MENS" and targeting Roma, held by the Central Office against the itinerant delinquency (OCLDI). NGOs have tabled a complaint for the creation of a non-declared database and for the storage of "personal data related to racial and ethnic origin" and announced further appeals to the CNIL and the HALDE.
CoE: Council of Europe: Human Rights Commissioner: Debate urgent procedure: Recent rise in national security discourse in Europe : The case of Roma (pdf)
EU: IRR European News Team: The IRR publishes today a free briefing a paper from its European Race Audit, Accelerated removals: a study of the human cost of EU deportation policies, 2009-2010. The briefing paper examines the 38 asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe over an 18-month period. Read an IRR press release here or the Full report (pdf).
EU-ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement): Text agreed in Tokyo: Consolidated Text: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Informal Pre-decisional/Deliberative Draft: 2 October 2010 (pdf)
European Parliament: Question to Council of the European Union: U.S. access to European police databases (pdf):
"According to media articles citing government sources in Vienna, Austria granted to the U.S. access to certain data held in the Austrian police databases. Previously the U.S. had threatened to exclude Austria from the "Visa Waiver Programme" (VWP) and to re-establish the visa requirement for Austrian citizens. In a letter, the U.S. imposed the deadline of 31 December 2010 to reach an agreement with the Austrian authorities on VWP and access to Austrian databases."
EU-LIBYA: EU signs up to 'unclear' migration pact with Libya (euobserver, link): "The European Union has cautiously agreed to allocate 50 million for projects aimed at improving Libyan treatment of refugees, mostly coming from African conflict zones and heading to Europe. The deal was branded as "worryingly vague" by human rights groups, as Libya does not even recognise the term "asylum seeker.""
EU-PNR: Council of the European Union: EU external strategy on Passenger Name Record (PNR) data - Handling of draft negotiation mandates for PNR Agreements with Canada, the United States of America and Australia (pdf). The Council is proposing to open negotiations with the USA, Canada and Australia at the same time. The Council says that the Commission Communication Communication on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM 492, pdf) meets the European Parliament's concerns as expressed in its Resolution on the launch of negotiations for Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements with the United States, Australia and Canada (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: "State of play", 27.9.10: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child-pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA - State of play and: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (pdf) See also: State of play, May 2009: EU doc no: 9892/09 (pdf) and Commission proposal (pdf)
EU-USA: SWIFT-TFTP agreement: Question to European Commission on: TFTP interim and permanent overseer (pdf): "Can the Commission indicate the legal basis for keeping confidential the identity of the EU public official - interim and/or permanent - overseeing the implementation of the TFTP agreement? Is there any precedent for such a decision or arrangement?"
EU: Frontex launches first expulsion charter (link)
EU: European Journalists Warn EU Home Affairs Chief that European Data Law Threatens Freedom (EFJ, link). See Statewatch Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
Netherlands: Analysis of a draft coalition agreement (Note: the new government has not yet been formed): Proposals for revision of EU migration law and international law in the September 2010 Dutch coalition agreement (pdf) by Kees Groenendijk, a Professor of Migration Law at Radboud University Nijmegen. See also: New Dutch government to rest on support of far-right (euobserver, link); EU's centre-right criticises new Dutch government (link): Dutch coalition to target burqas, Muslim immigration (link)
EU-ACTA: European Parliament Press release: MEPs call on the Commission to present final ACTA text as soon as possible (pdf) from MEPs Stavros Lambrinidis (Parliament VP, S&D, Greece), Francoise Castex (S&D, France), Zuzana Roithova (EPP, Czech Republic) and Alexander Alvaro (ALDE, Germany). See also: Joint Statement from all the negotiating parties to ACTA (Commission Trade spokesperson, link) and Negotiators Get Close On ACTA, And Continue To Mislead About It (Techdirt, link)
Council of Europe: Bureau of the European Committee on legal cooperation: Draft Recommendation on the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data in the framework of profiling and its Draft Explanatory Memorandum (pdf):
"Since profiling is based on the use of statistics, there is a real likelihood that a given characteristic will be wrongly attributed to an identifiable or identified individual. For example, predictive data relating to an individual which have been extrapolated from data concerning the previous behaviour of a group cannot always be accurate."
"In the fight against terrorism, the use of black lists based on statistical inferences is bound to result in non-terrorists being prevented from boarding a plane and offers no absolute guarantee that terrorist passengers will be intercepted."
"where a general search engine is used, the service provider hosting the search engine has a "global" view of an identified individual terminal nowadays plays a key, even vital, technical role in collecting network users' telecommunications data."
See also: Comments of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, DC (pdf)
European Ombudsman: Summary (pdf) Decision: Alleged refusal to grant access to terrorism related document (pdf): The Council of the European Union argued. and won, this case on the basis that:
"disclosure would be detrimental to the good functioning of EU-US relations, and it would hinder diplomatic efforts to find constructive solutions in sensitive political areas."
BELGIUM: Policing of 'noborder camp' in Brussels violates basic civil rights
IRELAND: Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL): Know your rights (link) including: Criminal Justice & Garda Powers (pdf, link), Privacy (pdf, link) and European Convention of Human Rights (pdf, link)
EU-FRANCE-ROMA: Amnesty slams Commission's Roma response (European Voice, link)
EU: Cyber attacks: European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on attacks against information systems and repealing Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA (pdf). See also: EU to up its defence against cyber attacks (euractiv, link)
UK: Police surveillance of Muslims set up with 'no regard for law' - Police covered up counter-terrorism unit's £3m camera operation which spied on Muslims in Birmingham (Guardian, link) and see: Thames Vally Police: Project Champion Review: An independent review of the commissioning, direction, control and oversight of Project Champion; including the information given to, and the involvement of, the community in this project from the initiation of the scheme up to 4 July 2010 (pdf)
See also: Project Champion Report misses the target when discussing CCTV surveillance, privacy and data protection (Amberhawk, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch coalition to target burqas, Muslim immigration (euobserver, link): "Anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders has emerged triumphant in Dutch coalition talks, with the new government to introduce a bill on banning the Muslim face veil and to try to halve the number of non-Western" immigrants in the country."
EU: Parliaments to have no say over the "harmonisation" of national ID cards
The Council of the European Union: National ID cards: State of play of identity cards (EU doc no: 13152/1/10, pdf) includes chart with further details on national ID card plans. Background see: Statewatch Briefing: ID Cards in the EU: Current state of play (pdf).
The Council Presidency also proposes that as there is no legal basis to discuss "harmonisation" under the comitology procedures (Article 6 Committee) the Lisbon Treaty should be used to extend the scope of the existing False Documents Working Party. So the very same day, 14 September 2010, the Council Presidency also circulated: Presidency's proposal regarding the activities of the Working Party on Frontiers / False Documents (EU doc no:13151/10, pdf), to extend the role of the False Documents Working Party in order to combat organised crime, "illegal" immigration and criminal activities. The Working Party will also be producing "legislative acts" in the "Mixed Committee" (the EU 27 member states plus the additional Schengen members - Norway, Switzerland and Iceland). The legal basis for this change is to be Article 77(3) of the TFEU under Lisbon whereby the Council can adopt measures concerning:
"passports, identity cards, residence permits or any other such document with a view to facilitating the freedom of movement in the territory of the Member States"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Despite the general move to ordinary legislature procedure (co-decision) for the adoption of new measures jointly by the Council and the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty a number of policy areas retain the old bad system of simply "consulting" the parliament - and Article 77(3) is one of them.
The content (eg fingerprints) and use of data collected, processed, stored and exchanged, within the EU and outside, for passports and ID cards (citizens and resident third-country nationals) is highly controversial.
Yet in this critical area affecting peoples' freedom and liberty the European Parliament will simply be "consulted" - asked for its opinion which on historical precedent will simply be ignored and national parliaments will have no role at all."
EU: Schengen Information System: SIS II TO HOLD 100 MILLION RECORDS:
European Commission Staff Working Paper: Report on the global schedule and budget for the entry into operation of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (COM 1138, pdf). Delay after delay has put off the introduction of SIS II until 2012.
This report contains interesting information on the planned capacity of SIS II. The original specification planned for 15 million records rising to 23 million. However, the growth in the number of member states and more, importantly, the "intensive use" of the system by EU national agencies meant that by January 2010 there were already 31 million "alerts" (records). So planned starting capacity is no 70 million records growing to 100 million.
EU-FRONTEX: Amnesty International (AI) and European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) : Briefing on the Commission proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)
USA: Government Accountability Office: Information sharing: Federal Agencies Are Helping Fusion Centers Build and Sustain Capabilities and Protect Privacy, but Could Better Measure Results (pdf)
UK-EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Commission refers UK to Court over privacy and personal data protection (pdf)
European Parliament: Situation of Roma in Europe: MEPs quiz the Commission (Press release, pdf)
EU: "State of play": Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (recast) (Latest Council position: EU doc no: 13718/10. pdf). And see European Parliament: Draft report (pdf): Rapporteur: Jean Lambert MEP.
EU: European Commission: Recommendation amending the Recommendation establishing a common ''Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)'' to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons (C (2006) 5186 final) (COM 5559/10, pdf)
EU-ROMA: Roma expulsions are sign of 'dangerous times' in Europe, human rights chief says (euobserver, link): "The French Roma crisis is a sign of a "dangerous" drift to the right in European politics but also an opportunity to do "something real" for the minority, the secretary general of the Council of Europe has said in an interview with EUobserver." See also: EU warns France of action over Roma (BBC News, link): "The European Commission has told France that it faces action over its expulsion of Roma (Gypsy) migrants if it fails to adopt EU rules on freedom of movement by 15 October."
Updated: EU-USA SWIFT-TFTP AGREEMENT: MEPs demand explanation on US plan to monitor all money transfers (euobserver, link). See also: Money transfers could face anti-terrorism scrutiny (Washington Post, link). US Treasury: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Cross-Border Electronic Transmittals of Funds (pdf)
Updated: EU-PAKISTAN: READMISSION AGREEMENT: European Parliament: Return of illegal immigrants: Parliament backs EU accord with Pakistan (Press release, pdf). The agreement was approved by 382 to 250 votes in the parliament - the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), Greens and United Left (GUE) groups voted against. Background: Council Decision (pdf) and: Full-text of proposed agreement (pdf)
See also: Readmission agreement with Pakistan: International human rights norms respected? (link); Letter from Migreurop to the European Parliament: Readmission agreement EU-Pakistan. The European Parliament has to deny its approval (pdf), French version (link). Statewatch Briefing on the Proposed agreement and MEPs reactions (pdf)
EU: Schengen: Third annual report on vehicle registration checks (pdf)
UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin (pdf)
EU-ROMA: European Commission: European Commission assesses recent developments in France, discusses overall situation of the Roma and EU law on free movement of EU citizens (Press release, pdf) and Fundamental Rights Agency: Addressing the Roma issue in the EU: Background note (pdf)
FRANCE: A summary of France's immigration bill (RFI, link): "French MPs are debating a contentious bill on Tuesday. Immigration Minister Eric Besson's Immigration, Integration and Nationality bill has caused particular controversy, with plans to strip people of their French nationality and expel members of other European Union countries."
EU-USA: SWIFT-TFTP Agreement Report: Second Report on the processing of EU-originating personal data by the US Treasury Department for counter-terrorism purposes: Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme, January 2010 (pdf) by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere (the "European Eminent Person"). This report by the Judge took place under the previous SWIFT-TFTP agreement with the USA on the transfer of data on all financial transactions recorded by the EU-based SWIFT system. However, this report poses relevant questions for the new EU-USA Agreement: Full-text of New EU-USA Agreement on Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (Agreed in July 2010, pdf).
1. The Judge did not, and was not expected to, question who falls into the "terrorist nexus" as defined by US agencies. The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Watch List say that over 1 million people are on the US Terrorist Screening Center watch list used by the TFTP. Although comparisons are difficult to make Interpol says that"in January 2008, there were 8,479 persons suspected in database linked to terrorist activities."
2. Nor does the Judge address the question of how many US agencies have access to TFTP reports derived from SWIFT and whether they further process them (ie: add data and comments before further circulating them). A US source told Statewatch that the default of US agencies is to "share" information both horizontally (across the Federal government) and vertically (down to state and local agencies) as set out in Bush's Directive on the Information Sharing Environment. A recent investigation by the Washington Post found that there were 1,271 government agencies dealing with counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence (excluding state and local agencies): Top secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (Washington Post, link)
3. The TFTP had produced over 1,550 reports (based on data gathered from the SWIFT-TFTP agreement) over the previous 8 years and of these 800 had been sent to non-EU governments: "To protect the original source of the information, the receiving government typically has not known that the information was derived from the TFTP."
US Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet (New York Times, link):
"Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is going dark as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.
Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications - including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct peer to peer messaging like Skype - to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages."
EU-ROMA: Stop the repatriation of Roma to Kosovo, says Council of Europe (WAZ.euobserver, link): "Many countries (including Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway) have signed a "readmission agreement" with Kosovo. In the case of Germany, the government foresees the repatriation of 2,500 persons a year."
Council of Europe-Dublin II: Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammaberg: The Dublin Regulation undermines refugee rights (pdf):
"The asylum procedures of European countries are still flawed they need to be improved and better harmonised. One of the necessary reforms is to overhaul the dysfunctional so-called Dublin Regulation within the European Union"
EU: France and Italy press ahead with anti-Roma policies: France: Immigration law amendment to turn expulsion of EU nationals into routine
"Following the controversy that resulted from the large-scale eviction of illegal camps and expulsion of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals from France that have largely targeted Roma people since mid-July, the French government is trying to press ahead with proposals to restrict freedom of movement and facilitate expulsions."
and Italy: Interior Minister to press for punishment for EU nationals residing illegally
UK: Unmanned drones may be used in police surveillance (Guardian, link)
EU: European Parliament draft report to LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee on: Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (Recast) (pdf) and Commission proposal (pdf). See also Council of the European Union's position: - Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (June 2010, pdf) and: Council's position July 2010 (pdf)
ECHR: The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has handed down an important judgment of the right of journalists to protect their sources: Full-text of judgment: Case of Sanoma Uitgevers v The Netherlands (pdf): Here the Court reverses a previous ruling and said that the police cannot search premises or seize journalistic material unless they have obtained a judicial warrant. See also: European Court Ruling Bolsters Media Freedom (OSI, link)
UK-EU: Written Ministerial Statement on European Union Bill (pdf): "The Government will introduce a Bill which would require that:
(a) any proposed future EU treaty, agreed by all EU Member States governments, including the UK government, which sought to transfer areas of power or competence from the United Kingdom to the European Union would be subject to a referendum of the British people; and,
(b) the use of ratchet clauses or passerelles, provisions in the existing EU Treaties, which allow the rules of the EU to be modified or expand without the need for a formal Treaty change, would require an Act of Parliament before the Government could agree to its use."
EU-PAKISTAN: Undocumented Pakistanis Face Expulsion (Inter Press Serice, link) by Dave Cronin: "Less than two months after Pakistan was devastated by one of the worst disasters in recent history, the European Union's lawmakers have decided that Pakistanis living in the 27-country bloc without permission should be returned home. In a Sep 21 vote, the European Parliament approved a "readmission agreement" with Pakistan under which the country will be required to take back any of its nationals deemed to be "illegal immigrants" by the EU's member states."
UK suspends returns of asylum seekers to Greece (NCADC, link). See also: Council of Europe: Need to halt transfers of asylum seekers to Greece: Commissioner Hammarberg intervenes in the Strasbourg Court (pdf) and UNHCR says asylum situation in Greece is 'a humanitarian crisis (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Communication on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM 492, pdf) and European Commission adopts an EU external strategy on Passenger Name Record (PNR) (Press release, pdf)
EU: Speech by Commissioner Malmstrom (Home Affairs - Internal security and immigration): Cecilia Malmström's speech before LIBE Committee 13 September 2010 (pdf)
POLAND-CIA: Lawyers for Rendition Victim Intervene in Polish Investigation of CIA Black Sites (pdf): "Filing Demands that Polish Prosecutor Investigate al-Nashiris Illegal Transfer, Detention, and Torture on Polish Soil"
FRONTEX-NETHERLANDS: the Dutch position on the handling of asylum requests and the debarkation of migrants intercepted/rescued in FRONTEX Operations. This is clarified in a letter sent by the Dutch Minister of Justice to the Senates Chairman: Frontex-Netherlands: Full-text (translation by Matteo Tondini, pdf). The Dutch position can be summarized as follows: 1. Dutch vessels are not a part of Dutch territory; 2. Asylum requests of migrants made on board Dutch vessels must be assessed by a competent authority (not by them, however, but possibly by the host nation); 3. The Netherlands considers this as a conditio sine qua non for its participation in FRONTEX operations at sea. See also: Migrants at sea (link)
UK: PROFILING: 'They asked me where Bin Laden was, then they took my DNA' - Fears of racial profiling after rise in number of British Muslims held by border officials (Independent, link): "Hundreds of British Muslims leaving and returning from holidays abroad face harassment and intimidation by security forces when they pass through UK airports and seaports, an investigation by The Independent has found."
EU-ROMA: Italy's leader reiterates support for Sarkozy over Roma row (expatica, link) and Romania wants France to stop Roma expulsions (euobserver, link)
EU: New Council configurations: List of Council configurations: incorporation of space policy and sport (pdf). One of the re-organised Council of Ministers is one on Competitiveness (internal market, industry, research and space) which includes tourism.
EU: European Commission: Report on the application of the Directive on minimum standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status (COM 465, pdf)
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOI): Fringe Special: Overview of all FOI laws: 80 national FOIAs - 184 sub-national FOIAs - &
2 international FOIA (pdf) compiled by Roger Vleugels
EU-SITCEN: EU seeks 'stress-resistant' intelligence officer (euobserver, link): "The EU is hiring three junior experts to join its intelligence-sharing bureau, the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), on top of a new director for the outfit, with the official job descriptions shedding some light onto the secretive body's work. The posts - a Deployable Security Information Officer, an Open Source Intelligence Analyst and a Security Information Officer - are to be filled at the same time as the new directorship, with the deadline for applications closing last Friday."
UK-EU: Home Office: Explanatory memoranda:
- EU Counter-terrorism policy: Main achievement and future challenges (pdf)
- Information managements in the area of FSJ (pdf)
- Proposed Directive on preventing and combatting trafficking human beings and protecting victims (pdf)
- UK-opt-out of trafficking Directive: Letter (pdf)
- Minimum standards Directive (pdf)
EU: European Parliament Studies:
- Setting up a Common European Asylum Area (pdf)
- Readmission Policy in the European Union (pdf)
France/EU - Roma: Circulars about operations to evict illegal camps with full-texts of the three circulars:
"The President of the Republic has set some precise goals on the past 28 July, for the eviction of illegal camps; 300 illegal camps or settlements will have to be evicted within three months, among which Roma ones are a priority".
"In view of the set objectives in their area of competence, area prefects will ensure the carrying out of at least one important operation (eviction/dismantling/removal) per week, which will primarly concern Roma people".
UK: British Identity Cards: Arguments For and Against their Retention and Use 1945-1952 (pdf) by Dominic Small
"To allow the state and the police access to an identity card is to fundamentally change the relationship the citizen has with the state. It makes the citizen subservient to the arbitrary control of the state and grants the state total access to personal data on the individual."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: Follow-up of Asylum Cases and e-Borders Programme: Government Response to the Committees Twelfth Report of Session 200910 (pdf) and the initial report: UK Border Agency: Followup on Asylum Cases and EBorders Programme (pdf)
EU: Commission meeting on body scanners at airports: 2nd Meeting of Commission Task Force on Security Scanners Tuesday 14th September 2010 (pdf) and List of participants (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: Body Scanners: Counter Terrorism Measures in British Airports: Government Response to the Committees Ninth Report (pdf). Includes response to the Committee's enthusiasm for the wide-spread introduction of body scanners.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Existing normal walk-through scanners can detect metal objects and the the EU has already agreed that by 29 April 2014, all airports must have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols and gels in accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) N° 300/2008: See: Introduction of liquids onboard of aircrafts State of play (pdf). This would seem to leave the detection of plastic and liquid explosives: Perhaps what needs investment instead of body scanners, are non-intrusive walk-through scanners that can detect metal, liquid and plastic/liquid explosives?"
EU COUNCIL MEETING in Brussels (27 governments): Sarkozy denounces EU commissioner's Roma remarks (BBC News, link)
European Parliament-European Commission: Draft Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission (pdf) This agreement amends the existing agreement in the light of the Lisbon Treaty. It includes consultation procedures and access by the European Parliament to documents including classified documents.
BELGIUM: To mark the new school year... An open letter to the Belgian justice minister De Clerck (pdf): "I cannot start the new school year in my role as a teacher of Dutch in the prison of Saint-Gilles. I am writing to you, using the media as my intermediary, because you do not want to address this issue and meet with me, despite being asked to do so, on two separate occasions over the past year, by a Belgian Court."
See also: Ministry of justice and prison service under fire for arbitrary refusal
The EU security-industrial complex (TNI, link). Interview with Ben Hayes:
"We need to challenge the homeland security industry who have become rich and powerful as a result of the outsourcing of the War on Terror and which one day could rival the military industrial complex. They have an interest in the endless expansion of the security-industrial complex, which has very serious implications for way the society is policed, and worrying implications for protest movements."
UK: Medical Justice: seeking basic rights for detainees: State Sponsored Cruelty Children in immigration detention (pdf):
"Medical Justice has performed an essential role in exposing the way in which human rights in the United Kingdom have been trampled underfoot over
the last decade. Their findings are shocking, and their recommendations compelling."
