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EU: Council of the European Union: SIS: Overstayers, Border checks & Police and judicial cooperation
Overstayers: Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third country nationals - draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 13164-17, pdf): The Council working on its negotiating position: "Changes to the original Commission proposal are marked as follows: new or modified text is in bold underlined. Deletions are in strikethrough."
Object: "The return of third-country nationals who do not fulfil or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry, stay or residence in the Member States."
Comment: This Regulation would apply to all overstayers including those having a visa or long-stay -visa.
Border checks: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks... draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 13163-17, 86 pages, pdf): With 110 Footnotes including Member State positions:
"This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for the entry and processing in SIS of alerts in respect of third-country nationals, the exchange of supplementary information and additional data for the purpose of refusing entry into and stay on the territory of the Member States."
SIS: Police and judicial cooperation: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, amending... - draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 13162-17, 114 pages pdf): With169 Footnotes including Member State positions:
"This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for the entry and processing in SIS of alerts on persons and objects, the exchange of supplementary information and additional data for the purpose of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
This Regulation also lays down provisions on the technical architecture of SIS, the responsibilities of the Member States and of the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, general data processing, the rights of the persons concerned and liability."
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU Volume II: field perspectives and legal update (pdf): Useful review:
"Intelligence services perform vital work, and the growing threats of terrorism, cyber-attacks and sophisticated criminal networks have rendered more urgent their efforts to protect our security. Technological advancements have also made their work more complex, and the transnational nature of todays threats has made it ever more challenging.
But intelligence work to counter these threats, particularly large-scale surveillance, can also interfere with fundamental rights, especially privacy and data protection. As this report underscores, effective oversight and remedies can help minimise the risk of such interference."
Meijers Committee: Note on Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a centralized system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third-country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN) and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (pdf):
"The Meijers Committee would like to express its concerns with regard to the Commission proposal of 29 June 2017 on the introduction of a centralized system, ECRIS-TCN (COM (2017/344) (further: the proposal).
ECRIS, as it currently exists, is a European decentralized system used by EU Member States to exchange information on previous convictions of EU citizens as contained in the national criminal record systems. ECRIS is now regulated by the Framework Decision 2009/315 and Council Decision 2009/316. These legal instruments are to be amended, respectively replaced."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-22.10.17)
Why does the UK Data Protection Bill exempt the risk profiling industry? (Open Democracy, link) by Ben Hayes and Ravi Naik:
"Anyone trying to open a bank account or send money overseas must undergo extensive risk assessment by private data-brokers, which amass non-credible data and falsely blacklist the wrong people on a speculative basis. (...)
the bill transposing the GDPR into UK law is complex and labyrinthine. As the GDPR must be applied by May next year, the government has set a tight legislative timetable for its passage, and the bill has already had its second reading in the Lords.(..)
World-Check and its numerous competitors would ostensibly be exempt from the core data protection provisions that apply to other data controllers."
See also: Exclusive: Secret Blacklist Grows Even After Journalists Placed on 'Terror' List Are Paid Off (Vice News, link):
Public and Private Eyes - Surveillance in the Digital Age (Foreign Affairs, link):
"As Jeffreys-Jones details, surveillance is the prerogative not just of governments. It is something that was developed, relied on, and institutionalized by private actors as well."
Council Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) casts doubt on EU policy of "safe" return of refugees to Afghanistan
- Afghanistan: "We are concerned at the deteriorating humanitarian situation"
-"Pakistan have hosted millions of Afghan refugees over the last forty years and we commend them"
- "Iran have hosted millions of Afghan refugees over the last forty years and we commend them"
Key document: COHAFA common messages on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan (LIMITE doc no: 12697-17, pdf)
European Parliament Study: ECON Thesaurus on Brexit (pdf):
"This thesaurus is a collection of ECON related articles, papers and studies on the possible withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Recent literature from various sources is categorised, chronologically listed while keeping the content of previous editions - and briefly summarised. To facilitate the use of this tool and to allow an easy access, certain documents may appear in more than one category."
European Commission: EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: First review shows it works but implementation can be improved (Press release, pdf) and:
Report on the first annual review of the functioning of the EUU.S. Privacy Shield (COM 611-17, pdf) and Staff Working Document (SWD 344-17, pdf)
See: EU: Privacy Shield works, but US can do more to protect non-Americans (ZDNET, link):
"A little more than year after the EU-US Privacy Shield went into effect, the European Commission (EC) says the multi-national pact is doing an "adequate" job protecting Europeans' personal data after it's transferred to companies in the US.
At the same time, the US could do more to protect non-Americans, the EC says, such as adding certain rules to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The recommendations came from the EC's first annual report assessing whether the Privacy Shield -- a pact between the EU and the US that sets the terms for trans-Atlantic transfers of personal data -- is functioning as intended."
Returned and Lost: What Happens After Readmission to Turkey? (link):
"Turkey was regarded as a safe (third) country for asylum seekers and refugees for the purposes of the EU-Turkey Statement. This designation was an outcome of a political decision rather than a policy based on evidence from the field. Existing structural problems in Turkey where the asylum and migration systems are still in their infancy and the absence of effective safeguards against the violation of human rights, partly as a result of alarming developments in the legal framework, should remind us that political will - such as in the EU-Turkey Statement - alone does not make a country a safe place for migrants and asylum seekers."
Solidarity under attack (Open Democracy, link):
"These measures [against NGO search and rescue operations] can be interpreted as an attack against solidarity and as an acceleration of the measures that criminalize pro-migrant solidarity in Italy and the EU. In this regard, we argue that there is a very close relationship between: approval of the new immigration bill and the implementation of the so-called Code of Conduct for NGOs doing rescue operations in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the frequent and often violent evictions of migrant squats, buildings and encampments we are witnessing taking place in major cities such as Rome, Milan, Bologna, and the rising number of trials against pro-migrant activists facing persecution for their activities, reveal a concerted attempt on the part of the authorities in Italy and Europe to undermine forms of solidarity with and for migrants in civil society."
See: Solidarity is not a crime: the Observatory of the Milan Charter is born (Statewatch News)
HUNGARY: NGO access to places of detention: National authorities terminated cooperation agreements with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (link)
"The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) is a civil human rights organization established in 1989, which has paid particular attention to the protection of fundamental rights of detainees and asylum seekers. The HHC concluded cooperation agreements with a number of national authorities and documented the enforcement of human rights in detention facilities systematically. The agreements ensured direct contact with potential clients. The cooperation agreements served the interests of both the national authorities and the detainees or asylum seekers. Most of the agreements were concluded for an indeterminate term.
The HHC deems it incomprehensible that in the matter of the past four months, national authorities have terminated unilaterally four significant agreements which were the basis of effective cooperation for a long period of time."
56 Years After Paris Massacre, State Racism Lives On In France (Real News, link):
"On October 17th, 1961, hundreds of French Algerians were killed when French authorities attacked a large protest. France's racist legacy continues with the profiling and targeting of France's Muslims today, says human rights advocate Yasser Louati."
European Parliament: Beefing up EU border controls: pre-screening visa-exempted travellers (press release, link):
"Third country nationals exempt from visa requirements on entering the Schengen area will need to apply for a travel authorisation before coming to the EU.
The new European Travel and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will allow for advanced checks on visa-free travellers and those considered to pose a risk in terms of security, irregular migration or high epidemic risk will be denied access.
Under the draft rules approved on Thursday by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs, non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area will have to fill in an electronic form with their personal data (including name, date and place of birth, sex and nationality), travel document information (validity, country of issue), home address and contact information, and the European country of first intended entry."
Amnesty International (AI) slams Poland for undermining freedom of assembly (DW, link):
"Rights group AI has published a damning report into measures taken by the Law and Justice government that have weakened the rule of law in Poland. In particular it called on Warsaw to respect the right to free assembly."
Committee launches probe into immigration policies in Scotland (The Scotsman, link):
"A Westminster committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of UK immigration policy in Scotland. The Scottish Affairs Committee will examine how well the current system meets the countrys needs and look at how easy it will be for non-UK citizens to move to Scotland after Brexit. Immigration is controlled by the UK Government but Scottish ministers want the power to be devolved to allow a more tailored system to be created north of the border. They argue it is needed to help meet Scotlands demographic and employment challenges."
EU: Council of the European Union: E-Privacy
Proposal for a Regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC... Examination of the Presidency text (Articles 12 to 20 and related recitals)11 (Doc no: 13217-17, pdf): The Council of the European Union discussing its negotiating position:
"For the purposes of the WP TELE meeting of 25 October, delegations will find in Annex a revised text of the ePrivacy proposal (ePR), focusing on Articles 12 to 20 and the related recitals. The revisions are based on the discussions held in the WP TELE and on the written comments provided by delegations, and are without prejudice to any comments delegations might wish to make in the future, also bearing in mind that most delegations are still analysing the proposal."
EU: Juncker: Member states contributed too little to Africa Fund (euractiv, link):
"Speakin g to the press after the first round of talks at the EU summit on Thursday (19 October), Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that EU action was reaching its limits due to insufficient financing.
We are reaching our limits when it comes to this Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, Juncker said.
We started by saying that we would take 1.8bn in our hands in order to be helpful to Africa, then we increased this to 2.5, then to 2.9, then to 3.1bn, money the Commission was providing by restructuring the existing budget. Member states have so far committed 175m, this is clearly not enough, he stated."
MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future (euobserver, link):
"Asylum seekers arriving in Europe would likely end up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia under the latest proposal put forward by the European Parliament.
MEPs on the civil liberties committee on Thursday (19 October) overwhelmingly backed a proposal that is likely to pivot the parliament against a small group of migrant-hostile EU states, led by Hungary.
The proposal seeks to impose mandatory migrant quotas and strip non-complying member states of EU funding in an effort to revamp a key EU asylum law."
Making profits in Irelands asylum market (IRR News, link):
"In the second of a series, campaigner John Grayson examines the asylum markets for private companies involved in providing services under the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland."
Commission proposes new security measures
- Public spaces, Canada and EU PNR, Europol personal data exchanges with third states and European Intelligence Unit
Press release: Security Union: Commission presents new measures to better protect EU citizens (pdf) which includes:
"protecting public spaces and help deprive terrorists of the means to act. The Commission is also proposing to further strengthen the EU's external action on counter-terrorism - including through Europol - and is recommending the EU open negotiations on a revised Passenger Name Record agreement with Canada."
"Enhancing Europol's cooperation with third countries by presenting, before the end of the year, recommendations to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for agreements between the EU and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey on the transfer of personal data between Europol and these countries to prevent and combat terrorism and serious crimes." [emphasis in original]
Europol: The Internet of Things: when your washing machine and blood pressure monitor become a target for cyberattacks (link):
"With at least 20 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay. While it has many undeniable positive effects, the threats and risks related to the IoT are manifold and they evolve rapidly (...)
The Internet of Things is a wide and diverse ecosystem where interconnected devices and services collect, exchange and process data in order to adapt dynamically to a context. In simpler words, it makes our cameras, televisions, washing machines and heating systems smart and creates new opportunities for the way we work, interact and communicate, and how devices react and adapt to us."
Euro-parliamentarians say a clear no to the anti-privacy lobby (EDRI, link):
"On 19 October, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) voted on the proposed e-Privacy Regulation. The Committee voted in favour of measures defending privacy, security and competition for phone and internet services.(...)
Currently, when people surf the internet, use apps on their mobile phone or use connected devices, they are monitored, tracked and profiled. The massive amounts of data that are generated create privacy risks, security risks, economic risks and, as we have seen recently, risks for democracy itself."
The vote in the LIBE Committee was: 31 in favor and 24 against.
Brussels promises more police access to encrypted data, but no backdoors (euractiv, link):
"The European Commission insists that it does not want to weaken encryption as part of its latest push to give law enforcement authorities more access to private data.
Julian King, the EU Commissioner in charge of security, announced a handful of new initiatives on Wednesday (18 October) to fund more police training to crack encryption technology.
Despite Kings disavowal of so-called backdoors for police to access private data, some technology policy observers are concerned the new proposals wont safeguard encryption."
EU: Extending the use of eID to online platforms risks to privacy? (EDRI, link):
"On 10 October 2017, the European Commission published the draft principles and guidance on eID interoperability for online platforms on the electronic Identification And Trust Services (eIDAS) observatory. Building on the eIDAS Regulation, the Commission would like to extend the scope of use for the eIDs to online platforms, in addition to public services. This raises a number of issues, particularly on the protection of privacy."
US supreme court to hear appeal in Microsoft warrant case (Irish Tines, link):
"The Supreme Court of the United States is to hear an appeal by the US government in a case involving efforts to get Microsoft to hand over emails held on its servers in Dublin, which are of interest in a drugs case.
The court confirmed in its order list on Monday that it will hear the case, which has been dragging through the courts there for four years and has major implications for cloud computing and for privacy rights worldwide."
Arrivals surge on Greek islands despite EU-Turkey deal (euractiv, link):
"With Turkey being one of the items on the agenda of the EU summit starting on Thursday (19 October), AFP is reporting that migrants are still coming to Greek islands despite the EU-Turkey deal to stem the arrival of refugees from Turkish territory. (...)
According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), 5,000 migrants arrived at Greek islands in September, an increase of 35% from the same period a year earlier, according to AFP calculations."
Radical Right Populist Success in Elections Endangers Human Rights in Europe - Mainstream Parties Adopting Anti-Immigrant Platforms to Win Votes (HRW, link):
"On Sunday, Austrias national elections much like Germanys earlier elections saw radical right populists win substantial vote shares, while mainstream political parties embraced right-leaning positions to win votes.
In Austria, the centre-right Peoples Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, is likely to enter into coalition with the radical right populist Freedom Party (FPÖ). Both parties have an anti-immigrant agenda. When Austria last had an ÖVP-FPÖ government in 2000, other EU governments sought to isolate and sanction it.
An EU already grappling with Hungary and Poland, which both have governments implementing policies that undermine core EU values of the rule of law, human rights and democratic safeguards, is unlikely to contemplate similar action against Austria now."
UK: Documents obtained by Privacy International show that UK intelligence agencies may analyse our Facebook and Twitter accounts (Privacy International, link):
"Privacy International has obtained previously unseen government documents that reveal British spy agency GCHQ collects social media information on potentially millions of people.
GCHQ collected and accesses this information by gaining access to private companies databases.
Letters obtained by Privacy International reveal that the body tasked with overseeing intelligence agencies activities (the Investigatory Powers Commissioner) was kept in the dark as UK intelligence agencies shared massive databases with foreign governments, law enforcement and industry, potentially for decades.
Because of Privacy Internationals litigation, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner sought immediate inspection when secret practices came to light.
Inappropriate and uncontrolled/uncontrollable sharing with industry third parties currently remains without any proper oversight. Yet some contractors have system access rights which could allow them to enter the Agencies system, extract data and cover their tracks."
Exclusive: Secret Blacklist Grows Even After Journalists Placed on 'Terror' List Are Paid Off (Vice News, link):
"Thomson Reuters' World-Check apologised and compensated prominent British journalists for secretly listing them as terrorists, but VICE has found the service has also been profiling trade unionists and animal rights activists.
VICE can exclusively reveal that a high profile radio host who has advised numerous Prime Ministers, and a journalist who the government has consulted on anti-terror measures, have been paid damages after being profiled on the "terror" list of a secret database, "World-Check", which is used by banks and intelligence agencies.
VICE can also reveal:
- Animal rights activists have been profiled on a "terror" list.
- Trade Unionists were secretly profiled in practices that the TUC says has "echoes of the blacklisting scandal".
- Experts and MPs are warning that loopholes in the new data-protection bill could make the database exempt from oversight.
- Mortgage lenders are using the database, meaning being profiled on it could be even more disruptive than previously thought.
- A Trade Union has slammed the Information Commissioner for turning a "blind eye"."
UK: Forged IDs: Landlord laws 'fuelling black market' (BBC News, link):
"Legislation aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from renting properties is fuelling a black market in forged IDs, a BBC investigation has found.
Under Right to Rent rules introduced last year landlords must check the immigration status of new tenants.
But criminal gangs are helping undocumented immigrants flout the law by them selling fake documents.
A Home Affairs spokesperson said landlords were not expected to be experts in spotting forged documents."
UK: Recent deaths at HMP Nottingham 'symptomatic of wider prison crisis' (The Guardian, link):
"Five newly arrived prisoners have died over a four-week period at Nottingham prison, where serious concerns have been raised about staffing levels in reception areas.
Ten prisoners have died in two years, compared with four deaths in the previous 10 years. Campaigners say the deaths are symptomatic of a prison system in crisis.
Four of the five inmates who died in September and October are believed to have taken their own lives. The death of the fifth prisoner is believed to be drug related."
See: Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Nottingham for reporting year 2016-17 (pdf)
EU: How the arms lobby is hijacking Europes defence policy (Vredesactie, link):
"40 billion euros. Thats how much the European Union wants to spend on the research, development and procurement of new weapons during the next 10 years. The establishment of the European Defence Fund is an unprecedented acceleration in the militarization of the EU and only serves one purpose: sustaining the competitiveness of the arms industry. The question, which weapons should be developed and if they are actually needed, is not even asked.
The decision making process was heavily dominated by corporate interests. Civil society nor the European Parliament were given any substantial input on these far reaching decisions. Based on disclosed EU documents, Vredesctie shows how the arms industry had access to every stage of the decision making process, from setting the agenda to drawing up the modalities of the military research programmes. It documents the symbiotic relationship between the arms industry and the EU institutions and the effect of this relationship on the creation of a European Defence Fund."
Full report: Securing profits - How the arms lobby is hijacking Europes defence policy (link to pdf) and: istopthearmstrade.eu (link): "Knowledge is power. Few people know that the European member states taken as a whole is one of the biggest arms exporters in the world. On the international stage Europe likes to present itself as a continent that stands for democracy and peace, but this façade does not correspond to reality."
UK: Press release: FLEX condemns on-going Home Office control of modern slavery victim identification (Focus on Labour Exploitation, link):
"Home Secretary Amber Rudd yesterday announced that all potential modern slavery cases would now be decided by a single unit within the Home Office, completely contradicting the findings of its own 2014 review of the decision-making process.
In a 2014 review of this system (called the National Referral Mechanism) found that: a majority press for the removal of responsibility for the National Referral Mechanism from the Home Office and the establishment of an independent body outside of UK Visas and Immigration and the Police. Concerns surrounding Home Office bias and extremely slow decision-making led to a recommendation to pilot a new system that removed the sole decision-making roles of the NCA and Home Office, and trialled the use of multi-disciplinary expert panels to make decisions.
However, in making the announcement yesterday, the Home Secretary has ignored the findings of the review and rejected the recommended multidisciplinary approach. Instead, multidisciplinary panels will only have a role in reviewing negative decisions."
See: Home Office: Modern Slavery Taskforce agrees new measures to support victims (press release, pdf)
UK: From IRA to Islamic State: The UK's age of 'unprecedented terror' (Middle East Eye, link):
"Late last month, the incoming independent reviewer on terrorism, Max Hill, told the media that Islamic extremists were targeting UK cities. Hill, a former prosecutor whod helped convict the failed 21/7 bombers, added that the threat was at least as great as the IRA threat to London 40 years ago.
In truth, the last major bombing carried by The Real IRA (RIRA) was in 1998 in Omagh. Twenty-nine people were killed. That was 17 years ago.
Britain today has more anti-terror powers than it had at the height of the Irish Troubles. That fact alone is particularly alarming, considering more than 3,000 people were killed in that conflict.
In fact, some of the most important lessons that should have been learnt from it were not. Rather, resultant state abuses became a template for torture techniques used in the current war on terror."
EU: European Council: "roadmap" implementation paper highlights migration, internal security, military efforts
"The Bratislava Roadmap emerged from the Leaders' debate in September 2016. In March 2017, the Rome Declaration broadened the scope and set additional priorities for the longer term.
One year on, the EU has made significant progress and can demonstrate tangible results. The Bratislava method is working. The attached table shows that many tasks have been completed, and many others are on track. Some tasks however have progressed slower than expected, and a few require a fresh push, including at the highest level."
SPAIN: Catalonia: detention of independence leaders sparks massive protests calling for release of "political prisoners"
"A Spanish judge has jailed two key members of the Catalan independence movement.
Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, who lead prominent separatist groups, are being held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.
The men were leading figures in the 1 October independence vote, which the Madrid government regards as illegal."
Child safety smartwatches easy to hack, watchdog says (BBC News, link):
"Some smartwatches designed for children have security flaws that make them vulnerable to hackers, a watchdog has warned.
The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) tested watches from brands including Gator and GPS for Kids.
It said it discovered that attackers could track, eavesdrop or even communicate with the wearers."
See: Significant security flaws in smartwatches for children (Forbrukerrådet, link): "The Norwegian Consumer Council has uncovered serious security and privacy flaws in smartwatches for children. Strangers can easily seize control of the watches and use them to track and eavesdrop on children."
UK: Exclusive: Neo-Nazi and National Front organiser quits movement, opens up about Jewish heritage, comes out as gay (Channel 4 News, link):
"A white supremacist active as recently as the start of this year says today he is publicly renouncing 40 years of hate. Speaking on Channel 4 News he comes out as gay for the first time and admits to a violent past.
After a lifetime of involvement with the far-right Kevin Wilshaw announces on Channel 4 News that he is leaving the movement at the same time publicly coming out as gay.
The well known National Front organiser in the 1980s was still active in white supremacist groups earlier this year including speaking at events.
But tonight on Channel 4 News he explains for the very first time why he is publicly disavowing the movement sharing his secrets, explaining how he was both a Neo-Nazi and of Jewish heritage , while admitting to violent acts and what motivated his hatred."
SPAIN: Catalan referendum: police operation sought to "generate panic amongst the civil population"
A report by Barcelona city council has denounced the police operation undertaken by the Policia Nacional and the Guardia Civil on 1 October that attempted to halt the vote on Catalan independence, saying it involved "generalised institutional violence" that was "indiscriminate", "disproportonate" and sought to "generate panic amongst the civil population".
