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Round-up of news stories from around the EU: In the News Digest

January 2015

MALTA-USA: MEP questions Malta's use of US-supplied border security technology

"German MEP Cornelia Ernst has taken issue over Malta's use of the PISCES border control software, which was donated to the country by the American government in 2004, claiming that Malta's use of the software could constitute a security risk for other EU member states."

"TIP/PISCES is currently operational in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen, and Zambia."

EU police agency Europol reportedly receives information from PISCES systems around the globe.

Europol: UK Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee: Inquiry into Counter-Terrorism in Europe: Evidence from Rob Wainwright, Europol Director-General (13 January 2015, pdf)

UK: Last-minute attempt to insert surveillance clauses into anti-terror bill

"It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, you cannot get something enshrined in law and so you hide it amongst the reams of lawyer speak as an amendment. This is what appears to be happening with 17 pages of amendments that have just been put forward as amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill by four members of The House of Lords."

Why trade is not the place for the EU to negotiate privacy (Internet Policy Review, link): "As negotiations progress over the EU-US Free-Trade Agreement (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP), it is natural that somebody will propose addressing privacy differences through trade. But several features of free trade agreements make negotiating data protection in the trade regime a very bad idea for the EU." And see: Ralf Bendrath, 'TTIP and TiSA: big pressure to trade away privacy' (pdf), September 2014

UK: Eric Pickles illegally discriminating against Gypsies and Travellers, the High Court rules (The Indepdent, link): "Eric Pickles has been illegally discriminating against Gypsies and Travellers by using his ministerial powers to personally decide whether they should be allowed to settle on green belt land, the High Court has ruled." See: Judgment (British and Irish Legal Information Institute, link)

See also, from November 2014: Abandoning Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities … the UK way (Institute of Race Relations, link)

EU: "A huge number of migrants": over 19,000 people apprehended during joint police operation Mos Maiorum

More than 19,000 people were apprehended during 'Mos Maiorum', the Europe-wide joint police and border guard operation that took place over two weeks in October 2014. More than a quarter of the people who encountered the authorities were Syrian, according to a leaked copy of the final report.

"Syrian nationals (5088 people) were the most detected irregular migrants, followed by Afghans (1466 people), K-Serbians [Kosovars] (1196), Eritreans (1116), Somalis (641) and Albanians (587)," says the report, authored by Italian officials. 11,046 people requested asylum "during or after their interception".

And see: Mos Maiorum: MEPs "deplore" Council's "buck passing of responsibilities": Two MEPs from the GUE/NGL group of MEPs have written an open letter to critcise the "buck passing of responsibilities" over Joint Operation Mos Maiorum, after being told by the Council of the EU that they should submit questions to the Italian government.

Politicians want inquiry into Barcelona police clashes with party goers (The Guardian, link): "Several opposition parties in Catalonia are pushing for an inquiry into a 2006 clash between police and party-goers, after Catalan public television aired a documentary alleging police torture and a cover-up of the facts in the aftermath of the event."

The "clashes" referred to include allegations of false arrest, false imprisonment, torture and racism, and ultimately the suicide of one of those imprisoned. The documentary is available to view online: English subtitles, Spanish subtitles (links to YouTube). See also: 'Ciutat morta' desata una ola de indignación y la petición de la reapertura del 'caso 4F' (El Periodico, link) and Las afectadas del 4F piden la reapertura del caso al considerar que nunca se investigó (Diagonal, link)

EU: European Public Prosecutor's Office: latest Council and Parliament documents

Includes the European Parliament LIBE Committee's draft interim report and Council documents from December and November on the state of play, outstanding issues and orientation debate.