European Forum for Urban Security: Citizens, Cities and Video Surveillance: Towards a democratic and responsible use of CCTV (pdf)
UK: From war to law (pdf). Major report on Liberty's response to the Coalition Government's Review of counter-terrorism and security powers 2010 (pdf): "some grave mistakes have been made and the worlds oldest unbroken democracy will be judged by its ability to reflect and correct itself. This is perhaps a once in a generation opportunity to move from war to law. We must ensure that the moment is not wasted." Shami Chakrabarti Director, Liberty
FRANCE-ROMA: The European Parlianment passed a Resolution by 337 votes to 245 calling on France to 'immediately suspend all expulsions of Roma', saying that they 'amounted to discrimination': Full-text of Resolution (pdf)
EU-Commission: Commissioner Reding speech: Statement on the latest developments on the Roma situation (pdf)
""Over the past weeks, the European Commission has been following very closely the developments in France regarding the Roma. I personally have been appalled by a situation which gave the impression that people are being removed from a Member State of the European Union just because they belong to a certain ethnic minority. This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War."
and EU set to take France to court over Roma policy (euobserver, link) and CoE: Human Rights Commissioner: Do not stigmatise Roma (link)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Internal documents on Roma: The situation of Roma in France and Europe: Joint Information Note from European Commission (pdf, dated 1 September 2010). See also: Scapegoating and bigotry - Strategy needed to end Europe's Roma shame (GUE/NGL press release, link) and Barroso makes veiled criticism of French anti-Gypsy campaign (Guardian, link).
International Action Day "Freedom not Fear 2010 Stop Surveillance Mania!" on 11 September 2010
Israel: Base in the Negev desert among most powerful intelligence gathering sites in the world (Le Monde Diplomatique, link) by Nicky Hager, a journalist in New Zealand who uncovered the Echelon intelligence network. According to Hager: "The base, hidden until now, has rows of satellite dishes that covertly intercept phone calls, emails and other communications from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia Images of the base show 30 listening antennas, making Urim one of the largest signals intelligence bases in the world. The only comparable-sized station is a US facility at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, UK.
EU: Security-Industrial Complex: NeoConOpticon blog - updates include "total airport security" and Security Research conferences in Berlin and Ostende (link)
EU: UNHCR criticises Europe for collective deportation of Iraqis (Reuters, link) Following the collective expulsion by charter-flight last week of up to 61 Iraqis who had been living in Britain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the UNHCR has "strongly urge[d] European governments to provide Iraqis with protection until the situation in their areas of origin in Iraq allows for safe and voluntary returns".
EU: Unbalanced Reciprocities: Cooperation on Readmission in the Euro-Mediterranean Area, report by Middle East Institute (pdf). "Over the last fifteen years or so, the number of bilateral readmission treaties concluded by the EU Member States with third countries has skyrocketed. This is quite extraordinary given the unbalanced reciprocities characterizing such treaties", argue the authors. "They also highlight the gaps that may exist between reciprocal commitments and effective actions as well as between the drive for operability and the respect for human rights".
EU: Compendium of European Police, Customs and Ministerial Liaison Officers (partial access, EU doc. 10504/2/09, July 2009, pdf). The EU has produced an overview of where the member states are sending their liaison officers but has chosen to withhold the actual numbers from the public. Statewatch has obtained the full (uncensored) text of this document which shows that 580 liaison officers from police forces, customs and interior ministries of the EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland, are currently busy around the world. At the top of the sending EU countries is France with 122 liaison officers, followed by Germany (88), Spain (61), Italy (51), and the UK (39). The most European liaison officers are stationed in Russia (25), Germany (22), Turkey (21), Spain (18), France (17) and the USA (16). See overview of distribution of EU liaison officers (pdf) and detailed spreadsheet (xls) produced by Statewatch.
Denmark: Court clears climate summit activists (Politiken.dk, link) Danish prosecutors have suffered a serious defeat in the wake of the COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December after a court has cleared an Australian and an American activist of planning violent demonstrations during the summit. See also: ClimateCollective.org (link).
FRANCE-ROMA: Roma people victims of the French government xenophobia (migreurop, link)
EU-US AGREEMENT ON THE EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION: There are currently seven EU-US agreements covering justice and home affairs issues: 1. Europol (exchange of data); 2. Extradition; 3. Mutual assistance; 4. PNR (passenger name record); 5. SWIFT (all financial transactions, commercial and personal); 6. Container Security Initiative (CSI); 7. Eurojust. Getting agreement on many of them has proved controversial and time-consuming (the European Parliament has a say) so now the EU and the USA want to conclude a long-term general agreement covering all future exchanges of personal data concerning any criminal offence however minor.
The EU's negotiating mandate, drawn up by the European Commission and now to be agreed to by the Council of the European Union:
a) Commission mandate: a) Explanatory Memorandum and proposed Recommendation (COM 252-10): Proposal for a Council Recommendation to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
b) Mandate: Negotiating Directives (pdf)
Background: see: Reports by the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (EU doc no: 15851/09, pdf)
"The European Union would apply these principles for "law enforcement purposes", meaning use for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of any criminal offense." while: "The United States would apply these principles for 'law enforcement purposes', meaning for the prevention, detection, suppression, investigation, or prosecution of any criminal offense or violation of law related to border enforcement, public security, and national security, as well as for non-criminal judicial or administrative proceedings related directly to such offenses or violations." (emphasis added)
See also Council Presidency to Justice and Home Affairs Counsellors: EU-US High Level Contact Group on data protection and data sharing (HLCG) (EU doc no: 14574/09, pdf): This records that: 1) the US Privacy Act only applies to US citizens and further that extensive exceptions are allowed for law enforcement agencies; 2) in the EU "every individual has a fundamental right to effective judicial remedy" but "In the US no comparable general rule exists"; and 3) "It is clear that the EU cannot accept a principle that does not provide for an unconditional right to judicial redress. That, on the other hand, is unacceptable to the US" so the EU Council Presidency has proposed: "that any possible gap in the US redress framework which is unacceptable to the EU, cannot be fixed in the redress principle, but must, if necessary, be addressed in a possible future agreement."
UK: Police chiefs misled Birmingham city council over Muslim CCTV, inquiry told: Sir Paul Scott-Lee, former West Midlands chief constable, and Stuart Hyde, his assistant chief constable, face disciplinary action after telling Birmingham counsellors the CCTV scheme for Muslim areas was not terror-related (Guardian, link). Background: Birmingham stops camera surveillance in Muslim areas - Project halted after Guardian exposed use of 200-plus cameras in predominantly Muslim areas for counter terrorism (Guardian, link). Original story: Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move: About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund (Guardian,link)
EU: Statewatch Briefing: ID Cards in the EU: Current state of play (pdf)
Having laid down measures to introduce biometrics (eg: fingerprints) for visas, resident third country nationals and then EU passports the Council of the European Union (27 governments) is now embarking on "harmonising" national ID cards (which in the Schengen area are used as travel documents). This will cover the inclusion of biometrics and using national ID cards for access to e-government services (like social benefits, libraries and healthcare). This is the start of a process of "soft-law making" over which the European and national parliaments have no say.
The Statewatch survey shows:
- 17 countries make it mandatory for their citizens to have an ID card, four do not.
- 13 countries issue traditional ID cards, eight issue cards containing contact and/or RFID chips, two countries do not currently issue ID cards (Norway, UK)
- Of the eight countries that issue electronic ID cards with the capacity to store biometric data, six have chosen to do so (Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Sweden)
Sources:  EU doc no: 5299/1/10 and  EU doc no: 9949/10
G8 SUMMIT: Muskoka, Canada, 26 June 2010: G-8 Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism (pdf)
EU: FRANCE-ROMA POLICY: Barroso and Fillon to hold Roma 'workshop' (euobserver, link) and EU Says Has Yet to Receive France's Letter on Roma Deportations (Sfgate, link)
UK: More than 200 public sector staff caught snooping on citizen records (Computer Weekly, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Report to Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI): The Joint Report by Europol, Eurojust and Frontex on the State of Internal Security in the EU (EU doc no: 9359/10, pdf). It contains the statement that an: "estimated 900,000 illegal migrants enter the EU each year."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"A few years ago a Europol official was put on the spot by the media when asked about "illegal" migration and said that 500,000 "illegal" migrants entered the EU every year. This figure was quoted time and time again. Later this same official admitted that he had simply invented the figure as logically the number of migrants entering the EU undetected was unknown.
Now we have the three leading EU agencies do the same thing, inventing a figure to get headlines and budgets. This is irresponsible and fuels racism in the EU."
UK: Factsheet and FAQ on Expulsion of homeless EEA Nationals (Migrants' rights network, link). See: Factsheet - full-text (pdf):
"Recently the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have launched a pilot scheme attempting to remove homeless EEA nationals, who do not wish to leave, on the basis that they are not exercising residence rights in the UK. The UKBA is aiming towards a combined strategy for dealing with homelessness, underpinned by the prospect of immigration enforcement for those who do not comply. However, the basis for expulsion on which the new scheme relies is yet to be tested in the courts. AIRE Centre, ILPA and MRN believe that this scheme of coercive expulsion is unlawful and needs to be challenged."
EU: France invites handful of ministers to 'immigration' summit (euobserver, link). In the midst of a major row over France deporting Roma the following have been invited to attend, the Interior Ministers of Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and the UK Coalition government. Also see: Stop this state persecution of Roma - France's deportation of Roma is nothing short of state-sponsored racism. When will the international community stand up for us? (Guardian, link)
Italy to raise EU citizen expulsion policy at September meeting (euobserver, link): "Italy has said it intends to expel citizens from other EU states if they are not able to support themselves, in a move apparently inspired by France's current crackdown on Roma." And see: Italy to ask EU for permission to expel Roma (euractiv, link). See also: EU urges France not to mix Roma issue with Schengen (euractiv, link)
EU-USA: AGREEMENT ON MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE: On 1 February 2010 the EU-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement finally came into force. Article 4: Requests for financial information: Requests under Article 4 of the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the USA (pdf). But Article 8 extends mutual legal assistance to almost any crime:
"Mutual legal assistance to administrative authorities
Mutual legal assistance shall also be afforded to a national administrative authority, investigating conduct with a view to a criminal prosecution of the conduct, or referral of the conduct to criminal investigation or prosecution authorities, pursuant to its specific administrative or regulatory authority to undertake such investigation. Mutual legal assistance may also be afforded to other administrative authorities under such circumstances."
See: Full-text of EU-US Agreements on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance (pdf). Background: EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (plus documentation)
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 5/2010 on the Industry Proposal for a Privacy and Data Protection
Impact Assessment Framework for RFID Applications (pdf) and Appendix (pdf)
Countering Terror or Counter-Productive? Comparing Irish and British Muslim Experiences of Counter-insurgency Law and Policy
Report of a Symposium held in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, Falls Road, Belfast, 23-24 June 2009 (pdf) Professor Mark McGovern, Edge Hill University with Angela Tobin. Organised in co-operation with Committee on the Administration of Justice, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Relatives for Justice, Coiste na n-Iarchimi
EU: SCHENGEN EVALUATION: Outcome of proceedings of the Working Party for Schengen Matters - Schengen Evaluation (pdf) and Updated Schengen evaluation questionnaire (evaluation Nordic countries 2011) (pdf). The Outcomes/Minutes of the Working Party for Schengen Matters from July show that all the documents concerning the Schengen Evaluation process are "Restricted" - meaning they are not released to the public ("Restricted" is the lowest level of classified document). There are 27 "Restricted" documents listed in these Outcomes.
The questionnaire shows the detailed information gathered on border controls, databases used and exchanged, surveillance used, police cooperation and statistics gathered. One of the many questions asks: "What is the detection range of the cameras as regards human beings?". It should be remember that this mass of data is being gathered by the Council of the European Union (27 governments) and not the European Commission.
UK: Understanding surveillance statistics by Tony Bunyan
- Since 1998 the surveillance of communications has more than trebled
- 525,130 "authorisations" were granted in 2009 to access communications data
- In 2009 there were 9,042 "covert human information sources" (CHIS) excluding MI5, MI6 and GCHQ
- The Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner: 2009 report (pdf)
- 1998 changes in telephone-tapping warrant procedures disguises true figures
- For the full statistics see: Telephone tapping/interception (and mail-opening figures) 1937-2009 ongoing
- The Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner: 2009-2010 report (pdf)
- Commentary: UK Chief Surveillance Commissioner 2003-2009
- The Intelligence Services Commissioner: 2009 report (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: FRONTEX POWERS: Update: Outcomes (EU doc no: 11843/1/10, pdf). See also: Current Council position (pdf), Outcomes: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee (Details Member States positions,pdf) and Proposal for a Regulation: amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf)
UK-IOM: Home Office has awarded the International Organisations for Migration (IOM) the following amount of money in each of the last five financial years (pdf). Includes details on: Voluntary Assisted Return, Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants and The Return to Afghanistan Programme and the countries to which people has been sent back to.
UK: Has the coalition government adopted the database state?
"Up to now NO2ID has had reason to be pleased with the new government. It may not have moved as certainly or as far as we would like on mass surveillance projects, but it has shown willing, quickly cutting back the ID scheme and cancelling ContactPoint. But this weeks pre-announcement of the idea of using credit-reference agencies to detect benefit fraud is a sign that the ideas of Transformational Government have not vanished from Whitehall alongside the terminology."
POLAND: Former Polish leaders could face charges over CIA prisons (euobserver, link) "Polish prosecutors are considering bringing charges of war crimes against the country's former prime minister and former president over allegations of secret CIA prisons."
EU: European Investigation Order (EIO): JUSTICE: Briefing on the European Investigation Order (pdf). See also: Fair Trials International: Submission on a European Investigation Order (pdf) and Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
UK: After numerous complaints of UK agents being present or knowing of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment of terrorist suspects around the world the Government has published the following Guidelines: Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees July (pdf) and Note of Additional Information from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Home Secretary, and Defence Secretary: Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees (pdf)
UK: Annual report: Intelligence Services Commissioner, 2009 (pdf). This has always been a "fig-leaf" of a report containing nil statistics and comprising 90% of the same content each year. It contains the long-standing definition of the role of the Security Service (MI5) as including combating actions intended to "undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means". While:
"Covert human intelligence sources are essentially people who are members of, or act on behalf of, one of the intelligence services and are authorised to obtain information from people who do not know that this information will reach the intelligence service."
EU: Citizen Rights Don't Apply to Roma (Inter Press Service, link): "All major European countries plan mass expulsions of Roma or demolitions of Roma settlements. Rights groups warn that these measures entail the criminalisation of an entire ethnic group, and break EU law."
POLAND-GERMANY: Suspected Israeli spy subject to European Arrest Warrant
EU: European Commission: Home Affairs (Security and Immigration) Director-General criticised: European Commission does not endorse push-back policy (Times of Malta, link):
"The European Commission should clarify its position about the Italy-Libya arrangement of automatically sending migrants back to where they came from, the UN refugee agency has said. UNHCRs understanding is that the European Commission has not in fact endorsed the Italy-Libya push-back arrangement, but it is of course up to the Commission to clarify its own position, a UNHCR spokesman said.
He was asked to react to comments made by the Commissions new director general for migration, Stefano Manservisi, who said the policy was found to be perfectly in conformity with EU law. But the UNHCR said it read the transcript of Mr Manservisis comments and found what he said was vague and unspecific, while recognising that parts of the Italy-Libya agreement were as yet unknown."
See also: Editorial: Migrants: Case for exercise in transparency (Times of Malta, link)
UK: RESPONSE TO HUMAN RIGHTS JUDGMENTS: Responding to human rights judgments Government Response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Fifteenth Report of Session 2009-10 (pdf). See: Joint Human Rights Committee report: Enhancing Parliaments role in relation to
human rights judgments (pdf) See also: Many European human rights decisions left unimplemented for years (UK Human Rights blog, link)
FRANCE: Minister of the Interior brings charges against two French websites (Infoshop News, link)
International Council on Human Rights Policy: Irregular Migration, Migrant Smuggling and Human Rights: Towards Coherence (link)
UK: Forward Intelligence Team was not authorised to monitor NoBorders Meeting: Protestors acquitted in Crown Court (London No Borders, link). See also: Police fail to prove legality of surveillance (FITWATCH, link)
UK: Stop and ... spy? Are the security services in the UK so desperate to recruit spies and informers that they stop random travellers coming to the UK in order to recruit them? (IRR News Service, link): "IRR News has heard that a Sri Lankan man, visiting London was stopped as he passed through the Eurostar terminal in St Pancras and asked to spy on members of his own community and more specifically the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam network."
EU: EURODAC: Annual report to the European Parliament and the Council on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2009 (pdf) See also: 50% drop in EU irregular migrant border crossings after Italy-Libya pact (euobserver, link)
USA: Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC): Documents reveal that body scanners routinely store and records images (pdf)
BELGIUM-USA: Viewpoint: Possible Extradition of Nizar Trabelsi to the United States: Another Act of War? by Luk Vervaet, a teacher in prisons
"In the case of the demand made by the United States federal judge Alan Kaye for the extradition of Nizar Trabelsi issued on 16 November 2007, three years of legal interventions by his lawyers, Fernande Motte-Deraedt, Marc Neve and Chantal Morreau, have failed to convince the Belgian authorities to refuse the American's extradition request. The final decision is now in the hands of the justice minister in Belgium's temporary government, the Christian-democrat Stefan Declerck. While Declerck continues to negotiate with his American counterpart, it seems likely that he will rule that the issue of Trabelsi does not fall under the remit of 'current affairs'. While Trabelsi continues his anxious wait in a prison cell, is seems most likely that Declerck will pass his case on to the new justice minister in the new government.."
EU: European Commission: Report on the placing on the market of replica firearms (pdf). This report also gives figures on the number of firearms produced each year in the EU with 1,924,997 in 2008. The EU imports firearms to the value 52 million euro and exports firearms to the value of 348 million euro (2008). And: for "non-firearms": "spring, air or gas guns and truncheons are included in the same statistical category [and] the four main producer countries in the EU are Germany (which has a large population of hobby marksmen around 1.7 million licence-holders), Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain."
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection subsumed into Working Party on "Information exchange": The Ad Hoc Group on Information Exchange (running the EU's Information Management Strategy for EU Internal Security) has been merged with the Working Party on Data Protection (which rarely met) and "with data protection being discussed as the need arises."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The track record of the Council shows that it has never taken data protection seriously. The Stockholm Programme states that personal privacy is fundamental but that this can be "interfered" with by "public authorities" (ie: state agencies). When "balancing" the demands of internal security and against the right to personal privacy there is little doubt which will win."
EU: Council of the European Union: As from 1 July 2010, the Police Cooperation Working Party changed its name into Law Enforcement Working Party, which will combine the activities of the former Police Cooperation Working Party with those of the Europol Working Party and:
- The Multidisciplinary working group on organised crime (MDG), created in 1994: "As from 1 July 2010 the MDG will be renamed Working Party on General Matters, including Evaluation. The working group will keep on dealing with matters related to organised crime, as far as they are not covered by COSI or another working party" with the acronym: GENVAL.
EU: Council Presidency: Operation Hermes (link): "During the Belgian presidency, the Belgian integrated police will take the initiative to organise a joint operation in a large number of Member States, aimed at mapping the flows of illegal immigration within the European Union." But:
"Operation Hermes is not limited to mapping flows of illegal immigration. Another important goal of this project is to actively promote and valorise the European police networks Tispol, Aquapol and Railpol. Tispol is a network of European traffic police forces. Aquapol unites the European police and inspection services of the waterways and Railpol brings together the European railway police services."
EU: Council of the European Union: "State of play" at the Brussels summer break:
- Dublin II: 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 (recast) (73 pages, pdf)
- High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG): Summary of discussions (pdf), includes state of negotiations on re-admission and visa waiver agreements.
- European Investigation Orders (EIOs): Follow-up document of the meeting on 12-13 July 2010 (14 pages, pdf). See also: Fair Trials International: Submission on a European Investigation Order (pdf). See also: Discussion paper on the European Investigation Order (pdf) and Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters - Detailed Statement (42 pages, pdf). See: Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters (pdf) See also: Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
EU: Council Presidency: Belgian EU Presidency: Immigration and asylum Programme (pdf)
Poland: Fresh evidence regarding CIA rendition flights: Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) provided fresh evidence of cooperation between the Polish Government and the CIA on renditions
UK: Terrorism Act: Carlile report for 2009: Report on the operation in 2009 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and of Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 by Lord Carlile (90 pages, pdf). See also: 2008 report (pdf)
EU: The European Union and State Secrets: a fully evolving institutional framework (European Area of Freedom Security & Justice, link):
"Many contemporary debates surround the issue of the treatment of confidential information and state secrets both in the United States (1) and the European Union (2) and questions have also been raised over the WikiLeaks phenomenon. It therefore seems timely to try to shed some light on the way confidential information is handled by the European Union institutions, especially since we now have the entry into force of the Treaties of the European Union, on the Functioning of the European Union and the now binding Charter of Fundamental Rights."
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Communication: The EU Counter-Terrorism Policy: main achievements and future challenges (COM 386, pdf) and Commission Staff Working Paper: Taking stock of EU Counter-Terrorism Measures (SEC 911, pdf). See also: 2008 report: Radicalisation Processes Leading to Acts of Terrorism: A concise Report prepared by the European Commission's Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation (May 2008, pdf)
ITALY: Italian gag law threatens bloggers with 25,000 fines for incorrect' facts (euobserver, link): "Bloggers, podcasters and even anyone who posts updates on social networks such as Facebook all face being slapped with fines of up to 25,000 for publishing incorrect facts, if a bill that journalists' organisations are calling "authoritarian" currently before the Italian parliament is passed."
EU washes hands of French plans for Roma expulsions as tensions grow (euobserver, link)
USA: Government Accountability Office report: Undercover Tests Show Passport Issuance Process Remains Vulnerable to Fraud (pdf) The GAO ran a test to check the issuing of passports and found that:
"Of the five passports issued, State failed to crosscheck the bogus citizenship and identity documents in the applications against the same databases that it later used to detect our other fraudulent applications. In addition, despite using facial recognition technology to identify the photos of our undercover investigators and to stop the subsequent delivery of two passports, State did not use the technology to detect fraud in the three applications for passports that we received, which all contained a passport photo of the same investigator."