EU: The Transnational Far Right (European International Tolerance Centre, link) by Rob May, PhD. Researcher for Teesside Universitys Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies (CFAPS), UK:
"The transnational far right is currently flourishing. The unexpected election of the racist, nationalist and isolationist Donald Trump as president of the United States has galvanised far right groups across the world. In Europe, the rise of Trump combined with an increase in Jihadi Islamist terrorism and an influx of refugees escaping Middle Eastern war has led to a resurgence of far right activity. Politically, the far right has become mainstream in many countries, for example France, Germany and Austria, and far right themes (racism, xenophobia, anti-liberalism, nationalism and social conservativism, amongst others) are gaining traction with the European electorates at an alarming rate. Beyond the confines of the nation-state, moreover far right movements are also scoring victories and mobilising activists, as this report will emphasise."
Freedom of the press in Hungary: an American critique (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"Before I summarize the speech itself, I should note one way in which the Hungarian government restricts the flow of information. In fact, this Kostelancik speech is an excellent example of a centralized media in the grip of an autocratic government. The method is simple and effective. Prior to the new media law introduced by the Orbán government, media outlets had to pay a fee for news gathered by Magyar Távirati Iroda (MTI), Hungarys official news agency. After the change of leadership, access to MTIs materials was made free. The downside was that MTIs reporting became distorted in favor of the government, and the free access to MTIs materials made certain that the same colored information reached all media outlets. So, if the authorities dont want a piece of information to reach a wide audience, it is enough to instruct MTI to remain quiet. Or, it is possible that special coaching is not necessary because the people at MTI know what is risky to report on. Hungarians have experience with this kind of self-censorship from the pre-1990 days."
French police arrest far-right militants suspected of plotting attacks on mosque, politician (France 24, link):
"French anti-terror agents arrested 10 people on Tuesday over a suspected plot to target mosques and politicians, including a government spokesman, a source close to the investigation told AFP.
The arrests of suspects aged 17-25 were made in the Paris region and southeast France as part of an investigation into far-right activists, the source said.
The nine men and one woman are suspected of links to 21-year-old Logan Alexandre Nisin, a former militant of the far-right group Action Francaise Provence who was arrested in June, the source said.
One source said the woman arrested Tuesday is Nisins mother.
Police investigations had unmasked intentions to commit violent action of which the details remained unclear, a judicial source said, but that involved a place of worship, a politician, a migrant, drug trafficking."
AUSTRIA: Why Europe isnt worried by Austrias right tilt (but should be)
"Regardless of whether it joins the next Austrian government, the far-right Freedom Party was the victor in the countrys election last Sunday. Like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the anti-immigration party has built the theater in which the mainstream parties are now performing."
Article 13 Open letter Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable (Liberties.eu, link):
"Here is the open letter from 57 signatories asking EU policy-makers to delete Article 13 of the new proposal on copyright in the digital single market."
CoE: CPT publishes report on Turkey (link)
"The Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its ad hoc visit to Turkey, which took place from 16 to 23 June 2015, together with the response of the Turkish Government. Both documents have been made public at the request of the Turkish authorities.
The visit focused on the situation of foreign nationals detained under aliens legislation, and the report contains the CPTs findings and recommendations relating to various removal centres, as well as the holding facilities in the transit zone of Istanbul Atatürk Airport."
See: Report (pdf)
UK-EU: European Parliament: Brexit Literature Update 10/2017 (pdf):
"identifies some of the more useful articles, taking into account, in particular, the following elements:
- Scholarly rather than a journalistic character of the publication
- Originality and interest
- Recent publication
- Be of interest for the EU
- Constitutional or institutional relevance."
EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says (euobserver, link):
"A pro-transparency group has documented intense industry lobbying in the lead up to a vote on digital privacy at the European Parliament this week.
Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory, an NGO, on Tuesday (17 October) said over 800 amendments had been tabled on a bill designed to protect privacy and protection of electronic communication data for people.(...)
The NGO report suggests a heavy footprint from the industry in the lead up to the EU commission's proposal in January and towards MEPs ahead of the Thursday vote."
Article 13 Open letter Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable (Liberties.eu, link):
"Here is the open letter from 57 signatories asking EU policy-makers to delete Article 13 of the new proposal on copyright in the digital single market."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-16.10.17) including: campaign to close Greek island camps; CoE wants clarification over Italian maritime operations
How Companies Use Personal Data Against People (Cracked Labs, link)
"Automated disadvantage and personalized manipulation? A working paper on the societal ramifications of the commercial use of personal information, with a focus on automated decision-making, personalization, and data-driven behavioral change.
The large-scale commercial exploitation of digital personal information raises major concerns about the future of autonomy, equality, human dignity, and democracy. Our previous report, published in June 2017, documented the massive scale and scope of how companies collect, disclose, trade, and utilize personal information about individuals today (Web, PDF).
Our new working paper further explores and examines how the corporate aggregation and use of personal data can affect individuals, groups of people, and society at large, in particular in the context of two partially overlapping areas of concern: automated decisions and data-driven persuasion.
GREECE: Open The Islands - no more dead from the cold! Solidarity groups and organisations call for urgent action as winter is coming for refugees in Greece
Over 40 solidarity groups and organisations are calling for urgent action from the Greek local and national authorities to prevent more refugees from dying in the cold as winter sets in once again. They expect more groups and organisations to join them over the next days and weeks.
ITALY: Solidarity is not a crime: the Observatory of the Milan Charter is born
On 30 September 2017 around thirty activists, journalists, jurists, citizens acting in solidarity, members of NGOs and associations met in Milan to set up the Observatory which the 'Milan Charter: solidarity is not a crime' proposed in its document launched on 20 May 2017 during the demonstration 'Together without any walls', to safeguard the honour, freedom and rights of civil society in all its humanitarian expressions: when it saves lives at sea; when it protects and rescues people experiencing hardships at the borders; when it monitors respect for the principles of legality and equality; when it reports the failure to respect fundamental rights in procedures for administrative detention and forced removals; when it complies with the binding duty of solidarity which is a foundation of the Italian Constitution.
UK: Home Office splits British man from his wife 10 months after she gives birth to their daughter (The Independent, link):
"A British man has been told his Ecuadorian wife cannot settle in the UK despite the couple having three young children, including a baby who is still breastfeeding.
Dan Newton, 41, lived with his wife and three young children in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for nearly five years. The couple had previously lived in the UK for a year, where they had their first child.
In June, Mr Newton was told his employment in the Abu Dhabi was to be terminated with three months notice and no previous warning, so the couple decided to return to the UK.
As a result, his wife, Carla Zamora, who is still breastfeeding their 10-month-old daughter, applied to the UK Visa and Immigration branch of the Home Office for a Spouse Settlement Visa. But their request was refused in September."
And see: Why is the Home Office separating a British man from his wife when she is still breastfeeding their daughter? (Free Movement, link): "It is not a mistake. Since harsh new rules were introduced in 2012, UK immigration policy does not usually allow British citizens working abroad to return to the UK if they have a foreign spouse. In effect, British citizens are exiled from their own country if they marry abroad."
SPAIN: Human rights groups denounce "racist" focus of G6 summit in Seville
The interior ministers of Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Poland, the so-called G6, and high representatives of Morocco and the European Union are meeting today (16 October) in Seville to analyse "the fight against jihadist terrorism and illegal immigration." The focus of the summit has led to protests from activists and NGOs who consider it "racist" and have said that it "turns migrants and racialised citizens into a threat."
UK police earned millions training officers in repressive regimes (The Guardian, link):
"British police earned millions of pounds by training officers in repressive regimes in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
The College of Policing, an arms-length body of the Home Office, has earned more than £3.3m by providing international leadership and international strategic leadership training to police forces in 23 countries since it was set up by Theresa May in 2012.
It is UK government policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances. However, documents obtained by the Guardian under a freedom of information request show that 89% of the money earned by the college came from countries where the death penalty still exists."
UK: Pacifists refute claim that they are 'indoctrinating children' with white poppies (Peace Pledge Union, link):
"British pacifists have rejected claims in today's Sunday Telegraph that they are indoctrinating children by promoting white poppies in schools. The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said that the claim by ex-colonel and right-wing commentator Richard Kemp was absurd and bore no relation to the facts.
The PPU explained that they want young people to hear a range of different views about war and peace and to make up their own minds about ethical and political issues as they grow up.
The organisation also pointed out that the vast majority of schools that sell white poppies also sell red poppies, thus giving young people a choice and helping them to make their own decisions about the issues involved.
The PPU added that the accusation was particularly ironic at a time when armed forces' visits to schools are on the rise. They suggested that young people who hear a biased perspective are far more likely to hear a pro-military view than a pacifist one.
White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of all wars, a commitment to peace and a rejection of attempts to glorify war. In contrast, the Royal British Legion, who produce red poppies, insist that remembrance should be about only members of British and allied armed forces."
See: Peace campaigners accused of 'indoctrinating' children, as teaching union promotes white poppy scheme (The Telegraph, link)
IRELAND: Trauma passed from generation to generation in absence of mechanism to deal with the past (The Irish News, link):
"Almost two decades after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a public consultation on legislation to deal with the past is due to be launched within weeks. Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson tells The Irish News that a line will never be drawn under Northern Ireland's troubled history until victims receive truth and acknowledgement "
UK-THAILAND: National Crime Agency and the death penalty in Thailand
"The National Crime Agency has been forced to admit that it acted illegally in assisting Thai police investigate, arrest and convict two young Burmese men sentenced to death for the murder of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.
The admission by the NCA in a High Court settlement, raises new doubts over whether the 2015 convictions of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo are safe and it leaves open the possibility that the real killers could still be at large while innocent men await their execution. The two men were forced to take legal action, supported by Reprieve, after the agency refused to admit its full role in their conviction.
Phone metadata provided by the NCA was presented at trial to bolster a prosecution case marred by widespread allegations of corruption, incompetence and fabricated evidence. In the UK legal proceedings, it came to light that the NCA had also secretly shared other data with the prosecution data which pointed to other suspects and would have supported the defence case, but which was never disclosed to the defence team."
See: National Crime Agency Admits Illegal Action in Thai Murder Case (Reprieve, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 October: all the documentation including background documents
Updated 16.10.17: On the agenda: European Public Prosecutors' Office, freezing and confiscation orders, the European Criminal Records Information System for third-country nationals, implementing data protection legislation, criminal justice in cyberspace, Schengen Borders Code, counter-terrorism resettlement and the reform of the Common European Asylum System.
UK: Share public data to allow advances in artificial intelligence, review says (aol.news, link):
"Information about people's health and lifestyles should be opened up to allow major advances to be made in developing artificial intelligence (AI), a report to ministers has recommended.(...)
It suggested the NHS could use facts and figures from supermarkets, transport organisations and town planning to work out ways to encourage healthier lifestyles.
The report highlighted how health app Your.MD wants access to data sets of anonymised personal health records from the health service in order to improve its free of charge advice service."
UK: Use terror powers proportionally (Sunday Herald, link):
" Eleanor Jones is an activist who exercised her democratic rights by attending an anti-G20 demonstration. At Edinburgh airport, after going through security, two police officers detained her, asked for her iPhone and laptop, and took a DNA sample. She was also quizzed about her familys political views. No charges were laid.
This intimidating and chilling treatment, it must be noted, is perfectly legal. Under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - passed before the September 11 attacks - police were given huge powers at airports and other locations.
Under this law, failure to cooperate on matters such as handing over digital devices could lead to prosecution. Anti-terror powers should be used against dangerous people, not ordinary citizens or well-meaning activists who want a better world."
UK: The Lammy Review: will it change outcomes in the criminal justice system? (IRR News, link):
"Lee Bridges, Emeritus Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick, continues our examination of the Lammy Review.
Having already written on an allied subject the 2011 riots - the Conservative government chose Labour MP David Lammy to head its inquiry into the treatment of black and ethnic minority (BAME) groups within the criminal justice system. But the government made sure the terms of reference specifically excluded the police from its remit, given the already well-known high levels of ethnic disproportionality arising from police stop and searches and arrests, which in part may explain why the Lammy Review is not as hard hitting as so many had hoped.(...)
Nor will changing the complexion of those working in the system necessarily alter its class base or bring about the radical changes in its structures, policies, processes and priorities that are required to tackle the ethnic disadvantages that it continues to perpetuate."
Council of the European Union: Reception Directive and European Electronic Communications Code
RECEPTION: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 12185-17,121 pages, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position. With 211 Footnotes including Member State positions.
"the Asylum Working Party examined the proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (...) New text for discussion at the JHA Counsellors meeting on 16 October 2017 is indicated with addition in bold and underlined, and the newly deleted text is indicated in strikethrough (bold)."
Proposal for a Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast) - Preparation for the first informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 12797-REV-1-17, 418 pages, pdf): The Council developing its negotiating position.
"The aim of the first political trilogue with the EP will be to discuss the CODE overall, and to identify those areas where there is broad agreement, those where technical work may be able to identify compromises, and above all those areas which require political solutions at further trilogues."
Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Office
ENHANCED COOPERATION of 20 Member States: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Adoption (LIMITE doc no: 12791, pdf):
"The draft Regulation aims to set up a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) which will be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment the perpetrators of, and accomplices to, criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union.(...)
Following the lack of unanimity registered in the Council of 7 February 2017 on the draft Regulation, the referral of that draft Regulation to the European Council by a group of 17 Member States on 14 February 2017 and the discussion leading to a disagreement in the European Council of 9 March 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission were notified on 3 April 2017 of the wish of 16 Member States (Belgium,Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) to establish enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the EPPO. (...)
Later on, four additional Member States (Austria, Estonia, Italy and Latvia) have informed the three institutions that they wish to participate in the enhanced cooperation." [emphasis added]
The EPPO will be in charge of tackling fraud against European funds and VAT in its cross-border dimensions and is expected to be operational by 2020. It is also expected that the Commission will seek to extend its competencies to other serious offences such as terrorist crimes later.
FINAL TEXT: COUNCIL REGULATION implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office ("the EPPO") (Doc no: 9941-17, 210 pages, pdf)
See also: European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO) (Statewatch News, 5 June 2017) and the European Parliament's postion (29 September 2017, pdf).
EU: Daddys gonna pay for your crashed car? The ECJ clarifies the vertical direct effect of Directives (EU Law Analysis, link):
"The test for defining an 'emanation of the State', as applied in Foster, was formulated in the following terms:
... a body, whatever its legal form, which has been made responsible, pursuant to a measure adopted by the State, for providing a public service under the control of the State and has for that purpose special powers beyond those which result from the normal rules applicable in relations between individuals is included in any event among the bodies against which the provisions of a directive capable of having direct effect may be relied upon (C-188/89 at , emphasis added)."
Worth Reading : the Rule of Law Checklist, of the Venice Commission adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (FREE Group, link):
"On October 11, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) approved a list of six criteria, set out by the Venice Commission in 2016, to clarify the so far undefined notion of the rule of law.
The pragmatic approach of the Venice Commission got round the problem of a formal definition of the notion of Rule of Law by setting out specific criteria as resulting by the doctrine and the jurisprudence of the European and national Courts such as: (...)
See: European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission): Rule of Law Checklist (pdf)
UK: Caroline Lucas tells ministers to get a grip over accidental deportation letters (aol, link):
"Ministers have been urged to "get a grip" after they confirmed more than 100 deportation letters were accidentally sent to EU nationals living in the UK ordering them to leave.
Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis said the error was made as a result of an "incorrect interpretation" of an EEA national's unsuccessful application for a registration certificate, and that he had written to apologise to all recipients.
It was previously thought that up to 100 deportation letters had been accidentally posted, after Finnish academic Eva Johanna Holmberg - who was ordered to leave - highlighted the issue."
EU: Better protection and durable solution for refugees (European Parliament, press release, link):
By 37 MEPs to 20 and 2 abstentions on 12 October, the European Parliaments civil liberties committee (LIBE) adopted its negotiating position for the permanent EU mechanism for resettlement refugees. It called on the EU to accept 240,000 refugees:
"EU member states host 8% of the worlds refugees. In 2015, 22 EU countries resettled 13 000 people; the US resettled almost 70 000 refugees. MEPs therefore call on member states to increase both resettlement efforts and the number of resettlement places in order to shoulder a fair share of global responsibility. They want the EU to take on at least 20% of the annual projected global resettlement needs. In 2017, this would amount to around 250 000 people."
IRELAND: New 24/7 intel unit on airline passengers (Irish Examiner, link):
"The Passenger Information Unit (PIU), due to be up and running by next May, will have its own premises and staffing complement, financed by an initial 4m budget.
It is being set up to implement an EU directive to create a union-wide system for collecting, analysing and sharing airline passenger information with a view to identifying unknown persons who may be involved in terrorism or serious transnational crime.
Under the EU Directive on Passenger Name Record, (PNR) airlines have to give PIUs passenger details on all flights coming into their country from outside the EU.
PNR data includes a passengers travel dates, travel itinerary, ticket information, contact details, payment details and baggage information."
EU: Border controls extended without justification (euobserver, link):
"EU member states must demonstrate a serious threat to public order and internal security to impose temporary border controls.
But government documents suggest member states are broadly allowed to deny people the right of free movement even when their own available statistics suggest that there is no major problem.(...)
EUobserver has obtained letters from each of the member states, where they explain their reasons for upholding the border controls. Some admit there is no problem, while others offer scant data to support their arguments."
And see: Germany extends border controls, citing terrorism and migration (DW, link): "Germany extended temporary passport controls on its border with Austria and for flights departing from Greece for an additional six months due to the prospect of irregular migration and terrorism, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday."
UK: Police drag 85-year-old woman across road from fracking site and promise to review tactics (Drill or Drop, link):
"Lancashire Police is reviewing tactics after three officers dragged 85-year-old campaigner Anne Power across a busy road during anti-fracking protests in Lancashire.
Ms Power, honoured by the Green Party conference earlier this week, was dragged by her shoulders with her unsupported feet catching along the road."
Warning that western spies put lives in danger by posing as journalists (Press Gazette, link):
"The Guardians Edward Snowden revelations were widely condemned by those involved in secret intelligence for undermining spies safety.
But a new study, by City Universitys Paul Lashmar, has warned that western intelligence agencies themselves have put journalists in danger by using the profession as cover whilst operating covertly.
In Tinker, tailor, journalist, spy Lashmar notes that in March 2014, Nils Horner, a 51-year-old British-Swedish radio reporter, was assassinated in Kabul by a Taliban splinter group which accused him of being a spy."
European Council draft Conclusions on migration
The European Council (19 October 2017) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11572-17, pdf) say on migration:
"To consolidate and deepen this approach on all migration routes, the European Council further calls for:
- continued full commitment to our cooperation with Turkey on migration as well as - support to the Western Balkans;
- reducing the attractiveness of illegal migration through enhanced returns, effective readmission agreements and arrangements and by making full use of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which should be further strengthened....."
European Parliament Study: Strengthening the Position of Press Publishers and Authors and Performers in the Copyright Directive (pdf):
"Upon the request by the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, this study reviews Art 11 and Arts 14-16 of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. It outlines criticisms that have been made of the proposals, includes reports of research into the operation and effects of precursors of Article 11 in Germany and Spain, a summary of the cultural economics literature on legal regulation of authors contracts and analysis of the laws of 7 Member States to see in what way Arts 14-16 would add value."
The EU shouldnt fall for false digital freedom (euractiv, link):
"Data monopolies, black-box algorithms, intellectual property, data protection and cyber security threats it is high time for the EU to consider the costs of allowing our digital freedom to go unregulated, writes Helga Trüpel. German Green MEP."
CoE: Commissioner seeks clarifications over Italys maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters (link):
"addressed to Mr Marco Minniti, Minister of Interior of Italy, published today, the Commissioner requests information with regard to Italys maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters aimed at managing migration flows.
Expressing appreciation for Italys efforts in saving lives at sea and in receiving migrants arriving at its shores in the last years, the Commissioner underscores that, even when a state faces difficulties in coping with the influx of migrants, it still has the duty to protect and safeguard their human rights.
The case law of the European Court of Human Rights is clear about this duty and I think it bears relevance for Italys operations in Libyan territorial waters, writes the Commissioner."
See: Letter to Italy (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9-11.10.17) including: 5-year-old girl dies in Moria hotspot; "grave abuse" in EU migration policies; Common European Asylum System progress report
EU: Migrant smuggling tops EU crime priorities - restricted document shows extent of police operations
"Preventing the arrival of immigrants with no legal rights to the EU is more important, in terms of EU policy priorities among member states, than fighting terrorism and online child pornography.
Erkki Koort, who chairs an internal security group at the European Council, representing member states, told MEPs on Tuesday (10 October) that fighting "the facilitation of illegal migration" involves more EU states than any other crime."
EU: Reforming the 'Common European Asylum System': progress report
The Presidency of the Council of the EU has published a useful note outlining the state of play with seven legislative proposals that were published by the Commission in 2016. These proposals are aimed at reforming the 'Common European Asylum System' (CEAS) and the EU's system for resettling refugees from non-EU countries.
The proposals in question are: "the recast of the Dublin Regulation and of the Eurodac Regulation, a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), a proposal for a Regulation establishing a common [asylum] procedure in the EU, a proposal for a Qualification Regulation, the recast of the Reception Conditions Directive and a proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework."
France takes anti-terror legislation to next level (Deutsche Welle, link):
"France is about to pass a new anti-terror law as it eases its way out of the state of emergency. But civil rights campaigners say it will put citizens under general suspicion. Lisa Louis reports from Paris.
Braun-Pivet maintains the law will strike a fair balance. "We have consulted police services, the prosecutor's office, and the secret services and are providing them with what they need to protect our country. And yet, they will have considerably less powers than during the state of emergency," she told DW.
But Laurence Blisson, Secretary General of the Magistrates Union, disagrees. The union has joined forces with dozens of NGOs, researchers and lawyers and is asking for the legislation to be withdrawn.
She describes the anti-terrorism law as "a further step towards a repressive state based on general suspicion.""
And see: FRANCE: New anti-terror law makes emergency powers permanent
SPAIN: Official Statement by the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, on the political situation in Catalonia (pdf):
"I stand here before Parliament to present to you the results of the referendum held on October 1 and to explain the political consequences derived from it. I am conscious, as Im sure are many of you, that today I also stand before the people of Catalonia and before many others, who have focused their attention on what happens today in this chamber.
We are living in an exceptional time, of historical dimension. The consequences and effects run beyond our country and its evident that, far from being an internal and domestic affair, as we have often had to hear from those who neglected their responsibility by not wanting to know about whats happening, Catalonia is a European issue."