UK: LONDON: Are You a Domestic Extremist? (Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, link): "Tuesday 27th January 2015 6.30pm - 8pm: Speakers: Jess Hurd, photojournalist; Jason Parkinson, videojournalist; and Shamik Dutta, solicitor for the six journalists challenging the Met's "domestic extremist" database." See also:

UK: Policing protest – what we can expect in 2015 (Netpol, link): "Prophecy is always risky, but looking back at the policing of protest over the last few years offers some hints about what we can expect in the coming year. Here are seven educated guesses from Netpol for 2015: 2015 – The UK’s Year of the Protest?... The increasing privatisation of protest policing... But no cuts in the ‘domestic extremism’ intelligence gatherers... Increased targeting of anti-fracking campaigners... A continuing use of mass arrests... The new social media battle ground... Unlocking the secret files police hold on protesters"

European Parliament: NGOs, media freedom and EU role at the heart of Hungary human rights debate (press release, link)

" The recent clampdown on an NGO, media freedom and the potential for the EU to monitor the fundamental rights situation in member states were among the main issues raised at a public hearing on human rights in Hungary. The hearing took place on 22 January in the Parliament's justice committee with representatives of NGOs, international organisations and the Hungarian government in attendance."

And see: Hungary Wants Strict EU Policy on Immigration (ABC News, link)

EU wants internet firms to hand over encryption keys (euobserver, link): "A top EU official wants internet and telecommunication companies to hand over encryption keys to police and spy agencies as part of a wider crackdown on terrorism. The EU’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove, in a document leaked by London-based civil liberties group Statewatch, says the European Commission should come up with rules that require the firms to help national governments snoop on possible suspects."

European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): 27 January 2015: Terrorist financing: Agenda (pdf), Proposal for a Regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds (pdf) and Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (91 pages, pdf)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The US Senate reveals the truth on renditions and torture, now it’s Europe’s turn (pdf) by Armando Spataro is the Prosecutor of the Republic in Turin, an expert in internal and international terrorism:

"There is a need for a decisive political turn to holistically direct all the governments’ antiterrorist activity, none of which may claim leadership or impose modes of action that stray from the bounds of the law and respect for people’s fundamental freedoms upon its allies."

EU: Council of the European Union: Internet content: new powers to block to be given to service providers: Examination of the Presidency compromise text on net neutrality (EU doc 5439-14, pdf)

"With respect to the provision of internet access services, the draft stipulates equal treatment of all traffic. However, reasonable traffic management measures are allowed, and the draft sets out the characteristics of such measures. The list of exceptional situations where internet access service providers can implement measures which block or discriminate has been limited to four."

And note the comment in: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf): The power of service providers in "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions...often go further than national legislation.."

EU: Mass confiscation of mobile phones by police after spontaneous anti-racist demonstration

"On Thursday 16 January around 600 people in Leipzig took part in a spontaneous demonstration against racism focused on the murder of Khaled Idris Bahray, a 20-year-old Ertirean refugee who was found stabbed to death two days earlier in Dresden, the capital of the federal state Saxony....

Protesters at the demonstration in Leipzig, which is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Dresden, allegedly pelted police with stones. According the Saxony police the group smashed shop windows and display cases as well. A large number of the protesters escaped when the police attempted to close in. Local journal MOPO24 reported that about 150 protesters had been surrounded. They were searched by the police, stripped of their jackets and photographed. According to MOPO24 all 150 people also had their mobile phones confiscated."

EU: Council of the European Union: Lot of detailed proposals from EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator for: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf), includes "closer alignment of Europol and INTCEN, to make a genuine EU CT threat assessment centre", on Europol's European Information System " less than 2% of current records are terrorism related" , Europol should have a "resident CT task force...acting as a fusion centre for law enforcement and intelligence service data", "flagging of content which breaches the platform's own terms and conditions. These often go further than national legislation.."