UK: Court rules against unauthorised police surveillance (IRR News Service, link) "Last week, at Inner London Crown Court, three activists were cleared of charges of obstructing the police as they attempted to film and photograph those attending two London NoBorders meetings in south London in June 2008."
EU-USA: SWIFT-TFTP Agreement: Commission official to bridge 'supervision gap' of Swift agreement (euobserver, link)
EU: INCREASED POWERS FOR FRONTEX: European Parliament takes the Council of the European Union to court: Case before the Court of Justice of the European Union: - Case C-355/10 (European Parliament v. Council of European Union) = Application under Article 263 TFEU for annulment of Council Decision 2010/252/EU (pdf):
"the European Parliament asked the Court to annul Council Decision 2010/252/EU of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union.
In support of its action for annulment, the European Parliament argues that the Council in adopting the contested decision exceeded the implementing powers set out in Article 12(5) of the Schengen Borders Code to adopt additional measures governing border surveillance."
and as filed in the court: C355/10 (pdf)
Background: - Council Decision of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External borders of the Member States of the European Union (pdf) and Regulation establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf)
Updated: EU-UK European Investigation Order (EIO): UK opt-in (pdf). See: New EU police investigation co-operation alarms civil liberties watchdogs (euobserver, link). See also: Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
Italy: Register for the homeless approved
"The interior ministry published a decree on 6 July 2010 to establish a nationwide "anagrafe" (residents' register) for homeless people, which had been envisaged in law 94/2009 on public security, also known as the "security package", whose art. 3 point 39 provides for "establishing a purpose-made national register for people who do not have a fixed residence"."
EU: European Data Protection Commissioner (EDPS): EDPS calls for a comprehensive data protection framework for the Internal Market Information System (Press release, pdf) and Text of Letter (pdf)
EU: FRONTEX-EU's External Borders Agency: Management Board: Analysis and Assessment of Frontex' Annual Activity Report 2009 (pdf). This includes a demand that Frontex be allowed to collect, store and exchange personal data: "effectiveness could be increased by enriching intelligence and intelligence products with personal data. Furthermore, operational/administrative task could be conducted in a more effective way in a centralised system". Frontex wants to become an independent intelligence-gathering agency and is particularly keen to exchange personal data with the USA. There is no reference to Europol's long-standing role in gathering intelligence held in its Analysis Work Files (AWF's).
See also the reservations in the Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on Frontex's Joint Returns Operations (JROs): Opinion on a notification for Prior Checking received from the Data Protection Officer of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) concerning the "Collection of names and certain other relevant data of returnees for joint return operations (JRO)" (pdf)
EU: Annual report by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on Eurodac: Coordinated Supervision of Eurodac: Activity Report 2008-2009 (pdf). Among the conclusions are:
- Information for data subjects: "Member States should improve the quality of the information on data protection for data subjects, which should contain all items laid down in Article 18 of the Eurodac Regulation. The information provided to the data subject should cover the rights of access and rectification as well as the procedure to exercise these rights, including information both about the data controller who should deal primarily with requests for access and rectification and about the national Data Protection Authority as the competent body to give assistance to the data subject where necessary."
- Assessment of the age of asylum seekers: "Member States should ensure that the declaration of the asylum seekers on age is not disregarded in the procedure and that these statements are given an appropriate legal status and value, similar to the ones based on the results of medical examination. The argument that statements made by asylum seekers may not be correct or even be untrue should be weighted against the fact that medical examination as such may also lead to incorrect results or mistakes."
EU: European Commission: Overview of information management in the area of freedom, security and justice (COM 385, 53 pages, pdf): A detailed description of the current and planned databases (or automated direct access) at the heart of the EU state. See also: EU information management instruments (pdf): This Memo purports to set privacy and data protection standards to be met in assessing EU databases.
EU: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): Letter from Article 29 Working Party on data protection (pdf). Latest draft texts: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (link, 8 MB, 1 July 2010, pdf). The EU (represented by the Commission) is taking part in negotiations on the drafting of ACTA.
UK: G20-IAN TOMLINSON: See also: INQUEST Press release: Eyes of the world look on with incredulity as family brand decision of DPP not to prosecute officer who struck Tomlinson a joke (pdf) and: Advice to charge police officer over Ian Tomlinson death ignored (Guardian, link)
EU: European arrest warrant still 'delivering injustice' (euobserver, link) European Arrest Warrant (EAW) statistics: the European arrest warrant Year 2009 (pdf). Poland (4,844), Germany (2,433), and France (1,240) issued the most EAWs in 2009. Similarly, Poland (3,957), Germany (2,433) and France (935) transmitted EAWs via the Schengen Information System (SIS). The respective figures for the effective surrender of the person sought were Poland (1,367), Germany (777) and France (420) - these figures may include EAWs issued in 2008. The EU states receiving the most EAWs in 2009 were: Spain (1,629), France(967), Netherlands (683), Czech Republic (310) and Poland (683). The numbers arrested under a EAW were: Spain (1,232), Germany (1,208), France (789) and Ireland (463). In Spain 504 people consented to the surrender and 740 did not and in the Netherlands 67 consented and 341 did not. No figures are given on the number of convictions following the issuing of an EAW. No figures were provided by the UK.
UK: Statewatch Analysis: The Misuse of Section 44 stop and search powers continues despite European Court ruling (pdf) by Max Rowlands and see Update: Section 44 anti-terrorism stop and search powers scrapped by Max Rowlands
FRANCE: CNDS report into Vincennes detention centre death
"On 5 July 2010, the Commission nationale de déontologie de la sécurité (CNDS, National Commission for the professional ethics of security forces) was critical of the decision to keep a man in detention in spite of his poor health when it issued an opinion and recommendations on the case involving the death of SS, a Tunisian national, in Paris-Vincennes detention centre for foreigners on 21 June 2008. The incident was followed by a protest within the centre, the largest of its kind in France, which had a capacity that was twice as high as the regulation capacity for French centres de rétention administrative (CRAs) for foreigners (140), and the revolt ended when the centre's two compounds (CRA 1 and CRA 2) burned on 22 June. On 17 March 2010, ten former detainees were convicted for violent acts and the fire during the protest in a trial that was criticised as having a foregone conclusion and as isolating events from their context by defence lawyers, who walked out of proceedings after the fourth hearing"
EU: INVESTIGATION ORDER: Council of the European Union: Discussion paper on the European Investigation Order (pdf)
Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters - Detailed Statement (42 pages, pdf). See: Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters (pdf) See also: Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex.
EU: European Commission: MEMO: EU information management instruments (pdf). The full Communication adopted yesterday is not yet available. This present a summary of the existing EU databases and includes the 2009 Schengen Information System (SIS) figures. It incorrectly states that the scope of the Prum Decision database is limited to terrorism - it covers any crime. The Memo is silent on access to EU databases by national internal security agencies. It notes that six EU states have yet to implement the Directive on mandatory retention of communications data (phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phones and internet usage. The Memo also notes the exchange of criminal intelligence uncritically - failing to consider the introduction of standards for "intelligence" to be exchanged which may be uncorroborated, hear-say or suspicion.
Overall the Memo does not deal with proportionality nor in a number of instances the gathering of personal data for one reason being used for another.
EU: European Commission: Proposal on the right to information in criminal proceedings: Press release (pdf) and Proposal for a Directive on on the right to information in criminal proceedings (pdf)
UK: Iraq inquiry: Ex-MI5 boss says war raised terror threat (BBC News, link): "The invasion of Iraq "substantially" increased the terrorist threat to the UK, the former head of MI5 has said." and Former MI5 chief delivers damning verdict on Iraq invasion (Guardian, link)
EU: SCHENGEN INFORMATION SYSTEM: SIS II: Major battle between Council and the Commission
- Austria and Germany launch stinging attack on Commission
- the cost has risen by 1000% from 15 million euro to 143 million euro
- the Commission new plans envisage SIS II's capabilities will be "far beneath the capacities" of SIS I+
FRANCE: Report on the fate of migrants on arrival and following deportation
"In April 2010, Anafé (Association Nationale d'Assistance aux Frontières pour les Étrangers), a network of 23 associations that provides assistance to foreigners who arrive at French border points, published a report that seeks to document the experience of migrants who have been deported, entitled "On the other side of the border: monitoring of refouled people"."
Statewatch Analysis: The Droning of the Drones: The increasingly advanced technology of surveillance and control (pdf) by Volker Eick
"The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones has increased in recent years, but not only in the military and intelligence fields. These reusable vehicles are increasingly used in the civil sector, an expression of the increasing convergence between military, intelligence and civil security policy, economy, technology and research."
EU DATA PROTECTION: Under the Stockholm Programme and provisions of the Lisbon Treaty the European Commission is due to present this year: 1) Communication on a new legal framework for the protection of personal data after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty; 2) New comprehensive legal framework for data protection; 3) Recommendation to authorise the negotiation of a personal data protection agreement for law enforcement purposes with the USA and 4) Communication on Privacy and trust in Digital Europe: ensuring citizens confidence in new services. As background to the first and second proposal the Commission has published an in-depth study: New Challenges to Data Protection Study - Final Report (pdf)
"The purpose of the study was to identify the challenges for the protection of personal data produced by current social and technical phenomena such as: the Internet; globalisation; the increasing ubiquity of personal data and personal data collection; the increasing power and capacity of computers and other data-processing devices; special new technologies such as RFID, biometrics, face (etc.) recognition, etc.; increased surveillance (and dataveillance); and increased uses of personal data for purposes for which they were not originally collected, in particular in relation to national security and the fight against organised crime and terrorism."
See also: Working Paper No 1: The challenges to European data protection laws and principles (link); Working Paper 2 - Data protection laws in the EU (link), Comparative Chart of National Laws (link) and Country Report on Greece (pdf)
It might be thought that the promised comprehensive review of the 1995 EU Directive on data protection under proposals 1 & 2 - which will take several years to complete - would precede any over-arching agreement with the USA on data protection and information exchange covering any crime however minor - however, the Commission has already adopted its negotiating position in order to start talks with the USA with a view to a quick agreement being put in place.
EU: READMISSION AGREEMENTS with third countries
Italy: Justice of the peace annuls expulsion for Rosarno migrant
On 11 June 2010 in Bari, justice of the peace Rita Calvi annulled the expulsion order issued by the prefect (government representative in charge of security) of Bari on 10 January 2010 regarding a Ghanaian migrant who worked as a seasonal citrus fruit picker and was among those evacuated by authorities from Rosarno in Calabria after the disturbances between locals and African workers that occurred in early January 2010 and led to the wholesale removal of the latter, whose lives were at risk.
UK: Section 44 anti-terrorism stop and search powers scrapped
On 8 July 2010, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that police will no longer be able to use section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop and search members of the public, only vehicles. On 30 June 2010, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled that their January 2010 judgment in the case of Gillan and Quinton v the United Kingdom was final. The Court had found that the police's use of section 44 powers breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides the right to respect for private life.
EU-ACTA: Latest draft texts: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (link, 8 MB, 1 July 2010, pdf). The EU (represented by the Commission) is taking part in negotiations on the drafting of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). These negotiations were launched in 2007 amongst an initial group of interested parties and then continued with a broader group of participants; to date those include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. See also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) highly critical of proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): Press Release (pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf)
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Prohibiting the marketing and use of the Mosquito youth dispersal device (Press release, pdf) and Full report (pdf)
Netherlands: Dutch can ban foreigners from coffeeshops, says EU top court (euobserver, link)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Brussels: European The European Interior Ministers approve a European
security plan to be put in place by 2014 (Press release, pdf)
UK: ID CARD BILL: NO2ID Parliamentary Briefing on Commons Second Reading of the Identity Documents Bill (pdf): "the Bill as currently drafted will create a shadow of the National Identity Register (not an actual Register, but the essence of one) in relation to every 'identity document' in circulation - a list of information that potentially must, under criminal penalties, be kept"
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Readmission agreements: a mechanism for returning irregular migrants (pdf)
" There is, however, a risk that readmission agreements pose a threat, directly or indirectly, to the human rights of irregular migrants or asylum seekers. This concerns, in particular, the risk that the sending or the readmitting country fails to honour their obligations under the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the 1951 Geneva Convention) "
COE-TURKEY: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Turkey (pdf)
UK: Duplicity behind immigration cap - Electoral politics, rather than economic necessity, are behind the cap on non-EU economic immigration.(IRR News Service, link)
Human Rights Watch report: France, Germany & UK: No Questions Asked": Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture (pdf, link)
Readmission agreement with Pakistan: International human rights norms respected? (link)
EU: European Parliament votes to back new EU-USA SWIFT agreement: 484-109 in favour of a new five-year deal. See: This Big Brother Is in the USA (Inter Press Service, link). And see: MEPs look to new data protection battle with US (euobserver, link) and Sighs of relief as EU parliament approves 'Swift' deal (euobserver, link)
EU: European Commission: Annual report for 2009: Regulation for public access to EU documents (pdf)
UK: The surveillance of protestors: Peace campaigner, 85, classified by police as 'domestic extremist' - John Catt and his daughter were placed under surveillance at more than 80 lawful protests (Guardian, link) and See: We must show we will not tolerate this arrogant policing - Continuing surveillance of peaceful protesters proves it is essential that we monitor the police (Guardian, link). See also: FITWATCH (link)
Background: Statewatch's Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU
USA: American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Unconstitutional "No Fly List" (link)
Cage Prisoners: Hunger strike continues by three Guantanamo detainees in Slovakia (link)
EU: European Commission: Roadmaps for Impact Assessments:
- A new comprehensive framework for the protection of personal data in the EU (pdf): The new Article 16 under the Lisbon Treaty provides for a single legal basis to be applied to all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and to Member State activities carried out under EU law. The objective is to: "remove potential obstacles to the flows of personal data whilst giving effect to the fundamental right to personal data protection by ensuring a high level of protection within the EU", which echoes the Stockholm Programme - however, the latter makes clear that exceptions will be created for law enforcement, immigration and internal security purposes. The Roadmap also says that there is a problem where personal data is collected, processed and transferred on EU citizens by third countries.
- Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement with the United States of America on the protection of personal data transferred for the purpose of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of serious criminal offences including terrorism (pdf): This is to be based on Final report of the High Level Contact Group on data protection and information sharing (pdf). The Commission refers to the scope being "serious criminal offences including terrorism" but the Stockholm Programme and the High Level Contact Group's Final report says it would cover: ""law enforcement purposes", meaning use for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of any criminal offence." Also the Council and the Commission are keen to conclude a binding over-arching agreement with the USA quickly - to avoid future conflicts which have occurred over the PNR and SWIFT/TFTP agreements. But surely a long-term binding agreement should await the outcome of the EU's fundamental review of data protection above?
European Court of Justice: Two judgments limit rights of access to documents: Review of relationship between transparency and data protection more urgent after Court ruling on Bavarian Lager (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf)
and Refusal of access to documents concerning a procedure for reviewing State aid may be justified by the general presumption that the disclosure of those documents would undermine investigation activities (Press release, pdf)
European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) reaction: Review of relationship between transparency and data protection more urgent after Court ruling on Bavarian Lager (pdf)
EU-USA SWIFT/TFTP AGREEMENT: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) still has substantial criticisms of the Agreement: Opinion of the EDPS (28 June 2010, pdf) This runs contrary in many respects to the European Parliament's Draft Resolution (pdf) to be discussed an an emergency meeting of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 5 July before being voted on in the plenary session 6-7 July.
One of the EDPS's concerns is that Europol has been designated as the judicial authority to carry out oversight on which he comments: "It is obvious that Europol is not a judicial authority". This proposal involving Europol has also created a problem for the Council of the European Union (the 27 governments) who have suddenly realised that: "The TFTP agreement will place a new task to Europol, in addition to those tasks provided for in the Europol Decision". And if this constitutes an amendment to the Europol Decision that if would trigger the "Lisbonisation" of the Decision under Article 10.2 of Protocol No 36. As the Council does not want to hold up the agreement by amending the Europol Decision it simply concludes that it "will not constitute an amendment to the Europol Decision" and therefore "no Lisbonising of the Europol Decision." See: EU doc no 11330/10: Explanatory note the Europol mechanism under the draft TFTP mechanism, pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments: "Any rational person would conclude that it is clearly an amendment to the Europol Decision and that Lisbonisation is required however inconvenient that might be. By involving Europol in the role of judicial authority there is also a conflict of interest with other policing responsibilities that it has under the Agreement. Its a daft idea."
See also: EU privacy rules changing US companies (euobserver, link): "privacy issues arise especially when personal information is "aggregated" and passed on to other companies or when the government taps into the "data warehouses" held by private companies in order to track down criminals or terrorism suspects. A fundamental difference between the EU and the US' approach to data privacy is the question of ownership, law and privacy experts told a group of European journalists in New York last week. In Europe, data protection is granted even after the consumer has passed on the data, while in the US, the company's understanding is that once it has the information, it can do whatever it wants with it." (emphasis added)
EU-USA SWIFT/TFTP AGREEMENT: Council of the European Union: Press release (pdf): The European Parliament which needs to give its
consent by a majority of its members before the agreement can enter into force. The next possibility for the European Parliament to vote on the agreement is during the plenary session from 5-8 July 2010. Final Legislative text:
- Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (EU doc no: 11222/1/10, dated 24 June 2010, pdf).
- Declarations to be adopted upon the adoption of the Council Decision on signature of the TFTP Agreement (pdf): referring to the EU developing its own system for monitoring financial transaction related to terrorism
- Corrigendum (pdf).
See below for Background.
EU: NGO Letter to EU Commissioners rejecting the Directive on mandatory data retention (pdf). The Letter signed by 106 NGOs, including Statewatch, opposes the EU Directive which enforces the gathering and retention of communications data on all phone-calls, faxes, mobile phone-calls (including location) and internet usage right across the EU:
"We believe that such invasive surveillance of the entire population is unacceptable. With a data retention regime in place, sensitive information about social contacts (including business contacts), movements and the private lives (e.g. contacts with physicians, lawyers, workers councils, psychologists, helplines, etc) of 500 million Europeans is collected in the absence of any suspicion."
EU-USA SWIFT/TFTP Agreement: Article 29 Working Party on data protection (national data protection commissioners): Opinion (pdf)
EU-USA: SWIFT/TFTP Agreement: On Monday 21 June a specially called meeting of COREPER (the Brussels-based permanent representatives of EU governments) agreed to a single change in the Commission's proposals for a new SWIFT agreement: Minutes of COREPER (pdf): "the Committee advised the Commission to attempt to re-negotiate with the US one provision (art. 12.1) which was case-sensitive for the European Parliament.."
UK-USA: National Archive publishes details of the 1946 UKUSA agreement for first time. The documents are very large so here is the: 1946 Agreement - full-text: British-USA Communications Intelligence Agreement (pdf). See: Not so secret: deal at the heart of UK-US intelligence 1946 agreement tied allies into spying network by Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link).
Finally the 1946 UKUSA Agreement is public. It created a world-wide network of listening posts run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which endures today. In 1948 Canada joined and in 1956 Australia and New Zealand too - though they have always been junior partners. The latter, being Commonwealth countries, provide an important geographical spread as does GCHQ in Cyprus (which monitors the Middle East).
An extended UK/USA-run surveillance network known as ECHELON emerged in the 1960s. Although created for the Cold War era it has has adapted to new roles under the "war on terrorism. GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, employs 5,500 people and is significantly larger than MI5 (internal security) and MI6 (external).
Background: European Parliament: Report: on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) (2001/2098(INI)) (pdf)
EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: Bank Data Agreement: Conservatives and Social Democrats cave in on SWIFT (Green Party, link) and see: Cutting off finance for terrorism: towards a European system (EP Press release, pdf)
EU: European Parliament calls on search engine companies to spy on all EU citizens (Privacy International, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Latest "State of play": Proposals on trafficking, granting and withdrawing international protection and "qualifications" for protection:
- Proposal for a Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA - general approach (pdf)
- Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection (pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (pdf)
EU-UK: DATA PROTECTION ACT: Data protection: Commission requests UK to strengthen powers of national data protection authority, as required by EU law (pdf). A welcome move but why is the Commission not questioning Section 7.2. This concerns the right to be informed if personal data is being processed/transferred and says that: "A data controller is not obliged to supply any information under subsection (1) unless he has received - a request in writing". This makes the "right to be informed" meaningless.
ITALY: Genoa G8 appeal, Diaz school raid high ranking police officers convicted on appeal
On 18 May 2010, the third section of Genoa appeal court overturned the acquittal of several high level police officers present at the raid on the Diaz and Pascoli schools during the G8 summit in July 2001. The Diaz school had been made available by the city council as a dormitory for demonstrators, whereas the Pascoli school hosted a media centre, the Genoa Legal Forum, Indymedia and other activist media groups, as well as providing office facilities. One police official who was a defendant in the case, MF, described the scene that he witnessed as a "Mexican butchery". 93 people were arrested, 75 were taken to Bolzaneto where they suffered further violence in custody after the indiscriminate violence they were subjected to in the school
EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: Council of the European Union: Declarations to be adopted upon the adoption of the Council Decision on signature of the TFTP Agreement (pdf). See below for text of Agreement.
EU-LIBYA: Europe's cosy relations with Libya crushing human rights, says Amnesty (euobserver, link)
EU-USA SWIFT/TFTP AGREEMENT: The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has grave reservations about the proposed Agreement: EDPS Opinion (pdf). The EDPS sets out the following criticisms:
1. Necessity and proportionality: The Commission cites the "usefulness" of the SWIFT agreement but Article 8 of the ECHR say that in order to justify interference with private life it must be based on "necessity".
2. Personal financial data is to be transferred in bulk to the USA - the SWIFT system does not allow targeted searches: data should be "filtered in the EU" and only "relevant and necessary data sent to the USA".
3. Data is to be held for 5 years irrespective of whether there is a proven link to a specific investigation. The German Constitutional Court has ruled that 6 months should be the maximum retention period for data not related to a specific investigation
4. Strongly questions whether Europol should be the body carrying out judicial oversight: "It is obvious that Europol is not a judicial authority". Moreover, under the Agreement Europol has a conflicting policing role.