And see: useful background on Catalonia, the Catalan independence movement(s) and the current situation: Catalonia: Past and Future (Jacobin, link): "As Catalonia prepares to declare independence we examine the history and politics behind its independence movement."
UK: Stop the Spy Cop Cover Up (one small window, link):
"In recent years, laws curtailing civil liberties and sanctioning greater surveillance of British citizens and residents have been passed in the Houses of Parliament, making it an unusual venue for a meeting on the Undercover Police Inquiry, even though the inquiry core participants include a number of politicians.
A public meeting was hosted there by Naz Shah MP on Tuesday 10 October to discuss recent critical events in the trajectory of the inquiry, called for over three years ago. The inquiry should have completed its work and produced a report by now. Instead, not a single piece of evidence has been heard and allegations have come to light that a secret police unit concerned shred evidence weeks after the inquiry was ordered in 2014.
The focus of the meeting lay on the actions of the new inquiry chair: Sir John Mitting is a controversial figure with a long history of work in secret courts and protecting government interests. One of his first actions as chair was to publish a minded to note granting restriction orders on the disclosure of the cover and real names of a number of officers involved, on the grounds of protecting the privacy and rights of spies.
Attendees at the meeting passed a unanimous motion demanding Mittings resignation. How and when Mittings resignation will be formally demanded will be set out in the coming weeks. Neville Lawrence, father of teenager Stephen Lawrence whose racially-motivated murder led to the inquiry, stated no one trusts him [Mitting]. A group of women coerced into relationships with undercover officers have already written to the Home Secretary to raise their concerns about his appointment."
UK: Da Costa death: five Met officers investigated for misconduct (The Guardian, link):
"Five police officers are being investigated for alleged misconduct over the detention of a man who later died, the police watchdog has said.
The officers are to be told their handling of the restraint of Edson Da Costa and the care they gave him once he became unwell may have fallen below acceptable professional standards, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said on Tuesday.
Da Costa died six days after being stopped by police in east London in June. Investigators have previously said they believed force and CS spray were used on him."
EU: Oxfam exposes great abuse in EUs approach to migration
"Oxfams Brussels office has published a report saying that the European Unions migration policy needs an urgent shift in direction in order to respect the EUs founding values of human rights, in a lobbying effort ahead of the 19-20 October EU summit."
UK: Ineos compelled to disclose document it used to justify fracking protest injunction
"A multinational firm has backed down and disclosed a legal document that it used to justify a controversial sweeping injunction against anti-fracking protesters.
Ineos, which aspires to become one of the UKs major frackers, had refused to disclose the document after it had been requested by the Guardian under open justice guidelines. However the petrochemical giant has reversed its stance and handed it over to the newspaper.
The document drawn up for a public court case last month set out the firms arguments for the continuation of the temporary injunction which covers all campaigners protesting against Ineoss fracking activities."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 October: agenda and background documentation
On the agenda: European Public Prosecutors' Office, freezing and confiscation orders, the European Criminal Records Information System for third-country nationals, implementing data protection legislation, criminal justice in cyberspace, Schengen Borders Code, counter-terrorism resettlement and the reform of the Common European Asylum System.
Press at risk as EU-based companies export surveillance software to hostile regimes (Committe to Protect Journalists, link):
"According to a 2016 policy review by the European Commission, three EU member states issued 27 export licenses of mobile surveillance in 2015 alone, and denied only two. The review said that intrusion software--which allows the covert interception and monitoring of online activity--exported from companies registered in EU member states was connected to government-sponsored online attacks directed at journalists, activists and human rights defenders in countries including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
The review estimated the dual-use technologies market in 2014 was worth 2.8 billion ($3.3 billion).
Current EU legislation on technologies, including cyber surveillance tools, specify licensing criteria between EU member states and non-EU countries, but leaves licensing decisions at a country's discretion. On October 12, the EU parliament will vote on proposed legislation that will bind member states to a set of regulations and include a review mechanism that examines the potential abuse of these tools against journalists and activists."
European Parliament study: EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies: Securing Good Governance (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliaments Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines the governance structures of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies. Specifically, it maps and analyses across-the-board agencies relationships to the main institutional actors in terms of core reporting and scrutiny mechanisms. Drawing on agency founding acts and interviews, it looks closely in particular at management boards composition and operation, ranging from voting allocation to institutional and Member State representation to issues of board expertise. The study further considers some of the implications of the current governance set up with respect to ensuring co-operation from corresponding national structures, identifying existing structural shortcomings inherent to current mandates and proposing suggestions for improvement."
Council of the EU: Address by President Donald Tusk to the European Committee of the Regions (10 October 2017, pdf). On Brexit, migration and asylum, climate, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, security and Catalonia:
"We last met 18 months ago, and much has happened since then. At the time, the European Council was working hard to end the most serious migration crisis Europe has ever faced, and also to prevent the exit of one of our largest Member States. As regards the first issue, we have been able to achieve a lot. By ordering the closure of the Western Balkan route and improving our cooperation with Turkey, the flows of irregular migrants on this path to Europe were stemmed by 98 per cent. However, on the second issue, we have unfortunately not been as successful. On June 23, Britain voted for Brexit. Immediately after the result, I told the media what my father used to tell me: "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Thankfully, this is what has happened. But it did not happen automatically, it took much effort."
UK: Closed justice: how British courts are still keeping the public in the dark (The Guardian, link):
"Reporting public court cases can sometimes feel like you have come into a conversation halfway through and are then left struggling to understand what is being talked about. It is an open court, but it feels like it is being conducted as private business between the lawyers and the judge.
Barristers often start their speeches by saying that they have submitted their arguments in a document to the judge so there is no need to repeat some of them to the court. The documents, however, are often not passed to the press or members of the public sitting in the courtroom, leaving them in the dark. At other times, barristers point to a passage in a document, and then the judge and the lawyers sit there in silence reading it before the proceedings resume. Again, those documents have invariably not been shared with the press or public who have no idea what was being examined.
In theory we have open justice in this country. In practice it often does not seem like that."
UK: Condom-detecting fingerprint test 'set for court use' (BBC News, link):
"Fingerprint technology which can detect the brand of hair gel used by a suspect or whether they have handled a condom could soon be admissible in court.
The technique uses a form of mass spectrometry to detect traces of various substances within a fingerprint.
It can provide "diverse information" about a suspect, including any alcohol or drug use, researchers have said.
The Home Office said it could be "only months" before it is used in casework."
UK: Officers cleared by Met of gross misconduct following the restraint death of Olaseni Lewis (Inquest, link):
"Six officers have been cleared of any misconduct at a Metropolitan Police disciplinary hearing following the death of Olaseni Seni Lewis in 2010. The hearing, which opened on 11 September and was heard at the Empress State Building was intended to examine whether the actions of six police officers relating to the death of Olaseni Lewis in 2010 amounted to gross misconduct.
Olaseni Lewis, a 23 year old IT graduate died as a result of prolonged restraint by MPS officers at Bethlem Royal Hospital (part of the South London and Maudsley SLAM Mental Health Trust) on 31 August 2010. The hearing concluded that the failings were outside the remit of the panel and were a matter of performance."
India-EU joint statement on cooperation in combating terrorism - New Delhi, 6 October 2017 (pdf):
"Acknowledging the developing partnership on security, including counter-terrorism, between India and EU, the Leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress made at the 10th meeting of the India-EU Counter-Terrorism Dialogue on 30 August 2017 in New Delhi. They welcomed the joint commitment to explore opportunities to develop cooperation between the relevant institutions on both sides, to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including on countering the on-line threat of radicalization, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops. They welcomed the resolve to deepen cooperation on domestic and international terrorist designation listing proposals through exchange of information."
FRANCE-AFRICA: In Niger, Chad: France to open asylum centres (Pulse, link):
"France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday.
The offices would also "warn people in Niger and Chad better about the situation in order to avoid an influx of economic migrants" who would only be sent back from France, Macron said.
The French president had made a similar proposal for migrant registration centres in Libya in July.
But the idea was axed due to chronic insecurity in the North African country, a launchpad for hundreds of thousands of migrants setting sail for Europe across the Mediterranean.
In Chad and Niger, candidates for asylum would come from lists provided by the United Nations refugee agency, Macron said after talks in Paris with the UNHCR's chief Filippo Grandi.
The presidency said the first mission in Niger, operated by France's refugee protection office Ofpra, would start work at the end of October."
EU: Public consultation on interoperability of databases: deadline Wednesday 18 October (European Commission, link):
"This consultation seeks views on the interoperability of EU information systems for borders and security. It is a public consultation, and we welcome views from individuals and organisations alike. We are particularly interested in views from members of the public and practitioners in the fields of borders, law enforcement and security, as well as those active in a field of fundamental rights.
In order to ensure that interoperability is implemented in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection legislation, the Commission will undertake an analysis of necessity and proportionality, and implement effective safeguards. We therefore also seek your views on these issues, including on possible safeguards.
This consultation seeks views on the Commission's proposed approach to improving interoperability of EU information systems."
Dangerous Borderlands: Human Rights for Displaced People on the French-Italian Border (Border Criminologies, link):
"While hot-spots in Greece and Italy and the squalid make-shift camps in Northern France have received periods of international attention, the migratory transit point in the small Italian town of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border seems to have been largely overlooked by media agencies and human rights groups, with the exception of a few noteworthy examples (see for example news coverage by Al-Jazeera, a blog post on Are You Syrious?, and a research study conducted by UNICEF and the REACH Initiative). Recent research by Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) highlights detrimental living conditions coupled with police violence and dangerous border crossings, creating a situation for displaced people characterised by chronic insecurity and extensive mental and physical health concerns. This post is a summary of findings of a study conducted from 21 to 24 August 2017, based on interviews with 150 refugees and displaced people in Ventimiglia through a semi-structured survey, conducted in Amharic, Arabic, English, Persian and Tirgrinya. The survey findings were corroborated through RRDPs field observations and informal interviews with INGOs, NGOs and local charities and volunteers."
See: Refugee Rights Data Project: In dangerous transit: filling information gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Ventimiglia, Italy (link to pdf)
The Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding: The baseline of a policy approach aimed at closing all doors to Europe? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link) by Anja Palm:
"On 2 February 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding (English Version**) on development cooperation, illegal immigration, human trafficking, fuel smuggling and reinforcement of border security (hereafter memorandum or MoU), was signed between the Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni and Fayez al-Serraj, Head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord.
Increasing crossings through the Central Mediterranean, which represent the final step for Sub-Saharan migratory flows transiting primarily through Niger and Libya, have led to the emergence of a policy approach aimed at reducing crossings from Libya to Italy at any cost, dictated by the need to give quick answers to the mounting uneasiness in the public opinion. If the memorandum represents its baseline, such policy has been expanded as to include dialogues with numerous Libyan actors ranging from institutional players to local tribes, mayors, entrepreneurs and even contending actors. This approach has further been reinforced by both multilateral and bilateral dialogues with other countries situated along the main migratory routes such as Tunisia and Niger.
European institutions and key Member States have repeatedly praised Italy for its proactive role in Africa, most recently in occasion of the Paris summit held on 28 August 2017. As explained elsewhere, this policy, if not counterbalanced with the opening of legal access channels for persons in need of international protection, challenges international and European law, a reality which the funders and outsourcers of those actions cannot easily ignore."
See: English translation of: Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of development, the fight againstillegal immigration, human trafficking and fuel smuggling and on reinforcing the security of borders between the State of Libya and the Italian Republic (pdf) translated by the Odysseus Network (link).
EU: Evaluation of the code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems (European Commission, link):
"The purpose of this evaluation is to assess to which extent Regulation (EC) No 80/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems1 (hereinafter Code of Conduct) has achieved its objectives. Its aim is to understand to which extent the Code of Conduct has contributed to offer consumers an unbiased choice of air fares with low airline ticket distribution costs via effective competition between the CRS providers. The Code of Conduct furthermore aims to prevent possible distortions of competition in the market for computerised reservation systems (hereinafter CRS) as well as in the related market for Marketing Information Data Tapes (hereinafter MIDT) ensuring effective competition between airlines controlling CRSs (i.e. parent carriers) and airlines using the services of CRSs, but not controlling them (i.e. participating carriers) and ensuring consistent application of data protection rules across EU.
The evaluation will provide an up-to-date overview of the application of the provisions of the Regulation. It will also seek to identify evidence based areas of concern in its application.
Depending on the outcome of the evaluation, we will decide on the best course of action to be taken, also taking into account market developments."
CRSs are a crucial element in the Passenger Name Record 'ecosystem' as they are where air passengers' information is stored. See: European Commissioner responds to Parliamentary question on CRSs (Papers, Please!, February 2012, link)
UK: Thousands of British citizens swept up in immigration spot checks (TBIJ, link):
"Members of Parliament and human rights lawyers are calling on the Home Office to review how immigration officers carry out spot checks after data suggested that they were using racial profiling and stopping Britons.
The Bureau, working with the media co-operative, The Bristol Cable, has obtained new Home Office data. The data shows that over 19,000 British citizens, out of a total of 102,552 people, were caught up in immigration checks over the last five years - nearly one in five.
Human rights lawyers say that this high proportion of British citizens suggests that "the checks are led by racial profiling". The Labour MP, Stella Creasy, who has previously raised the issue of raids in her own constituency, is calling on the Home Office to urgently review its practices and told the Bureau: the blanket targeting of communities like mine is neither intelligent nor effective."
GREECE: Racist hit-squads beat and stab Pakistani workers in Aspropyrgos (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"Two migrant workers were attacked in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, on Saturday. The Pakistani nationals were working on a farm when a hit-squad consisting of five men surrounded them hurling racist slurs, beat them with knuckled-dusters and stabbed them with knives. The brutally beaten men were heavily injured transferred to a hospital in Piraeus. Although, two of perpetrators were identified in police records, no operation so far to arrest the attackers.
The two workers, identified as Pakistani nationals Safak Mahmud and Vakas Hussein, were working on a farm when they were surrounded by five men hurling racist slurs and brutally beaten."
Defence R&D does not belong in Framework Programme 9 says EU industry chief (Science | Business, link):
"The EUs first defence research programme should be ring-fenced from civil research, the industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, told MEPs on Monday.
Lets be very clear, Bienkowska said, The EU defence programme should be clearly separated, in terms of budget, in terms of rules and in terms of procedures.
The question of whether high-end defence technologies should be financed from Framework Programme Nine, due to start in 2021, has been the matter of debate and concern in Brussels."
UK: GCHQ is coming out of the shadows to protect Britain's economy from cyber-criminals (The Telegraph, link):
"GCHQs role has always been to collect and use intelligence to disrupt, divert and frustrate our adversaries. Weve been doing this since 1919 and were very good at it. But we cannot afford to stand still. The Governments investment in a bigger GCHQ gives us a chance to recruit the brightest and best from across our society as the threat becomes more diverse, so must the workforce that tackles it.
Were using much of that funding to make GCHQ a cyber organisation as well as an intelligence and counter-terrorism one. We have a longstanding mission to keep sensitive information and systems secure. This has a distinguished history, notably in protecting our own secrets in wartime. But it too often felt like the poor relation. Our new mandate, to help make the UK the best place to live and do business online, has transformed that perception. This profound development is led within GCHQ by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), one year old last week."
See: Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks (The Intercept, link) and: Bulk Personal Datasets Challenge (Privacy International, link)
UK-EU: Brexit, Fundamental Rights And The Future Of Judicial And Police Cooperation (European Law Blog, link) by Cristina Saenz Perez:
"Fundamental rights are a crucial issue in order to ensure cooperation in criminal justice and security matters. The lack of adequate fundamental rights protections after Brexit complicates the negotiations in an area that the UK has set as a priority in the Brexit talks. A separate agreement UK-EU could be the answer to the UK aspirations. The difficulties of this agreement are obvious once the UK does not incorporate the Charter. However, a separate agreement could make the Charter applicable to these instruments or incorporate the Roadmap Directives on Procedural rights, which effectively develops Charter rights concerning the right to a fair trial. In this case, the UK would have to incorporate directives that it has refused to incorporate claiming that the national safeguards available were more generous than the ones offered at EU level. In this case, the paradox will be that the UK would be forced to apply more EU law than it did before Brexit in order to guarantee the same degree of cooperation with the rest of the EU."
EU: Left in limbo: UNHCR study on the implementation of the Dublin Regulation
"The objective of this study was to examine how the Dublin III Regulation is applied and to assess the extent to which the procedures, safeguards and guarantees under the Dublin III Regulation are implemented and deliver on the aims of determining swiftly the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection in accordance with the criteria under the Regulation."
USA: Guantanamo inmates starving amid new medical rules (Reprieve, link):
"The authorities at Guantánamo Bay have ceased the ten-year practice of force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners, under a new policy by the Trump Administration.
Some so-called forever prisoners have been striking for as long as four years, peacefully protesting a lack of charges or a trial. The ten-year practice had been to force feed them when they have lost one fifth of their body weight. However, human rights organisation Reprieve understands that on September 20th, a new Senior Medical Officer (SMO) stopped tube-feeding the strikers, and ended the standard practice of closely monitoring their declining health."
In landmark terrorism trial, France confronts roots of homegrown extremism (The Washington Post, link):
"PARIS This was the case that started it all: the first chapter in Frances struggle with homegrown Islamist violence.
In 2012, between March 11 and March 19, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian origins, murdered seven people: first three French police officers, and then a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
The Merah affair was a shock at the time pointing to an attacker raised in France rather than a militant who slipped into the country to carry out previous Islamist-linked strikes for groups such as Lebanons Hezbollah or factions that grew out of Algerias civil war in the 1990s.
In the years since Merahs bloodshed, the episode has come to reflect the elements in many other recent attacks: youth against authority, Islamist extremist against Jew, and, perhaps most of all, French against French.
This week, the Merah case was brought to trial in Paris, although Merah was killed at the end of his rampage."
Council of the European Union adopts policy on "open data" - but will continue to keep a lot secret
- Reuse is subject to: "the obligation not to distort the original meaning or message of the documents." and the current rules to keep LIMITE documents secret will continue.
EU: German spy chiefs say 'no' to EU intelligence service (euobserver, link):
"The EU does not need a joint intelligence service despite the heightened terrorist threat in Europe, German spy chiefs have said.
"Although I am a true friend of European integration, in my opinion, we do not need a European intelligence service, and we would not get one," Bruno Kahl, the head of Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, said on Thursday (5 October).
"Intelligence is better organised at the national level," he said.(...)
The spy chiefs spoke at the first-ever public hearing of the Bundestag's intelligence oversight committee in Berlin. The EU foreign service in Brussels already has an intelligence-sharing office, called IntCen."
EU: After Hamburg and Barcelona: Outlaw rubber bullets Europe-wide! (Andrej Hunko MP, link):
"Most of the Member States of the European Union permit their police to use rubber and plastic ammunition. Switzerland and Turkey also use such ammunition. Time and again rubber bullets are used to fire into crowds of people, causing serious injuries. Although prohibited, the police target peoples heads. As a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, I am taking the events of this nature that took place in Barcelona as grounds to call for this type of ammunition to be outlawed Europe-wide, declared Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Bundestag.
According to a situation report produced by the Research Services of the German Bundestag, the only European countries where such ammunition is not used are Romania, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Austria."
See: Research Services of the German Bundestag: Situation report on the use of rubber ammunition in Europe (pdf)
CoE: Latvia: Court judgment reveals inhuman and degrading detention conditions of deaf and mute prisoner (Press statement, link):
"Human rights judges have told Latvian authorities that the detention conditions of deaf and mute prisoner amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.
In todays Chamber judgment in the case of Abele v. Latvia (applications nos. 60429/12 and 72760/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned a complaint from Valters Abele, who was born in 1968. He is currently in jail in Jekabpils, after being sentenced to 15 years and six months in prison for aggravated murder."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-8.10.17)
European Parliament: Study: Research of the Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs and the EPRS in the Fields of Responsibilities of the Special Committee on Terrorism (pdf):
"This paper provides a detailed analysis of the responsibilities of the Special Committee on Terrorism and the corresponding available and upcoming research of the Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs and the EPRS."
See: Decision setting up the Committee (link)
EU police forces copy Israeli online 'predictive policing' (euobserver, link):
"EU-wide counter-terror rules are paving the way to allow authorities to crack down on people before any crime has been committed.
Also known as a predictive policing, the move is raising serious fundamental rights issues, as people innocent of any wrongdoing may end up falsely accused or arbitrarily detained.
Such tactics are already being employed by Israeli security services on Palestinians, sometimes with devastating consequences for victims and their families.
But with the recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe, the prospects for predictive policing are becoming more enticing for security services, amid broader EU moves that also appear to restrict online freedom."
EU: Council of the European Union: eu-LISA
Proposal for a Regulation on the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, and amending Regulation (EC) 1987/2006 and Council Decision 2007/533/JHA and repealing Regulation (EU) 1077/2011 - Revised draft (LIMITE doc no: 11884-17, pdf): 140 Fotnotes with Member State positions:
"Changes to the Commission proposal are marked in bold italics and strikethrough."
And see: ADD 1: Member States general observations in relation to the proposal for the Regulation on eu-LISA (LIMITE doc no: 11884-ADD-1-17, pdf):
"as regards interoperability (Article 9), a few Member States welcomed the future role of eu-LISA, but one delegation underlined that interoperability also raises questions in relation to data protection which must be answered."
UK: Prevent racism, resistance, repeal (IRR News, link):
"A report from Just Yorkshire exposes the dangers of the governments Prevent agenda.
Commissioned by the racial justice and human rights charity Just Yorkshire, Rethinking Prevent shatters the myth that Prevent is a fundamental, fair or, indeed, fantastic way of tackling the threat of terrorism."
View the report website here (link)
Poland: Police raid offices of women's groups in Poland after protests (Guardian, link):
"Organisations which help victims of domestic violence have documents and computers seized after women stage marches to protest against abortion law.
Womens rights groups have denounced police raids on their offices in several Polish cities that resulted in the seizing of documents and computers, a day after women staged anti-government marches to protest at the countrys restrictive abortion law.
The raids took place on Wednesday in the cities of Warsaw, Gdansk, Lódz and Zielona Góra. They targeted two organisations, the Womens Rights Centre and Baba, which help victims of domestic violence and participated in this weeks anti-government protests."