See: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator seeks mandatory disclosure of encryption keys by EU internet companies & telcos (link)

EU: Police chiefs want non-EU countries to "prevent irregular migration from happening"

Europol and police forces from EU Member States and beyond have called for "more funds [for] enhanced border control, preventive measures in countries of origin, and joint investigative and analysis teams" to deal with irregular migration, according to a leaked Europol report summarising the proceedings of the 2014 European Police Chiefs Convention. The Convention took place at the end of September 2014, and the report puts particular emphasis on the need for 'buffer states' that take on border control roles for the EU:

"Above all, pre-entry measures such as effective bilateral agreements are key to reducing illegal/irregular migration because once third-country nationals are in an irregular situation in the EU, it becomes more difficult and costly to locate them and address the irregularity. Therefore, it is a policy priority to invest in the country of origin to prevent the irregular migration from happening."

: E U to increase intelligence sharing with Arab states (euobserver, link): "The EU wants to step up security and intelligence co-operation with neighbouring countries to counter terrorist threats.The plan is part of a broader effort discussed on Monday (19 January) by EU foreign ministers to reduce the risk of militant attacks by getting national intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share data and to communicate better with each other and their counterparts in Turkey, north Africa, and Asia." and see:

See also: Press release: High Representative after Foreign Affairs Council (pdf) and background on the role of: EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (Wikipedia, link) CFSP does not come under EU competence. The Council makes its own decisions - which are not subject to shared decision making power with the EU Parliament. In the Council decisions require unanimity.

UK: JOURNALISTS UNDER SURVEILLANCE: Alan Rusbridger: Home Office must not remove right to protect sources - In a speech to members of the defence and intelligence community, the Guardian editor expressed concern over threats to privacy and freedom of speech (Guardian, link):

"Journalism will be changed forever if the Home Office goes ahead with a proposal to remove the right to protect anonymous sources, the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, warned in a speech on Monday. He also expressed concern that the right to confidentiality that lawyers, doctors, MPs, priests and others in the church are supposed to enjoy is also under threat. His comments came the day before the deadline for responses to the Home Office consultation paper on extending police powers.

“Journalism, which relies on unauthorised sources for much that is good and valuable, would be changed forever in this country,” Rusbridger said. “That’s not something to sneak in in a few paragraphs of an obscure Home Office consultation document."

See also: Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf) which says:

"3.73  However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist

3.74  Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]

MASS SURVEILLANCE IS HERE TO STAY, LIKE IT OR LUMP IT: Ex-MI6 chief calls for new compact between internet firms and spy agencies - Sir John Sawers says Snowden revelations shattered informal relationship but cooperation is necessary to prevent attacks (Guardian, link) He says:

"“There is a dilemma because the public, politicians and technology companies, to some extent, want us to be able to monitor the activities of terrorists and evil-doers but don’t want their electronic activities to be open to such monitoring. The benefit of the debate is that people now understand that is not possible,” he said. “There has to be some form of ability to cover communications that are made through modern technology.”

GCHQ intercepted emails of journalists from top international media (Guardian, link):

• Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media

"GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency."

FRANCE: Surveillance of SMS, phones and Internet

The French Military Programming Law, including its very controversial article on telecommunications surveillance (SMS, phone conversations, Internet), entered into force on 1 January 2015. The law was adopted and published in the Official Journal on 19 December 2013, despite the strong criticism by civil liberties and digitial rights organisations, was left unamended in the legislation. A year later, the French government has given the green light to the implementation of this law through a decree on 24 December 2014.

EU: Drones for maritime rescue only, not to prevent migration (Pressemitteilungen von Andrej Hunko, link): "“31 million euros is the cost of new research into the use of drones in the Mediterranean to ward off unwanted migration. The EU Commission is contributing around two-thirds of this. Instead of making risky crossings even more difficult for refugees, the money could be used to simplify entry procedures.....”, said Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko, in reaction to the European Commission’s two replies to a question on this subject.

Hunko had enquired about EU projects SUNNY, CLOSEYE and AEROCEPTOR. These involve drone tests in three regions of the Mediterranean Sea deemed hot spots for refugee crossings, with AEROCEPTOR using aerial police weaponry for the first time."