5. The EDPS states that is not at all clear that EU citizens will have the right to see their records, and correct them.
6. Independent oversight and supervision: the Agreement should not derogate or limit the powers of European data protection authorities; data should be provided on number of address and redress requests, and the number of decisions limiting rights of data subjects; and there should be a sunset clause.
Background: Commission proposals: 1) Decision to conclude agreement (COM 316, pdf) and Decision to sign agreement (COM 317, pdf).
SPAIN: SOS Racismo criticises Catalan municipal council burqa bans as "electoralist"
EU: Migreurop: Introduction: Coinciding with the International Day for Refugees: Migreurop calls for the closure of camps for migrants in Europe and beyond (link). Full-statement (English, link), French, Italian, Spanish
UK: Statewatch: Rolling back the authoritarian state? An analysis of the coalition governments commitment to civil liberties (pdf) by Max Rowlands
EU: POLICING OF FOOTBALL MATCHES: HANDBOOK: Updated handbook with recommendations for international police cooperation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with football matches with an international dimension, in which at least one Member State is involved (pdf) and Council of the European Union "Conclusions" (3 June 2010,pdf)
EU: SWIFT-TFTP EU-US AGREEMENT: From Commission proposals: 1) Decision to conclude agreement (COM 316, pdf) and Decision to sign agreement (COM 317, pdf). Background see below.
UK: Home Office: Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2008/09 (pdf) and Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2007-8 (link). See: 70% rise in number of black and Asian people stopped and searched - Figures reveal that black people are seven times more likely to be stopped than white people (Guardian, link). Nothing has changed, see: Statewatch analysis: UK: Stop & search: Ethnic injustice continues unabated (2005, pdf): "Black people are nearly seven times and Asian people over twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people."
UK: Birmingham stops camera surveillance in Muslim areas - Project halted after Guardian exposed use of 200-plus cameras in predominantly Muslim areas for counterterrorism (Guardian, link). Orginial story: Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move: About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund (Guardian,link)
EU: European Commission: Qualifications Directive implementation: Press Memo: International protection for third country nationals:
unsatisfying divergences in Member States' implementation of rules. (pdf) and Report on the application of Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection (pdf)
EU: Nokia-Siemens admits selling surveillance system to Iran: time to regulate Homeland Security exports (Neoconopticon blog, link)
UK: NORTHERN IRELAND: Bloody Sunday report: 38 years on, justice at last - Saville report finds Bloody Sunday killings 'unjustified' - Soldiers could be prosecuted for murder or lying to inquiry (Guardian, link) and Read the Bloody Sunday report (link)
EU: BODY SCANNERS: European Commission: Use of Security Scanners at EU airports (COM 311/4, pdf). The Communication summaries the four different technologies which can be used to detect non-metallic, plastic and liquid explosives:
- Passive millimetre-wave: "Passive millimetre-wave" do not emit any radiation and produces "rough, blurred images".
- Active millimetre-wave: "reveal some surface detail of the body" and "non-ionising radiation" which "above certain limit values may cause damage": used by the Netherlands and the USA.
- X-ray backscatter (reveal some surface detail of the body" and ionising radiation, low dosage but depends how often used on person: used by the UK and the USA, and
- X-ray transmission imaging which is not considered an option.
Existing normal walk-through scanners can detect metal objects and the the EU has already agreed that by 29 April 2014, all airports must have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols and gels in accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) N° 300/2008: See: Introduction of liquids onboard of aircrafts State of play (pdf). This would seem to leave the detection of plastic and liquid explosives: Perhaps what is needed, instead of body scanners, are non-intrusive walk-through scanners that can detect metal and plastic/liquid explosives?
UK: Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group: Wrong kind of victims? One year on: an analysis of UK measures to protect trafficked people (link).
UK: House of Commons Library: Biometric passports (pdf). The new government's programme states that it intends to "halt" the introduction of "second-generation" biometrics (ie: fingerprints). As passports come under the "Royal Prerogative" the decision-making process is through the arcane process known as "Orders in Council" agreed by the Privy Council (Cabinet Ministers automatically become Privy Counsellors) in the name of the head of state, the Monarch.
The Queen calls a meeting of the Privy Council, usually four or five Cabinet Ministers, at which there is no discussion simply agreement on matters before it. The decision to agree a new law then becomes an "Order in Council". This is then "laid before" parliament (simply listed in the daily order paper) and if MPs do not force a negative vote on the floor of the house it automatically become law. It is almost unknown for MPs to force a debate and vote on such a matter because it means disrupting the government's planned agenda.
As the UK "opted-out" of the EU Regulation on fingerprinting everyone who wants a passport, the question is has an Order in Council been agreed and "laid" before parliament and, if not, when will it be?
EU: TNO, RAND and Israeli Counter-terrorism academy awarded 3 million EC "radicalisation and recruitment" contract
"SAFIRE" is a 3.6 million project funded under the European Security Research Programme, to which the EC is contributing 3 million. The project promises a "Scientific Approach to Fighting Radical Extremism" and has the goal of "improv[ing] fundamental understanding of radicalization processes and us[ing] this knowledge to develop principles to improve (the implementation) of interventions designed to prevent, halt and reverse radicalization".
EU-USA SWIFT (TFTP) Agreement: Statewatch: Comparative Chart of the draft agreement and the text agreed by the European Commission - with Commentary (pdf) See also: MEPs threaten second veto on EU-US bank data deal (euobserver, link) and Financial data sharing agreement with USA remains unbalanced and defective (Amberhawk, link)
EU-UNHCR report: Trees only move in the wind: A study of unaccompanied Afghan children in Europe (pdf).
See also: Child refugees exposed to great danger and abuses in Europe, says UNHCR - "Extraordinary suffering' as number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the EU booms (Guardian, link)
EU: EU instrument for spying on 'radicals' causes outrage (euobserver, link).
See also: EU doc: Instrument for compiling data and information on violent radicalisation processes and Statewatch analysis: Intensive surveillance of violent radicalisation extended to embrace suspected radicals from across the political spectrum: Targets include: Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc (pdf) by Tony Bunyan.
UPDATED: EXCLUSIVE: EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: European Commission: Full-text of agreement on the transfer of all financial transactions in the EU to the USA: Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the USA for purposes of the Terroist Finance Tracking Program (11 June 2010, pdf):
Earlier Draft: Agreement between the European Union and the USA on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the EU to the USA for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (pdf)
When Commissioner Mallstrom gave a presentation on the proposed agreement to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 10 June 2010 substantial reservations were raised by MEPs. At the core of MEPs concerns is Article 12 (Monitoring of Safeguards and Controls) for individuals thought by US agencies to be involved in "the terrorism nexus". Financial data from the EU is opened and searched by US agencies using specialists "tools" (highly sophisticated computer programmes) - which only the USA has access to. In simple terms US agencies get a "packet" of personal financial data from the EU which they "open" and then "select" the data on specific names. But the EU cannot check the names selected - as it has no access to the "tools" - and therefore cannot exercise its right to "safeguards" and "controls" by "blocking" the inclusion of specific individuals. MEPs were adamant that the EU must have this power if they were to accept the Agreement.
A second, related concern is which EU agency should conduct judicial control over the US's use of data in order to protect the rights of the individual. While Europol (the EU police agency) gathers intelligence on terrorism it is argued the Eurojust (composed of national prosecutors, magistrates, or police officers of equivalent competence, detached from each Member State according to their own legal systems) is much better placed to enforce EU standards of data protection and privacy. This is particularly so because Eurojust can call on EU and national powers to protect those wrongly caught up in the US-defined "terrorist nexus".
The Commission thinks that having briefed MEPs on the LIBE Committee of the EP that it can simply agree the text presented. The next stage is the formal adoption of the proposed Agreement (which represents the EU-USA position) by the European Commission on 15 June - it will then be formally forwarded for agreement to the Council of the European Union (the 27 governments) and the European Parliament. In February the European Parliament rejected a proposed Interim Agreement on SWIFT and it due to agree its position again at a plenary session in July - and if the text remains the same it may well reject it again.
Background: Statewatch coverage of SWIFT (Google search, link)
EU: European Parliament study: Principles and procedures for dealing with European Union Classified Information in light of the Lisbon Treaty (pdf)
LIBYA-UNHCR: Migreurop statement: UNHCR-Libya : the bid is rising, migrants pay the price (link) and French, Italian and Spanish (links). See: Libya 'expels' UN refugee agency UNHCR (BBC News, link)
EU-TRAFFICKING: Council of the European Union: Latest draft: General approach: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings (EU doc no: 10845/10, pdf)
UK: Stop and search used illegally against thousands (Guardian, link): "Tens of thousands of people have been stopped in the street and searched unlawfully under controversial section 44 anti-terrorism powers, the Home Office has revealed."
EU: UK monitors suspected radicals as part of European surveillance project - Police keep tabs on activists from across the political spectrum, documents obtained by EU civil liberties NGO reveal (Guardian, link). And see:
Statewatch analysis: Intensive surveillance of violent radicalisation extended to embrace suspected radicals from across the political spectrum: Targets include: Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc (pdf) by Tony Bunyan. See: Council of the European Union: Instrument for compiling data and information on violent radicalisation processes (EU doc no: 7984/10 ADD 1)
This adds to another plan on Protests in the EU: Troublemakers and travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted (Statewatch analysis, pdf)
UN: British Columbia Civil Liberties Association / International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group: Rights groups challenge United Nations blacklist in court (pdf)
USA: Physicians for Human Rights: Experiments in torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the Enhanced Interrogation Program (pdf)
EU: Eurodac Supervision Coordination Group (EDPS): Coordinated Supervision of Eurodac: Activity Report 2008-2009 (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Annual Report 2009: On Relations between the Commission and National Parliaments (pdf)
EU: Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) report: Becoming vulnerable in Europe: Civil Society Report on the Detention of Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants in the European Union (The DEVAS Project) (link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3-4 June 2010: Press Release (pdf), Background Note (pdf).
- "B" Points Agenda (pdf)
- "A" Points Agenda: Legislative (pdf) plus ADD 1 (pdf)
- "A" Points Agenda: Non-Legislative (pdf) plus ADD 1 (pdf)
UK: Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move: About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund (Guardian,link)
EU: Commission communication: "Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe's citizens - Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme" (pdf). JHA Council conclusions on Commission communication (pdf)
UK: Statewatch analysis: UK Governments clumsy, indiscriminate and disproportionate approach to DNA retention (pdf) by Max Rowlands. The UK government intends to keep innocent people on the national DNA database for six years despite the European Court of Human Rights having ruled the practice to be unlawful.
Italy: Statewatch analysis: Shocking death spotlights prisoners plight by Yasha Maccanico (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico. The case of Stefano Cucchi, who died in hospital after being beaten in police custody, highlights the routine abuses that occur in Italian prisons and police stations and the lack of accountability of those responsible.
EU: EU-US and Member States 2010 Declaration on Counterterrorism adopted by JHA Council, 3 June 2010 (pdf).
UK: Statewatch analysis: Shock and anger at the violent policing tactics used at the G8 Summit, Parts 1 & 2 (pdf) by Trevor Hemmings. Part 1 looks at the policing of the G20 summit in London in April 2009 which was severely criticised following an allegation of manslaughter and 270 complaints of police assault. Part 2 specifically examines the aftermath in which community organisations highlighted longstanding problems of police indiscipline and official inquiries developed strategies for future protests.
Italy: Statewatch analysis: The internal and external fronts: security package and returns to Libya (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico. The security package introduced under Law 94/2009 turns a number of decrees into law. Exceptional measures allegedly to meet emergencies are targeted at refugees, migrants, Roma and direct refoulments to Libya.
Germany: Statewatch analysis: The Federal Republics security services from the Cold War to the new security architecture (pdf) by Norbet Putter. With the end of the Cold War, the (West) German security services lost their central surveillance target and thereby their legitimacy. The crisis was brief and new roles were swiftly found. More so than ever before, the intelligence agencies became interlinked with other security authorities.
Italy: Customs authority reconstructs tax fraud through motorway "Telepass" data
On 27 May 2010, the Guardia di Finanza (GdF, customs and excise police) reported that it had uncovered an important tax fraud operation worth almost 112m Euros by two Swiss-based wholesale textile and clothing companies which did not pay any tax in Italy, although most of their activity and profits resulted from their operations in Italy between 2004 and 2008. The reconstruction of the company cars' movements by using data from their "Telepass" cards which leave records of their passages through motorway toll points, was a key element of the investigation by the GdF of Olgiate Comasco (Lombardy, near the Swiss border), with the cooperation of the Italian motorway company Autostrade per l'Italia spa. Apart from revealing extensive movements around Italy and across the Italian-Swiss borders, they showed that the company directors' presence in Italy was almost stable, and a large majority of their network of clients was also based in Italy.
The Telepass spa company has been operating since December 2007 and its cards are marketed as a way to avoid queues at motorway toll points through automated payment by using a card that is read by optical devices at the toll barrier and is kept in the customer's car, which is either pre-paid or linked to a customer's bank account. It boasts having 5.7 million active customers, with over seven million Telepass and two million Viacard automated payment cards currently in use. Sources: Il Giornale 28.5.2010; Repubblica, 27.5.2010; Stampa, 27.5.2010.
EU: Musical chairs in Brussels: The European Commission has finally decided that its Directorate-General for Justice and Home Affairs should be split into two and have two Director-Generals (See: Comment: Statewatch News Online, January 2010). One will head Home Affairs (Internal security and immigration) and the other Fundamental Rights (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"So there will now be two Commissioners (Mallstrom and Reding) and two Directorate-Generals. Perhaps the Council of the Council of the European Union should follow this logic and split the Justice and Home Affairs Council into two as well? After all, it has just split the General Affairs Council and the Foreign Affairs Council."
Slovakia/Algeria: Expulsion contravenes ECtHR orders
"On 28 April 2010, Amnesty International (AI) issued a public statement criticising the expulsion of Mustapha Labsi from Slovakia to Algeria on 19 April in spite of an order dated 13 August 2008 from the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) blocking it until all appeals on his asylum claim in Slovakia had been completed."
UK: Bill to abolish ID cards published: Identity Documents Bill (pdf) and Explanatory Memorandum (pdf).
The UK government's programme on civil liberties states: "The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power, in keeping with Britains tradition of freedom and fairness."
The government is also committed to: "halt the next generation of biometric passports" (the compulsory taking of peoples' fingerprints for all passports renewals planned for in 2011) though this is not contained in the list of Bills proposed for the 2010-2011 session in the Queen's Speech.
EU: Statewatch analysis: Intensive surveillance of violent radicalisation extended to embrace suspected radicals from across the political spectrum: Targets include: Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc (pdf) by Tony Bunyan. See: Council of the European Union: Instrument for compiling data and information on violent radicalisation processes (EU doc no: 7984/10 ADD 1)
This adds to another plan on Protests in the EU: Troublemakers and travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted (Statewatch analysis, pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments:
"Under both plans any and all radicals could be targeted and everyday political life could become contaminated by unseen and unaccountable suspicions manufactured by agencies of the state. Open, legitimate political discussion and activity could be yet another casualty of the war on terrorism.
EU: Council of the European Union: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (Final text, pdf) and Press release (pdf)
UK: Report from: BIG BROTHER WATCH: The Grim RIPA: Cataloguing the ways in which local authorities have abused their covert surveillance powers (pdf): "372 local authorities in Great Britain have conducted RIPA surveillance operations in 8,575 cases in the past two years. This means that Councils alone have carried out over eleven surveillance operations every day in this country over the past two years"
POLAND: Police kill Nigerian immigrant in Warsaw, arrest 32 others: A 36 year old street seller in Warsaw was shot to death in the Praga District in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday May 23 after he tried to defend a colleague who was being violently arrested by police. In the turmoil that followed 32 people were arrested. The person who was shot dead, Max, had a legal status in Poland and was married to a Polish woman with whom he had three children.
Police initially communicated that they had been 'surrounded and attacked by by a gang of aggressive Africans'. But eyewitnesses tell a completely different story and the syndicalist solidarity-organisation ZSP accuses the police of a racist murder. After Monica, the wife of Max, and others brought their story out, police had to retract their version. Under pressure of solidarity actions outside of the police station all of the arrested have been released by Tuesday May 25, but 25 of them are being charged of assaulting the police and thus face up to ten years imprisonment.
More information, pictures and video's can be found on the website of ZSP Warsaw
USA presses travel surveillance and control agenda at ICAO (Identity Project, link):
"As we predicted, the US delegation has been pressing its vision of an integrated and standardized global system of surveillance and control of air travel, in which government access would be built into airline reservation systems (think, CALEA for CRSs and PNR data, worldwide) and government permission would be a prerequisite to boarding any flight on what used to be considered a common carrier required to transport all comers."
EU: FOOTBALL: Council of the European Union: Evaluation report on the degree of implementation of Council Decision 2007/412/JHA amending Decision 2002/348/JHA concerning security in connection with football matches with an international dimension (pdf) Across the EU National Football Information Points (NFIP) have accessed to, and exchange, personal data on football supporters who pose a "risk". For example, the UK is one of 11 EU states which has a "database on risk supporters". This may sound simple but there are major differences about who is a "risk" (excluding those who have been convicted of a violent offence) - in some EU states football exclusion orders from local grounds are civil offences in others criminal offences. In the UK there are Football Banning Orders (FBOs), stopping travel to matches in another country, those convicted of violent offences and those coming under "anti-social behaviour".
See: Football Handbook (pdf): Defines: "A person, known or not, who can be regarded as posing a possible risk to public order or anti social behaviour, whether planned or spontaneous, at or in connection with a football event" Point 4.7 ask for information on fans' "Reactions to decisions of the referee" and 6.8 asks for information on fans: "Political way of thinking"
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Revision of FRONTEX's mandate: EDPS calls for clear rules on data protection (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf). The EDPS "believes that the proposed Regulation should - to the extent necessary and appropriate - clearly address the question of the scope of activities that may give rise to the processing of personal data by FRONTEX and:
"Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "I am surprised to see that the proposal is silent about the processing of personal data by FRONTEX, all the more so as the new legal framework in which FRONTEX is to operate in the near future is changing so fundamentally. It is essential to lay down clear rules on data protection and provide for a clarification of the conditions and circumstances under which data processing by FRONTEX could take place.
EU: Top EU leaders mark the International Day Against Homophobia (pdf)
EU: PRUM: Exchange of personal data: fingerprints, DNA and Vehicle registration data (VRD): Implementation:
- Decisions: overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (pdf)
- Prüm/VRD evaluation of Finland: - Report of the evaluation visit (17-19 March 2010) (pdf)
La Quadradure du Net: EU Commission: Will Kroes' Digital Agenda endanger freedoms? (link)
Update: EU: PRUM FRAMEWORK DECISION ON FINGERPRINTS: "Fishing expeditions" by large Member States leads to limits being imposed on automated searches for fingerprints on other states' national databases. Latest limits placed on automated searches: Implementation of the Prüm Decisions regarding fingerprints Search capacities (EU doc no: 5860/3/19, pdf)
EU: Jesuit Refugee Service: Public Conference: 8 June 2010: Detention of Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants in the European Union (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: The Council adopts negotiation mandate on SWIFT (pdf) Background: Full-text of mandate: SEC(2010)315 final: Full-text (pdf), SWIFT: MEPs want to limit data transfers to USA (Press release, pdf) and: The European Parliament to vote on PNR (ASFJ blog, link)
UK: City of London security guards told to report 'suspicious' photographers (Guardian, link)
UNITED: List of 13,621 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe (pdf). UNITED website (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Catalogue of recommendations for the correct application of the Schengen acquis and best practices: data protection (pdf)
European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee refers Frontex surveillance at sea measures to the European Court of Justice
EU: Reflection Group report: Project Europe 2030: Challenges and Opportunities A report to the European Council by the Reflection Group on the Future of the EU 2030 (pdf). On justice and home affairs very general and little new thinking. Says that the "resistance" to sharing information has to go and that the powers of the agencies (SITCEN, Europol, Eurojust, Frontex) should be increased.
More generally the report says there needs to be more transparency and the image the EU tries to convey: "must be balanced, reflecting both strengths
and weaknesses, rather than an idealised or overly pessimistic account. Instead of focusing on a communication policy which sometimes verges on propaganda, it would be preferable to communicate on policies, explaining frankly what is at stake and the different options available." (emphasis added).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen"
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Data Protection in the European Union: the role of National Data Protection Authorities (pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The proposed European Investigation Order: Assault on human rights and national sovereignty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"the combined abolition of dual criminality and territoriality requirements represents both a fundamental threat to the rule of law in criminal law matters which is required by Article 7 ECHR (legal certainty of criminal offences) and Article 8 ECHR in this field (invasions of privacy must be in accordance with the law) and an attack on the national sovereignty of Member States, which would in effect lose their power to define what acts are in fact criminal if committed on the territory of their State."
For example: "The combination of these changes would mean that a person who committed an act which is legal in the Member State where the act was carried out could be subject to body, house and business searches, financial investigations, some forms of covert surveillance, or any other investigative measures within the scope of the Directive as regards any crime whatsoever which exists under the law of any other Member State, if that other Member State extends jurisdiction for that crime beyond its own territory."
EU-PAKISTAN RE-ADMISSION AGREEMENT: Letter from Migreurop to the European Parliament: Readmission agreement EU-Pakistan. The European Parliament has to deny its approval (pdf), French version (link). See: Full-text of proposed agreement (pdf) and Statewatch Briefing on the Proposed agreement and MEPs reactions (pdf)
UK: Statewatch's Observatory: ASBOwatch: monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders has been updated.
European Parliament: EP calls for new standards for use of air passenger data: "I am pleased the resolution got such a huge majority; I am convinced such a strong statement by Parliament will be helpful for the EU negotiations." said Sophie in't Veld (Dutch, D66), ALDE vice president of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur for the resolution on the agreements with the US and Australia on the transfer of PNR (Passenger Name Record) data, voted today by the European Parliament. Parliament decided to postpone the vote on these agreements until the use of PNR is clarified with respect to EU law and EP concerns about privacy, proportionality and redress.