The CIA Within Academe: Book documents how foreign and domestic intelligence agencies use - and perhaps exploit - higher education and academe for spy operations (Inside Higher Ed, link):
"Foreign and domestic intelligence services spar and spy on one another all across the world. But it would be naïve to think its not happening in the lab or classroom as well.
In his new book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit Americas Universities (Henry Holt and Company), investigative journalist Daniel Golden explores the fraught - and sometimes exploitative - relationship between higher education and intelligence services, both foreign and domestic."
UK: Investigatory Powers Tribunal faces challenge in appeal court over mass hacking (Computer Weekly, link):
"Appeal court will decide whether UK citizens have the right to challenge controversial decisions made by Britains most secret court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal
Non-governmental organisation Privacy International will challenge the government in court over the legality of GCHQs use of mass hacking of mobile phones and computer equipment using broad warrants that do not identify individual people for surveillance."
Amnesty condemns forced returns of Afghan asylum seekers (euractiv, link):
"A surge of failed Afghan asylum seekers forcibly returned from Europe are at risk of torture, kidnapping and death in war-torn Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today (5 October).
Almost 9,500 Afghans went back to their homeland in 2016 after their applications for asylum in Europe were rejected, compared with nearly 3,300 a year earlier, the human rights group said.(...)
European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law, Amnesty said in a report, Forced Back to Danger"
See: Forced back to danger: Asylum-seekers returned from Europe to Afghanistan (AI, pdf)
EU: PNR Directive: Member States want to go beyond EU rules and share "additional information"
EU Member States are working towards implementation of the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive, which mandates the surveillance and profiling of all passengers travelling by air within, out of and into the EU. The final report of a pilot project led by Hungary on exchanging PNR data between Member States' Passenge Information Units (PIUs) shows that some Member States see the Directive as limiting their efforts to share as much data as possible with other national authorities - including those of non-EU Member States.
See: NOTE from: Hungarian delegation to: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Information Managment Strategy - Action 3 - Passenger Name Records Data Exchange Pilot (PNRDEP) - Final report (10879/17, LIMITE, 28 September 2017, pdf):
German spy chiefs face public grilling by lawmakers (DW, link)
"For the first time in Germany, top intelligence officials will publically answer questions in front of a parliamentary committee. The hearing is part of a government push to take the agencies "out of the grey zone."
The heads of Germany's secret services the foreign affairs body, the German Intelligence Agency (BND), its domestic equivalent the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) all convened for a public hearing before the German parliament's oversight committee for the first time on Thursday.(...)
The lawmakers are expected to quiz the intelligence heads about terrorism, cyber security, and the reform efforts for at least three hours. According to observers, some of the inquiries should also touch on the sore spots in the intelligence community, including the botched effort to stop the murderous neo-Nazi cell NSU and the spying scandal involving the US National Security Agency (NSA)."
European Commission steps up infringement against Hungary on NGO Law (Press release, pdf):
"Today, the European Commission issued a reasoned opinion - the second step in the infringement procedure - to Hungary for its law on foreign-funded NGOs."
EU-USA: High Court asks ECJ to examine Facebook case (The Irish Times, link):
"A High Court judge has asked the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) to determine the validity or otherwise of European Commission decisions approving EU-US data transfer channels used by Facebook and others.
The case has potentially huge implications for billions of euro worth of trade between the two blocs and the data privacy rights of millions of EU citizens, as well as their safety and security, Ms Justice Caroline Costello noted.
Facebook and the US government had opposed the Irish Data Protection Commissioners application for a referral but the judge agreed to refer, concurring with the commissioner that there are well founded grounds for believing European Commission decisions of 2001, 2004 and 2010 approving data transfer channels known as Standard Contractual Clauses are invalid."
See: High Court of Ireland: Executive Summary of the Judgment 3rd October, 2017 (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-4.10.17) including: ECHR: Spain guilty over migrant returns; commemorations in Lampedusa on fourth anniversary of shipwreck
FRANCE: New anti-terror law makes emergency powers permanent
"France's lower house of parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a new counter-terrorism bill, making permanent several controversial measures in place under a nearly two-year-old state of emergency.
It will allow the authorities to confine suspected jihadist sympathisers to their neighbourhoods, close places of worship accused of condoning terror and carry out more on-the-spot identity checks -- all without the prior approval of a judge."
Mediterranean: Italy marks anniversary of Lampedusa tragedy following weekend rescues of over 1000 people
A march was held on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday in memory of the 368 people who died following the 3 October 2013 shipwreck off the coast of the island. The events come after a weekend in which over 1000 people were rescued at sea and three people are reported to have died off the coast of Libya. A further 226 people were "intercepted" and taken to a detention centre in Libya.
SPAIN: Digital repression and resistance during the #CatalanReferendum (X-Net, link):
"The battle presently being fought in the streets and polling stations in towns and cities throughout Catalonia before, during and after October 1, in which a diverse civil society has come together in huge numbers, putting their bodies and knowledge in the service of the shared goal of defending what is considered to be real democracy, has also had a crucial battleground in the case of the Internet."
And see: Evidence of Internet Censorship during Catalonia's Independence Referendum (OONI, link)
Forget Killer RobotsBias Is the Real AI Danger (MIT Technology Review, link):
"Googles AI chief isnt fretting about super-intelligent killer robots. Instead, John Giannandrea is concerned about the danger that may be lurking inside the machine-learning algorithms used to make millions of decisions every minute.
The real safety question, if you want to call it that, is that if we give these systems biased data, they will be biased, Giannandrea said before a recent Google conference on the relationship between humans and AI systems.
The problem of bias in machine learning is likely to become more significant as the technology spreads to critical areas like medicine and law, and as more people without a deep technical understanding are tasked with deploying it. Some experts warn that algorithmic bias is already pervasive in many industries, and that almost no one is making an effort to identify or correct it."
EP Voted For "Access" of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Visa Information System (Novinite, link):
"The European Parliament voted for "access" of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen visa information system. This will allow both countries to check through the new visa system for third-country nationals without, however, being able to enter, modify or delete data, reported BGNES.
The proposal has already been approved by the European Council. According to the MEPs, Bulgaria and Romania have fulfilled all the conditions under the Schengen agreement on air, sea and land borders, police cooperation, protection of personal data and visas.
The final political decision whether the two countries can become part of the Schengen area and stop systematic border checks with neighboring EU countries must be taken unanimously by all sides of the European Council. For a quick decision, the European Commission called last week."
EU: Expansion of the Frontex agency
"In 2015, Frontex employed 320 people, but now it employs 460. Nearly 170 people are involved in operations, 150 work as analysts, and 80 work on operational logistics. By 2020, the number of staff is expected to increase to 1,000.
The Frontex offices now occupy the 6th to 13th floor of the building and the lower levels are occupied by a bank. "Maybe we will have to take their space?" said a Frontex officer.
The budget of the agency will grow from 143 million in 2015 to 322 million in 2020. Frontex is currently running 12 operations in cooperation with EU states. The largest of them are sea operations "Triton," off the coast of Italy and Malta (with more than 400 officers and 14 ships), and "Poseidon," in Greece and the Aegean Sea (with nearly 900 border guards and 14 ships). Maritime operations are the most expensive part of the agency's budget.
The agency also helps Bulgarian, Hungarian and Croatian guards in patrolling the borders with Serbia, and the Bulgarian authorities in monitoring the Turkish border Frontex has 270 border guards deployed at these crossing points"
See: Frontex puts down roots in Poland (EUobserver, link)
EU-BELGIUM: Royal decree on passenger name record data enters into force (International Law Office, link):
"The Passenger Data Processing Act of December 25 2016 transposes the EU Passenger Name Record Directive into Belgian law. This legal framework requires carriers of passengers in various international transport sectors (ie, air, rail, road and sea transport) and travel operators to transfer passenger data to a database managed by the Federal Public Service Internal Affairs.
The Passenger Data Processing Act will come into force for each of the above sectors following the publication of the corresponding royal decree. A royal decree containing the obligations imposed on air carriers was adopted on July 18 2017 and entered into force on August 7 2017.
The Passenger Data Processing Act and the royal decree oblige carriers and travel operators to transfer passenger data to a central database, the Belgian Passenger Information Unit (BelPIU)."
Italy's deal to stem flow of people from Libya in danger of collapse (Guardian, link)
"Number of people crossing Mediterranean rises again amid power struggle between rival factions in Libyan human-trafficking port. A key pillar of the Italian governments effort to stem the politically toxic issue of people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy is in danger of collapse as a result of a bloody power struggle in the key Libyan port of Sabratha, the epicentre of human trafficking to Italy."
And see: EU mission struggling in Libya, internal report says (euobserver, link) Also Restricted document highlights plans for ongoing EU interventions in Libya (Statewatch News)
SPAIN-MELLILA: The immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who were attempting to enter Spanish territory in Melilla amounted to a collective expulsion of foreign nationals, in breach of the Convention (Press release, pdf):
"the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
- a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 (prohibition of collective expulsions of aliens) to the European Convention on Human Rights, and
- a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 4 of Protocol
The case concerned the immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who had attempted on 13 August 2014 to enter Spanish territory illegally by scaling the barriers which surround the Melilla enclave on the North-African coast."
Judgment: Affaire N.D. et N.T. c. Espagne (French, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Asylum Procedures & ECRIS-TCN
ASYLUM Proposal: Regulation stablishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (LIMITE doc no: 12128-17, pdf): 106 Detailed Footnotes with Member State positions:
"Suggested modifications are indicated as follows: - new text compared to the Commission proposal is in bold; - deleted text is in strikethrough."
ECRIS-TCN: Proposal for a: Regulation... to supplement and support the European criminal records information system (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No. 1077/2011 - Questions on prior convictions and on access by certain agencies (LIMITE doc no: 12033-27, pdf):
"Inclusion of prior convictions is essential for the ECRIS-TCN system to be effective as early as possible following the entry into force of the Regulation. Unless prior convictions are included in the ECRIS-TCN system, the system will only become useful several years after establishment of the system (...)
It must be noted, however, that ECRIS-TCN system will not achieve its full potential if only alphanumeric data of prior convictions would be included in the new system. As discussions have shown, central ECRIS-TCN system can only be efficient if fingerprint data complements the alphanumeric data of convicted TCN.
However, during the negotiations at the Working Party level, several Member States mentioned that the inclusion of the fingerprint data could create a substantial administrative burden for them. In most Member States, the fingerprint data is not part of the criminal records database and is stored separately in other databases."
EU: Council of the European Union: freezing and confiscation orders and European Electronic Communications Code
Freezing and confiscation orders: Proposal for a Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders - Revised text (LIMITE doc 11971-17, no: pdf): 94 Footnotes with Member State positions:
"The Presidency redrafted the text, see the Annex. In the footnotes, comments by Member States are set out, as well as observations submitted by the Commission. Where appropriate, the Presidency formulated new drafting suggestions (indicated by bold and underlined characters)."
And see: Previous text: Questions on a ground for non-recognition and on the management and disposal of frozen and confiscated property/costs (LIMITE doc no: 1970-17, pdf): CATS is invited:
B1) to indicate whether the executing State should have the right to deduct the costs, demonstrated by invoices, in each individual case, or whether the executing State should only be allowed to claim reimbursement of large or exceptional costs, as was foreseen in the Commission proposal (Art. 32);
B2) to state, as regards the disposal of money obtained as a result of the execution of a confiscation order, whether a more progressive division by fixed but decreasing proportions as proposed by PRES, or the rule as proposed by the Commission (up to EUR 10 000 for executing State, afterwards 50%-50% for executing and issuing State), would be preferable."
European Electronic Communications Code: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast) - Examination of the Presidency text (Doc no: 12290-17. 477 pages, pdf)
UK-BREXIT: Citizens' rights: Citizens;s rights (European Commission, pdf): With a number of red lines:
"Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU and the UK Remarks: The joint technical note attached summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them following the 4th round of the Art. 50 negotiations."
U.S. government monitoring of social media (Papers please, link):
"Since December 2016, all visitors to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) have been asked to identify the social media IDs they use to the Department of State on the online ESTA form. In several recent notices in the Federal Register, and in official statements in response to questions about those notices, the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that it already searches for and reviews information about individuals from social media."
Germanys new online hate speech code pushes big fines and debate (Politico, link): "Berlin is pitted against big US tech companies and free-speech advocates."
UK: Big Data and Policing: An Assessment of Law Enforcement Requirements, Expectations and Priorities (RUSI, pdf) by Alexander Babuta:
"The research has identified a number of fundamental limitations in the polices current use of data. In particular, this paper finds that the fragmentation of databases and software applications is a significant impediment to the efficiency of police forces, as police data is managed across multiple separate systems that are not mutually compatible. Moreover, in the majority of cases, the analysis of digital data is almost entirely manual, despite software being available to automate much of this process. In addition, police forces do not have access to advanced analytical tools to trawl and analyse unstructured data, such as images and video, and for this reason are unable to take full advantage of the UKs wide-reaching surveillance capabilities."
The report notes that: "Systems underpinned by machine learning will inevitably reproduce the inherent biases present in the data they are provided with if particular minorities have been disproportionately targeted by police action in the past, the algorithm will disproportionately assess those individuals as posing an increased risk." However, aside from one minor suggestion, it proposes no possible way to remedy this serious problem.
EU: Five Schengen states want permission to extend internal border controls for up to two years at a time
On 27 September the European Commission proposed new rules for internal border controls in the Schengen area that would allow states facing "a serious threat to public policy or internal security" to reintroduce border controls for double the period currently allowed - one year instead of six months, and up to two years in certain cases.
A "non-paper" drafted by Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Norway - all of whom have introduced and repeatedly prolonged internal border controls in recent years - and dated 5 September, suggests that those five states will seek to extend that period even further during negotiations on the proposal.
EU: JRC makes its ship-detection software open source (EU Joint Research Centre, link):
"The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has released the software of its SUMO maritime surveillance tool, which is helping to protect our oceans by detecting ships engaged in illicit activities.
The ship-detection tool has many other applications, including mapping ship routes, monitoring shipping intensity as an indicator of economic activity, helping to identify polluting ships, countering piracy and smuggling, and maritime border control."
DNA in the dock: how flawed techniques send innocent people to prison (The Guardian, link):
"....Butlers case is just one of many that highlight growing questions in the world of forensic science: what exactly are fingermarks, DNA or gunshot residue actually evidence of particularly now that even tiny traces can be detected?
Its a riddle whose answer may have profound consequences. According to research published by Morgan and her colleagues, rulings for 218 successful appeal cases in England and Wales between 2010 and 2016 argued that DNA evidence had been misleading, with the main issues being its relevance, validity or usefulness in proving an important point in a trial."
See: UK: Government Chief Scientific Adviser annual report for 2015: Forensic science and beyond: authenticity, provenance and assurance: Report (pdf) and: Evidence and case studies (pdf)
EU Buried Its Own $400,000 Study Showing Unauthorized Downloads Have Almost No Effect On Sales (Techdirt, link):
"One of the problems in the debate about the impact of unauthorized downloads on the copyright industry is the paucity of large-scale, rigorous data. That makes it easy for the industry to demand government policies that are not supported by any evidence they are needed or will work. In 2014, the European Commission tried to address that situation by putting out a tender for [research on the displacement of sales of copyrighted content by illegal downloading]...
The contract was awarded to Ecorys, a "research and consultancy company" based in the Netherlands that has written many similar reports in the past. The value of the contract was a princely 369,871 -- over $400,000. Given that hefty figure, and the fact that this was public money, you might expect the European Commission to have published the results as soon as it received them, which was in May 2015. And yet strangely, it kept them to itself."
See also: Copyright Directive: six Member States question legality of proposals for automated upload filtering (Statewatch News Online, 5 September 2017)
SPAIN: Spanish government crushes Catalan independence dreams at a high price
"Europe has had a rocky ride with referendums in recent years: think of Greeces anti-austerity vote in 2015, or the Brexit shock and Italys failed constitutional referendum in December 2016. As the UK found with the 2014 Scottish independence vote, even holding a referendum at all can be highly destabilising to the traditional political order and political party systems."
HUNGARY: Hatred of refugees has fundamentally changed the town Hungarian village succumbs to state propaganda (The Budapest Beacon, link):
"Residents of the Tolna county village of Ocsény in southwest Hungary held an emergency village assembly Monday evening. So many members of the roughly 2,000-person community attended that not everyone was able to fit into the community center. They had come together to discuss what they considered an imminent threat to their village: the arrival of several refugees, mostly women and children, for a few days of vacation.
The residents had gotten wind of the cooperation between a local guesthouse owner, Zoltán Fenyvesi, and the Migration Aid civil organization to bring four rounds of six or seven refugee children with adult chaperones to the village for a week of relaxation in the guesthouse and sightseeing tours in the region.
Upon hearing of the plan, residents convened the assembly, which Fenyvesi attended. The meeting was so hysterical and full of shouting, the guesthouse owner said, that he didnt have the chance to speak.
Later that night, the tires on two of Fenyvesis vehicles were slashed."
See also: The seeds of hatred taking root in the Hungarian countryside (Hungarian Spectrum, link): "What happened in Ocsény shocked people who have been watching with growing concern the Orbán governments perilous anti-refugee campaign. For some time one could hear anxious comments about the dreadful consequences of the brainwashing that has been taking place in Hungary over the last two and a half years. Some professionals familiar with the repercussions of such mind-changing techniques predict it will take a generation to alter the mindset of the approximately two-thirds of the population that has been heavily affected by Viktor Orbáns hate campaign."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28-30.9.17)
EU:Council of the European Union: Atlas Network & Internal Security Strategy
ATLAS: Working Party on Terrorism and Law Enforcement Working Party: Subject: Strengthening the ATLAS Network (LIMITE doc no: 11828-17, pdf):
"All of us remember the terrorist attacks that have occurred across the EU in recent years. Special intervention units (SIUs) are specifically trained and equipped to respond to such attacks. (...)
The ATLAS Network is an association consisting of 38 SIUs1 from the 28 Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU) and, in addition, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. (...)
As one of the main objectives of the ATLAS Network is rapid response to crisis situations, terror incidents in particular, and international cooperation, we propose involving both the Terrorism Working Party (TWP) and the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) in this discussion. Bringing the issue to the attention of both LEWP and TWP is logical, since it is important to highlight the role of the ATLAS Network not only as law enforcement format, but also in the context of countering terrorism." [emphasis added]
ISS: Joint trio Presidency paper on the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy 20152020 (LIMITE doc no: 11968-REV-1-17, pdf):
"Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria decided to draft a joint ISS trio paper containing five key topics which covers the 18-month joint trio Presidency period. During the joint Presidency period the most important topics to be addressed by the Presidencies will be the following: interoperability and information exchange, ATLAS, cooperation with third countries/third country regions (especially Ukraine and the Western Balkans), violent extremism, and the Security and the Migration Union 2025." [emphasis added]
Interoperability and information exchange: "The Commission, together with eu-LISA, EDPS, FRA and other relevant stakeholders, is expected to carry out the relevant studies by the end of 2017, by which time the Commission should also have proposed an omnibus Regulation updating the legal bases of existing information systems and enabling native interoperability at EU level, as well as legislative proposals on the three main dimensions of interoperability a European search portal, a shared biometric matching service and a common identity repository." (...)
Security and Migration Union 2025: The trio Presidency of the Council has initiated a process (the 'Vienna process'), with the involvement of subsequent Presidencies, to pursue long-term goals in the field of internal security, including security-related topics in the area of asylum, migration and borders." [emphasis added]
HUNGARY: Here are the Soros Plan national consultation questions! (Budapest Beacon, link):
"Pro-government propaganda outlet Magyar Idok has published the list of questions that will appear on Hungarys upcoming Soros Plan national consultation. Earlier this week, the government began running propaganda spots in the media to drum up support for the government-funded questionnaire.
The Soros Plan national consultation is the governments deliberate misrepresentation of George Soros proposals for managing the refugee crisis."
See also: Hungary Begins a New Official Hate Campaign - European Leaders Should Condemn Efforts to Stir Hate Against Foreigners, Civil Society (HRW, link)
Violation of civil and political rights - Catalonia, September 2017
"This report looks at possible violations of civil and/or political rights suffered by citizens during September 2017, principally in the territory of Catalonia, although with some incidents in locations across the Kingdom of Spain (...)
Listed below are the fundamental rights recognised by the most relevant national and international law, alongside the international treaties and legal systems and article(s) applicable in each case. Each section contains a brief description of the emerging factual elements. In some cases, the same incident may involve the violation of a number of the rights set out.
The report examines potential breaches of the rights to a fair trial, to an effective remedy and to a defence; the right to a private and family life; the rights to freedom of thought and belief; the rights to freedom of expression, opinion and the receipt and communication of information and ideas; and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly."
EU: A crucial moment for communications privacy (European Data Protection Supervisor, link):
"The current review of the ePrivacy rules is an opportunity to good to be missed. In line with the fresh air that the GPDR blows into the processing of personal data inside organisations and corporations, the ePrivacy review allows us to create a new field for competitive and privacy friendly services on the Internet and the World Wide Web to give back control to individuals. There are still plenty of creative entrepreneurs that can enter with new ideas and business models."
EU Governments Must Protect Rule of Law in Poland: Joint Letter to EU Council (Liberties.eu, link)::
"Mounting restrictions on NGOs in Poland are a further nail in the coffin of the Rule of Law, democracy and fundamental rights. We ask EU governments meeting to discuss the situation in Poland to protect the people."
EU: Our Freedom of Speech is Threatened by the European Copyright Legislation Proposal - Here's How (Liberties.eu, link):
"The European Commission's desire to modernise copyright law is much needed, but a key part of its proposal would represent a serious threat to our freedom of expression.
The European Commission seeks to modernise copyright. This is a welcome attempt, because the EUs regulation is severely outdated: it is half as old as the World Wide Web itself and a lot has happened on the internet since the EU last tackled the issue. However, the proposal the Commission has put forward endangers freedom of expression. Liberties calls on the Commission to remove Article 13 from their proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market in order to avoid the dramatic threats to our human rights. (...)
Article 13 of the proposed Directive would replace the current limited liability system by the need of implementing in practice automated content filtering systems that prevent copyrighted material from even getting uploaded to the Internet. It would require all internet companies to monitor all the content their users attempt to upload."
EDRI: Commissions position on tackling illegal content online is contradictory and dangerous for free speech (link):
"Today, on 28 September, the European Commission published its long-awaited Communication Tackling Illegal Content Online. This follows a leaked copy we previously analysed.