.See Hunko Press Release (pdf) and European Commission answers: Project “SUNNY” (link) and Projects “Closeye”, “DeSIRE” and “Aeroceptor” (link)

DENMARK: EU-referendum will leave asylum opt-out untouched

Denmark will hold a referendum on its relations to EU justice and home affairs no later than March 2016, regardless who wins an upcoming election to be held at the latest in September next year, five political parties in the Parliament have agreed. The purpose is to change the present opt-out position to an opt-in like UK and Ireland.

USA-NSA: The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle (Spiegel Online, link): "The NSA's mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars -- a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.... Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it's operated by the NSA's digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.

Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to "remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware." Using a program called Passionatepolka, for example, they may be asked to "remotely brick network cards." With programs like Berserkr they would implant "persistent backdoors" and "parasitic drivers..."

The rule of law on the Internet and in the wider digital world (ASFJ, link) by D. Korff: "This issue paper addresses a pressing question: how can we ensure that the rule of law is established and maintained on the Internet and in the wider digital world?"

UK: Sweeping review from the 1970s of Anti-racist witchcraft (Institute of Race Relations News Service, link): "The question of loyalty to British traditions was already under attack thirty years ago in relation to the work of the Institute of Race Relations.

As Britain reels from the fallout from the the Paris killings, the question of British values - who belongs to the nation and how that should be expressed – have been placed centre-stage.Those who now greet the Roger Scrutons, Norman Tebbits, Leo McKinstrys and Richard Littlejohns as the leaders of a culture war over British identity should be aware that this is history repeating itself – both times as farce."

CIA IN EU: New evidence shows CIA held prisoners in Lithuania (Reprieve, link): "New analysis and previously unpublished documents released by legal charity Reprieve show that the CIA held prisoners in Lithuania in 2005 and 2006, contrary to official denials." See: Reprieve Briefing (pdf) and Dossier (pdf) See Statewatch Observatory on: Rendition

UK: Farewell Magna Carta: the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (IRR News Service, link):"The Bill currently going through Parliament, with virtually no opposition, impinges on basic freedoms and seems calculated to entrench the treatment of British Muslims as non-citizens.", see also CAGE appeal (link)

GERMANY: KHALED IDRIS BAHRAY – Another Brick in the Wall of Murdered Asylum Seekers in EU-Germany (Voice, link): !Although the post-mortem examination revealed a number of vicious knife stabs to his neck and chest, the physician and the police at the crime scene officially denied any possible involvement of so called “third parties”. Instead they assumed the fatal injury to be an open fracture of the collarbone which was said to have been caused by downfall or suicide or else sickness “bleeding tendency”. Crime scene investigations were thereby delayed for more than 30 hours."

TO ENCRYPT or NOT: Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data - Newly uncovered Snowden document contrasts with British PM’s vow to crack down on encrypted messaging after Paris attacks (Guardian, link):"the document from the US National Intelligence Council, which reports directly to the US director of national intelligence, made clear that encryption was the “best defence” for computer users to protect private data."

On the other hand: European Commission consultation on "mobile health" (pdf) shows most people want health data to be encrypted:

"Data protection: A strong majority of respondents were in favour of strong privacy and security principles in place in order to build users' trust. The most popular security safeguards put forward were data encryption and authentication mechanisms, while responses acknowledged that health data are sensitive and should be encrypted both “in transit” and “at rest".

And: David Cameron in 'cloud cuckoo land' over encrypted messaging apps ban - The prime minister’s pledge to give security services access to encrypted communications is ‘crazy’, experts say (Guardian, link)

EU: Network and information security (NIS): Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - Preparations for the 1st informal exploratory trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 13848-14,pdf) Trilogue multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council of the European Union positions.

EU: European Parliament: Is “synchronized swimming” the right approach for the EP (and for the Council)? (ASFJ, link):

"Yesterday there was no political majority in the European Parliament to vote on the Juncker Commission 2015 Programme. Quite shocked Votewatch describe this “non event” as follows: “As this vote has just shown, the European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, will have a hard time building majorities in the European Parliament: the EU legislative was unable to reach a common position with regard to the plans put forward by the Executive for 2015. In a dramatic display of power play, the political groups voted down each other’s proposals one by one."