"Parliament is using its new powers to strengthen legal protection for European citizens. Indeed with today's result the EP is postponing its vote until the Commission presents a more coherent approach. In an era of unprecedented mobility and communication new instruments are needed to fight cross border crime. But the warrantless use of massive amounts of personal data requires cast iron guarantees of data protection and civil rights." in't Veld added.
"It is now for the European Commission and Council to negotiate new international agreements and draft a new EU PNR scheme. At the end of the procedure, Parliament will assess these proposals against the conditions set in today's resolution, when considering whether or not to give its consent." she concluded.
See: Resolution of 5 May 2010 on the launch of negotiations for Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements with the United States, Australia and Canada (link):
and Resolution of 5 May 2010 on the Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America to make available to the United States Treasury Department financial messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism and terrorist financing (link)
European Commission adopted 6 May 2010: Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010 2014) (COM 213, pdf). See also: Commission Staff Working Document (SEC 534, pdf)
IRELAND: Data Retention: DIGITAL RIGHTS IRELAND WINS RIGHT TO TAKE CASE TO ECJ: Judgment re Preliminary Reference, Standing, Security for Costs (link): This is a copy of a judgment of the Irish High Court in relation to the constitutional challenge brought by Digital Rights Ireland against data retention in Europe. The judgment is from the 5th of May 2010 and relates to three key procedural questions: 1. Does DRI have standing to make arguments based on privacy and other fundamental rights? 2. Must DRI lodge money into court as security for the costs of the State? 3. Is this an appropriate case to refer to the European Court of Justice to determine whether the Data Retention Directive is compatible with fundamental rights.
All three questions are decided in favour of DRI and the court holds that: 1. DRI can make these arguments; 2. DRI need not pay money as security for costs; and 3. The case will be referred to the European Court of Justice. (NB: the judgment is marked "unapproved" meaning that it is not a final version - there may still be typos, etc., to be amended before it is finalised).
See also: European Court to rule on communications data retention (link)
UK: ERASING DAVID film: He has nothing to hide but does he have nothing to fear? (link): The No2ID campaign comments: "*'Erasing David' is an exciting new feature length documentary that explores our personal relationship with the Database State. During May the film will be shown as part of the More4 documentary strand 'True Stories', broadcast every Tuesday at 10pm."
EU: SIS II still in a mess? SIS II was meant to be up and running in 2007. France, Germany and Austria stated at the Article 36 Committee on 12-13 April 2010 that the "milestone 1 test failed" for SIS II (Schengen Information System) as it did not happen in operational conditions. Germany added that the Commission's proposal for a "completely new system" meant that Member States "would lose their national investments." Their serious doubts were shared by Poland, Slovenia, Netherlands and Switzerland and Ireland, Sweden and Latvia agreed with the comments on finance. Only six Member States took a contrary view. The UK's contribution was to say that it did not wish to see the dissenting opinions "stated in the draft Council conclusions." See pages 8-9: Outcome of proceedings of CATS on 12 and 13 April 2010 (pdf). Background: EU security database upgrade could be scrapped (euobserver, 16 January 2009)
EU: European Commission: A vague and brief: First Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2009) (12 pages, COM 214, pdf). It has been pointed out to Statewatch that this is not the "first" report on immigration and asylum produced by the Commission. The "first" report was published in 2001 and is over 500 pages long: see: Annual Report on Asylum and Migration (2001) (link)
EU-USA: European Parliament: SWIFT: MEPs want to limit data transfers to USA (Press release, pdf):
"MEPs called on Wednesday for bulk transfers of personal data to the USA to be avoided, if necessary by processing them within the EU, and for Europe's citizens to be guaranteed the right of appeal to the US authorities. These demands were made in a debate on the key points of a new draft accord on transfers of bank data to the United States for anti-terrorism purposes."
Background: The European Parliament to vote on PNR (ASFJ blog, link)
GERMANY: S036.NET attacked by German Police (Indymedia, link): "The Berlin police have searched on Monday from 10 clock the Berlin Internet provider SO36.NET. The aim of the campaign was to identify those responsible for anti-militarist bamm.de website. The site of the National Federation of Berlin and Brandenburg, the German Peace Society - United conscientious respondents (DFG-VK) is reached at http://www.bamm.de (Google cache) and hosted by SO36.NET."
UK: JUSTICE Press release: Court of Appeal rules secret trial of torture claims would be pyrrhic victory for government (pdf):
"The Court of Appeal this morning unanimously rejected the governments request to hold a secret trial to determine the claims of seven UK residents (including Moazzem Begg and Binyam Mohamed) that the British government had been complicit in their torture overseas."
European Parliament study: Current challenges regarding respect of human rights in the fight against terrorism (pdf):
"much of the legacy of the past eight years counter-terrorism practices remains in place, including the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. Investigations in EU Member States into allegations of complicity in renditions and secret detentions have been hampered in particular by claims of state secrecy and there has been little progress concerning providing reparations to the victims of rendition, or bringing to justice responsible officials, in either Europe or the United States. Regarding the recent impetus for EU-US co-operation, it is essential that co-operative counter-terrorism measures uphold EU standards of human rights and the rule of law."
EU Fundamental Rights Agency report: Separated, asylum-seeking children in European Union Member States (pdf)
European Data Protection Supervisor: Reform of EU Data Protection law: EDPS calls on the European Commission to be ambitious in its approach (Press release, pdf)
European Court of Justice: Press release: The freezing of funds of persons with suspected links to Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban does not apply to certain social security benefits paid to their spouses (pdf): "The regulation ordering funds to be frozen applies only to assets that can be used to support terrorist activities" and Full-text of judgment (link)
European Ombudsman: Annual Report (Press release, pdf): "Ombudsman: One third of complaints concern lack of transparency in EU administration". See: Full-text of report for 2009 (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Latest text: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (pdf)
EU: UK House of Commons, Justice Committee report: Justice issues in Europe (pdf) and see: Fair Trials International: FTI launches Justice in Europe Campaign (link)
EU: EUROPOL: TE-SAT 2010: EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (pdf). See: Terrorist attacks decrease in Europe (euobserver, link)
EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Combating Somali Piracy: the EUs Naval Operation Atalanta (pdf)
UK: Metropolitan Police and the killing of Blair Peach in 1979: INQUEST: Press release (pdf) plus Link to full-text of report.
Celia Stubbs, partner of Blair Peach, said:
"This report totally vindicates what we have always believed that Blair was killed by one of six officers from Unit 1 of the Special Patrol Group whose names have been in the public domain over all these years: Insp Murray, PC White, PC Richardson, PC Scottow, PC Freestone and PS Lake. That serves only to emphasise that there can be no excuse for the way in which the writer of the report, like the police generally, sought to criminalise the many protestors including Blair at the demonstration against the National Front election meeting."
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST, said:
"The family, friends and community have waited for 31 years for some public recognition and acknowledgement that the police were responsible for Blairs death. We call upon Sir Paul Stephenson to publicly acknowledge for the first time that a Metropolitan Police officer was responsible the fatal truncheon blow that killed him. The whole police investigation into what happened on 23 April 1979 was clearly designed as an exercise in managing the fallout from the events of that iconic day in Southall, to exonerate police violence in the face of legitimate public protest. The echoes of that exercise sound across the decades to the events of the G20 protest and the death of Ian Tomlinson in 2009."
Footnote: Blair Peach was killed by the member of the Met's Special Patrol Group (SPG) in Southall at a massive protest against the National Front in April 1979. The then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, David McNee, said at a press conference on 14 June 1979 introducing his annual report:
"If you keep off the streets of London and behave yourself you won't have to worry about the SPG"
ITALY: Council of Europe's Committee on Torture (CPT) express concern at detention regime for terrorism suspects: Report (April 2010)
EU: Council of the European Union: A number of measures which could not be adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 23 April (see below) were adopted by the General Affairs Council on 26 April 2010:
- Council Conclusions on an Action Plan to implement the concerted strategy to combat cybercrime (pdf)
- Council Resolution on a Model Agreement for setting up joint cooperation teams under Chapter 5 of Decision 2008/615/JHA (pdf)
- Council Conclusions on strengthening cooperation between national bodies or structures responsible for analysis of the terrorist threat (pdf)
- Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 23 April 2010, Brussels: Press release - provisional (pdf) and "B" Points agenda (pdf) and "A" Points: non-legislative (adopted without discussion) (pdf): "Due to the fact that not enough member states were represented at ministerial level, the Council couldn't adopt any of the agenda items, including A-items. They will be adopted at a later Council."
The "B" Points agenda included: EU-USA-SWIFT: European Commission proposals for new SWIFT negotiations with the USA for access to all financial transactions in the EU: SEC(2010)315 final: Full-text (pdf)
UK: Airline pilot cleared of role in 9/11 after 'nine years of hell' (Guardian, link): "The pilot falsely accused of training the hijackers responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks has won his almost decade-long miscarriage of justice battle. Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian living in Britain who lost his career as an airline pilot, suffered wrongful imprisonment and damage to his health, will now be eligible for up to £2m compensation." Previous coverage: Two "terrorist" suspects, held for months in prison, freed by the court for lack of evidence
ITALY-TUNISIA: ECtHR rules against Italy in Trabelsi expulsion case
EU: ACTA agreement: ACTA negotiating parties finally succumb to pressure; release draft document of the agreement (pdf) and Released text of draft ACTA agreement (pdf):
""The decision to release a draft document of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement is, above all, a belated act of common sense from the side of the negotiating parties. For the last 2 years, the future of internet as we know it has been negotiated behind closed doors, without the least care for public scrutiny. This is now changing."
MEPs Stavros Lambrinidis (Greece), Francoise Castex (France), Alexander Alvaro (Germany) and Zuzana Roithova (Czech Republic)
EDRI: ACTA: European Commission transparently ignores European Parliament (link)
EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography,
repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (pdf)
USA: Electronic Priacy Information Centre (EPIC) Press release:Petition for Suspension of TSA Full Body Scanner Program pdf): "More than thirty organizations across the political spectrum have filed a formal petition with the Department of Homeland Security, urging the federal agency to suspend the airport body scanner program."
German civil society calls for a definitive end to telecommunications data retention (link)
European Commission: Stockholm Programme: Statewatch Analysis: Commission: Action Plan on the Stockholm Programme: A bit more freedom and justice and a lot more security (pdf) by Tony Bunyan:
"The harnessing of the digital tsunami as advocated by the EU Future Group and the surveillance society, spelt out in Statewatchs The Shape of Things to Come is embedded in the Commissions Action Plan as it is in the Stockholm Programme....There is no mention of the European Security Research
Programme (ESRP). Much of the technological development is being funded under the 1.4 billion euro security research programme. See: Statewatch/TNI report: Neoconopticon: EU security-industrial complex."
- Statewatch Briefing: European Commission: Action Plan on the Stockholm Programme (pdf) Comments by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
- Full-text: Communication from the Commission: Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe's citizens Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme (COM 171/2010, pdf)
- European Parliament: GUE (United Left): Commission criminal justice and data plan "a dream come true for security fetishists (pdf)
Today Statewatch also publishes two Analyses taking up issues raised in the Action Plan:
The Action Plan includes proposals to track "troublemakers": Statewatch Analysis: The right to protest: Troublemakers and travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted by Tony Bunyan:
"Since the onset of the EUs response to the war on terrorism the prime targets have been Muslim and migrant communities together with refugees and asylum-seekers. Now there is an emerging picture across the EU that demonstrations and the democratic right to protest are among the next to be targeted to enforce internal security.
Statewatch Analysis: EU proposals to increase the financial transparency of charities and non-profit organisations by Ben Hayes:
"The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has strongly promoted the thesis that terrorist organisations use laundered money for their activities, and that charities are a potential conduit for terrorist organisations."
EU-US: DHS update still misstates compliance with EU agreement on PNR data (Identity Project, link)
EU: Council of the European Union (27 govenments):
- The European Public Prosecutor's Office in the European judicial area (pdf). Council Presidency discussion paper:
"Article 86 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for the possibility of establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office in order to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union, and also provides in paragraph 4 for the possibility of the European Council, at the same time or subsequently, extending the powers of the European Public Prosecutor's Office to include serious crime having a cross-border dimension.
- Draft Council Conclusions on the use of a standardised, multidimensional semistructured instrument for collecting data and information on the processes of radicalisation in the EU (pdf):
"it is recommended that the Member States take steps to share information on radicalisation and put in place mechanisms to systematically analyse and assess the extent of radicalisation on the basis of a multidisciplinary approach"
- Draft Council conclusions on strengthening cooperation between national bodies or structures responsible for analysis of the terrorist threat (pdf):
"Promote interaction, on a voluntary and informal basis, between the coordination bodies or structures, or nominated as such, through regular meetings of their heads and experts to address matters of common interest, in particular:
- evaluation of the national threat,
- best practices in the field of data integration, and
- training of analysts."
EU: Council of the European Union: 8th Annual report for 2009 on the Regulation for public access to EU documents (pdf)
Spain: Report on conditions and abuses in Basque centre for unaccompanied foreign minors
"SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa's (Mugak) working group on unaccompanied foreign minors has produced a report on the conditions in which minors held in the centre in Oilur de Deba were kept and the unlawful practices that they suffered."
FRONTEX: Indymedia: Presentation of the current role and future of the agency (French, pdf)
UK: Home Office: Police powers and procedures 2008/9 report (pdf). Including stop and search figures which show:
- 1,153,572 searches under PACE: a 10% increase over the previous year (112,603 people were arrested)
- 210,013 stop and searches under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000: an increase of 66% over the previous year: just 9 people were arrested for terrorism charges and 1,236 people arrested for other reasons)
- 150,174 stops and searches under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, anticipation of violence: an increase of 184% partly due to knife crime initiatives. (544 people were arrested for this offence and 3,729 arrested for other reasons)
EU countries trading in tools of torture: Last month Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation published a report showing how European companies are participating in the global trade in types of equipment widely used in torture or other ill-treatment.
European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): E-waste and data protection: EDPS warns against security risks and calls for "privacy by design" (Press release, pdf) and Opinion (pdf)
European Institute of Public Administration: Seminar: Transparency and Data Protection: Cooperating or Conflicting Elements
of Good Governance? Maastricht (NL), 3 - 4 June 2010 (pdf):
"This seminar is recommended for anyone whose work relies on public access to documents or relates to the treatment of sensitive information. It is aimed at, among others, information officers, information managers, data protection officers, European, national and sub-national officials, data protection and information lawyers, legal advisors, staff of civil liberties associations, consultants, lobbyists, journalists and researchers."
Statewatch Briefing: Hearing: Protection of Personal Data in Transatlantic Security Cooperation SWIFT, PNR & Co - which way forward? (pdf)
European Commission: Summary report: EU-US International agreement on personal data protection and information sharing for law enforcement purposes: Informal consultation with data protection stakeholders (pdf)
EU: Should the European Data Protection Supervisor resign? (Amberhawk, link):
"The current EDPS, Peter Hustinx, is well respected in the data protection community. His views are balanced, well thought out and skilfully delivered. If his advice continues to be ignored by the Commission on the scale that it is, then he cant simply do the job he was employed to do. And Mr Hustinx knows full well that there are limits when employed to do an increasingly pointless non-job (i.e. advising the Commission on data protection). What the EDPS has also shown is that the Commission, when dealing with international data protection agreements, instinctively acts like a nomenklatura rather than a democratic institution."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Provisional agenda, 22-23 April (pdf)
European Commission: Proposal for a Regulation on establishing an Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (pdf)
EU Council of the European Union: Single Progress Report on the Development of EU Military Capabilities for the First Semester of 2010 (pdf)
USA: General Accountability Office: Intellectual property: Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods (pdf)
European Commission: Proposal for a Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (pdf)
European Commission: Commission Work Programme 2010 (COM 135, pdf)
EU-USA-PNR: European Commission: Report on the joint review of the implementation of the 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) (pdf):
"There are some concerns as regards broad use of PNR data and in particular the matching of PNR against some databases that have immigration and customs policy elements to them... also has some concerns both as regards the number of ad hoc requests but also as regards the fact that DHS executes such request by pulling the data... Ad hoc requests should be substantially reduced... requests for access to data is only able to track requests under the general heading travelers and it is unable to distinguish between requests for access to PNR data and requests for other data, or to track requests specifically relating to EU-originating PNR data.
As regards the cross-checking of PNR against law enforcement databases the USA side state that: "TECS enforcement data which comprises of various criminal watchlists and other criminal databases of DHS, i.e. missing persons, persons against who a warrant is pending. These databases only contain information of persons involved or suspected to be involved in felonies, which are criminal offences which carry a minimum of one year imprisonment" - which is a very low threshold and does not seem to match the purpose limitation that the agreement only applies to: "the fight against terrorism and serious crime."
and US letter response (pdf)
Viewed as whole the US use of PNR data is geared to: 1) Tracking everyone's travel in and out of the USA; 2) creating a "life-time" history of an individual's movements and more recently 3) starting to operate an invisible "permission" to travel regime for very passenger.
EU-READMISSION AGREEMENT: PAKISTAN: For the first time, the Members of the European Parliament will have the opportunity to veto the conclusion of such agreements: Green/ALE and GUE/NGL groups in the European Parliament: Briefing (pdf) and Commission proposal (pdf):
"After years of opacity on the conclusion of readmission agreements with third countries, the European Commission agreed - for the first time - to answer some of the questions put forward by Members of the European Parliament ... Thus, in the name of transparency and information sharing, the Greens/ALE and the GUE/NGL groups would like to present the issues which dominated the debates"
See also: Briefing Note: Readmission agreements (pdf) and Open letter about readmission agreements - sent to the Union Council and European Commission (migreurop, link).
EU: Amnesty International: Dangerous deals: Europe's reliance on "diplomatic assurances" against torture (link)
EU-USA-SWIFT: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): SWIFT: MEPs want to limit data transfers to USA (Press release, pdf) and Report from LIBE meeting (pdf)
EU-USA-SWIFT: European Commission proposals for new SWIFT negotiations with the USA for access to all financial transactions in the EU: SEC(2010)315 final: Full-text (pdf)
Background: SWIFT Agreement Terminated: Agreement of 30 November 2009 between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and the transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme -Termination of the provisional application (pdf): "In the absence of the required consent of the European Parliament, the Council cannot adopt a decision approving the conclusion of the Agreement. Consequently the European Union cannot become a Party to this Agreement and the provisional application thereof is to be terminated forthwith" and European Parliament votes down SWIFT agreement with the USA (Press release, pdf)
EU-USA-PNR Agreement: Letter from the Article 29 Working Party on data protection to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee: Letter (pdf):
"This collection of a great number of passenger data and their retention by a foreign nation constitutes a great intrusion into the privacy of individuals and raises, of course, doubts about the proportionality of such a scheme...
the US has put in place a border control system which obliges all passengers to provide much more personal information than just API and PNR data if they want to enter the US. The data collected can be and are cross-referenced and matched against watch lists and other relevant information. When putting the PNR scheme in this context it clearly emerges that the data provided by each traveller before boarding a plane render him highly transparent and allow for extensive profiling in particular if passengers travel regularly to the US....
the current US PNR agreement, not only has the number of data elements been increased, but DHS can now get information of third persons others than those travelling, and in exceptional cases it may even get sensitive information"
EU: European Commission: Staff Working Document: Roma in Europe: The Implementation of European Union Instruments and Policies for Roma Inclusion Progress Report 2008-2010 (SEC 400/10, pdf)
Italy-Turkey: AI calls on Italy not to forcibly return Avri Er
Following the rejection on 24 March 2010 of Avri Ers asylum or international protection application by the Territorial Commission for the Recognition of International Protection in Bari, a number of organisations including Amnesty International have called on the Italian government not to deport the 38-year-old due to the risk that he may be subjected to torture upon his return.
EU Roma Policy Coalition: Second EU Roma Summit ERPC Joint Statement (pdf)
UK: Series of government reports on Intelligence and Security and National Security Strategy:
- Intelligence and Security Committee: Annual Report 20092010 (pdf)
- Intelligence and Security Committee: Annual Report 20082009 (also only just issued, pdf)
- CONTEST: Pursue Prevent Protect Prepare The United Kingdoms Strategy for Countering International Terrorism: Annual report (pdf)
- National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies 2010 edition (pdf)
- Statement on National Security strategy (pdf)
- National Security Strategy: Memorandum from the Cabinet Office (pdf)
UK-USA: Exclusive: CIA given details of British Muslim students (Independent, link): Outrage as personal files of undergraduates at Detroit bomb suspect's college handed to US: "Personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students is to be shared with US intelligence agencies in the wake of the Detroit bomb scare."