The document puts virtually all its focus on internet companies monitoring online communications, in order to remove content that they decide might be illegal. It presents few safeguards for free speech, and little concern for dealing with content that is actually criminal."
See: Security Union: Commission steps up efforts to tackle illegal content online (Press release, pdf):
"To speed up detection, online platforms are encouraged to work closely with trusted flaggers, i.e. specialised entities with expert knowledge on what constitutes illegal content. Additionally, they should establish easily accessible mechanisms to allow users to flag illegal content and to invest in automatic detection technologies."
See: Communication: Tackling Illegal Content Online: Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms (COM 255-27, pdf) and Code of Conduct (pdf)
European Commission: Commission presents next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy (Press release, pdf)
"A more effective EU policy on return: A more effective EU policy on return With return rates remaining unsatisfactory (around 36% in 2014-2015) and an estimated 1.5 million people to be returned from EU Member States in the near future, the Commission proposes to step up return efforts on all fronts." [emphasis added]
The Commission states (COM 558-17): "And yet, according to EUROSTAT data, out of the approximately 1 million third-country nationals found to be illegally present in the EU in 2016, only half received orders to leave the EU, and less than half of that figure (226,000) were effectively returned."
Statewatch comment: This quote is a bit misleading as third country nationals "illegaly present" includes visa overstayers thought to comprise about half of the overall figure.
The Commission, in the same report, states: "Based on the lessons learned in Greece and Italy, the Commission will present later in the autumn guidelines, including a template for standard operating procedures on how to set up and use hotspots in case of disproportionate migratory pressure at the external border of any Member State." This appears to refer not just to taking the "hotspot" approach in states with sea borders but at land borders inside the EU.
And see: Commission's latest proposals: three year internal border controls, swifter returns, ensure relocations
Robots could destabilise world through war and unemployment, says UN (Guardian, link):
"United Nations opens new centre in Netherlands to monitor artificial intelligence and predict possible threats."
See: UNICRI Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (link)
EU: New 'Return Handook' to assist Member States in bypassing human rights safeguards in migrant removals
The Commission has published a new version of the 'Return Handbook', that is supposed to be used by national authorities to implement the EU Returns Directive and has been revised in order to implement a host of recommendations on "making returns more effective".
The recommendations, published in March this year by the European Commission, were condemned by over 90 civil society groups as bypassing human rights safeguards set out in EU law and "actively pushing Member States to lower the bar".
EU: ePrivacy Regulation: Do not let the EU sell our right to privacy: Still 14 days to act
"The European Union is about to change the rules protecting of our privacy through a new ePrivacy Regulation.
Numerous Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are ready to allow monitoring of our online activities for business purposes without our consent."
EU: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 134,549 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,654 (IOM, link):
"IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 134,549 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 24 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 302,175 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.
IOM Romes Flavio di Giacomo reported on Thursday, 21 September that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 103,318 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, or some 21.5 per cent fewer than last year in the same period.
Di Giacomo reported a shipwreck that occurred off the Libyan coast last week with at least 90 missing migrants has been confirmed."
EU: Commission's latest proposals: three year internal border controls, swifter returns, ensure relocations
The European Commission has announced a swathe of plans and proposals that will allow three-year internal border controls in the Schengen area; introduce an expanded, 50,000-place EU resettlement scheme for refugees backed by 500 million; attempt to increase the number of returns, including by "significantly reinforcing" Frontex's return operations; and inviting the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) "to coordinate a pilot project on private sponsorship schemes with interested Member States."
Spanish police to take over Catalan polling stations to thwart independence vote (Reuters, link):
"Spains government said on Tuesday police would take control of voting booths in Catalonia to help thwart the regions planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.
Catalonias prosecutor has ordered the regional police - known as the Mossos dEsquadra - to take control of any voting booths by Saturday, a spokesman for the Madrid governments Catalan delegation said.
In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutors office said they would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.
Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, malfeasance and misappropriation of funds, the order said."
Note: the police have also been ordered to prevent any referendum-related activity in a 100 metre radius around any building designated as a polling station.
And see: Commission silent as Madrid shuts down websites ahead of Catalonia referendum (EurActiv, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25-27.9.17) including: New 'Return Handook' to assist Member States in bypassing human rights safeguards in migrant removals
MEDITERRANEAN: Statement by Mission Lifelife: Attack by the Libyan Coastguard on the rescue vessel "Lifeline"
Our civilian rescue ship, the "Lifeline", was attacked yesterday by the Libyan coast guard during its first rescue operation in the Mediterranean.
While our crew provided humanitarian aid 19 miles off the Libyan coast (in international waters), the Libyan Coast Guard attacked our ship by firing shots and entering our rescue ship without the consent of our captain.
UK: Police reach settlement with family of Habib 'Paps' Ullah over 39-year-old's death (Slough Express, link):
"Thames Valley Police (TVP) has apologised for the death of a 39-year-old man from Slough who died after a drugs search in 2008.
Habib 'Paps' Ullah, of Arborfield Close, suffered a cardiac arrest and died on July 3 following a stop and search at a residential car park in Sharrow Vale, High Wycombe.
Since then his family, leading the Justice4Paps campaign, became embroiled in a nine-year battle for answers, during which two inquests were held.
The original 2010 inquest collapsed due to the revelation that police officers made changes to their statements, prompting an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation which found insufficient evidence for criminal charges against the five officers involved.
At Mr Ullahs second inquest in March 2015, a verdict of misadventure with a narrative attached was delivered by jurors."
UK: The end of the courtroom trial and why we should be worried (New Statesman, link):
" When people think of justice, its often the same images that are conjured up. The wood-paneled courtroom, the judge in wig and gown. A jury sat attentively. Two sides fighting for justice. Grandstanding speeches. The trial is the archetype of criminal justice.
In reality, though, the trial is starting to disappear. People accused of crimes, are increasingly being incentivised to simply plead guilty and to waive their right to a trial. In the US, where a fifth of the worlds prison population reside, a shocking 97 per cent of cases dont go to trial at all. Instead people are convicted following plea bargains struck with prosecutors.
And it is not only in the US that the trial is disappearing. Fair Trials recently published our own report The Disappearing Trial which shows this growing global trend towards encouraging guilty pleas. The world over, trials are increasingly seen as too costly and inefficient. Too often the justice system is seen by policy-makers as a production line. From that perspective, trials just get in the way of processing outcomes as quickly and efficiently as possible. Defendants are incentivised to give up their right to a trial and plead guilty to streamline the process. "
UK: Eleven men arrested on terror charges in neo-Nazi investigation (The Guardian, link):
"Eleven men have been arrested across England and Wales on suspicion of terrorism offences as part of a national investigation into the banned neo-Nazi group National Action, police have said.
Six men from the north-west of England, including a prisoner; two men from South Wales; two men from West Yorkshire; and one man from Wiltshire have been detained on a range of charges. The men are aged from 22 to 35.
Eleven properties are being searched across England and Wales as part of the investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and North West.
National Action, an antisemitic, white supremacist group, was banned as a terrorist organisation in December by the home secretary."
UK: Leicestershire Police: Eighty officers now Taser trained (Loughborough Echo, link):
"EIGHTY officers from Leicestershires response and local policing are now carrying a Conductive Electrical Device (commonly known as Tasers) in addition to their colleagues in the East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS).
The move, which was announced in November 2016, is intended to increase public safety and the safety of police officers. Another 70 officers are in the process of being trained which will bring the total number of Specially Trained Officers (STOs) to 150.
The officers are spread across the force area. Previously, the Taser capability available to Leicestershire Police was only provided by EMOpSS officers who provide specialist police services to the communities of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire."
HUNGARY: Asylum system in Hungary dismantled as elections approach - Migszol update (Migszol, link):
"What was before a more or less, albeit poorly, functioning asylum system, has been turned into a carefully constructed, but unsustainable, system of detention and transit zones. Systematic pushbacks to Serbia, and more recently to Romania, continue. The fence area has developed into a militarized zone of pushbacks and detention.
Following the format of our previous monthly updates, this brief post overlooks the main developments in
Hungary in 2017 on the ground, while the next post coming up in a few days time looks at political developments. For legal developments and a monthly update on the asylum situation in Hungary, please see also the publications of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee."
UK: SMART METERS: Privacy Factsheet (Big Brother Watch, link to pdf):
"Smart meters are technology which will replace your existing gas and electricity meters. They are a mobile connected device which will send data about your energy use to your energy supplier. Currently the scheme is entirely voluntary but the Government are keen for everyone to have a smart meter by 2020. Smart meters will change the way we engage with our energy. It is important to understand what they are, what they can do and what control and choice you have."
SWEDEN: Extra police called to Gothenburg to manage neo-Nazi demonstration (The Local, link):
"Police from across Sweden will be called to Gothenburg to help manage a planned neo-Nazi demonstration in the centre of the city.
On September 30th the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) will hold a demonstration in Sweden's second city, following a previous march there earlier in the month.
Gothenburg's Administrative Court has significantly shortened the original route, preventing it from passing near a synagogue where celebrations of the holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur will be taking place, as well as the city's biggest exhibition centre, where the Gothenburg Book Fair will be held.
Members of the NMR have previously suggested they will ignore the route change however, while the organization has also appealed the courts ruling."
EU: Registration of persons on board passenger ships (European Parliament briefing, pdf):
"While EU waters ranks among the safest in the world for travellers, in case of an emergency, search
and rescue authorities must know immediately the number of people missing. To facilitate this, the
European Commission proposed to digitalise the registration of passengers on ships operating to and
from EU ports. The proposal is part of a broader review of the EU passenger ship safety legislation,
which aims to simplify the existing rules and cut administrative costs, while keeping sea travel safe.
Personal data, including nationality and date of birth, will be erased automatically once the
ships voyage or any incident investigation is completed. Member States will have two years to introduce the
new rules into their national legislation."
Kent Police officer charged with assault following IPCC investigation (IPCC, link):
"A Kent Police sergeant will appear at Margate Magistrates Court on 7 November to face a charge of assault by beating following an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.
PS Paul Coughlan, who was based at Canterbury Police station, is alleged to have used disproportionate force in striking a man who was being held in police custody in a cell.
Following the mans detention on 29 March this year, he made a complaint about the officers actions which was referred to the IPCC.
The IPCC completed its investigation in July 2017 and referred its conclusions to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charge this month (September 2017)."
UK: Activist Found Guilty of Terror-Related Crime for Refusing to Disclose Passwords to U.K. Police (The Intercept, link):
"A judge in a London court on Monday found activist Muhammad Rabbani guilty of a terrorism offense because he refused to turn over his passwords to police during a border search.
Rabbani, the 36-year-old international director of British advocacy group Cage, was arrested in November at Londons Heathrow Airport. Police had demanded he provide his phone and laptop passwords during an examination that was carried out under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, a broad power authorities can use to interrogate and detain people in border areas without requiring any suspicion of wrongdoing.
Rabbani said he could not provide access to his devices because they contained confidential information, provided to him by one of Cages clients, about alleged acts of U.S. torture."
See: Court Judgment (pdf)
EU: UK/EU Security Cooperation After Brexit: the UK Governments Future Partnership Papers (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:
" Ill look here at the papers on two aspects of security external security (foreign policy and defence) on the one hand, and internal security (police and criminal law cooperation) on the other. Both of them are impacted in the short term by the Florence speech, since the Prime Minister called for the current UK/EU security arrangements to apply for a period of around two years, followed by a comprehensive EU/UK security treaty. Assuming that such a transition period is agreed, the issue is what happens after that. In other words, what will be the content of that future comprehensive security treaty?"
US tests EU patience over Privacy Shield (euobserver, link):
"Outstanding issues remain, following a review of the deal with the EU commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, who told reporters in Brussels on Monday (25 September) that the US side is yet to fulfil its side of the bargain (...)
The NSA's section 702 on foreign intelligence gathering is up for renewal before the end of the year. This rule grants the US government sweeping powers to collect foreign intelligence information.
"We are very concerned about what the new version of this act will mean for Privacy Shield," said Jourova."
EU: Tech industry sounds alarm over draft online payment rules (euractiv, link):
"Twenty-seven e-commerce companies and lobby groups have asked the European Commission to change a draft proposal to regulate payment services, arguing that additional security measures will drive shoppers away from online platforms.
The Commission wants to cut down on online fraud by requiring consumers to use card authentication measures like reader devices, to scan their fingerprints or use other biometric checks for purchases that cost at least 30.
Higher value purchases are considered riskier. That means consumers will need to take an extra step to authenticate each purchase before its approved.
The EU executive is still finishing its draft of the proposal and will send it to MEPs and diplomats from national governments within the next few weeks, using a fast-track legal procedure known as an implementing act. MEPs and member states can either approve or reject the text within three months of receiving it, but cannot make changes to it." [emphasis added]
The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) (link):
"The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) is a civil society network of organisations working to promote human rights, respect for the rule of law, disarmament and conflict prevention. EFAD has been formed to challenge the growing global use of armed drones and to address key concerns regarding their deployment and proliferation, through engaging with governments, European institutions and civil society, and by promoting political and public debate."
Disappointing results for predictive policing (link)
"The Max Planck Institute in Freiburg does not see any proof of effectiveness for predictive policing in preventing home burglaries. Another study is expected next year from Hamburg.
So far, there has been no proof in Germany that so-called "predictive policing leads to crime rates being lowered in a particular area. Two investigations aim to shed light on this: one "study of new technologies for predicting home burglaries and their consequences for policing practice is currently underway at Hamburg University, however the project does not end until December 2018. In the meantime, evaluation of a predictive policing project in Baden-Württemberg by the Freiburg Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law has been completed."
New reports on racism and discrimination in Ukraine, Montenegro and Slovenia (Council of Europe, link):
"The Council of Europes anti-discrimination commission, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published today new reports on Ukraine, Montenegro, as well as conclusions on Slovenia.
In Ukraine, the ECRI commended new legal provisions to combat discrimination, progress in investigating hate crimes, steps towards integrating Roma and solidarity towards internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, racist violence against LGBT and Roma and hate speech dominating public discourse remain a problem and the conditions of IDPs must be improved. Over the past three years, the report says, political discourse has been dominated by anti-Russia rhetoric; the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has had a negative effect on vulnerable groups, in general. The report (2011-23.03.2017) does not take into account the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
In Montenegro, the ECRI praised the authorities efforts to strengthen protection against hate crimes, empower the Ombudsman and improve the situation of Roma. However, LGBT persons are still targets of violence, Roma remain at risk of social exclusion and segregation, and no reliable data on hate crimes exists.
As for Slovenia, the authorities satisfactorily implemented two ECRIs priority recommendations on setting up a body to combat discrimination, as well as on a compensation scheme for the erased persons and the regulation of their legal status. Nevertheless, Slovenia didnt implement the recommendation on ensuring access to water for all Roma."
Frances Counterterrorism Bill Normalizes Emergency Practices (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Frances draft counterterrorism bill is now in its final stretch before becoming law. The fast-tracked bill is widely expected to pass a vote in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on October 3 despite concerns that it encroaches on peoples rights.
The bill doesnt prolong Frances two-year-long state of emergency, which will formally be over when it becomes law.
What it does is rather more unsettling. It takes elements of emergency practices intrusive search powers, restrictions on individuals that have bordered on house arrest, closure of places of worship that have been used abusively since November 2015, and makes them normal criminal and administrative practice. It does all this in a way that weakens the judiciarys control over and ability to check against abuse in the way the new counterterrorism powers are used by prefects, the Interior Ministrys appointed delegates in each region."
EU: Address to ICIC on the future of transparency and access to information (European Ombudsman, link):
"Politicians and officials in the EU often refer to Regulation 1049 as the Transparency Regulation. Yet public access to information is not in itself transparency. It is a tool which can help us to understand the reasons why certain things that have happened, decisions taken, the influencing factors and the identity of those involved. But by definition, it is retrospective. Access can be given only to information that has already been recorded.
We need to think more broadly, not just about publishing what is already created, but ensuring that relevant and accurate information is produced and published in good time for it to be useful.
Proactive disclosure of information should be just that automatic, anticipatory and timely. Public authorities should not be checking to see whether they have a legal obligation to publish documents proactively, but doing so instinctively, as a matter of principle and conviction. It is good governance in practice. It enhances democracy. It is the right thing to do for citizens."
EU: Restricted document: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator seeks to emulate US in gathering "battlefield data" for law enforcement agencies
The EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) wants the EU and the Member States to put serious thought into how data collected on battlefields across the world could be used for capturing and prosecuting "foreign fighters" on EU territory, in particular by emulating and learning from the practices of the US, with whom "close cooperation" is "key". However, there are "many complex legal and practical questions" that must be answered first.
UK: Labour-backed report calls for more generous legal aid system
"An additional £400m a year should be spent restoring access to a more generous system of legal aid, according to a Labour-backed report which calls for a legally enforceable right to justice.
The two-year-long review, led by the former justice minister Lord Bach, launches an alternative vision of equality before the law and condemns austerity policies that have imposed a disproportionate share of cuts on the legal system."
EU: European Ombudsman on timeliness and transparency in the European Commissions handling of infringement complaints
"Effective application of EU law is essential to ensuring the Unions credibility. To check that Member States correctly transpose and implement EU law, the European Commission is tasked in its role as guardian of the Treaties with investigating alleged infringements.
Complaints lodged by citizens, organisations and businesses are an essential source of information for the Commission on possible breaches of EU law. Complainants, however, sometimes struggle to understand that infringement procedures are not always the best way to solve their individual problem. They also find it difficult to accept that the Commission enjoys discretionary powers to open or not to open an infringement procedure at the end of its investigations.
After receiving a range of complaints about the Commissions handling of these cases, the Ombudsman opened a strategic inquiry to investigate whether there were underlying systemic problems. The inquiry concerned the Commissions handling of infringement complaints under what is generally referred to as the EU Pilot system, which structures the informal stage of infringement proceedings. The purpose of EU Pilot is to conduct an informal dialogue with Member States to remedy breaches of EU law at an early stage and avoid resorting to formal infringement procedures. The inquiry covers: (i) the Commissions duty to reach a timely decision, (ii) information to complainants and (iii) information to the public about EU Pilot cases."
See: Decision of the European Ombudsman setting out suggestions following her strategic inquiry OI/5/2016/AB on timeliness and transparency in the European Commissions handling of infringement complaints (European Ombudsman, link)
EU-US: PNR: US takes aim at Court of Justice opinion on air traveller data
The Trump administration has taken note of the recent Court of Justice opinion setting out requirements for the transfer of air passenger data from the EU to Canada and appears to be threatening to impose restrictions on EU citizens travelling to the US if limitations are placed on the transfer of personal data to US authorities.
Poland and Hungary: The EU takes its time when it comes to punishing member states (Atlatszo, link):
"The V4 MEPs, especially from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary do not support the EU intervening in the internal affairs of the member states, even if the fundamental rights might be in danger. The Commission does not seem convinced either that imposing sanctions will be the best way to solve the conflicts with Polish and Hungarian governments. It is high time to break this deadlock."
Austria bans burqa (New Europe, link):
"Austrias controversial new law banning niqabs and burqas comes into force on October 1. Under the new law, anyone wearing clothes that obscure their face in public will be subject to a fine of 150.
The ban was approved by Austrias parliament in May despite protests from Muslim groups and opposition from lawyers and the countrys own president.
As reported by The Independent, Austrias Anti-Face-Veiling Act will prohibit face coverings in all public places and buildings, including courts, schools, and transport.
Police will issue on-the-spot fines to residents and visitors to the country whose faces are hidden or concealed by clothes or other objects in such a way that they are no longer recognisable, authorities warned."
German election: protests in Berlin as Nazis enter the Bundestag
"For the first time in the modern history of the Federal Republic of Germany, voters have elected a far-right party to the country's parliament. But what does "far-right" mean and how will political culture change? The answers are both very complicated and really simple.
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) promotes itself as a patriotic, democratic, conservative party. However, critics from across the political spectrum say it's an association of right-wing extremists. In a pointed reference to the AfD, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel bemoaned the fact that "true Nazis" would once again be part of the Bundestag."
UK: Criminalise reading as part of "netwar" against ISIS, says thinktank
The UK government should consider criminalising "the persistent consumption of extremist content online" and "the possession and viewing of extremist content" as part of a strategy against "the virtual threat" posed by Islamic extremism, says a new report by conservative think tank Policy Exchange.
Council: EU JHA agencies want access to all fingerprints, palm prints and facial images held under interoperability plans
The Council of the European Union's DAPIX: Working Group: Friends of Presidency on interoperability of EU information systems is discussing: Access to central EU systems for borders and security (LIMITE doc no: 12258-17,pdf):
"the Commission was called upon to propose a comprehensive framework for law enforcement access to the various databases in the area of justice and home affairs, with a view to greater simplification, consistency, effectiveness and attention to operational needs'"
All the EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies have or want access to: "alphanumeric data - biographic data - fingerprints - palm prints - facial images"
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-24..9.17)
Greece: Court decisions pave way for first forcible returns of asylum-seekers under EU-Turkey deal (AI, link):
"Two Syrian refugees are at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey after Greeces highest administrative court rejected their final appeals against earlier rulings declaring their asylum claims inadmissible. This could set a dangerous precedent for future returns of asylum-seekers under the EU-Turkey deal, Amnesty International said.(...)
Today - for the first time since the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal - Greece, acting on behalf of the entire EU, took a conscious decision which will result in two refugees being sent to a country which is already struggling to meet the basic needs of almost three million other refugees, said John Dalhuisen.
Until such time as asylum-seekers and refugees can be guaranteed effective protection in Turkey, EU countries must stop sending them there."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "This judgment could lead to mass forced returns to Turkey. And could also lead to thousands of Dublin returns to Greece from other EU Member States with the country being used as a detention state."
UK: Two deaths in immigration detention centres in 12 days (IRR News, link):
"On 7 September, an unnamed Polish man died in hospital after self-harming at Harmondsworth detention centre. Twelve days later a Chinese man was found dead at Dungavel in Scotland. Two deaths in twelve days making a total of four deaths already this year."
The Council of the European Union is considering the Internal Security Strategy
Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: report of the first half of 2017 and programme for the second half of 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 10827-17, 64 pages, pdf) and see COR 1 (pdf) and:
Draft Council conclusions on the mid-term review of the Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020 (LIMITE doc no: 11901-REV-1-17) The Council lays emphasis on the quick implementation of interoperability data retention.