EU: Council of the European Union: Traffic data exchange & EU abiding by Fundamental Rights

• Exchange of data on traffic offences: Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 16848-14, pdf). This would cover the following offences under Article 2: Scope:

This Directive shall apply to the following road safety related traffic offences:
(a) speeding;
(b) non-use of a seat-belt;
(c) failing to stop at a red traffic light;
(d) drink-driving;
(e) driving under the influence of drugs;
(f) failing to wear a safety helmet;
(g) use of a forbidden lane;
(h) illegally using a mobile telephone or any other communication devices while driving.

• Fundamental Rights: Guidelines on methodological steps to be taken to check fundamental rights compatibility at the Council's preparatory bodies (Doc no: 16957-14, pdf). See proposed changes and additions by the Council, for example: "Subject to the principle of proportionality, are the limitations necessary? is it limited to what is strictly necessary [bold text has been deleted]

EU: Council of the European Union: HLWG Asylum & Migration, Foreign fighters and Schengen Code: random checks

The future of the High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG) - Contribution to the evaluation by COREPER (LIMITE doc no:16926-14, pdf) Created back in 1998 its remits has continually been renewed and is allowed to hold "ad hoc" meetings".

Report on measures with regard to foreign fighters (EU doc no: 16915-14, pdf): Letter of the Italian Presidency to the President of the European Council

Foreign Fighters: Application of the Schengen Border Code – Follow-up (LIMITE doc no: 16880-14, pdf):

"Non-systematic checks on persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law can be carried out on the basis of risk assessment or on a random basis....the Commission recommends to the Member States to: Move towards an intensified consultation of the relevant databases (notably the documents
section of SIS and Interpol's Lost and Stolen Document database), based, where considered necessary, on a risk assessment. [and] Instruct their border guards, in case such consultation reveals a SIS alert on the need to seize a document, to do so immediately and to contact the SIRENE Bureau for further information without any delay."
[emphasis added]

EU: Council of the European Union: OAPs organised crime, Internal-external interface and Harmonising public documents

Operational Action Plans 2015 related to the EU's priorities for the fight against serious and organised crime between 2014 and 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 15929-rev2-14,pdf) including list of Member State "Drivers"

Political Security Committee: COSI: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security: Outcomes (LIMITE, 16372-14, pdf): Joint letter from COSI & PSC Chairs. Internal-external interface.

• "Public documents" Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 - Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 17105-14, pdf) With Footnotes on each page.

UK-USA: Transatlantic discussions on "homeland security" shrouded in secrecy

In April 2003 the governments of the UK and the US set up a high-level Joint Contact Group to deal with "homeland security" issues such as biometric technology, information-sharing, counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation. Documents recently released by the UK Home Office shed some light on the current interests of the group, but the majority of the information requested by Statewatch has been withheld in the name of "national security".

The work of the US-UK Joint Contact Group (JCG) appears to be largely undertaken by UK officials from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT, part of the Home Office), and US officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The limited information released by the OSCT shows that during its two meetings in 2014 the Joint Contact Group (JCG) focused on "foreign fighters", Syrian refugees, exit checks, AVSEC (presumably aviation security) and the UK's PREVENT programme.

GERMANY: Police investigate death of Eritrean man in Dresden - Murder investigation launched after man’s body found in German city where there have been anti-immigrant Pegida marches (Guardian, link):

""Dresden police have launched a murder investigation following the death of an Eritrean man whose blood-soaked body was found outside his home in the east German city. (...) "Police initially said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, saying on Tuesday: 'Up to now there are no indications of foul play.'