EU: Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen: Schengen Border controls (EU doc no: 6927/10, pdf). Concerns temporary reintroduction of border checks by Denmark at internal Schengen borders from 1 to 18 December 2009 and shows that at the borders with Germany and Sweden:
- 343 police officers took part and the "Results" were:
- Number of persons checked: 7,450
- Number of consultations of national and SIS databases: 807
- Number of refusals of entry: 22
"the measure achieved the desired objective"
These figures do not include the many stopped and arrested at the Climate Conference itself: See: Protest curtailed in Copenhagen (Guardian, link)
EU: Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ, 400 pages, link) and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union:
- CYBER CRIME: Draft Council conclusions on an Action Plan to implement the concerted strategy to combat cybercrime (EU doc no: 5957/2/10, pdf)
- Implementing the strategy for the external dimension of Justice and Home Affairs Action-oriented paper: Strategic and concerted action to improve cooperation in combating organised crime, especially drug trafficking, originating in West Africa (EU doc no: 5069/3/10, pdf)
- Analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on unaccompanied minors arriving to the EU (EU doc no: 16869/1/09, pdf)
- Draft Internal Security Strategy for the European Union: "Towards a European Security Model" (EU doc no: 7120/10, pdf)
- The "resettlement" proposal: Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 573/2007/EC establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013 as part of the General programme "Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows" and repealing Council Decision 2004/904/EC (EU doc 7958/10, pdf)
- FRONTEX: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (EU doc no: 7497/10, pdf)
- FRONTEX: Council Presidency regarding above document: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (EU doc no: 8121/10, pdf)
UK: Communities and Local Government Select Committee report: Preventing Violent Extremism (pdf). See: Prevent extremism strategy 'stigmatising', warn MPs (BBC News, link) and MPs demand investigation into Muslim 'spy' allegations against Prevent (Guardian, link): "An independent investigation should be held into allegations that a government programme aimed at preventing Muslims from being lured into violent extremism is being used to "spy" on them" and "Reacting to the MPs report, Corinna Ferguson of Liberty said: "Every modern society needs a strong civil society and some kind of intelligence infrastructure. But when you blur the two, you sow the seeds of alienation and disunity. The lives of others are not to be needlessly intruded on by those in positions of trust. First they undermined fair trials; then they turned a blind eye to torture. Now Whitehall securocrats score yet another own goal in the War on Terror""
See: Institute of Race Relations: Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism (link, pdf)
EU-FRONTEX: Malta to no longer host Frontex missions (Malta Independent Online, link):"The government's strategy to prevent violent extremism has stigmatised and alienated Muslims it wants to work with, a committee of MPs has warned." and
"Malta will no longer host Frontex missions as it has been doing over recent years after the European Parliament yesterday approved a controversial set of new guidelines for search and rescue operations, a government spokesperson has confirmed. The new set of Frontex rules for disembarking migrants rescued from the high seas stipulate that such migrants should be taken to and disembarked in the missions host country instead of the closest port of call."
EU: More security at any price - The Stockholm Programme of the European Union (Eurozine, link): "The Stockholm Programme, the latest in a series of EU agreements on security policy, was endorsed in December 2009. Based on the "principle of availability", the Programme plans to enable the cross-border collection, processing and sharing of data on a massive scale. Supposedly promoting "openness and security", it is a further step towards a hi-tech Fortress Europe, writes Christine Wicht"
EU: European External Action Service: After weeks of negotiations: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (25 March 2010) (pdf) and Explanatory Memorandum (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: CounterTerrorism Measures in British Airports (pdf). The Committee declares on the issue of whole body scanners that: "the privacy concerns that have been expressed in relation to these devices are overstated" citing the the evidence presented to them by Mr Philip Baum, Managing Director, Green Light Ltd. & Editor, Aviation Security International who is in their words: "a long-time proponent of body scanners.
European Parliament: Migrants at sea: guidelines for EU border patrols (Press release, pdf): At the plenary session a majority of MEPs voted to reject non-binding guidelines for search and rescue at sea conducted by the FRONTEX and national agencies, however, under its rules an absolute majority of MEPs, 369 out of a total of 738, was required to stop the Commission proposal going ahead.
"EU guidelines saying that border patrols have a moral duty to rescue migrants in distress at sea passed through the European Parliament on Thursday. Although a majority of MEPs voted to reject the non-binding guidelines in favour of binding legislation, they failed to muster the absolute majority of MEPs required. Parliament voted to reject the guidelines by 336 votes to 253 with 30 abstentions, but this was not enough as, under the rules, an absolute majority of all Members (369) was needed for rejection."
See Commission proposal: Proposal for a Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Call for a review of all counter-terrorism legislation passed since 11 September 2001: CounterTerrorism Policy and Human Rights (Seventeenth Report): Bringing Human Rights Back In (pdf):
"Since September 11th 2001 the Government has continuously justified many of its counterterrorism measures on the basis that there is a public emergency threatening the life of the nation. We question whether the country has been in such a state for more than eight years. This permanent state of emergency inevitably has a deleterious effect on public debate about the justification for counter-terrorism measures....
What is needed is... a thoroughgoing, evidence-based review of the necessity for, and proportionality of, all the counter-terrorism legislation passed since 11 September 2001."
See also: Review all anti-terrorism laws, say MPs (BBC News, link) and Government is told stance on torture has no legal basis (Guardian, link)
Sweden struggles with e-transparency (wobbing eu, link): "A draft law for access to electronically held information has caused a protest by the Swedish Union of Journalists. If the proposal comes through as it is, civil servants should deny access to electronic data when such access is found inappropriate. E-transparency is seen as a grace, not as a public right."
EU: THE INTERNET OF THINGS: European Commission proposal: Internet of Things An action plan for Europe (COM 278/2009, pdf), European Parliament: Draft report from Industry, Research and Energy Committee (pdf). See: EDRI comments (link) and Statewatch coverage (Google search, 21 items, link)
EU-CIA: MEPs and AI reiterate call for action on CIA secret flights and renditions (pdf): "Amnesty International and MEPs Sarah Ludford (ALDE, UK), Ana Gomes (SD, PT), Raul Romeva (Greens, ES), Willy Meyer (GUE, ES) today called on European institutions and EU Member States to take further action after recent developments involving Europes role in the CIA rendition and secret prison programme."
European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion on Promoting Trust in the Information Society by Fostering Data Protection and Privacy (link) and "Privacy by Design" as a key tool to ensure citizens' trust in ICTs (Press Release, link). This Opinion is wide-ranging and sets out guidelines for "privacy by design" in everything from social networks to RFID to medical records and transport. Specifically in the area of EU Internal Security (Home Affairs) the EDPS argues that the same principle should also apply to the architecture for information exchange under the EU's Information Management Strategy.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"There is little sign that the law enforcement and internal security agencies are prepared to accept such constraints, particularly as the Stockholm Programme states that: "When it comes to assessing the individuals privacy in the area of freedom, security and justice, the right to freedom is overarching... (however) It must also foresee and regulate the circumstances in which interference by public authorities with the exercise of these rights is justified". Given the EU's track record when it comes to balancing freedoms and privacy with the demands of security it is not hard to foresee the outcome.
The "principle of availability" of all information and intelligence (which may be hard or supposition), the interoperability of state databases, automated access to personal data, the systematic trawling of open sources, the acquisition of data gathered by business, the recording of travel and all telecommunications is already widespread and growing by leaps and bounds. When it comes to EU and national state agencies "privacy by design" is likely to be a non-starter."
see also: Towards Trustworthy RFID Security and Privacy by design: Stephan J. Engberg (pdf)
Updated: ACTA draft agreement: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) - draft (link, 14 MB, pdf): "Consolidated text: Reflects US-Japan and all Comments/Edits received. This documents contains foreign government information to be treated as U.S. CONFIDENTIAL MODIFIED HANDLING AUTHORISED * CONFIDENTIAL"
See also: Joint statement: MEPs deplore Council's continued secrecy on ACTA (pdf) and see: Parliament threatens court action on anti-piracy treaty (euactiv, link): "The European Parliament defied the EU executive today (10 March), casting a vote against an agreement between the EU, the US and other major powers on combating online piracy and threatening to take legal action at the European Court of Justice.A strong majority of MEPs (663 against and 13 in favour) today voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), arguing that it flouts agreed EU laws on counterfeiting and piracy online."
Background: Leaked ACTA draft reveals plans for internet clampdown - ISPs must snoop on subscribers or face being sued by content owners (Computerworld, link). Leaked Commission Note (pdf) and Leaked section of draft agreement (pdf): The EU (represented by the Commission) is taking part in negotiations on the drafting of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). These negotiations were launched in 2007 amongst an initial group of interested parties and then continued with a broader group of participants; to date those include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States,
See also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) highly critical of proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): Press Release (pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf).
UK: Yarl's Wood detained baby for 100 days, damning report reveals - Prisons inspector Dame Anne Owers says force used against children twice in last year at immigration removal centre (Guardian, link) and Full text: Report on an unannounced full follow-up inspection of Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre 9 13 November 2009 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (pdf)
Council of Europe: European Committee of Social Rights: Eviction of undocumented children from Dutch reception centers should be banned (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf)
EU: European Commission: the Commission has proposed a new version of the Regulation establishing the IT agency for JHA matters, merging the two prior proposals: Amended Proposal for on establishing an Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (pdf)
FINLAND: Somali activist applying for Finnish citizenship again after initial rebuff (HELSINGIN SANOMAT, link):
"Somali activist Idiris Hassan Farah is again applying for Finnish citizenship. The previous application made by the engineer, a resident of Vantaa, was rejected on account of a negative statement given by the Finnish Security Police (SUPO).
According to the statement, Farahs naturalisation would pose a threat to state security and public order. Somewhat later, SUPO allegedly attempted to recruit Farah to become the Security Polices informant. If he had reported on the Somali community to SUPO, he would have been given money and maybe even the statement for his citizenship application would have been reconsidered. However, Farah rejected the proposal and furthermore went public on the matter."
EU: Journalist attempts citizen's arrest of Blair in EU parliament ( euobserver, link): " A Brussels reporter attempted to place Tony Blair under a citizen's arrest on Monday (22 March) for his role in the invasion of Iraq, during a visit by the former UK prime minister to the European Parliament for a hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
ECHR: Netherlands-Greece: the transfer of asylum seekers: Third party intervention by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Protection Order (pdf) and Council Resolution on a Model Agreement for setting up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) (OJ, pdf)
UK: G20-POLICING: Metropolitan Police Authority: Civil Liberties Panel: Responding to G20: Draft Report (link)
UK: Political activists call for inquiry after revelations about undercover police (Observer, link): "Protest groups that were targeted by infiltrators plan legal action to obtain access to police files after disclosures by Officer A" Original story: Undercover policeman reveals how he infiltrated UK's violent activists (Observer, link)
European Parliament: Statewatch report: Surveillance of the sea external borders with the involvement of Frontex: the LIBE Committee opposes the adoption of the European Commission Draft Council decision
MALTA: Grupp29: Stop the criminalisation of art Maltese authors and artists to government (Press release, pdf) and Letter to Minister (pdf):
"The Maltese community of authors, artists and people working in the cultural field today called on the ministers of justice and culture to assume their political responsibility and stop the absurd criminal proceedings being taken against editor Mark Camilleri and author Alex Vella Gera.
In letters of protest sent to Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, and Parliamentary Secretary for Culture Mario de Marco, Grupp29 which unites 90 authors, artists and cultural workers - stressed that the two government members are politically responsible for the persecution of the author and editor, and for the direct assault on freedom of expression and artistic freedom."
. See also: National Protest Against Censorship (Indymedia Malta, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings - Draft letters to be sent to the Commission and to the European Parliament (pdf):
"the Council regrets the adoption by the Commission of a new proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. This adoption was unexpected after the debate during the Council meeting (Justice and Home Affairs) on 26 February 2010."
Report on discussion in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf). For background on this issue see below.
EU-ISRAEL: Should the EU subsidise Israeli security? (European Voice, link) by Ben Hayes. "The inclusion of Israel in the European Security Research Programme undermines the EU's commitment to even-handedness in the Middle East."
EU: European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): European Commission Proposal to recast the Qualification Directive (pdf)
Belgium: Ministry of justice and prison service under fire for arbitrary refusal
On 16 March 2010, the Brussels Conseil d'Etat issued an urgent injunction stopping the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Service from giving effect to their decision of 24 February 2010 denying prison teacher Luk Vervaet access to Belgian prisons for 'reasons of national security'. The injunction was the latest move in Vervaet's battle for fair treatment from the Belgian authorities, which has so far resulted in two court rulings in his favour.
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS issues Guidelines on Video-surveillance (Press release, pdf), Opinion (pdf) and FAQ (pdf)
Italy: Amnesty International report argues that the "nomads plan" is the wrong answer: In January 2010, the Italian section of Amnesty International published a report entitled "The wrong answer", in which it argues that the "nomads plan" whose implementation is underway in Rome (as well as Milan and Naples) since May 2008 violates Roma and Sinti people's right to housing. It has opened the way to mass evictions of thousands of Roma from makeshift settlements, supposedly to move them into purpose-built camps with improved facilities on the city's outskirts, rather than permanent accommodation. The report highlights that the plan violates a number of international conventions and that the "nomad emergency" is based on a double fallacy: the term "nomad" means that the solutions offered will be for "nomads", and hence temporary or makeshift, and the term "emergency" conceals the discriminatory nature of the measures and allows authorities not to comply with a number of legal provisions by derogating them. The stories of three families are documented in the report. Amnesty International, La Risposta Sbagliata. Italia: Il "Piano Nomadi" viola il diritto all'alloggio dei Rom a Roma", January 2001 [pdf, in Italian, link]. Previous Statewatch coverage: Italy: Open-ended emergencies: deployment of soldiers in cities and summary treatment for Roma, November 2009, Italy: Institutionalising discrimination, Statewatch bulletin, vol. 18 no. 2, April- May 2008.
DENMARK: Danish Rebellion Spokesman Convicted in Terror-Liberation Case (link):
"Denmarks Rebellion (Oprør) spokesman Patrick Mac Manus was found guilty today (March 15, 2010) in Copenhagen City Court for: attempting to collect funds for terrorist organizations Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); and for encouraging [hundreds of organizations] to collect funds for the same.
Judge Helle Hastrup, however, rendered a mild sentence of six months probation as opposed to 18 months imprisonment asked for by the prosecutor. Court costs of 110,000 Danish kroner (about $20,000) plus 25% tax are to be shared by the defendant and the state. She could have demanded that all court costs be paid by the defendant."
EU countries sell tools of torture, says report (euobserver, link) and From words to deeds: Making the EU ban on the trade in "tools of torture" a reality (link to report by Anmesty International EU and Omega Research Foundation)
ITALY: GENOA: G8 appeals: longer prison terms for demonstrators, more officers convicted
Fighting anti-Muslim racism: an interview with A. Sivanandan (IRR News Service, link): IRR News spoke to one of the foremost analysts of racism and Black struggle as to how to meet the contemporary challenge of anti-Muslim racism.
EU: LISBON TREATY: Proposal for a Regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by
Member States of the Commissions exercise of implementing powers (pdf). This proposal sets out proposed new common rules to govern what is now the 2nd tier of EU "non-legislative" decision-making covering implementing acts, where the Commission's decision-making will be controlled by delegates of Member States. This is distinct from the rules governing delegated acts, where the European Parliament and the Council will control the Commission's exercise of delegated powers, and where the details of that control will be set out in each individual EU legislative act that confers the power to adopt delegated acts upon the Commission.
EU-JAPAN:Customs Cooperation: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion (pdf)
The Electronic Police State (link): 51 states and their rankings, with last years ranking is shown in parenthesis: 1. North Korea (2); 2. China (1)
3. Belarus (3); 4. Russia (4); 5. United States of America (6); 6. United Kingdom (5).
UK: Undercover policeman reveals how he infiltrated UK's violent activists (Observer, link) "For four years, Officer A lived a secret life among anti-racist activists as they fought brutal battles with the police and the BNP. Here he tells of the terrifying life he led, the psychological burden it placed on him and his growing fears that the work of his unit could threaten legitimate protest." Plus: Inside the lonely and violent world of the Yard's elite undercover unit (link) and see: Video (link)
UK: Handcuff restraint of asylum seekers criticised (BBC News, link) and see: Report to the UK Border Agency on "outsourcing abuse" (link, pdf)
EU: European Commission proposal: Proposal for a Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (pdf), Commission: Press release (pdf), Commission: Memo (pdf). See also: Plan to give suspects translation rights: Commission proposal would provide the right to interpretation during questioning and at trial (European Voice, link) and Defendants' rights caught up in EU institutional quarrel (euobserver, link): An EU diplomat commented: "The council regrets that the commission chose to table its own proposal, which unnecessarily duplicates our initiative and increases the procedural time needed for a result"
Council of the European Union (27 governments): Council discussions: EU doc no: 14086/09 (pdf) Council proposal: EU doc no: 16801/09 (pdf) and Council Explanatory Note: EU doc no: 16801-add1-09 (pdf). Plus UK opt-in (pdf)
Note comparing the Council and Commission proposals on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
European Parliament: Draft report in response to the Council proposal: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights to
interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (Sarah Ludford MEP, pdf). See also: Opinion of the parliament's Legal Service on the Council proposal (pdf) and Covering Letter (pdf):
It should be noted that the Council is only proposing a binding Directive for the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings but only a non-binding "Resolution" for broader procedural rights of suspects and accused people in criminal proceeding. Roadmap: 1. Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings 2. Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings 3. Proposal for a Resolution of the Council and of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council fostering the implementation by Member States of the right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (pdf)
Background: Statewatch analysis: Rights for Criminal Suspects and EU law (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers: "Back in 2004, the Commission proposed a Framework Decision on rights for criminal suspects.... But a group of Member States, led by the UK (along with Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) opposed a binding EU measure on this issue, suggesting instead a draft Resolution of Member States."
EU-USA: The Spanish Presidency wants to push for a strategic agreement between the EU and the USA in digital health-care (Spanish EU Council Presidency, link):
"The Spanish Minister of Health and Social Policy, Trinidad Jiménez, met in Washington with her US counterpart, Kathleen Sebelius, and highlighted the desire of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union to push for a strategic bilateral agreement in digital healthcare. The aim is to create a scenario for clinical information exchange and technical interoperability between the project promoted by the Obama Administration and the European project."
Draft question to the Council from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert MEP (ALDE): Council pushing for healthcare records share with the US? (pdf)
Belgium: Developments and issues regarding Belgian regularisation policy (CIRÉ)
European Court of Justice: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS welcomes Court of Justice's ruling strengthening independent position of data protection authorities (Press release, pdf): European Commission supported by EDPS v German government: Full-text of judgment (pdf) and the Opinion of the Advocate General (pdf) who advised the opposite view.
EU Security Research: BAE Systems awarded EU contract to develop organised crime database
Italy: NGOs criticise Italian government stance on harm reduction drug policies
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The National DNA Database (pdf):
"It is currently impossible to say with certainty how many crimes are detected, let alone how many result in convictions, due at least in part to the matching of crime scene DNA to a personal profile already on the database, but it appears that it may be as little as 0.3%and we note that the reason for retaining personal profiles on a database is so that the person can be linked to crimes he/she commits later... it should be easier for those wrongly arrested or who have volunteered their DNA to get their records removed from the database."
Italy: Harassment against migrants and Roma people
Spain/France: In-depth reports on the situation in detention centres for foreigners
UK: Home Office: What perceptions do the UK public have concerning the impact of counter-terrorism legislation implemented since 2000? (link)
DUTCH PRISON FOR BELGIANS: Under the European Arrest Warrant and the and the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 29 May 2000: EU doc no: 6921/10, pdf):
"1 February 2010 saw the entry into force of an agreement between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium, under which the Netherlands puts at the disposal of Belgium a prison situated on Dutch territory (in Tilburg) for the purpose of enforcing Belgian sentences according to the rules of Belgian law."
Full-text of agreement: Convention entre le Royaume des Pays-Bas et le Royaume de Belgique sur la mise à disposition d'un établissement pénitentiaire aux Pays-Bas en vue de l'exécution de peines privatives de liberté infligées en vertu de condamnations belges (pdf)
EU: PRUM FRAMEWORK DECISION ON FINGERPRINTS: "Fishing expeditions" by large Member States leads to limits being imposed on automated searches for fingerprints on other states' national databases: In 2008 the Council of the European Union's Ad Hoc Group on Information Exchange urged restraint on the number of searches:
"The varying scale of national databases, partly linked to population size, has led experts to doubt whether the databases of the less-populated States are able to deal with other States' searches. At times there are even concerns that databases may be damaged by overwhelming search volumes." (EU doc no: 14885/rev1/08, pdf)
As this has not worked the Ad Hoc Group on Information Exchange has now laid down limits on the number of searches to be carried out: EU do no: 5860 rev1/10 (pdf). The big "offenders" would seem to be Germany, Spain and Italy (not figures given for the UK).
German High Court Limits Phone and E-Mail Data Storage (Spiegel Online, link). Full-text of the judgment (German, link). See also: On the BVG ruling on Data Retention: So lange here it goes again (link). Press release of court in English (link)
EU Security Research: "NeoConOpticon" blog updated, see 1) BAE Systems awarded EU contract to develop organised crime database; 2) Droning on: more funding for covert EU unmanned aerial vehicle programme; 3) Governed by robots: Border Security 2010' and towards e-borders
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Annual Renewal of Control Orders Legislation 2010 (pdf):
"We have serious concerns about the control order system. Evidence shows the devastating impact of control orders on the subject of the orders, their families and their communities.... Our conclusion is that the current control order regime is no longer sustainable. A heavy onus rests on the Government to explain to Parliament why alternatives, such as intensive surveillance of the very small number of suspects currently subject to a control order, and more vigorous pursuit of the possibility of prosecution, are not now to be preferred."
France/Algeria: Joint maritime surveillance and security operation
EU: European Commission proposal to amend the Frontex Regulation: Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) (pdf) plus Impact Assessment (SEC 149, pdf) and Summary of IA (SEC 150, pdf)
France/Italy: "One day without us", day of struggle in support of migrants' rights on 1 March 2010 See also: France Urges EU to Tighten Mediterranean Borders (Inter Press Service, link)
EU: Latest text, Directive on single permit and workers' rights: Proposed Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State-single-permit (pdf)
EU: Military Technology to Track Down Migrants? (Inter Press Service, link): "Arms manufacturers have been asked to advise an official European Union (EU) body on how their products can be used to stop asylum seekers entering the blocs territory"
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 25-26 February 2010: Press release, 25 February (pdf) and Council conclusions on 29 measures for reinforcing the protection of the external borders and combating illegal immigration (pdf)
Background Note (pdf), "B" Agenda (pdf) and from now on there will be two "A" Points Agendas (Adopted without debate): "A" Points agenda: Legislative (pdf) and "A" Points agenda: non-legislative (pdf)
See: Draft Internal Security Strategy for the European Union: "Towards a European Security Model (pdf) plus Press release on adoption of ISS (pdf) and see: Statewatch: EU state gears up for action: Internal Security Strategy & the Standing Committee on Internal Security (COSI)
See also: France: Policy Ignores Deeper Questions of Migration (Inter Press Service, link)
CHIP & PIN: Article by Steven J. Murdoch, Saar Drimer, Ross Anderson, Mike Bond: University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory, Cambridge, UK Chip and PIN is broken (pdf): "In this paper we describe and demonstrate a protocol flaw which allows criminals to use a genuine card to make a payment without knowing the cards PIN, and to remain undetected even when the merchant has an online connection to the banking network... and exposes the need for further research to bridge the gap between the theoretical and practical security of bank payment systems."