Spain to send extra police to try to halt Catalan referendum (AP, link):
" Spain will deploy police reinforcements to the northeastern region of Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain should take place, officials said Friday.
The measure comes amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned referendum. Civil Guard police this week arrested around a dozen regional government officials and seized about 10 million ballot papers. Catalan authorities insist the Oct. 1 ballot will take place. Both sides accuse each other of acting illegally and undemocratically."
And: Internet Society statement on Internet blocking measures in Catalonia, Spain (internetsociety.org, link):
"Measures restricting free and open access to the Internet have been reported in Catalonia. There have been reports that major telecom operators have been asked to monitor and block traffic to political websites, and following a court order, law enforcement has raided the offices of the .CAT registry in Barcelona, examining a computer and arresting staff."
Also: We just want to stop pleading (Open Democracy, link): "A call to the people of Spain, because the Catalan independence referendum on October 1 is about rather more than that.":
MEPs urge Spain to release Swedish-Turkish writer Hamza Yalcin (The Local.se, link):
" Nine Swedish members of the European Parliament have written to Spain's prime minister and justice minister, demanding the release of Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalcin.
The letter is signed by Swedish MEPs Max Andersson and Bodil Valero of the Green Party; Malin Björk of the Left Party; Fredrick Federley of the Centre Party; Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson and Marita Ulvskog of the Social Democrats; and Soraya Post of Feminist Initiative.
It calls on Spain to release Yalcin, who is being held on Turkey's orders. "The only crime Mr Yalcin is guilty of is criticizing Mr Erdogan," they write."
UK: Campaigners condemn change in police tactics over anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire (Drill or Drop, link):
"Opponents of fracking plans at Kirby Misperton have accused North Yorkshire Police of violating their human right to protest.
An inspector was filmed today confirming that slow walking protests where campaigners slowly escort trucks would not be permitted near the Third Energys fracking site.
This form of protest has been used at protests against the onshore oil and gas industry throughout the UK. Earlier this month, Supt Dave Hannan, the silver commander of the operation at Kirby Misperton, said he would allow one 20-minute slow walk in the morning and another of the same duration in the afternoon. DrillOrDrop report."
UK: Banks to carry out immigration checks on customers (BBC News, link):
"Banks and building societies are to carry out checks on all current account holders to identify illegal immigrants.
The measure, part of a government clampdown, will see them given a list of people who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK or who have absconded from immigration control. Financial institutions will have to report any names they discover and freeze or close the accounts.(...)
According to the Guardian, 70 million accounts will be looked at quarterly to check the immigration status of the holders. The checks form part of a series of measures in the Immigration Act 2016 aimed at encouraging illegal immigrants to leave the UK voluntarily."
See also: Home Office wrongly denying people bank accounts in 10% of cases (Guardian, link) "Study of Theresa Mays hostile environment measures against illegal immigrants finds high error rate."
UK's terror fight 'puts unsustainable strain on police' (BBC News, link):
"The UK's counter-terrorism effort is putting an unsustainable strain on policing, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said resources were being diverted from mainstream policing in England and Wales, leading to backlogs in control rooms and slower response times.
"This puts extra strain on an already-stretched service," she added."
UK: Met to review risk assessment form 'stifling' grime and garage scenes (Guardian, link): "London mayor Sadiq Khan orders review of the 696 form, long used to target a disproportionate number of music events by black and Asian artists."
BREXIT: THe General Affairs Council of the EU is meeting on Monday 25 September. The main subject is BREXIT. The Backgound Note (pdf) contains a summary of the EU's position.
IRELAND: Jobstown accused 'relieved' as charges set to be dropped (RTE, link):
""A solicitor representing a number of people who were facing charges relating to the Jobstown protest in 2014 has said his clients are relieved after learning the charges are to be dropped. Michael Finucane said last night that the Director of Public Prosecutions informed him the charges would be dropped when the case comes before the courts on 2 October."
See: Irish water charges protesters trap deputy PM Joan Burton in car (BBC News, link)
UK: IPCC: police had series of chances to help man who died after arrest (Guardian, link)
"James Herbert, 25, who had mental health problems, died after being restrained by officers and then left naked in a cell.
Police missed a string of opportunities to help a young man with mental health problems who died after he was restrained by officers, locked up in a van on a hot night and then left naked in a cell, a watchdog has said.
Avon and Somerset police knew James Herbert, 25, was ill, but rather than treat it as a medical emergency when he was seen acting strangely, they secured him with handcuffs and leg restraints, and drove him to a custody suite 45 minutes away. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died.
In its report, called six missed chances, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the outcome for Herbert, a data recovery engineer, could have been very different if the officers involved had taken alternative actions. "
See: IPPC report: Six missed chances: How a different approach to policing people with mental health problems could have prevented James Herberts death in custody (pdf)
Direct Provision in Ireland: the holding pen for asylum seekers (IRR News, link):
"In the first of a series, asylum campaigner John Grayson examines the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland. Part-two will examine the private companies involved in providing services under DP." and see:
Without racial justice, can there be trust? (IRR News, link):
"Institutional racism is not mentioned in David Lammys important review of the over-representation of BAME people within the criminal justice system. The IRR tries to understand why."
European Parliament Study: Completing the Digital Single Market for European Consumers and Citizens: Tackling Geo-blocking in the EU (pdf):
"This report summarizes the discussion during the 10th Meeting of the IMCO Working Group on the Digital Single Market. It summarizes the exchange of views between MEPs, independent academic experts and the European Commission on the topic of geo-blocking in the Digital Single Market."
"Geoblocking is the system used to limit your access to the internet, based on your geographic location. Geoblocks are used to limit or change content depending on the end-user's geographic location". (BBC News)
Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ): Brexit and Northern Ireland: A briefing on Threats to the Peace Agreement (pdf):
"The withdrawal of the UK from the EU will have a profound effect on the legal and constitutional underpinning of the present jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, its relations with the Irish state and UK-Ireland bilateral relations. The UK and Irelands common membership of the EU was an assumption in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (BGFA) and the UKs adherence to EU law regulates the powers and legislative operations of the devolved institutions."
EU: Who is behind the EPPs latest attempt to tighten rules for NGOs? (euractiv, link):
"On 14 September, MEPs voted against amendments to tighten controls on EU-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that act against EU interests. A search for the proponents of these measures points to a pro-Israeli pressure group and a Glyphosate supporter.
The amendments were tabled at the last minute by the centre-right European Peoples Party, and some were taken straight from an earlier report by German MEP Markus Pieper (EPP).
In his original report, Pieper wanted to stop EU funding for NGOs whose objectives are contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union, democracy, human rights and/or strategic commercial and security-policy objectives of the EU."
Europes human rights court struggles to lay down the law (New Europe, link)
"Nearly 10,000 judgments covering 46 countries have not been implemented. The most sophisticated system in the world for defending human rights is facing a test. So far, its failing.
Nearly 10,000 judgments of the European Court of Human Rights have not been put into effect by national governments. Some of those cases were ruled on as far back as 1992, and they cover all but one of the 47 member countries of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, the courts parent body and the Continents leading human rights organization.
The failure to implement these judgments detailed in a Council of Europe database means that practices have continued across Europe, in many cases for years, after being ruled violations of human rights. These range from segregating HIV-positive prisoners in Greece, to police brutality in Bulgaria, to not properly investigating deaths of prisoners in Romania."
European Commission: State of the Union 2017: A framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU (Press release, pdf):
"To unlock the full potential of the EU data economy, the Commission is proposing a new set of rules to govern the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. Together with the already existing rules for personal data, the new measures will enable the storage and processing of non-personal data across the Union to boost the competitiveness of European businesses and to modernise public services in an effective EU single market for data services. Removing data localisation restrictions is considered the most important factor for the data economy to double its value to 4% of GDP in 2020."
See: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (COM 495, pdf) and Commission: SWD 304 (pdf) and SWD 305 (pdf).
And see:Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision on open data and the reuse of Council documents (LIMITE doc no: 12007-17, pdf)
"This Decision should not apply to documents for which the Council is not in a position to allow reuse in view of third party intellectual property rights, access rights regimes in the Member States and those provided for in Regulation 1049/2001 on access to documents and the respective Council implementing rules and in view of the security rules for protecting EU classified information." and "The General Secretariat of the Council shall take appropriate measures to protect its rights, interests and public image in all the appropriate fora."
UN: Unlawful death of refugees and migrants (pdf): Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard:
The present report focuses on the mass casualties of refugees and migrants in the course of their flight. It addresses killings by both State and non-State actors, and denounces a quasi-generalized regime of impunity, worsened by an absence of accurate data on the dead and missing. The Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings calls urgently on States to address this human rights crisis by prioritizing the protection of the right to life in their migration and refugee policies.(...)
Other violations to the right to life result from policies of extraterritoriality amounting to aiding and assisting in the arbitrary deprivation of life, and from the failure to prevent preventable and foreseeable deaths, as well as the limited number of investigations into these unlawful deaths. The report also presents best practices in search and rescue operations and for the dignified treatment of the dead, but points out that States do not implement them as they should, and fail to resource them adequately.
"Governments around the world know that people will die attempting to cross dangerous border regions, including deserts, rivers and seas. Here, the conflict between human rights and migration control could not be clearer: migrants are supposed to be deterred from crossing a border because they might die. It is impossible to protect the right to life while simultaneously attempting to deter entry by endangering life. Nor is it acceptable to discourage exit out of countries where lives are endangered on the grounds that doing so saves lives from the dangers of border crossing: that is simply permitting a more secret death elsewhere." [emphasis added]
Catalonia referendum: Spain steps up raids to halt vote (BBC, link):
"Spain's Guardia Civil police have detained a dozen senior Catalan officials and raided regional government ministries involved in organising a banned independence vote. Tensions were already high when Josep Maria Jové, number two in the Catalan vice presidency, and others were held. Catalan leaders are defying a court order to halt the vote, condemned by the Madrid government as illegal."
And from Statewatch correspondent (Barcelona):
"On Friday (15 September) 100,000 pro-referendum posters paid for by the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) were removed from a printers warehouse in Hospitalet de Llobregat, a town adjoining Barcelona.
A number of Catalan radio stations were visited last week by the Guardia Civil (the national police force) to warn them against publicising or cooperating in any way with the 1-O vote.
On Friday the Basque municipal police force closed down an event in Vitoria (in the Basque Country) on the referendum at which Anna Gabriel, a politician from the left-wing Catalan pro-independence group CUP (Candidatura de lUnitat Popular) was due to speak.
On Saturday a demonstration in Bilbao (Basque Country) in favour of the Catalan referendum drew some 35,000 supporters, according to the event's organisers.
In a speech in Barcelona on Friday night the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, warned the Catalan authorities and pro-independence voters that they should not underestimate the force of Spanish democracy. Do not underestimate it. Its very strong.
Germany: Parties Differ on Human Rights Approach - Platforms Show Variations in Foreign, Migration Policy (HRW, link):
"The platforms of the German parties most likely to be elected to the Bundestag differ greatly on protection of human rights in foreign policy and migration and asylum policy, Human Rights Watch said today.
The election platforms of the main German parties offer a clear roadmap for voters when it comes to making sure their elected representatives will protect human rights, says Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Right Watch. Of course, what matters is the actual political work after the elections, which we will closely monitor.
EU: More concerns over the Copyright Directive: Germany questions Council Legal Service on Article 13
The mandatory introduction of automated filters to detect copyright infringements online, as proposed by Article 13 of the EU's Copyright Directive, continues to raise legal concerns. Dubbed the "censorship machine" by the European Digital Rights Intiative, the proposed filters have long been opposd by civil society groups, academics and legal experts, and they were questioned two weeks ago by a group of Member States in a note published by Statewatch. Now the German authorities have submitted their own set of questions on Article 13 to the Council's Legal Service.
UK: Undercover policing: in open letter, women call on Home Secretary to recognise institutional sexism in the police
Today, 13 women who were deceived into intimate sexual relationships with undercover policeman, over a period spanning nearly 30 years, have written to the Home Secretary to raise their concerns about the progress and recent direction of the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing.
The women noted that, two years into the Inquiry, the names of the 1000+ groups spied on by political policing units have still not been made public, nor have the cover names used by officers while undercover. These two steps are critical to allow non-police witnesses to come forward and give evidence to the inquiry. The women also raised concerns about the recent appointment of Sir John Mitting as Inquiry Chair.
EU-AFRICA: New report says "development aid is misused and diverted through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa"
A new report by Global Health Advocates says that the EU's multi-billion euro 'Emergency Trust Fund for Africa', launched following the November 2015 Valletta Summit and designed to address "root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa", is prioritising "quick fixes driven by Europes short-term domestic priorities, with little involvement of local governments let alone civil society actors."
The EUs militarisation of development aid (EurActiv, link):
"Security will be the keyword of the EUs development policy in the near future.
On Thursday (14 September), the European Parliament gave a green light to start the discussion with other European institutions on the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).
This program allows member states to intervene to prevent or address a crisis.
For the first time, it will be possible to use it for military purposes, especially in African countries plagued by instability. The European Commission announced it will receive 17.5 million to address the terrorist threat in Middle East and North Africa."
See also: The new European consensus on development: 'our world, our dignity, our future' (pdf) agreed 8 June 2016 and: European Consensus on Development (European Commission, link)
UK: Information Commissioner's Office: Big data, artifical intelligence, machine learning and data protection (pdf):
"Our main conclusions are that, while data protection can be challenging in a big data context, the benefits will not be achieved at the expense of data privacy rights; and meeting data protection requirements will benefit both organisations and individuals. After the conclusions we present six key recommendations for organisations using big data analytics. Finally, in the papers annex we discuss the practicalities of conducting privacy impact assessments in a big data context."
UK: Kingsley Burrell trial: Police officers 'lied repeatedly' (BBC News, link):
"Three police officers told repeated lies about a cloth being placed over the head of a mental health patient who later died, a court has heard.
Kingsley Burrell died aged 29, four days after being detained by police.
Jurors heard the men may have "put their heads together" and agreed to lie after the death in March 2011.
Paul Adey, 36, Mark Fannon, 45, and Paul Greenfield, 50, are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and deny charges of perjury.
The court heard numerous witnesses saw Mr Burrell's head or face covered with either a towel, sheet or blanket when he was placed in a seclusion room at the city's Oleaster mental health unit."
EU: 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention: largest ever gathering of global Police Chiefs at Europol (Europol press release, pdf):
"On 6 and 7 September 2017, over 550 police chiefs and senior law enforcement representatives from all over the world gathered at Europols headquarters for the 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).
Participants discussed main issues concerning the security of the EU and beyond, including: the spread of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda online and law enforcements response; the use of financial intelligence as a critical tool for successful counter-terrorism and organised crime investigations; crime in the age of technology; cybercrime; and migrant smuggling."
UK: Undercover policing: legal wins in Scotland and England
- Court grants permission for judicial review into Home Office's failure to extend inquiry to spycop activities in Scotland
- Police give up on attempts to limit human rights case at Investigatory Powers Tribunal
- Interview with woman deceived into a relationship by Andy Coles; report from European Parliament event
The Wrong Catch: Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint (The Intercept, link):
"When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.
The Italian press cheer these operations as a key part of the fight against illegal immigration, lionizing figures like Carlo Parini, a former mafia investigator who is now a top anti-human trafficking police officer in Italy. Parini leads a squad of judicial police in the province of Siracusa in eastern Sicily, one of several working under different provincial prosecutors, and his aggressive style has earned him the nickname the smuggler hunter.
There is only one problem: the vast majority of people arrested and convicted by these police are not smugglers. Almost 1400 people are currently being held in Italian prisons merely for driving a rubber boat or holding a compass. Most of them paid smugglers in Libya for passage to Europe and were forced to pilot the boat, often at gunpoint."
Greece: No School for Many Asylum-Seeking Kids (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Greeces Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today. When the school year began on September 11, 2017, hundreds of asylum-seeking children who are being prevented from leaving the islands due to a European Union deal with Turkey remained out of school.
Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support for non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children on the islands. But this program excludes children in the so-called refugee hotspots and other reception facilities who cannot obtain the proof of address required to enroll in school. To reach children in these facilities, the Education Ministry recently announced it would open afternoon classes at public schools on the islands."
SPAIN: 12 million more for Ceuta's border fence to "fulfil its purpose"
The Spanish interior minister, Juan Iganacio Zoido, announced on 12 September that a further 12 million will go to the border fence in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in north Africa bordering Morocco, as the fence does not currently "fulfil its purpose".
UK government sets out proposals for post-Brexit security, policing and justice cooperation
"Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.
In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UKs vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists."
EU: Cybersecurity package: proposal for a new EU Cybersecurity Agency and supporting documentation
On 13 September the European Commission published a proposal to establish an EU Cybersecurity Agency that would have an operational role to "counter particular threats", serve as a "centre of expertise" on cybersecurity certification and support Member States in implementing EU legislation. The new body, if approved by the Council and Parliament, will replace the current Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), "with a view to effectively and efficiently supporting Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders' efforts to ensure a secure cyberspace in the European Union."
EU: Freedom Not Fear 2017 (Digital Courage, link):
"From 6 to 9 October 2017, internet and human rights activists from all over Europe will meet at "MundoB" in Brussels for the Freedom not Fear Barcamp.
At freedomnotfear.org you will find detailed information about this event. Important: You don't need to register to participate at the Barcamp, and the Barcamp is free of charge (including lunch at MundoB)."
See: Freedom not Fear 2017: 69 October, Brussels (Freedom Not Fear 2017, link):
"Freedom not Fear is an annual meeting for civil rights activists from all across Europe. Representatives from non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels for four days to work for freedom in the digitised world. We plan action and we take action against increasing surveillance and other attacks on civil rights. We want to live in freedom, not in fear. Join us!"
EU-U.S. data pact faces first major test of credibility (Reuters, link):
"A pact underpinning billions of dollars of transatlantic data transfers will undergo its first annual review on Monday, with Europe seeking to ensure Washington has lived up to its promises to protect the data of European citizens stored on U.S. servers.
Feted as a milestone in transatlantic relations, which had soured after revelations of mass U.S. surveillance four years ago, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data pact has been in place for just over a year.
It was hammered out after the European Unions top court struck down a previous data transfer pact in 2015 because it allowed U.S. spies excessive access to peoples data, plunging everyday cross-border data transfers into legal limbo.
However, it is already subject to two legal challenges in European courts on the grounds that it does not offer adequate privacy protections for European citizens data, and EU data protection watchdogs have also expressed misgivings."
New legal tool on electronic evidence: Council of Europe welcomes civil society opinion (CoE, link):
"In a Global Civil Submission handed to the Council of Europe today, European Digital Rights (EDRI), an association defending rights and freedoms online, has provided an opinion from civil society worldwide on the proposed protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
Alexander Seger, the Council of Europes anti-cybercrime coordinator, welcomed the submission: Clear rules and more effective procedures are required to secure electronic evidence in the cloud in specific criminal investigations. Otherwise, governments will not be able to meet their obligation of protecting the rights of individuals and ensuring the rule of law in cyberspace..."
Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRI said: Global civil society is engaging in this process to ensure that any harmonisation in this crucial policy area is up to the highest human rights standards, in line with the ethos of the Council of Europe.
In June 2017, the Cybercrime Convention Committee gave its green light to the preparation of a second additional protocol to the Convention. Negotiations are scheduled from September 2017 to December 2019.
Seventy States are either already party to the Budapest Convention, or have formally committed. At least 70 more countries have drawn on the Convention as a guideline for domestic legislation."
See: Cross-border access to data: EDRi delivers international NGO position to Council of Europe (EDRi, link)
EU: Ombudsman welcomes proposals to strengthen Commissioner ethics and transparency rules (press release, pdf):
"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, welcomes the College of Commissioners decision to strengthen the ethics and transparency rules governing Commissioners activities, while in office and after they leave.
The measures, which include a much more detailed Code of Conduct for Commissioners and publishing the Independent Ethical Committees opinions on Commissioners post-mandate jobs, have previously been called for by the Ombudsman."
HUNGARY: Atlatszo is suing the foreign intelligence agency for documents it compiled about Soros-funded NGOs (Atlatszo, link):
"Atlatszo is suing the Hungarian foreign intelligence agency (IH) because it refused to share a research paper that it supposedly compiled about the influence attempts of Soros-funded NGOs. At our first court date it became obvious that no such study exists but IH also revealed that they do have some information on the topic but that is classified."
UK: Deportation threats, driving licence revoked, child benefit stopped - all for living legally in the UK (The Guardian, link):
"A Japanese woman living in London with her Polish husband has been threatened with deportation, had her child benefit stopped and driving licence revoked even though she is lawfully in the country under EU law, it has emerged.
In a two-year ordeal, photographer Haruko Tomioko, was also threatened with separation from her eight-year-old son.
She told the Guardian how her life was turned upside down, how she was ordered to pay back £5,000 in child benefit for their son and report to a Home Office immigration centre every month. If she did not comply with the reporting order, she was told she was liable to detention, a prison sentence and/or a fine of up to £5,000."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-17.9.17)
Council of the European Union: European Criminal Records System and Third Country Nationals
Proposed: Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European criminal records information system (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No. 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 11445-17, pdf): 35 Footnotes with Member State positions. The Council developing its negotiating position.
"The question was asked whether the Commission, in setting out its time-table, had taken account of the fact that the Member States also have to adopt legislation and to set up systems locally in order to allow the ECRIS-TCN system to work properly.
It was observed that it would be difficult to distinguish between EU-citizens and TCN. For this reason, inter alia, some delegations recommended it would be good to collect fingerprints for every conviction."
The ABC secrecy trial: 40 years on (Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund, link):
Friday 3rd November 2017, Arnolfini, Bristol 7.00 - 9.00pm (Networking & Drinks from 6.00pm)
"This event marks 40 years since the joint arrests of Crispin Aubrey, John Berry and Duncan Campbell. In the early seventies, Crispin Aubrey became a leading figure in the campaign to prevent the government deporting two Americans on national security grounds - former CIA case officer Philip Agee and Time Out journalist Mark Hosenball..."