"But after a flurry of activity on social network sites and inquiries by a local journalist from the newspaper MOPO24 as well as from members of the 35,000-strong Eritrean community in Germany as to how it could be ruled out so quickly that the man had been the victim of assault, police said a murder investigation had been launched."

See Letter from NGO Human Rights Concern Eritrea to Heiko Maas, Germany's Justice Minister (pdf)

PAGE Festival 2014: Surveillance,Snowden and the Emerging EU State (video link) Leeds Beckett University: Lecture by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director

EU: Detailed response of German government to series of Questions from Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko and others and the Left Party parliamentary group on: Measures to delete Internet content and responding with counter-propaganda (8 pages, pdf) Related to EU G6 meeting of Interior Ministers and "Prior to their October meeting, the ministers of the interior of all EU Member States met for an informal dinner with the Internet companies Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Facebook; the EU Commission was also invited."

EU funding for network developing surveillance, intelligence-gathering and remote vehicle stopping tools

The European Commission is to give significant financial backing to a European police technology network that is currently looking at ways to improve "best practices" across the EU in automatic number plate recognition, intelligence-gathering, video surveillance systems, and remote vehicle stopping.

A spokesperson for the Commission's Directorate-General for Home Affairs has confirmed to Statewatch that the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) will receive €500,000 for its work in 2015, the same amount foreseen in an ENLETS document from November 2014 outlining the network's progress "and the need to improve the use of its potential to full extent."

EU: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) Study: Threat Landscape and Good Practice Guide for Internet Infrastructure (pdf):

"this study details a list of good practices that aim at securing an Internet infrastructure asset from Important Specific Threats. A gap analysis identifies that some assets remain not covered by current good practices: human resources (administrators and operators) for Routing, DNS and Denial of Service, as well as System Configuration and Essential Addressing Protocols for Denial of Service."

EU: European Parliament STOA Study: Mass Surveillance Part 1 - Risks and opportunities raised by the current generation of network services and applications (pdf) and Mass Surveillance Part 2 – Technology foresight, options for longer term security and privacy improvements (3.5 MB, pdf)

UK: Surveillance state: Bureau files ECHR case challenging UK government over surveillance of journalists’ communications (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, l,ink):

"The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is asking a European court to rule on whether UK legislation properly protects journalists’ sources and communications from government scrutiny and mass surveillance. The Bureau’s application was filed with the European Court of Human Rights on Friday. If the court rules in favour of the application it will force the UK government to review regulation around the mass collection of communications data.

UK: ‘Freedom of expression’ anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes - Campaigners fear draft code of Ripa legislation in UK will allow police sweeping powers to access phone and email records of journalists, lawyers and doctors (Guardian, link): "Critics of May’s safeguards fear that the police will still have sweeping powers allowing them to authorise themselves to access the phone and email records of professionals such as journalists, lawyers, doctors, MPs and priests who handle privileged, confidential information." See: Save Our Sources Petition (Press Gazettee, link)

And see: Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf)

Also: MI6 forced to show how it may snoop on privileged lawyer-client exchanges - Documents passed to civil liberties group Reprieve reveal intelligence agency’s attempt to show it stays within the law (Guardian, link): "Commenting on the latest document releases, Cori Crider, a lawyer who represents Belhaj, said: “MI6’s brand-new eavesdropping policy still has serious problems – it still envisages that MI6 will snoop on private legal calls even in cases where it is being sued for torture."

EU-USA: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 1148/2013/TN against the European Police Office (Europol) (pdf) presented to the LIBE Committee on 8-9 January 2015:

"The case concerned Europol's refusal to give public access to a document on the implementation of the EU -US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement. in order to ascertain whether Europol correctly applied the relevant rules on access to its documents, the Ombudsman needed to see the document concerned. However, Europol claimed it was unable to allow the Ombudsman to inspect the document, since to do so required the consent of the US authorities and the US authorities had refused to give consent.