UK: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes and stops & searches Quarterly update to September 2009 (pdf). Of 201 people arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 in the year to September 2009, 42 were arrested for non-terrorist offences and 96 were released without charge.
UK-EU: Home Office to opt out of asylum claims EU directive (Guardian, link): "Home Office ministers are to opt out of a European directive which lays down minimum standards for the treatment of asylum claims because it would mean abandoning a fast-track process that leads to hundreds of asylum seekers being detained every year."
EU: The first 1st reading "deal" of the new parliamentary session between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to an agreement at first reading (pdf) and the report from the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a longstay visa (pdf)
Council of Europe: The future of the European Court of Human Rights: Reform of the European Court of Human Rights: joint declaration reached in Interlaken (Press release, pdf) and High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights Interlaken Declaration (pdf)
EU: FRONTEX: Frontex Programme of Work 2010 (4MB, pdf) and see: Study on the feasibility of establishing specialised branches of Frontex (pdf)
UK: Fast-Tracked Unfairness: Detention and Denial of Women Asylum Seekers in the UK (Human Rights Watch report, link)
EU: Leaked ACTA draft reveals plans for internet clampdown - ISPs must snoop on subscribers or face being sued by content owners (Computerworld, link). Leaked Commission Note (pdf) and Leaked section of draft agreement (pdf): The EU (represented by the Commission) is taking part in negotiations on the drafting of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). These negotiations were launched in 2007 amongst an initial group of interested parties and then continued with a broader group of participants; to date those include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States,
See also: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) highly critical of proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): Press Release (pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf).
CIA RENDITION: Polish authorities deny allegations of FOIA campaigners: Poland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs denied statement of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Open Society Justice Initiative providing fresh evidence of cooperation between the Polish Government and the CIA on Renditions). The Foreign Office spokesman described evidences presented by FOIA campaigners as 'speculations' and called for 'restraint' until the confidential investigation conducted by the National Prosecution Office was closed. The investigation was launched in August 2008 and, as a prosecutor in charge of the investigation pointed out, 'it should not be expected to draw quickly near the end'. Since 2006 Polish government officials have consequently claimed that the allegations of their involvement in the secret CIA rendition programme were unfounded. This time such a tough stance is hardly reliable given that proves of at least six CIA rendition flights which landed in Poland in 2003 have come from official flight records made available by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA).
Documents: Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) flight logs; HFHR/OSJI Explanation of Rendition Flight Records released by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency
Poland admits role in CIA rendition programme - Warsaw air control service confirms that at least six CIA flights landed at disused military air base in northern Poland in 2003 (Guardian, link)
EU setting up intelligence "agency": The "Outcomes" (Minutes) of the Council's Article 36 Committee Article 36 Committee (11 February 2010, pdf) revealed that SITCEN (the EU's Joint Situation Centre intelligence-gathering unit) is to be "integrated" into the new EU External Action Service (EAS). This is confirmed in the euobserver story: EU diplomats to benefit from new intelligence hub (link). The Council of the European Union is planning to merge: SITCEN (110 seconded intelligence staff) which pools information, prepares reports and maintains 24/7 alert desk on open sources with two to three e-mails a day; the Watch-Keeping Capability (12 staff from police and armed forces) sends out alerts from the EU's 23 police-military missions around the world; and the Crisis Room (6 staff) operates a secure website with open source news on the 118 "active conflicts" going on globally together reports from the Commission's official 130 Delegations and offices based around the world.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Mr Solana, the Council previous High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, was always frustrated because European Commission Delegations (Embassies) could not collect and act on locally gathered intelligence. To try and plug the gap he transferred SITCEN from the WEU and set up his own network of eleven Special Representatives (EUSRs) in different regions of the world. Now the merging of SITCEN, the Watch-Keeping Capability and the Crisis Room under the EAS marks the beginnings of an fully-fledged EU intelligence agency.
We should be under no illusions. Despite the predictable denials it is only a matter of time before intelligence-gathering develops into intelligence-led operations with agents in the field acting to further and "protect" EU interests with its own version of MI6 or the CIA."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) highly critical of proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): Press Release (pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf). The EU (represented by the Commission) is taking part in negotiations on the drafting of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). These negotiations were launched in 2007 amongst an initial group of interested parties and then continued with a broader group of participants; to date those include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, commenting Mr Hustinx said: "the EDPS particularly regrets that he was not consulted by the European Commission on the content of such an agreement." and:
"Insofar as the current draft of ACTA includes or at least indirectly pushes for three strikes Internet disconnection policies, ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the protection of personal data and privacy....
Furthermore, as far as ACTA involves exchanges of personal data between authorities and/or private organisations located in the signatory countries, the EDPS calls on the European Union to implement appropriate safeguards. These safeguards should apply to all data transfers made in the context of ACTA - whether they are in the field of civil, criminal, or digital law enforcement - and should be in accordance with the data protection principles set forth in Convention No 108 and Directive 95/46."
USA: GOOGLE: EPIC urges Court to reject Goggle Books settlement: Leading Privacy Organisation Warns that Privacy Problems Cannot Be Fixed (pdf):
"At a hearing in New York federal district court, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) President Marc Rotenberg urged Judge Denny Chin to reject the proposed Google Books settlement. Mr. Rotenberg described how the proposed deal fails to protect readers privacy while mandating collection of readers sensitive, personal information.
"A person at any library or any university in the United States that attempted to retrieve information from Google's digital library would be uniquely tagged and
tracked, Mr. Rotenberg warned.
EU AGENCIES: Last week the heads of the 28 EU agencies met with the Commission. They have combined staff of more than 4,460 people and a combined budget of around 1.24 billion euro: Brochure: EU Agencies - the way ahead (pdf)
USA-NO FLY LIST: Terrorists, US Immigration, and a Canceled Tour (link) The anarchist author Gabriel Kuhn was planning on visiting the United States in early March and staying until May speaking at several colleges, bookstores, and coffeehouses but "the words "Travel Not Authorized" appeared on my computer screen"
Israel remains silent over use of forged British passports in Dubai assassination - Britain sends investigators to emirate as local police chief points finger at Mossad over killing of Hamas official (Guardian, link). Background: UK calls in Israeli ambassador as Dubai killing row escalates - Relations in Tel Aviv now in 'deep freeze', say British officials (Guardian, link) UK intelligence agencies hunt for clues on fake UK passports - The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) leads full investigation into fraudulent use of British passports in Dubai (link) and Dubai killing opens diplomatic rift with Israel (euobserver, link)
Czech court bans far-right Workers Party (euobserver, link)
EU: European Commission: Communication from the Commission: Implementation of Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (COM 673/09, pdf). Anyone trying to understand the effect of the Lisbon Treaty on the decision-making procedure needs to understand the use of Article 290 which allows the legislator to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act. As the Commission observes:
"The scope of Article 290 cannot be determined simply by examining in detail the terms used by the authors of the new Treaty to define delegated acts; the provision also needs to be put into context, by looking in particular at its historical connection with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny and at its links with Article 291 on implementing acts. For it is around Articles 290 and 291 that the legal framework will have to be constructed to replace the comitology system established under the Treaty establishing the European Community."
EU-USA-SWIFT: Talks on future of EU-US bank transfer agreement (European Voice, link):
"The Commission has suspended drafting a mandate for negotiations on a long-term agreement until the US indicates whether it will pursue bilateral deals to gain access to European bank transfer data held by SWIFT, a consortium of international banks. SWIFT is incorporated in Belgium and has servers in the Netherlands and Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU. SWIFT said in a statement that it would continue dealing with US requests for access to data through the judicial mechanisms in place in individual member states and Switzerland."
EU: European Commission proposal on aviation security: Draft Commission Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 272/2009 supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security (pdf): "By 29 April 2013 all airports shall have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols and gels". On Tuesday 16 February 2010 the Council decided not to oppose it.
EU-USA: SWIFT Agreement Terminated: Agreement of 30 November 2009 between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and the transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme -Termination of the provisional application (pdf):
"In the absence of the required consent of the European Parliament, the Council cannot adopt a decision approving the conclusion of the Agreement. Consequently the European Union cannot become a Party to this Agreement and the provisional application thereof is to be terminated forthwith"
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Conference on the future of the European Court of Human Rights Interlaken (Switzerland), 18-19 February 2010 (link) and Background documents (link)
EU: Open Europe seminar: "Is the EU a threat to civil liberties?" Tuesday 23 February, 17.00 - 18.30, Brussels. Speakers include: Jonathan Faull, who has been Director General of the European Commission's Justice, Freedom and Security department since 2003 and Tony Bunyan, Director of EU civil liberties organisation Statewatch. For more information contact Pieter Cleppe: +32 2 540 86 25 or email@example.com
ITALY: Prison conditions and deaths in custody: Prison administration department's inquiry into the death of Stefano Cucchi (see Statewatch news online, November 2009). "Inchiesta amministrativa sul decesso di Cucchi Stefano, Dipartimento dell'amministrazione penitenziaria, Direzione Generale dei detenuti e del trattamento Roma", released on 22 December 2009, available on the Radical party's website at: (Radical Party website, pdf, 55MB, 348 pages). Associazione Antigone, "Oltre il tollerabile" (Beyond what is tolerable): Summary of the sixth report on prisons and the first statement by the Antigone ombudsman Recordings of the reports to the fourth congress of the Nessuno Tocchi Caino association, held on 17 December 2009 and entitled "Basta omicidi, suicidi e segreti di stato" (Enough of killings, suicides and state secrets), from Radio Radicale.
UK: MI5's propaganda own-goal by Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link), Binyam Mohamed storm widens as Johnson defends MI5 over torture (Guardian, link) and Moazzam Begg: 'British intelligence were there at every stage of my detention' (Guardian, link)
The EU state gears up for action: Internal Security Strategy & the Standing Committee on Internal Security (COSI) by Tony Bunyan
"The EU has been waiting for years to launch its Internal Security Strategy (ISS) and the Standing Committee on Internal Security (COSI) which will be responsible for developing it. Back in 2003 It was thought that the Lisbon Treaty would be well in place by now, instead the Lisbon Treaty and the Stockholm Programme have come into effect at the same time. What the ISS and COSI have in common is that they both form part of the matrix of the next stage of the growing European state."
EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT: European Parliament votes down SWIFT agreement with the USA (Press release, pdf) The Parliament refused on Thursday to give its consent to the EU's interim agreement on banking data transfers to the USA via the SWIFT network, amid concerns for privacy, proportionality and reciprocity. This move renders the text signed between the US and the 27 EU Member states legally void. MEPs propose to negotiate a new agreement.
The resolution rejecting the agreement was approved by 378 votes to 196, with 31 abstentions. A proposal by the EPP and ECR groups to postpone the
vote was rejected by 290 votes to 305, with 14 abstentions
Background: Hilary Clinton (US Secretary of State) and Timothy Geithner (US Secretary of Treasury) are putting pressure on the parliament urging the parliament to change its mind: Clinton-Geithner letter to EP (pdf). Letter from the President of the European Parliament to the Council of the European Union: EP Letter (pdf). And in the flurry of activity the Council (27 governments) has adopted a Declaration: Draft Council declaration (pdf) and under pressure from the parliament to provide more information have published: Declassified Council Decision (pdf)
- SWIFT: Civil Liberties Committee recommends rejecting the agreement (EP press release (pdf)
- Draft EP Resolution (pdf)
- Opinion of the EP Legal Service
- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf)
- Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party (pdf)
- Draft EU-USA SWIFT Agreement (pdf)
EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): Schengen information system database statistics dd. 01/01/2010 (pdf)
UK-USA: Binyam Mohamed torture appeal lost by UK government (BBC News, link): "Binyam Mohamed has been involved in a lengthy legal battle The foreign secretary has lost an Appeal Court bid to stop the disclosure of secret information relating to the alleged torture of a UK resident." and British Government attempts to change Court of Appeals judgment after losing Binyam Mohamed secrecy case (Reprieve, link): "In an extraordinary and disturbing development in the Binyam Mohamed case, it emerged that the British Governments barrister wrote a note to one of the Court of Appeal judges in an attempt to manipulate the draft judgment."
Full text of court judgment (pdf) and Full text of censored paragraphs (pdf)
UK: Fast and fair?: A report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on the UK Border Agency (pdf): "clearly demonstrates that the Agencys failure to resolve applications within reasonable timescales can have serious implications for the individuals involved, for society in general and for the public purse."
Dutch Iraq inquiry a slap on the wrist for the government:
"In January of this year the Davids committee presented its very thorough report. The main conclusion was that the military action of the US and the UK against Iraq had no sound mandate under international law. The famous US Security Council Resolution 1441 cannot reasonably be interpreted (as the government did) as authorising individual Member States to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Councils resolutions without authorisation from the Security Council.
EU: 500,000 EU computers can access private British data (Observer, link)
US: The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual: Or, Notes on Demilitarizing American Society (THES, link):
"The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual - its authors call it a pamphlet - may well come to be regarded as the most important work to emerge from America's social sciences so far this millennium. It was written by some of the founders of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists (NCA), 11 anthropologists who came together in 2007 to express their concerns over recent efforts to militarise the discipline."
See: Network of Concerned Anthropologists (link)
Council of Europe: Issue Paper, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Criminalisation of migration in Europe: Human Rights implications (pdf)
EU-GREECE: Frontex first Regional Office to open in Piraeus (link):
Piraeus will host the 1st Regional Office of FRONTEX, following a decision passed by the representatives of Member States of the EU meeting in
Madrid. The Frontex operations center will be located near the offices of Body Port, which has been operating since 2004 the National Center for
Border Marine, who is the contact point of Greece with FRONTEX concerning maritime borders.
EU: Note of the Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law) on: Proposals for recasting the Qualification Directive (COM(2009) 551) and the Procedures Directive (COM(2009) 554) (pdf)
ITALY: Medecins sans Frontieres: Abstract: Over the Wall: A tour of Italys migrant centres. January 2010 (pdf)
EU: Note of the Meijers Committee (Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law) on: Amended proposal for the Eurodac Regulation (COM (2009) 342) and the Decision on requesting comparisons with Eurodac data by Member States law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (COM (2009) 344) (pdf):
"The Meijers Committee, sharing the serious concerns of the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national data protection authorities, strongly advices the members of the European Parliament to vote against this legislative proposal of the European Commission on the following grounds:
- The proposal runs counter to fundamental data protection principles such as proportionality of data processing and respect for purpose limitation.
- The proposal violates fundamental rights of the asylum seekers, including the right to privacy and data protection, the right to asylum and protection against torture and inhuman treatment.
- The proposal will lead to stigmatisation of this particular group of asylum seekers, in violation of the principle of non discrimination.
- When adopted, there is a serious risk that these instruments (the proposed Decision and Regulation) will invoke preliminary questions by national courts and subsequently will be held unlawful by the European Court of Justice, considering recent jurisprudence of both the European Court of Justice and the European Court for Human Rights."
UK: Parliament: Joint Human Rights Committee report: Legislative Scrutiny: Digital Economy Bill (pdf). The Bill raises substantive issues:
"We do not believe that such a skeletal approach to powers which engage human rights is appropriate. There is potential for these powers to be applied in a disproportionate manner which could lead to a breach of internet users rights to respect for correspondence and freedom of expression...
Without a clear picture of the criteria for the imposition of technical measures it is difficult to reach a final conclusion on the fairness of the process for the imposition of technical measures."
EU: Malta and Frontex missions: No chance if the rules are changed (Malta Indpendent Online, link): "Malta will certainly not take part in any Frontex operation this year if the rules are changed to the effect that people rescued off the sea are taken to the host nation rather than the nearest port of call, this newspaper has learned."
European Parliament: SWIFT: Civil Liberties Committee recommends rejecting the agreement (European Parliament press release (pdf):
"Parliament should withhold its consent to the EU's interim agreement on banking data transfers to the USA via the SWIFT network, the Civil Liberties Committee recommended today. The deal will be put to a plenary vote in Strasbourg on Thursday 11 February. Withholding Parliament's consent would render the agreement legally void - in effect, a rejection. The committee report, approved with 29 votes in favour, 23 against and 1 abstention."
The Resolution now goes to the parliament's plenary session next week. See:Draft Resolution (pdf) and Opinion of the EP Legal Service. See: MEPs threaten to derail EU-US data-transfer deal (European Voice, link); Bank data deal under heavy fire from EU Parliamentarians (link) and Clinton calls Buzek on SWIFT - Washington concerned about threat to counter-terrorism measure (European Voice, link)
Council of Europe: Resolution: The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe (pdf)
"The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on the detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe. The resolution, adopted on 28 January, states in no unclear terms that detention results from political decisions that represent a "hardening attitude towards irregular migrants and asylum seekers".
The resolution goes on to criticise the overpopulation of detention centres, and the deterioration of conditions and safeguards for asylum seekers and irregular migrants alike. The resolution states that the "conditions and safeguards afforded to immigration detainees who have committed no crime are often worse than those of criminal detainees." Elsewhere, the resolution criticises the European Union's adoption of the so-called Returns Directive, for adopting the "lowest common standard in regard to detention length." (thanks to NADC).
UK: Report on UK Terorrism Act 2005: FIfth Report of the Independent Reviewer pursuant to Section 14.3 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005: Lord Carlile QC (pdf)
ID and the final exclusion - Biometrics and surveillance are set to make life virtually impossible for those without legal status here (IRR News Service, link)
Statewatch analyses: Homeland Security comes to Europe (pdf) by Ben Hayes. The legacy of the war on terror is a new way of thinking about security and a cash cow for the defence industry and Germany: A network being networked: the Federal Criminal Police Office databases and the surveillance of troublemakers (pdf) by Eric Topfer
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The Home Offices Response to Terrorist Attacks (pdf) and see: Home Office: Memorandum to the Home Affairs Committee Post-Legislative Assessment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (pdf)
UK: Border staff humiliate and trick asylum seekers: whistleblower Louise Perrett says she was advised at the Border Agency office in Cardiff to refuse difficult asylum claims (Guardian, link)
POLAND: Priest fingerprinting schoolchildren: A Polish priest has installed in his church an electronic fingerprint reader for schoolchildren preparing for the sacrament of confirmation. Before last summer holidays pupils of a high school in the southwestern town of Gryfów Slaski were fingerprinted by the priest from the local parish of St Hedvige. Over three years of their high school education they will have their fingerprints scanned on an electronic reader every time they go to the church to confirm their attendance to the mass and other obligatory worships. Such a high-tech means of authentication of pupils raised concerns among Polish state agencies responsible for protecting personal data and civil liberties. Both General Office for Data Protection (GIODO) and Polish Ombudsman Office declared they will undertake necessary action to check legality of this unusual church procedure. See: Reuters, Polish priest checks fingerprints for mass attendance (link)
GERMANY-CIA: Extraordinary Rendition Plot: CIA Had Secret Plan to Kidnap German-Syrian Suspect in Hamburg (Spiegel Online, link) and Germany will probe CIA murder and rendition plots on its soil (New Europe, link)
Terre des hommes (Switzerland) report: Disappearing, departing, running away A surfeit of children in Europe? Study carried out in Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland on the disappearances of unaccompanied foreign minors placed in institutions (pdf)
A leap forward in intelligence gathering: New developments in commercial geospatial technology promise big payoff (link)
Portugal/EU: Navy opens fire on undercover Frontex mission
On 27 January 2010, the Portuguese Lusa press agency and Jornal de Noticias newspaper reported that Pegaso, a launch of the Portugese navy fired four machine gun rounds at a maritime police boat involved in an undercover coastal surveillance operation four miles off the coast of Salema under the auspices of Frontex. The rounds followed identification of the boat as "suspicious", although it later emerged that three maritime police officers were on board. The boat sped away before firing light signals that identified it as a police vessel. The region is deemed an area for the trafficking of drugs from north Africa to Europe.
The Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF, Immigration and Border Service) and Armada (navy) did not comment, with the latter explaining that it does not discuss "issues of an operational nature". On 22 December 2009, Frontex reached a cooperation agreement in maritime surveillance with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), based in Lisbon, and the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA), based in Vigo (Spain) in the region of Galicia that is close to the Portuguese border. The agreement includes cooperation in the field of maritime surveillance to protect external maritime borders and for fisheries control. See: Jornal de Noticias, 27.1.2010, Cooperation agreement in maritime surveillance: Frontex news release, 22.12.09. And: Spanish EU Presidency - Security problems at sea can only be solved if there is optimum collaboration on every level. (link)
Crisis Forum, Climate Change and Violence Workshop Series 2008 2010, Workshop 4: Securing the State: Securing the Corporate Nexus: The Coming Militarization of Climate Change, 27 November 2009, The Rosebowl, Leeds Metropolitan University: Video: Tony Bunyan talk : State Research Activism: Challenging the drfit towards a more authoritarian and militarised Europe(link) and Dr. Steve Wright: Techno-fixing border controls: The new sub-lethal paradigm for mass exclusion (link)
EU: New Commission proposal migrating the ex-third pillar parts of SIS to SIS II: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Decision 2008/839/JHA on migration from the Schengen Information System (SIS 1+) to the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf). This is needed because of substantial technical problems with launching SIS II: "The time-frame of the current migration instruments, and in particular their date of expiry which is currently set to be 30 June 2010 at the latest, appears no longer realistic."
USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) report: Better Use of Terrorist Watchlist Information and Improvements in Deployment of Passenger Screening Checkpoint Technologies Could Further Strengthen Security (pdf) This report by the respected GAO confirms that:
"the intelligence community did not effectively complete these steps and link available information to the subject before the incident. Therefore, agencies did not nominate the individual to the watchlist or any of the subset lists used during agency screening, such as the No Fly list... Also, screening agencies stated that they do not check against all records in the watchlist.
On body scanners (called "Whole Body Imagers") the USA is to install 878 units by 2014 but the GAO notes:
"In October 2009, GAO reported that TSA had not yet conducted an assessment of the technologys vulnerabilities to determine the extent to which a terrorist could employ tactics that would evade detection by the AIT. Thus, it is unclear whether the AIT or other technologies would have detected the weapon used in the December 25 attempted attack"
Conference: Paying the Price for Journalism and Democracy (European Federation of Journalists, link). European Parliament, Room 6Q1 2 February 2010, 9.30 - 12.30. Journalism, its future and the media policies of the European Union are matters at the heart of a special meeting being organised by the European Federation of Journalists at the European Parliament on 2 February.
UN: Human Rights Council: Joint study on global practices in relation to secret detention in the context of countering terrorism: Executive Summary (pdf) and Full-report (221 pages, pdf)
EU: New case taken to the European Court of Justice on access to EU documents: Case T-529/09 before the General Court - Sophie in 't Veld v. Council of the European Union (pdf). ALDE MEP Sophie in 't Veld's case concerns access to the Council Legal Services' Opinion on the EU-USA SWIFT Agreement. In the Turco case the ECJ decide that access to could given to the Opinion of the Legal Service concerning policy matters.
EU: Draft Commission Decision establishing the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas (115 pages, pdf)
UK: Ministry of Justice lists eco-activists alongside terrorists - Campaigners lumped in with al-Qaida and far right - Government criticised for tarring peaceful protesters (Guardian, link)
EU: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (pdf) and EP Briefing Note: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards sea border surveillance in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by FRONTEX (COM(2009)658) as amended by the Council on 25 January 2010 (pdf)
EU: Briefing Note for the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): EU Readmission Agreements: Overview (pdf)
France: Statements in support of the Kurdish refugees who landed in Corsica: Fourteen Corsican organisations issued a joint statement in support of the Kurds from Syria who landed in Bonifacio on 22 January
Spain: Vic town council norms to stop sans papiers becoming residents withdrawn
Following opposition from trade unions, migrant and anti-racist groups and social organisations, and the intervention of the central government, the town council of Vic (Catalunya) has withdrawn a norm that amended the criteria for registration in the residents' register (padrón) which excluded irregular migrants, as it would not have allowed foreigners to register unless they had a valid residence permit or could offer proof that procedures for it to be issued or renewed were underway.
UK: Supreme Court quashes Statutory Orders implementing UN Security Council Resolutions and the UN 'terrorism list'
EU-USA: Council of the European Union (27 governments) put pressure on the European Parliament to "fast-track" the EU-USA SWIFT (transfer of all financial transactions in order to counter terrorism) while the EU's Article 29 Working Party on data protection and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) express strong criticisms:
- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf)
- Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party (pdf)
- Draft Agreement (pdf)
- Draft Council Decision (21.1.10, pdf)
The EDPS concludes that the Interim SWIFT agreement "leave some dangerous lacunae". The "necessity" is not demonstrated and for legal certainty and foreseeability, "many important data protection elements are still absent or not clearly defined"; no limits are placed on the bulk transfer of data and:
"Furthermore, sharing of personal data with other national authorities as well as third countries is neither clearly defined not subject to appropriate guarantees.. [and] many data subjects rights... are either disregarded or have no concrete and clear way to be enforced"
The Article 29 Working Party observes that the scope of the definition of terrorism differs from that in the EU's Framework Decision (2002); there has been do assessment that the level of data protection meets EU standards; and it questions whether any form of redress "will prove feasible/practicable for European citizens in practice."
Security before liberty - An EU-US joint declaration on aviation security shows the powerful influence of US homeland security policy (Guardian, link) by Tony Bunyan
EU: Migreurop: 2010, the year of the right to migrate? and Italian, French (links)
EU: The Schengen Information System (SIS) has "over half a million terminals located in the security services of the Member States": The reference to "security services" refers to police, immigration, customs and internal security agencies. See EU doc no: 13305/09 (see p3, pdf). This extraordinary figure of more than 500,000 access terminals is given in a Note from the French delegation bidding to house the planned Agency for large-scale IT systems.
The previously known figure for the number of terminals with access to the SIS was given in 2003 when there were 13 member states with of access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) when the figures clearly surprised the Council of the European Union (the EU governments) who found there were:
"125,000 access points !!! (exclamation marks in original) (EU doc no: 8857/03, pdf)
Now there are now 25 Schengen member states. Moreover, the new SIS II system will allow access by all agencies to all the data held - under the existing SIS system data can only be access by agencies in the same field, ie: police agencies can only access police data.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The number of access points throughout the EU there will be as new databases are started and new agencies are created is going to be gigantic. It is well known that the greater the points of access the greater the number of people who have access the greater is the chance that data will be misplaced, lost or illegally accessed. Private security firms, multinationals and internal and foreign agencies as well as criminals all use their "contacts" to get unauthorised access to personal data. The idea that mass databases can be totally secure and that privacy can be guaranteed is a fallacy."
DATA SECURITY: Computer security: fraud fears as scientists crack 'anonymous' datasets - Computer experts in the US can now identify people from personal information, leading to concerns over security and confidentiality (Observer, link)
UK: CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones - Arms manufacturer BAE Systems developing national strategy with consortium of government agencies (Guardian, link): "Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the "routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance."
Privacy and security can be reconciled - There are better ways than body scanners and group-related profiling to improve security at airports (Guardian, link) by Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism:
"some measures are, and ought to remain, prohibited because they nullify the right to privacy and therefore conflict with foundational principles of a free society. Further, the most privacy intrusive measures are not always the most effective ones from the perspective of preventing terrorism.... body scanners are ineffective. They are unlikely to detect 80 grams of PETN explosives hidden in the underware of a person. And once it is known that body scanners are in use, they are easy to avoid by hiding this type of explosives in a body cavity or in a commercial item in one's hand luggage. Further, as body scanners will slow down the security checks at airports, it is likely, although not unavoidable, that their use will result in a new wave of discriminatory profiling based directly or indirectly on nationality, ethnicity or religion."
Just over the horizon the surveillance society and the state in the EU, by Tony Bunyan, Race & Class, January 2010 (SAGE, link):
"In cold war times, the West espoused liberal democracy and freedom from surveillance and control. It is thus ironic that with the cold war a distant memory though it only ended less than twenty years ago the EU and its member states are set on a path which will, in just a few years time, turn it into the most surveilled, monitored region in the world. The wider context for all this is increased state racism (both at the national and EU levels), combined with the emergence of the policing state , engendered by a political and governmental authoritarianism that legitimises itself through the trappings of representative democracy."
Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Toleda, Spain: EU-USA Joint Declaration on Aviation Security: Joint Declaration (pdf). In addition to covering body scanners and biometrics the possibility of an EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) database is raised again. The current proposal in the EU is for a PNR system which would record data on people flying in and out of the EU - not flights within the EU (EU doc no: 5618/2/09, June 2009, pdf).
Press statement (22.01.10): "The Vice-president of the European Commission and head of security, Jacques Barrot, stated that the Community Executive is going to speed up its report on technologies and body scanners and restart the project to create a common passenger name record (PNR) for Europe with the urgency the ministers have undertaken to back this project.
The three politicians highlighted the contradiction in the exchange of passenger data with the United States but not between European States, as if a terrorist could not catch a plane in Heathrow to travel to Madrid, said Rubalcaba [Spanish Interior Minister]".
UK: Putting John Denham's speech in context - How progressive is John Denham's apparent shift from 'race' to class strategies? (IRR News Service, link)
ITALY: Migreurop publishes a report following the fact-finding mission on 15 January 2010: Press release: Violence, racism and lies, from Rosarno to Bari (pdf), French (link), Italian (link) Spanish (link) and Report (French, pdf, link)
EU: Statewatch Briefing: Internal Security Strategy for the European Union (pdf) by Artur Gruszczak, European Centre Natolin, Warsaw. See: Spanish Council Presidency: Informal Meeting of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs, Toledo, 20-22 January 2010: Agenda (pdf)
European Parliament: Transcript of the hearing for Commissioner Malstrom (Home Affairs: Internal security and immigration, pdf)
EU: Regulation on public access to EU documents: European Ombudsman finds that the European Commission "has no intention of trying to complete its registers" See: Ombudsman: Follow-up to Critical and further remarks: How the EU institutions: How the EU institutions responded to the Ombudsman's Recommendations in 2008 (December 2009, see p35-36, pdf). In 2006 Statewatch lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for its failure to maintain a proper public register of documents as required under Article 11 of the Regulation on access to EU documents. The Ombudsman found there was a case of maladministration and that "The Commission should, as soon as possible, include references to all the documents within the meaning of Article 3(a) that are in its possession in the register foreseen by Article 11 of this regulation, to the extent that this has not yet been done." The Commission reject the Ombudsman's Recommendation.
In compiling his Follow-up report the Commission was invited to comment on any progress and again refused to accept that it had any obligation to list references to all documents as it is required to do under Article 11 of the Regulation: President Barroso's letter to the Ombudsman (pdf). The Ombudsman's Follow-up Report comments:
"The Ombudsman recalls that during his inquiry, the Commission consistently argued that it was going to expand the scope of its registers and led the Ombudsman to believe that the problem was mainly a technical one (i.e., the absence of a harmonised data base for the registration of documents). The Ombudsman notes, with regret, that the Commissions new argument suggests that it has no intention of trying to complete its registers."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Public access to documents is the life-blood of democracy and EU public registers listing all documents provide a rich resource for public debate, discussion and participation. The Commission continued intransigence undermines the democratic process and is utterly contrary to the much cited principles of openness, transparency and accountability in the EU."
Background: Statewatch Analysis & Postscript: Statewatch wins European Ombudsman complaint against the European Commission over its public register of documents but it refuses to comply (pdf)
EU: European Ombudsman re-elected (European Parliament press release, pdf)
Greece: UNHCR call to stop Dublin II returns to Greece
EU: New European Commission: Home Affairs (Internal security and immigration) and Fundamental Rights (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship) need to have separate Directorate-Generals (DG) As the European Parliament hearings of the new Commissioners nears completion a major question remain unanswered. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"We have two Commissioners but one DG dealing with both internal security and immigration on the one hand and fundamental rights and justice on the other. Experience at national level shows that there should be a complete separation between Home Affairs and Justice/Fundamental Rights. By keeping a single Directorate-General (under a single Director-General) there is a real danger that the already pervading culture of internal security and control will continue to contaminate justice and rights.
UN: HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin (pdf):
"The Special Rapporteur highlights the erosion of the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism in section C. This erosion takes place through the use of surveillance powers and new technologies, which are used without adequate legal safeguards. States have endangered the protection of the right to privacy by not extending pre-existing safeguards in their cooperation with third countries and private actors. These measures have not only led to violations of the right to privacy, but also have an impact on due process rights and the freedom of movement especially at borders and can have a chilling effect on the freedom of association and the freedom of expression."
- Pro Annan V: Rethinking the UN-viability of the constitutional arrangement (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis
- Flash Report: on fundamental rights in Cyprus, May 2009 (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis and Corina Demetriou
-The situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis and Stavros Stavrou Karayanni
- Human rights issues and debates during the 2009 EU parliament election campaign: The Case of Cyprus (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis & Corina Demetriou: paper for Symfiliosi for the Fundamental Rights Agency
- Trafficking, Profiteering and State Complicity: Researching the Demand Side of Prostitution and Trafficking in Cyprus (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis, International Peace Research Institute, Nicosia Cyprus
- Nationality and citizenship in Cyprus since 1945: Communal citizenship, gendered nationality and the adventures of a post-colonial subject in a divided country (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis
- Flash Report on racism and xenophobia in Cyprus, August 2009 (pdf) by Nicos Trimikliniotis and Corina Demetriou
UK: Police use dogs and helicopter to swoop on pacifist student (Evening Standard, link): "A pacifist is suing police for malicious arrest after he was held under anti-terror laws for staging a protest outside an Army base....Mr Moulton, a student at Hull University, said he was taking action because he was refused an internship at the House of Commons and was barred from entering the US because of his criminal record."
GREECE: The Athens Affair - How some extremely smart hackers pulled off the most audacious cell-network break-in ever (IEEE Spectrum, link). Article on the technical side of the interception of government Ministers and state officials' communications in the run-up to the 2004 Olympic Games widely believed to be on behalf of the CIA.
EU: European Commission responds to European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) report: "A European Security Research and Innovation Agenda - Commission's initial position on ESRIF's key findings and recommendations" (pdf):
- ESRIF Final Report (324 pages, 4MB, pdf)
- Background: Report from Statewatch and theTransnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf)
GREECE: Greek Helsinki Monitor: European Court conviction for ill-treatment in police hands. Eleventh conviction for police violence (pdf):
"This is the eleventh ruling in four years by an international judicial or quasi-judicial body finding Greece in violation of the prohibition of torture or of the right to life. Eight of these cases were submitted by GHM."
UK: Twitter joke led to Terror Act arrest and airport life ban (Independent, link)
EU: Parliament threatens to derail EU-US bank data deal (euobserver, link). See: Full-text: Buzek, January letter and Full-text: Buzek, December letter (pdf)
EU-GERMANY: Directive on data retention: now the floor goes to the German Constitutional Court (EFSJ blog, link)
RIGHTS: Italy Shows its Ugly Side (Inter Press Service, link): "If the first step towards solving a problem is recognising you have one, the Italian authorities look to be some way from tackling the growing racism and xenophobia affecting sections of its society."
EU: Development: EU Aid to be Used for Fingerprinting by David Cronin (Inter Press Service, link): "Aid traditionally reserved for keeping victims of war and disasters alive may now be used for security-related projects such as the fingerprinting of refugees, European Union officials have decided."
EU: FRONTEX Work Programme 2010 (pdf)
EU-USA: Heinrich Boll Foundation (North America): Transatlantic Information Sharing: At a Crossroads (link):
"a new report - commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) - explores, negotiations on a binding international agreement that will govern the sharing of personal information for law enforcement purposes between the United States and the European Union, while high on the transatlantic policy agenda, face significant challenges."
Italy: After the racist violence in Italy : a Migreurop mission visits the area (link): French and Italian
UK: House of Commons Justice Committee: Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment (pdf): "the Governments main answer to the current overcrowding of prisons and the predicted rise in the prison populationalready at a record highis to provide more prison places rather than to seek to address the root causes of this seemingly incessant growth."
EU: Background documents
- SWIFT: Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (OJ, pdf)
- FRONTEX: Frontex specialised branches (33 pages, pdf). FRONTEXT's role is expanding rapidly and will do so even more under the Stockholm Programme. Here a management consultants report to justify creating Mobile Operations Project Teams (MPOT) operating on the ground/sea, Centres of Excellence (CEO) and Intelligence and Liaison Coordination Offices (ILCO).
- EAW: European Arrest Warrants: Follow-up to the final report on the fourth round of mutual evaluations - The practical application of the European Arrest Warrant and corresponding surrender procedures between Member States (EU doc no: 17132/09, pdf). Discusses a number of recommendations (including "provisional arrest") which could either be brought about by legislation or by the "back-door" through "soft law" Council Conclusions: "non-legislative action is possible. With regard to some recommendations, a possibility of going forward could be the development of best practices. These best practices could be laid down in Council conclusions, but could also be integrated into the European arrest warrant Handbook."
- EUROJUST: Strategic Seminar on the implementation of the new Eurojust Decision in the Member States - " Building new bridges between Eurojust and the Member States" Stockholm, 7 - 8 September 2009 (EU doc no: 16925/09, pdf): "This seminar was part of a series of meetings organised in the framework of the Informal Working Group (IWG) on the implementation of the new Eurojust Decision, initiated by Eurojust together with the Trio Presidency, the Council Secretariat and the Commission"
- EU-NATO: PMG recommendations on concrete measures to improve EU-NATO cooperation (17344/09, pdf)
- EU diplomatic representation in third countries - First half of 2010 (EU doc no: 17770/09, pdf)
- VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM: Programme of deployment of the VIS - Activities of the Group of Friends of the VIS (EU doc no: 14340/09, pdf), including: "the start of operations of the VIS will be delayed beyond September 2010, because of certain problems in both the central system and at national level."
- Union for the Mediterranean: Draft EU Guidelines and Proposal for a Work Programme for 2010 : JHA issues from p42 (EU doc no: 17594/09, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Work stopped on the proposal for a Schengen evaluation system - no mention of this proposal in the Spanish Council Presidency agendas. See: Draft Council Regulation and draft Council Decision on the establishment of an evaluation mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis - Proposal for the way ahead (15339/1/09, pdf) The proposal is a non-legislative act to be adopted by the Council. The "way ahead" says that:
"some parts of the draft Regulation and Decision have raised serious concerns with a substantial number of Member States. Even though a greater efficiency of the evaluation mechanism is welcomed in general, the establishment of a new evaluation mechanism implying the (co)existence of two different but parallel evaluation processes is strongly contested. The proposals suggest one evaluation mechanism for new Member States and one for existing Schengen Member States, which is broadly considered not in line with the enhanced efficiency of the mechanism. Furthermore, there is little support among Member States for the substantial shift of competences from the Member States to the Commission."
It is no wonder that the Member States (governments) on the Committee could not accept the Commission's proposal as the Council's position in an earlier document showed that over 200 objections to the text are expressed in 53 footnotes, see: EU doc no; 13831/2/09 (pdf)
ECHR-UK: Stop-and-search powers ruled illegal by European court (BBC News, link) Terrorism Act 2000 Section 44: "Police powers to use terror laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion are illegal, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled." and Full-text of judgment (pdf)
Belgium: Suspicious death of a Tunisian in Vottem detention centre
BODY SCANNERS: Body scanners can store, send images, group says (CNN Travel, link)
UK: MI5 'still using threats to recruit Muslim spies' (Independent, link): "MI5 faces accusations that its officers have blackmailed and harassed vulnerable immigrants living in Britain as part of a campaign to recruit spies to report on Muslim communities." See also: Institute of Race Relations: Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism (link, pdf)
ITALY: Southern Italian town world's 'only white town' after ethnic cleansing (Guardian, link): "Rosarno in southern Italy had, by last night, been turned into what one politician termed the world's only entirely white town after a bloody ethnic cleansing that produced scenes reminiscent of the old American deep south. As bulldozers got to work to obliterate shacks belonging to the itinerant crop-pickers who had fled, the last of more than 1,000 such workers were being removed from the area for their own protection. After two days and nights of violence that began with the apparently motiveless shooting of two African workers, the number of injured stood at 53, comprising 18 police, 14 local people and 21 immigrants, eight of whom were in hospital."
and: Immigrants riot in Italy amid racial unrest (AlertNet, link): "Clashes between immigrants and locals in a southern Italian town entered a second day on Friday, with the government rushing extra police to try to stem one of the worst episodes of racial unrest in years."
EU: Council of the European Union: Provisional agendas for meetings of the Council of Ministers (JHA Council pp28-41, pdf). Note the new format:
1) Legislative deliberations;
2) Non-legislative activities (which does not mean to say that these issues are unimportant, on the contrary, they can include substantive decisions on implementation under the Regulatory procedure);
3) Mixed Committee: Schengen: (including the Schengen Information System, SIS & SIS II) and includes Iceland and Switzerland and soon Norway;
4) "A" items: Measures "nodded" through without discussion - again can contain substantive measures/legislation which while agreed by to EU governments may raise substantive concerns for civil society (and sometimes national parliaments).
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders being considered under the "Regulatory procedure", (EU doc no: 17511/09, pdf)
BODY SCANNERS: New scanners break child porn laws (Guardian, link); Are planned airport scanners just a scam? - New technology that Gordon Brown relies on for his response to the Christmas Day bomb attack has been tested and found wanting (Independent on Sunday, link) and Brown gives go-ahead for full-body scanners at Britain's airports (Guardian, link), Full-body scanners being ordered for airports, says Gordon Brown - outlines new airport security regime but opinions remain mixed as to whether scanners can detect liquids (Guardian, link), The war on terror has been about scaring people, not protecting them by Gary Younge (Guardian, link) and PI statement on proposed deployments of body scanners in airports (Privacy International, link); Islamic Human Rights Commission: New security measures are a knee-jerk reaction to the recent failed terrorist attack (link)
Background: By 2014 all EU airports are planned to have screening equipment for liquids in operation. Very useful summary from ALDE group shadow rapporteur: Introduction of liquids onboard of aircrafts State of play (pdf). The European Parliament's powers on this issue also come under regulatory procedure with scrutiny (RPS).
The proposal from the Commission envisages three steps: - from 2010 allow liquids of transit passengers - by 2012 big airports have to screen liquids with available technology - by 2014 all airports with available technology. See: Commission: Information paper: Ban on liquids onboard aircraft and possible next steps (pdf)
IRELAND: 25m euro to be spent on new public services ID cards for over-16s (Irish Times, link) "The government is to spend almost 25 million euro on a new public services identity card which will be distributed to about three million people over the age of 16 from next year. The card will contain the holders name, photograph, signature and public service number, which is used to access welfare benefits and other State services. In addition, personal details such as a persons date of birth, former surnames and the mothers surname are likely to be electronically encoded on the card."
UK: Voter registration: The Political Parties and Elections Act in action (pdf) Voter registration is to switch from those registered in a household to the individual: "From 2011 onwards, the Commission will report annually to Parliament on the progress of the voluntary collection of personal identifiers - National Insurance number, signature and date of birth - from electors, to make sure that the conditions are appropriate before any move to compulsory provision of identifiers." (emphasis added). NB: Most problems have not been with registration but with impersonation through postal voting.
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