Speakers: Panel Discussion One : Reflections from the trial and campaign: Chaired by Andrew Kelly, Bristol Festival of Ideas, ABC defendant, John Berry, ABC defence barrister Mike Mansfield QC, Sue Aubrey, wife of ABC defendant, Crispin Aubrey
Panel Discussion Two: Lessons from the trial and legacy today: ABC campaigner and Statewatch Director Tony Bunyan,Sarah Kavanagh, NUJ Senior Campaigns and communications officer and ABC defendant, Duncan Campbell.
Click here to register (link)
EU: Massive biometric "smart borders" database may be illegal
A number of MEPs think CJEU opinion on EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme makes biometric border control database illegal and are demanding renegotiation
Council Legal Service: "substantial difficulty" for air passenger surveillance schemes in EU and with Australia, Canada and USA, as well as other EU databases\
Longstanding plans for an EU Entry/Exit System (EES) which would store the fingerprints, a facial image and other personal data on all travellers entering the Schengen area are running into serious problems as the implications of a recent court ruling on an EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme become clear.
Council of the European Union: Reception Directive & Resettlement Regulation
Proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (LIMITE doc no: 1149417, 115 pages pdf): Including 190 Footnotes with Member State positions. Contains discussion on detention clauses. The Council developing its negotiating position.
Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014) (pdf) Contains 115 Footnotes with Member State positions.The Council developing its negotiating position.
"Without prejudice to Irelands right to opt in post-adoption as set out in Article 4 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU, Ireland has not opted into this proposal under Article 3 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU and as such does not have voting rights. AT: reservation on the proposal. BG, CZ, DE, ES, FI, HU, IE, IT, PL, SE, SI, SK: scrutiny reservation on the proposal. HU, SI: parliamentary reservation."
"Suggested modifications are indicated as follows:
- new text compared to the Commission proposal is in bold;
- new text compared to the previous version of this document is in bold underlined;
- deleted text is marked with [ ]."
UK: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION (Sites of Resistance, link): A Family Statement
"This statement is being read at sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on 14.9.17 behalf of the families involved in the Not Guilty by Association family group.
This group includes a number of the families whose loved ones were charged as defendants in the two murder trials. The group is supported by local youth workers, academics and the national campaign group JENGbA, who collectively share concerns at the potential for racial injustice in such cases.
When a young person from any community loses their life it is tragic. Like any parents we want our young people to feel safe, to grow up and live their lives."
EU: Migrants stuck on endless ferry journey as countries refuse entry (Guardian, link)
"Men stowed away on Istanbul to Odessa ferry and are stuck at sea while both Turkey and Ukraine refuse to take them.
Twelve migrants, apparently from North Africa, have been sailing to and fro between Istanbul and Odessa on a Danish passenger ferry for the last seven weeks, locked in four cabins with no country willing to take them.
According to the operator, DFDS, Turkey and Ukraine both refuse to accept the men."
Urgent Press Release: Belgian court has ruled that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation (Kurdistan National Congress, link):
"The Court of Appeals in Belgium has announced their decision after appeals were submitted by the Turkish state and Belgian prosecutors for the initial decision made.
Today a decision has been taken by the appeal court from Brussels in the case of the 36 Kurdish politicians and the Kurdish TV. The Belgian prosecutor opened a file against some prominent Kurdish politicians for being leaders of a terrorist organisation. The prosecutor considered the PKK to be the terrorist organisation. The court however decided that there is an armed conflict in Turkey and that the PKK is a belligerent party in that conflict and that therefore cannot be considered as a terrorist organisation."
EU executive warms to Franco-German call on emergency border checks (Reuters, link):
"The European Unions executive offered initial backing on Thursday to a Franco-German proposal to allow more permanent border checks within the blocs free-travel zone.
Five countries in the so-called Schengen travel zone - Germany, France, Denmark, Austria and Norway - restarted border controls after 2015 attacks in Paris and in an attempt to control the movement of refugees and migrants arriving in the bloc in unprecedented numbers the same year.
Schengen rules allow for the reintroduction of such frontier controls for up to two years and the ones now in place expire in November.
Germany and France, aiming for an extension and the ability to reinstate them in future, asked the EU to change the system to extend the maximum duration to four years. "
EU COPYRIGHT DIRECTIVE: 4 Times NO: Article 13 Censorship Filter Confirmed as Illegal (Copybuzz, link):
"The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (the Max Planck Institute) responds [PDF] to the questions on the censorship filter (Article 13) addressed to the Council Legal Services by a series of Member States (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands) in the non-paper leaked by Statewatch (see our analysis here). In the meantime, it seems that the German government also submitted a contribution to the Council, wherein they too express concerns about Article 13."
UPDATE: Final Press release (pdf) EU: JHA Council, 14 September, Brussels: documentation including terrorism and migration discussion papers
"Following recent terrorist attacks in Europe, ministers will discuss priority areas for action on counter-terrorism in the coming months.Ministers will discuss the state of play and next steps regarding migration policy. They are expected to cover several aspects including the response to the migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean, the return of irregular migrants, the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, relocation and the ongoing work on the concept of 'safe third countries'."
See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf) and REV 1 (LIMITE doc. dated 13 September 2017, pdf) This contains a new sectio 6 on cooperation with African states on "countries of origin and transit" and Refugees: Council next steps (Statewatch News)
"B" points agenda for discussion (pdf) and "A" points agenda adopted without discussion (pdf)
Privacy International launches international campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments (link):
"Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.
Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.
National intelligence oversight bodies hold intelligence agencies accountable to the public by exercising scrutiny over the legality, propriety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the intelligence activities of their governments."
See: Briefing (pdf)
EU: Commission: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (pdf): Would limit government freedom to restrict the movement of data.
Denmark Suspends Refugee Resettlement Under UN Program (Bloomberg, link):
"Denmark wont allow any refugees into the country this year under a United Nations program and will seek flexibility in determining how many may resettle in the future instead of a set quota, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said."
EU: Centre-right MEPs revive anti-NGO funding bid (euobserver, link):
"Centre-right MEPs are pushing to restrict EU funds for NGOs amid broader aims of weakening transparency ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday (14 September) in Strasbourg.
The move follows a series of amendments, introduced by the Christian Democrats early this week, to a report on the "transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions".
German Green MEP Sven Giegold, who drafted the transparency report, described the amendments in a statement as an attempt to weaken European civil society and roll back efforts to shed light on who lobbies the EU institutions."
EU: Austria and Europol call for crackdown on "under the radar" informal money transfer services
The EU and its Member States should withdraw 500 and 200 euro banknotes from circulation and tightly regulate the informal hawala international money transfer system in order to help fight terrorism, irregular migration and money laundering, according to a note sent by Austria and Europol to the Council of the EU's internal security committee on 8 September.
Theresa May blocked Scottish inquiry into spies having sex with female activists (Herald Scotland, link):
"THERESA May repeatedly refused to extend an official inquiry into rogue undercover police to Scotland, despite SNP ministers warning she was doing their victims a disservice.
Correspondence released under Freedom of Information has revealed escalating tension between the Scottish and UK governments over the probe into officer misconduct.
Despite rogue cops routinely spying on people in Scotland, as Home Secretary Mrs May refused to extend the inquirys remit, which she set, beyond activity in England and Wales."
ECHR scales back businesses' powers to snoop on staff's private messages
"The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rules a company shouldn't have sacked one of its employees because he sent private emails from his work account during working hours.
The ECHR used the case of Romanian Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu vs Romania to stipulate what companies can and can't do when monitoring employee emails."
EU: New rules on Schengen Information System and border checks: Council's latest draft compromise text
"Delegations will find attached a Presidency revised draft compromise text of the abovementioned proposal, taking into account the discussions held at the Working Party for Schengen Matters (Acquis) on 19 June 2017 and 3, 4, 5 and 26 July 2017 and the written comments subsequently sent by the delegations."
UK: The Home Office makes huge profits from immigrants. So where is the money going to?
"As Theresa May's Government makes plans for Brexit, there are increasingly serious concerns about the economy if there is a hard Brexit and fewer migrants filling skilled work shortages.
Little attention has focused on how new immigration policies will be paid for as the costs of Brexit go up and extra funding harder to find. This might be because Theresa May has other plans for the money raised from immigration applications and so starving the immigration system of much need cash.
Migrants pay increasingly high fees to apply for visas and citizenship and most of this goes into the government's back pocket. Prices have soared in some cases by 25 per cent over the last year many times the inflation rate. It can cost £2,297 to become a permanent resident and an additional £1,282 for citizenship and that's after passing a citizenship test that's more like a bad pub quiz, meeting five year residency requirements and no access to public funds. The Home Office has even started charging £5.48 for emails."
EU: How public CCTV operators can avoid eye-watering fines under the GDPR (IFSEC Global, link):
"The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the EU including the UK from 25 May 2018.
With fines for non-compliance potentially being a staggering 79 times greater than under the existing data protection regime, the stakes for organisations in a range of sectors are enormous.
As security practitioners are well aware, a CCTV image featuring people counts as personal data just like a date of birth or someones marriage status or political views.
Jean-Philippe Deby, business development director for Europe at Genetec, very kindly shared his thoughts on the implications for CCTV operators and the wider security industry with IFSEC Global."
What's The Worst That Could Happen With Huge Databases Of Facial Biometric Data? (Gizmodo, link):
"Facial recognition is not new. It's been a sci-fi staple for decades, and its practical roots are in the 1960s with Palo Alto researchers on RAND Tablets manually mapping out people's features. Even back then we could give a computer enough data to be able to match a person to a their photograph. The group, led by Woodrow William Bledsoe, even managed to calculate a compensation for any tilt, lean, rotation and scale of the head in a photograph.
Data inputs stayed pretty rudimentary, with manual input of details being replaced by the Eigenfaces in the '80s and '90s. This would be the start of computer vision systems leveraging the kinda freaky power of big data.
What can happen when we combine the large amount of facial biometrics data with a potentially imperfect system? What sort of societal implications would there be if you were recognised by someone, anywhere and everywhere you went? For this week's Giz Asks, we connected with experts in law, technology and facial recognition to find out."
EU-INDIA: Talks on possible Europol-India agreement may come up at summit focused on trade
"The two sides may also look to strengthen security cooperation such as by expanding the scope of counter-piracy dialogue to maritime security and establishing a new dialogue on cyber crime and space.
Also, it may support India-Europol cooperation on issues like cyber crime and counter terrorism.
"We have had recently good and concrete dialogue on cyber security and counter terrorism and on maritime security. And these are certainly key fields where we can deepen our cooperation," the EU official said.
On the new areas of cooperation, he said a strategic cooperation with Europol, which is the Europe wide agency for police cooperation, is being talked about."
See: EU hopes to resume FTA talks with India (Press Trust of India, link)
EU-POLAND: Independence of the judiciary: European Commission takes second step in infringement procedure against Poland (Commission press release, pdf):
"Today, the European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.
The Commission has carried out a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent in July 2017 concerning the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.
The European Commission maintains its position that the Polish Law is incompatible with EU law because by introducing a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years), it discriminates against individuals on the basis of gender. This is contrary to Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.
The Commission also raises legal concerns that by giving the Minister of Justice the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, as well as to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents, the independence of Polish courts will be undermined, contrary to Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) read in connection with Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. "
EU: European Parliament committee reports: violence against women, prison conditions, arms exports, fight against cybercrime, space strategy
Reports adopted by European Parliament committees in July 2017 on: EU accession to the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; prison systems and conditions; the implementation of EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports; the fight against cybercrime; and a Space Strategy for Europe.
EU: European Parliament special committee on terrorism - list of members published
In July the European Parliament agreed to set up a special committee on terrorism that will sit for 12 months to examine "the extent of the terrorist threat on European soil" and to propose appropriate measures" for the EU and the Member States "to help prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes related to terrorism."
Its first meeting will be on 14 September and its membership of 30 MEPs has now been decided, with membership dominated by the parliament's two biggest groups - there will be ten 10 MEPs on the committee from the European Peoples' Party (EPP) and eight from the Socialists & Democrats (S&D).
CoE: Study on police oversight mechanisms in Council of Europe member states
"The following document sets out to provide an update to the main findings from a comprehensive review of policing oversight across the forty-seven Council of Europe States first set out in September 2015. The update reflects the position of police oversight mechanisms cross the forty-seven States as of 20 February 2017."
Hungary and Russia lead criticism of Ukraine's new education law (Irish Times, link):
"Hungary and Russia have lambasted Kiev over a new education law they say will deprive Ukraines ethnic minorities of the right to study in their own languages.
Poland and Romania have also expressed concern over the reforms, prompting Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman to order his officials to explain to European Union states how the changes will protect minority languages spoken by millions of the countrys people.
The angriest reaction came from Budapest, where foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said Ukraine had stabbed Hungary in the back and announced that his government would complain about the new law to the EU and United Nations."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-12.9.17)
EU-LIBYA: UN report highlights abuses by Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations
"The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern about abuses and violations against such persons by the Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations, which, in some instances, further endanger the lives of people in distress at sea. Intercepted or rescued migrants are rarely provided with life jackets."
See: Full text of UN Secretary-General report (pdf):
UK: More than 100 people arrested over London arms fair protests
"More than 100 people have been arrested as they tried to prevent weapons companies from setting up their stands for the worlds biggest arms fair, which begins this week in London.
Peace activists began a week of blockades of ExCeL centre in Docklands last Monday to stop weapons, vehicles and other military equipment arriving at the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair."
Geneva: As global arms trade surges, states greenlight reckless, harmful deals (AI, link):
"Diplomats meet in Geneva to discuss landmark Arms Trade Treaty
Several countries may be breaking treaty obligations with reckless deals
UK, France and Italy among states supplying abusive governments."
EU: Council of the European Union: Manual on cross-border operations - national fact sheets (LIMITED doc no: 11840-17, 491 pages, pdf):
"Delegations will find attached a compilation of national fact sheets, containing all the practical information necessary for carrying out cross-border operations."
UK-EU: Brexit: UK government position paper: Foreign policy, defence and development: A Future Partnership Paper (pdf):
"The UKs commitment to European security will remain steadfast, and we will seek to agree new arrangements that enable us to sustain close UK-EU cooperation that will allow us to tackle our shared threats.
The UK therefore envisages cooperation on external action to be central to our future partnership, complementing broader national security and law enforcement collaboration to tackle complex, multi-faceted threats.
The UK remains committed to working with and alongside the EU and third countries by contributing our policy tools and expertise, defence and security capabilities, global networks and influence, and development spend to support peace and security."
See: 'DAVIS IS A BULLY EU's Verhofstadt rejects UK's Brexit security paper as a 'trade off' (Express, link):
"BRUSSELS has hit out at Theresa Mays latest Brexit negotiations insisting there should be be no trade-off on security."
Brexit: Deportations of EU citizens soar since referendum - Exclusive: The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010 (Independent, link):
"The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010. It reached 4,754 in 2016 up from just 973 in the year the Conservatives came to power. The rapid rise followed a fall of more than 74 per cent in the previous six years, down from 3,779 in 2004.
It comes despite a significant drop in the total number of people being deported, suggesting the focus of the Home Office and its immigration enforcement units has shifted specifically towards immigrants from EU countries."
UK-EU: Briefing paper: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (pdf):
"Clause 7 represents the Governments request for Parliament to delegate legislative power to change the statute book so that retained EU law functions effectively after exit day. The Governments case for delegation is based on the uncertainty over what changes will be needed, the volume of changes required and the speed at which they will need to be made.
The challenge for scrutinising this power will be assessing the extent to which it is possible to define what counts as a failure or deficiency of retained EU law. The Government requires a degree of flexibility in order to cover the scope of retained EU law, and there are a variety of reasons why changes might be needed. This scope and variety of legislative tasks in practice results in a power that, in legal terms, can be used to achieve a wide range of legislative changes, including establishing new public bodies, substantive policy changes and amendments to constitutional legislation in order to prepare for Brexit."
UK: Review highlights discrimination in criminal justice system, but a missed opportunity to examine policing
The publication of the Lammy Review into the treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the English and Welsh criminal justice system has demonstrated the significant racial bias that many have long suspected. However, the remit of the review was drawn so narrowly that it was unable to examine the relationship between the police and BAME people - a regrettable missed opportunity according to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, whose director, Richard Garside, commented that: "The starting point of the disproportionate criminalisation and punishment of black and minority ethnic people is their disproportionate rates of arrest by the police."
UK: Five army men held over alleged membership of banned UK neo-Nazi group (The Guardian, link):
"Five serving members of the British army have been arrested on suspicion of being members of the recently banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
A 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton, all men, have been arrested under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, West Midlands police said. An army source said a fifth serving soldier had been arrested in Cyprus.
An army spokeswoman confirmed to the Guardian that serving members were among those arrested."
UK: PREVENT is about Policing Dissent not Safeguarding (CAGE, link):
"Anti-war, Fracking, Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Austerity, Animal Rights; Aid Convoys these have all been identified as threats under PREVENT.
Security and safety of people is a duty of the state, but it is also a responsibility of all citizens to report anyone they believe is about to carry out a criminal act. However, the responsibility of citizens duty extends to hold the state to account ensuring it does not go beyond the law and its role.
This can happen through the unnecessary targeting of individuals and the intrusion into peoples lawful expression of beliefs and practices, and the disruptions of their right to oppose to state policies.
Therefore, any opposition to state policies, such as PREVENT, must be seen within the framework of lawful expression and debate and not a reason to invoke national security to silence dissent and smear dissenters as extremists. "
UK: If only our prisons really were like hotels: How Crown immunity is hobbling efforts to improve fire safety in the HM Prison Service (IFSEC Global, link):
"In June 2014 Peter Kimberley, the owner of the New Kimberley Hotel in Blackpool, was jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay £5,243 in costs after being found guilty of 15 breaches of fire safety regulations.
His 90 room hotel, when inspected by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, was found to have fire exits blocked with combustible material, fire doors were locked shut, and there was insufficient water available to fight fires.
The New Kimberley Hotel, described in court as a death trap, was shut down.
But Mr Kimberley wasnt a bad chap just an unlucky one in his choice of career.
If instead of being a hotelier Mr Kimberley had been the Governor of a prison where exactly the same, and worse, fire safety failures had been discovered, he would not have even been arrested.
Certainly he could never have been charged, tried, convicted and sent to his own jail because every prison in England and Wales is immune from prosecution when it comes to fire safety."
Migrant sea route to Italy is world's most lethal (The Guardian, link):
"More than 22,500 migrants have reportedly died or disappeared globally since 2014 more than half of them perishing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, according to a study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
A clampdown on Europes eastern borders has forced migrants to choose more dangerous routes as the death toll in the Mediterranean continues to rise despite a drop in the overall number of arrivals, data compiled by the UNs migration agency shows.
While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016, reads the IOM report which is released on Monday. Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route that across the central Mediterranean such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016."
See the report: Fatal Journeys, Volume 3 Part1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants (pdf)
IRELAND: Film on Womens Coalition recalls the fight for peace (The Detail, link):
"A NEW documentary recalling the Good Friday agreement of 1998 is a timely reminder of how difficult it was to secure the historic peace deal.
There was no guarantee of success at the time but a whole range of factors aligned to deliver an end to decades of violence.
The US government played a key role by applying pressure from outside, but it was also crucial for the talks that pressure for change came from within.
The documentary by The Details sister company Fine Point Films and directed by Eimhear ONeill examines how the Womens Coalition provided an important added ingredient which helped to open-up a political arena dominated by violence, by intransigent politics, and by men."
IRELAND: Firms involved in biometric database in India contracted by Irish government (The Irish Times, link):
"Two tech firms one owned by businessman Dermot Desmond involved in the creation of a controversial biometric database in India, are providing services for the Governments public services card and passports.
Known as the Aadhaar project, the Indian scheme is the worlds largest ever biometric database involving 1.2 billion citizens. Initially voluntary, it became mandatory for obtaining state services, for paying taxes and for opening a bank account.
Daon, which describes itself as a biometric enabling technology company was also awarded a 1.9 million contract by the [Irish] Department of Foreign Affairs last year to provide a facial recognition solution for the passport service."
Dermot Casey, a former chief technology officer of Storyful, said that if the Daon system was used to store the data and carry out the facial matching then the Government appears to have purchased a biometric database system which can be extended to include voice, fingerprint and iris identification at a moments notice."
EU-SPAIN: The EU and the Catalan Crisis (Verfassungsblog, link):
"The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. Its a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. Its a challenge for the EU as well.
A personal disclaimer to start with: as a Spaniard, I am a supporter of an asymmetric federal Spain that recognizes the national identity of its peoples. I also support the right of a national community to decide by democratic means its own future. But having said all that, the events that have currently unfolded are nothing close to what independence should look like. The events are a serious threat to the rule of law, and it is important to stress it in these very terms."
HUNGARY: The latest brainstorm: military sports centers to popularize a military career (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"In the last year or so the ministry of defense has been looking for ways to make military service more attractive to young men and women. First, we heard that shooting galleries would be attached to schools, and several school principals reported receiving inquiries from KLIK, the center in charge of all state schools. But a few days later the ministry of human resources, which deals with matters related to education, issued a denial. Although there will be more emphasis on patriotic education, the talk about the militarization of Hungarian schools was nothing but an unfounded rumor. If there was, at one point, some thought of using schools as sources of future military personnel, this idea had been scrapped.
Meanwhile, the ministry of defense was working on a new idea. On February 11 the ministry announced the formation of the National Defense Sports Association (Honvédelmi Sportszövetség/HS) under its auspices... As I suspected, this new military sports association is a backdoor way to try to enlarge the Hungarian Army. There will be plenty of enticements. In the sports centers that will be built, people can learn to shoot, fence, engage in martial arts and strength athletics, even joust. In addition, they can learn to drive and apply basic first aid. The Sports Association will also organize military summer camps. Ultimately, the goal is to attract as many young people as possible who want to play a role in defending the country by applying for either reserve or professional service."
EU: Reality check: has Juncker delivered on his promises? (euronews, link):
"The last time Jean-Claude Juncker took Europes pulse its blood pressure was sky-high as it battled Brexit, populism and the refugee crisis.
Standing before MEPs last September, Juncker used his annual State of the Union address to admit the European Union was having an existential crisis.
He made a now familiar complaint about a lack of togetherness among member countries and bemoaned the blocs economic problems.
But, a year on, has much changed? Here we examine progress by looking at six key points from his speech 12 months ago."
UK: Police officers face gross misconduct charges over Adrian McDonald taser death (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, link):
"Three police officers have been accused of gross misconduct over the death of former Dalton man Adrian McDonald.