According to the "technical modalities" agreed between the EU and the US for implementing the TFTP Agreement, the US has a right of veto on the sharing by Europol with third parties of any information provided by the US. The US made use of this veto in this instance and refused consent. The Ombudsman met with the US ambassador to the EU but the US maintained the veto. Accordingly, although Europol cooperated fully with the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman was unable to inspect the document. The Ombudsman therefore had no alternative but to close her inquiry.

However, she asked the European Parliament to consider whether it is acceptable that an agreement with a foreign government should prevent the Ombudsman from doing her job. She pointed out, in particular, that the provisions of the "technical modalities", unlike the TFTP Agreement itself, had never been sent to the Council or to Parliament for their approval."

See Commission response backing the USA refusal of access (pdf) and and Europol chief takes instructions on document access from Americans (euobserver, link)

EU: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA): Privacy and Data Protection by Design – from policy to engineering (pdf):

"This report contributes to bridging the gap between the legal framework and the available technolog-ical implementation measures by providing an inventory of existing approaches, privacy design strat-egies, and technical building blocks of various degrees of maturity from research and development. Starting from the privacy principles of the legislation, important elements are presented as a first step towards a design process for privacy-friendly systems and services."

UK: We have until 20 January to Save Our Sources and stop the police licence to view journalists' phone records (Press Gazette, link) See:

Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf): "3.73  However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist

3.74  Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]

and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act Consultation: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data and Retention of Communications Data Codes of Practice (6 pages, pdf) and Retention of Communications Data Code of Practice (35 pages, pdf)

FBI has its fingers deep in NSA surveillance pie, declassified report shows (The Register, link): "The FBI had, and most likely still has, a much closer involvement with the NSA’s mass surveillance programs than previously thought – with access to raw foreign intelligence and data on Americans gleaned from the PRISM program. The 231-page report, from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, was obtained – albeit in a heavily redacted form – after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times, a request made possible using key details leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden."

See Document: FBI and Section 702 of FISA (284 pages, pdf))

UK: Snooping state debate: No, Prime Minister (Paul Bernal blog, link) A worrying thought when new powers are on the agenda: "The latest story in the Guardian about surveillance reveals something that is deeply disturbing. It seems that David Cameron’s enthusiasm for mass surveillance comes from watching TV dramas. As quoted in the Guardian." and see:Does Cameron have any response to terror which doesn't involve the snoopers' charter? (Politics.co.uk, link). Also: David Cameron pledges anti-terror law for internet after Paris attacks (Guardian, link): "In a speech to the Journalists’ Charity at the Irish embassy on Monday night, the deputy prime minister said: “The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.""

See also: What new snooping powers do PM and MI5 want – and what are the concerns? (Guardian, link)

UK: Feltham young offenders’ home ‘rife with gang violence (Guardian, link): "Report by prison inspectors finds scores of street affiliations means officers are constantly trying to keep violent boys apart ." See: Report on an announced inspection of HMYOI Feltham (children and young people) (link) and Report on an announced inspection of HMP/YOI Feltham (Feltham B – young adults) (link)

No plan for EU spy agency after Paris attacks (euobserver, link): "Asked if the commission intends to put forward a proposal on turning a little known intelligence unit inside the EU's foreign affairs branch into an intelligence agency, commission spokesperson Natasha Bertuad said “No”. The commission instead wants to enhance data-sharing at the EU level by making sure its EU intelligence analysis centre (IntCen) works better with other EU agencies like Europol, the EU's joint police body."

Where monoculturalism leads (IRR News Service, link): "As France grieves for those whose lives have been so brutally taken, and more emergency and counter-radicalisation measures are discussed, the future for a peaceful Europe rests on how our leaders diagnose the problems that we collectively face....

Nor is satire free from some of the most harmful ideologies of our times. Cartoonists serve a similar function in society to court jesters, a necessary antidote to hypocrisy, a way of laughing at ourselves. The poor massacred cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were indeed jesters, but jesters tragically blind to the Islamophobic current they served."