Adrian, who had been living in Stoke-On-Trent, died in the back of a locked police van on December 22, 2014.
He had been tasered by officers called to a house in Newcastle-Under-Lyme following reports of a burglary.
Last month the Independent Police Complaints Commission said three officers involved in the case would not face criminal charges over Adrian's death.
However this week PC Jonathan Tench, Insp Richard Bills and Det Sgt Jason Bromley of Staffordshire Police are facing an IPCC gross misconduct hearing, accused of breaching professional standards during the incident."
UN aviation agency to call for global drone registry (Reuters, link):
"The United Nations aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAOs air navigation bureau.
The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner.
The initiative comes at a time when drone usage is soaring in the United States, Europe and China, raising privacy concerns and fears of collisions with commercial jets."
UK: Information tribunal dismisses Drone Wars appeal over British drone secrecy (Drone Wars UK, link):
"An information tribunal has upheld the MoDs decision to refuse to release the number of British armed drones deployed against ISIS and their location, despite such information being released by the UK about its manned aircraft.
In the just released open judgement (a closed judgement has also been produced but will not been made available to us), the tribunal accepted that there was clear public interest in the information Drone Wars sought as both parliament and the public could then ascertain if the UKs armed drones were being used outside of Iraq and Syria, or if some were in storage due to personnel shortages. However the tribunal accepted the MoDs argument that the public interest arguments in favour of disclosure were outweighed by the public interest in favour of non-disclosure as the information would likely impact on the effectiveness of UK armed forces.
The judgement setting out the full reasons can be read here and background papers and submissions from the MoD and Drone Wars are here."
Also on armed drones: Humans will always control killer drones, says ministry of defence (The Guardian, link): "Britains military will commit to ensuring that drones and other remote weaponry are always under human control, as part of a new doctrine designed to calm concerns about the development of killer robots.
The move by the Ministry of Defence comes after more than 100 leading robotics experts wrote to the United Nations urging the organisation to step in to halt the development of artificial intelligence in weaponry."
GREECE: A young woman is in jail for no reason. Shes been convicted for joining a terrorist organisation without any substantial proof. (AthensLive, link):
"Irianna is a Greek 29-year-old woman, born and bred in a middle class suburb of Athens (Cholargos). She has worked as a teacher and is a PhD student at the University of Athens, as well as being a volunteer teacher of Greek for young refugees. She studied Greek Philology, major in Linguistics and she did her masters thesis in teaching Modern Greek as a second or foreign language. While a student she fell in love with Konstantinos, a naval engineering student from National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), who she knew him from her school time years.
In general, Irianna had a pretty normal life for an average 29-year-old Greek young woman. Until last Friday??when she ended up in jail serving thirteen years for possession of illegal firearms with intent to distribute them for criminal activities and for being part of the same terrorist group as her boyfriend had been accused and acquitted."
See the petition: Justice for Irianna (change.org, link)
EU-GEORGIA: 86 Georgian citizens illegally residing in EU return home (Agenda.ge, link):
"Georgia continues to monitor the return operation of the Georgian citizens residing on the territory of the European Union (EU) countries without permission.
This week 86 Georgian citizens have been returned from European countries and specifically from the German city of Düsseldorf and the Greek capital of Athens, the office of Georgias Public Defender says.
The representative of the Department of Prevention and Monitoring of the Public Defenders Office of Georgia attended the return of Georgian citizens from the airports of Düsseldorf Athens.
Border police officers of Germany and Greece handed over the Georgian citizens to the escort of Georgias Ministry of Internal Affairs on board.
As reported, no incident had taken place and no force or special means had been used during the return operation."
EU-MALTA: Over 3 million of EU funds received for ISF projects (Malta Independent, link):
"On 2 September 2017, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela together with Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia addressed a press conference during which three EU co-financed projects under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020 were launched.
The national internal security strategies provide the direction and the prerequisites that Malta needs to address in order to improve its capabilities in managing border control and police cooperation. Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia underlined that since accession to the EU, Malta is and will continue to observe EU regulations and participate in EU initiatives which foresee the protection and security of its borders. The projects being launched will further strengthen the Ministry's capacity in this sector with particular focus on the issuance of Schengen visas."
EU: Refugees: Council next steps
- finance and train Libyan Coast Guard to end arrivals to Italy
- expedite "return" operations from the EU
- create "reception" centres across Africa
- continue actions under the "dodgy" EU-Turkey Statement
- yet another call for "relocations" within the EU
- redefine "safe third countries"
See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf)
European Commission reports on Partnership Framework, Relocations, EU-Turkey deal and European Border and Coast Guard
Includes in EU-Turkey deal report: "Additional Hellenic Police officers are needed to better control entry/exit points and for patrolling inside the hotspots. The Greek Reception and Identification Service, in cooperation with EASO, is looking into establishing electronic entry/exit control systems at all hotspots, starting with a pilot project in Moria [Lesvos]."
And: "The Hellenic Police to issue return decisions at the same time as the notification of negative first instance asylum decisions."
British arms sales to repressive regimes soar to £5bn since election (The Observer, link):
"Campaigners claim that government is putting exports to despots ahead of human rights
UK arms manufacturers have exported almost £5bn worth of weapons to countries that are judged to have repressive regimes in the 22 months since the Conservative party won the last election.
The huge rise is largely down to a rise in orders from Saudi Arabia, but many other countries with controversial human rights records including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Venezuela and China have also been major buyers.
The revelation comes before the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair at the Excel centre in east London, one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. Among countries invited to attend by the British government are Egypt, Qatar, Kenya, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."
Greece: Crete: Evictions: Locals furious as US Fund seizes shop in Rethymnon under police protection (Keep Talking Greece, link);
"Riot police squads had rushed as early as possible outside a shop in the old city of Rethymnon, Crete, and blocked the street to prevent locals from approaching. A representative of a US Fund was to install an alarm system at the shop the Fund had seized after buying the owners loan from a Greek bank. A court bailiff was also present in order to count and seize the merchandise and proceed with the eviction one of the many evictions underway in Greece.
However the local community was furious. Businessmen from the Solidarity Association of Rethymnon Debtors (SAOP) but also citizens attempted to break the police chain and prevent that the store was seized.....
US Funds have bought red loans and mortgages from the Greek banks. They target not the loan or mortgage repayment but the seizure of the properties and the debtors eviction."
Statewatch Analysis: A Pyrrhic victory? The ECJ upholds the EU law on relocation of asylum-seekers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law:
"How should the EU deal with the perceived migrant/refugee crisis? It has done a number of things, but back in September 2015, when the numbers of arrivals were peaking, it did something truly remarkable requiring Member States to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from the frontline states of Italy and Greece, which were bearing most of the burden of new arrivals....
The Court rejected the arguments that the decision was not suitable to obtain its objectives. True, as Commission reports have pointed out, not many asylum-seekers have actually been relocated, but that could not be foreseen at the time and that was implicitly partly the fault of the plaintiff Member States for not implementing the decision in practice. (The Advocate-Generals opinion dismisses this I killed my parents, give me sympathy as a poor orphan line of argument more bluntly)."
New Privacy International report shows that 21 European countries are unlawfully retaining personal data (link):
"Privacy International surveyed 21 EU member states' legislation on data retention and examined their compliance with fundamental human rights standards
0 out of the 21 States examined by PI are currently in compliance with these standards (as interpreted in two landmark judgements by the Court of Justice of the European Union: Tele-2/Watson and Digital Rights Ireland)..."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-9.9.17)
The UKs complicity in data-driven drone strikes (LUSH, link):
"Blue skies, a universal symbol of hope for many, mean nothing but fear for those living under the threat of US-ordered drone strikes, which are picking off people on a kill list informed by UK intelligence. Safety only comes when the skies cloud over, meaning the drones cannot fly.
Those overhead drones incite constant fear for innocent civilians in some parts of the world, and some 1,207 people have so far been killed by drones outside of war zones. While the finger on the trigger may belong to the US, some of the intelligence leading to drone strikes is coming from the UK and Europe. Human rights organisation Reprieve is now calling on Theresa May to provide accountability and transparency when it comes to sharing data that could end in the unlawful loss of human life."
UK: London Underground Wifi Tracking: Here's Everything We Learned From TfL's Official Report (gizmodo, link):
"using this wifi data TfL has been able to learn an awful lot. In the month in which the trial took place last year, it logged more than 500m (anonymised) wifi connection requests from around 5.6m devices. Thats a lot of data! So what did they learn? Read on to find out more...."
Libya: Open letter - European governments are feeding the business of suffering (link):
"An open letter from MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu to European government leaders...
What migrants and refugees are living in Libya should shock the collective conscience of Europes citizens and elected leaders.
Blinded by the single-minded goal of keeping people outside of Europe, European funding is helping to stop the boats from departing Libyan waters, but this policy is also feeding a criminal system of abuse.
The detention of migrants and refugees in Libya is rotten to the core. It must be named for what it is: a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion. And European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there."
UK: Guardian legal chief Gill Phillips on the chilling effect of Law Commission plan to 'criminalise public interest journalism' (Press Gazette, link):
"his week The Guardian published leaked Brexit proposals from the Government which set out strict new plans for a British workers first immigration policy. Here Guardian head of legal services Gill Phillips warns of the chilling effect on journalism of Law Commission proposals to possibly criminalise such leaks...
Recent proposals by the Law Commission to reform the Official Secret Acts are the latest attempt to impose greater state control of information about the operation of government.
If accepted by the Government, they would have a chilling effect on public interest journalism, further criminalising the act of leaking government documents even when in the public interest, and making illegal the role of journalists in reporting on those documents."
UK: Tribunal says EU judges should rule on legality of snooper's charter (Guardian, link):
"Investigatory powers tribunal says need for European court of justice clarification is obvious in surveillance powers case...
In a politically charged judgment on Friday, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) ruled that the European court of justice (ECJ) should decide whether the UKs bulk collection of communications data, tracking personal use of the web, email, texts and calls, was legal."
See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)
European citizens want information on migration not higher walls (The Conservation, link);
"The groups of citizens we spoke with did not see tougher border security measures by the EU as either an effective solution to the challenge of migration, or as reflecting their own views on the issue. Instead, they called for better information, greater dialogue with European citizens, and stronger efforts to manage integration between communities."
EU: European Commission: Security Union: Commission delivers on 2017 security priorities (Press release, pdf):
"The European Commission reported today on actions taken since President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union address to enhance security at the EU external border, improve information exchange between Member States, close down the space in which terrorists operate and prevent radicalisation....[including]
Enhancing security at the external border: Systematic checks against security databases of all travellers, including EU citizens,
crossing the external borders are now in place.
A political agreement has been reached on the EU Entry/Exit System, which will register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the EU's external borders.
Work is on-going to establish a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to carry out security checks on those travelling visa-free to Europe before they arrive at our borders."
And see: Tenth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 466-17, pdf)
The EU as the Appropriate Locus of Power for Tackling Crises: Interpretation of Article 78(3) TFEU in the case Slovakia and Hungary v Council (http://verfassungsblog.de, link):
"Undoubtedly the CJEUs judgment in Slovakia and Hungary v Council of 6 September 2017 is going to illuminate for some time many a discussion not only on asylum but also on institutional matters in the EU. I will not attempt a comprehensive analysis of the judgment here. My attention was captured by one particular aspect of the CJEUs reasoning, namely the implicit recognition of the EU as the appropriate forum for taking effective action to address the emergency situation in Italy and Greece created by a sudden inflow of third country nationals."
EU intelligence agency not a priority (euobserver, link):
"A European intelligence agency would take too long to set up and distract from the urgent work currently needed to tackle terrorism, said the European Commission....
Calls for an agency reappeared earlier this week when the EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said it would have helped prevent the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, Finland, Spain and the UK."
EU seeks new rules on internal border checks (euobserver, link):
"The European Commission is working on revising rules that allow EU states to impose internal border controls and checks throughout the passport-free Schengen area.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (6 September) that a proposal will soon be put forward to reform the so-called Schengen Borders Code.
"Very soon we shall be in a position to present our proposals," he said.
One EU commission official noted that a possible option for the reform would be to allow the states to use terrorism, and not migration flows, as a basis for internal controls. "
EU-BREXIT: Commission position papers
Guiding principles transmitted to EU27 for the Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland (pdf):
"The present paper does not put forward solutions for the Irish border. The onus to propose solutions which overcome the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the United Kingdom."
Position paper transmitted to EU27 on the Use of Data and Protection of Information Obtained or Processed before the Withdrawal Date (pdf):
"The principles set out in this paper should also apply, mutatis mutandis, to personal data, data or information which was received /processed by the United Kingdom or entities in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement."
Court of Justice of the European Union: The Court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers (Press release, pdf)
"That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.....
Since the decision is a non-legislative act, its adoption was not subject to the requirements relating to the participation of national Parliaments and to the public nature of the deliberations and vote in the Council (as those requirements apply only to legislative acts)."
See: Judgment: full-text (pdf)
And: Hungary and Slovakia defiant after EU court rebuke (euobserver, link):
"Hungary and Slovakia pledged not to change their opposition to taking in asylum seekers after the EU's top court on Wednesday (6 September) dismissed the two countries' complaints over the EU's migration quota scheme.
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico said his country respects the European Court of Justice's (ECJ's) decision to reject their complaints but that it will not change his position."
Stop your blackmail, Croatia PM tells Slovenia as tensions continue (euractiv, link):
"Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic urged fellow EU member Slovenia on Thursday (7 September) to stop its diplomatic blackmail related to a border issue between the two ex-Yugoslav republics and return to dialogue.
Plenkovic raised the issue at a government session after Slovenia indicated this week it could block Zagrebs access to the borderless Schengen area and to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."
EU: New report: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
Market Forces focuses on the development of EU security policies and budgets through the 2007-13 period and their successors, which were launched in 2014 and will run until 2020. These include the ESRP, which funds research to develop new technologies for law enforcement, border control, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection and leans heavily towards technologies and techniques initially deployed or favoured by military forces: drones, data-mining tools, large-scale surveillance systems, biometric recognition and automated behaviour analysis tools. It also explicitly seeks to develop dual-use technologies for both civil and military use.
EU: Copyright Directive: six Member States question legality of proposals for automated upload filtering
The European Commission's proposed Copyright Directive has caused controversy since its publication, in particular with its proposals that would introduce the automated filtering of uploads to online content-sharing platforms to try to detect copyright infringements.
A note published today by Statewatch shows that concerns over the proposals raised by academics, civil society organisations, lawyers, MEPs and others are shared by some EU governments. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands have asked the Council's Legal Service whether the proposal is compatible with EU law.
See Note: Written questions fro the authorities of Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands to the Council Legal Service regarding Article 13 and Recital 38 of the proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (pdf)
UK: Young black people nine times more likely to be jailed than young white people report
"Young black people are nine times more likely to be locked up in England and Wales than young white people, according to Ministry of Justice analysis.
The official exploratory study also shows that young black people are more likely to be identified with gang concerns and be considered a risk to others when being sentenced than any other ethnic group."
UK: Sussex Police apologises over Taser error (BBC News, link):
"Police have apologised to a disabled father and son who they shot in error with a Taser after suspecting them of being involved in an attempted robbery.
Darren Sullivan, 49, and his 74-year-old father, John, were shot with a stun gun after being unable to respond to police orders to get down, they say.
The pair, from Bexhill, East Sussex, were released after a four-hour ordeal.
They have lodged a complaint with Sussex Police, whose Professional Standards Department is investigating.
Darren and John Sullivan were both shot with the weapon after their car was stopped in London Road, Bexhill, by armed police responding to reports of an attempted armed robbery at a post office."
EU: Brexit consequences raise doubts over future defense industrial collaboration (Defense News, link):
"Britains planned departure from the European Union could put pressure on missile-maker MBDA and will bar London from EU funds for weapons research and development, raising doubts over defense industrial cooperation with the U.K., according to a report from Ares, a network of European think tanks.
Ares published the report on Britains exit, titled The Impact of Brexit on the European Armament Industry, in the same week that Britain and the European Commission held a third round of high-level talks to negotiate Londons exodus.
The European Commission is due to fund arms research with a launch of the European Defence Research Programme and the demonstration stage of weapons with the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
These two funds could be more problematic for MBDA, the report said. British companies will in principle no longer benefit from Community credits outside the EU."
See: The impact of Brexit on the European armament industry (Ares, pdf)
UK: Families of people who died in police custody failed by system report (The Guardian, link):
"A long-awaited unpublished official report into deaths in police custody says families who have lost loved ones have been failed by the system and recommends far-reaching reforms to the police, justice system and health service, the Guardian has learned.
The report, ordered by Theresa May in 2015 while she was home secretary, is yet to be published, prompting warnings from some groups that the government delay risks damaging public confidence.
The report by Dame Elish Angiolini QC will say there should be a ban on those detained under mental health powers being held in police cells, and being transported in police vehicles, except in exceptional cases. It will also say that holding those believed to be suffering from mental health issues in police cells should be phased out completely."
And see: Four black men die. Did police actions play a part? (The Guardian, link):
"Four deaths, all different, but with sufficient similarities for some to suggest a pattern. Yet the new details form only part of the narrative the testimony of officers involved is not known and the IPCC investigations will take months to conclude. Both the Met and Warwickshire police state that only when the watchdog has established the full facts can any conclusions be made.
Yet the deaths pose awkward questions for the police, fermenting simmering disquiet over longstanding issues of race and criminality. All four families want the truth, then justice."
ITALY: Further on Italian right, a house divided (Politico, link):
"BOLOGNA, Italy Once, the Northern League campaigned for the break-up of Italy. Now, the partys challenge is how to reconcile its separatist roots with the national ambitions of its leader, Matteo Salvini.
The ultimate aim of the Northern League, according to its constitution, is the independence of Padania the partys name for the broad region across northern Italy it argues should constitute an independent state. But you wouldnt know it since Salvini became leader in 2013.
The Northern Leagues bellicose leader has propelled his once marginal party into one of the largest in Italy by hammering on topics like crime, terrorism, immigration, and the ills of the European Union. Regional autonomy once his partys defining issue has almost completely dropped out of his register."
EU rejects Hungary's demand to finance border fence (EUobserver, link):
"The European Commission rejected Hungarian demands to co-finance its fences along the country's shared borders with Serbia and Croatia.
"We are not financing the construction of fences or barriers at the external borders," EU commission spokesperson, Alexander Winterstein, told reporters in Brussels on Friday (1 September).
Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, in a letter addressed to EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, requested the money as a gesture of solidarity given the some 800 million Budapest has spent on the fences. Hungary now wants the EU to pay half.
But Winterstein also took issue with Orban's notion of solidarity, noting Hungary's refusal to take in asylum seekers from Greece and Italy."
GREECE: British assistance and EU funding for new intelligence infrastructure in Greece
"Greek police and the Citizens Protection Ministry are creating a new intelligence service in an attempt to upgrade the countrys data gathering and processing capabilities.
According reports, the division of Information Management and Analysis (DIDAP) will be moved by the end of October from the eighth floor of the Greek police headquarters (GADA) in central Athens, to a new building in the western suburb of Peristeri, in a bid to improve its operational capabilities.
The operational capabilities of the service will more than double, a senior officer told Kathimerini, adding that the GADA building is not equipped to handle the increased demands of new technologies.
Indeed, a high-ranking official at the Citizens Protection Ministry told Kathimerini that, the intelligence services surveillance capabilities are being upgraded with the help of British experts.
In 2016, DIDAP secured the sum of 820,000 euros from the European Internal Security Fund as part of a program to create a "modern operations center and specialized software that will link databases together."
See: Intelligence services to get boost (Ekathimerini, link)
USA: Senate bill would label WikiLeaks non-state hostile intelligence service (The Washington Times, link):
"Congress will formally consider WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence service if lawmakers adopt the annual Intelligence Authorization Act passed 14-1 by a Senate panel last month a provision the bills sole dissenter now cites as his reason for rejecting it.
Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to cast a ballot against the 2018 authorization act during last months vote, said Tuesday his decision was driven by the inclusion of language specifically targeting WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy website responsible for publishing millions of pages worth of U.S. state secrets ranging from military documents and diplomatic cables to internal Democratic Party emails.
The provision was included at the very end of the annual intelligence authorization act passed in committee and quietly introduced in the full Senate on Friday amid summer recess."
EU: A chance to change EU security research policy for the better (EUobserver, link) by Chris Jones:
"By 2020, the European Union will have invested over 3 billion in the European security research programme, which is supposed to develop innovative technologies and solutions that address security gaps and lead to a reduction in the risk from security threats.
In practice, the programme has been dominated by corporations and major national research institutes who seem intent on introducing a surveillance society in the name of public security.
This is a particularly worrying prospect in a Europe where increasingly illiberal governments have used emergency situations to ensure exceptional and temporary powers [are] permanently embedded in ordinary criminal law. "
And see: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
UK: The sting: private investigators and spying on fracking and trade union activists (The Bristol Cable, link):
"Tabloid phone hacking, trade union blacklisting and the Daniel Morgan murder scandals have shone light on the murky world of private investigation. But whats happening in our own backyard? The Cable set out to discover whats going on locally in this unregulated industry that Theresa May as home secretary promised to regulate as far back as 2013.
As well as secretly recording the public meeting, the PI said they could spy on an individual activist for the fake oil and gas company. Danny explained that a GPS tracker fixed onto an activists private vehicle would provide real-time information on where he is.
The tracker scenario is the best solution for you with this pain in the backside activist that youve got who is causing problems with your business, Danny said. We do about 200 trackers a week Weve got probably 30 jobs on, on any one day."
UK: Detainees 'mocked and abused' at immigration centre (BBC News, link):
"G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.
The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers "mocking, abusing and assaulting" people being held there.
It says it has seen "widespread self-harm and attempted suicides" in the centre, and that drug use is "rife".
G4S said it is aware of the claims and "immediately" began an investigation."
And see: We are locking up people indefinitely. This inhumane practice needs to end (The Guardian, link) by Paul Blomfield: "We are the only country in Europe to hold migrants in detention centres with no time limit some of them for years. We cant let the government off the hook"
EU: The ongoing march of the EUs security-industrial complex (OpenDemocracy, link):
"A new report tracks the last decade of EU attempts to build a homeland security economy, using advanced technology as the most promising solution to a multitude of threats."
See: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
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