EU: Council of the European Union: From: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator To: Delegations Subject: Report on the implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy (LIMITE doc no: 13971-14, 91 pages.pdf): "The European Council requested regular reporting on ongoing activities in the field of combating terrorism in the EU by Member States and supporting EU institutions and the implementation of the EU Action Plan on combating terrorism. This is the update of the last report, issued at the end of 2012."

See also: Report on the implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy (Doc no 15799-add1-rev1-14, pdf): "Delegations will find enclosed an updated version of the implementation of the legislative instruments listed in the Declaration on terrorism of the European Council of 25 March 2004, and subsequent major instruments identified by the United Nations". EU State-by-state adoption of measures.

EU: EDPS: A message from Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor: Big Data, Big Data Protection (pdf)

UK: Joint Human Rights Committee report: Legislative Scrutiny: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (pdf): The Committee expresses doubt as to whether UK data retention powers meet the standards of the Court of European Justice judgment in the Digital Rights case which said mass surveillance was disproportionate. See: Justice 2nd Reading Briefing (link) and Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill threatens access to courts and independence from government (Law Society, link)

And: Anti-terror bill a threat to academic freedom, MPs tell Theresa May (Guardian, link), MPs bridle at plans to make universities monitor 'extremism' (The Independent, link), Chief constable warns against ‘drift towards police state’ - Greater Manchester’s Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the police’s job to define what counts as extremism (Guardian, link) and Passport plans spark human rights fears (Financial Times, link)

UK: Police asked to investigate G4S over Guantanamo role (Reprieve, link and see: Activists report security company G4S to police over its 'illegal' work at Guantanamo Bay (The Independent, link)

FRANCE: This map shows every attack on French Muslims since Charlie Hebdo (VOX, link): "Since the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the country's Muslim community, despite universally and repeatedly condemning the attack, has come under a wave of misguided "reprisal" attacks" and see: A Snapshot of Europe Based Anti-Muslim Prejudice Into the New Year (Tell Mama, link)

Paris, 11 January 2015: Joint statement by Ministers of the Interior (pdf) including "screening of travel movements by European nationals" crossing the external borders, "broader consultation" of the SIS and EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) "including intra-EU PNR" (travel within the EU).

See also: David Cameron: ‘snoopers charter’ will re-appear after Tory election win (Guardian, link) and: Keeping Its Composure: Germany Seeks Calm after French Attack (Spiegel Online, link): "The German government is trying to address the French terror attacks with a sense of calm, with no plans for new terror laws. However, fears are growing that the massacre will boost a disturbing anti-Muslim current in the country.."

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: EU General Data Protection Regulation State of play and 10 main issues (pdf) Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht, Greens/EFA: Both Parliament and Council aim for the opening of trilogue negotiations about the final version of the law before the summer break in 2015, and the conclusion of the legislative work by the end of 2015. The Regulation will then be applied in every EU Member State after two years of transition period that allows for everybody to adapt to the new rules and including:

"Transfer of data to third countries: The Parliament insists that companies are not allowed to hand over data from Europe directly to third countries´ authorities. This can only occur under a mutual legal assistance treaty or similar instrument based on European law. This shield against foreign access to European data was already contained in a first draft of the Commission's proposal, but deleted after intensive lobbying of the American government. It was put back by the Parliament after the Snowden revelations. Member States have not incorporated this approach in their version of the chapter on international transfers, but seemingly are open to it."

EU pushing for new anti-terror powers to monitor air travel (Daily Telegraph, link):

" Statewatch, a European civil liberties watchdog, accused the EU of a “response as panicked as it is predictable” with a shopping list of unworkable, legally questionable measures “that will do nothing to prevent the kind of appalling attack witnessed this week”.

“On the basis of what is now known about the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the need to review existing security arrangements far outweighs the need for any new legislation,” said Ben Hayes, a specialist in EU security policy for Statewatch."

Does the EU need more anti-terrorist legislation? (EU Law Analysis, link):

"The Paris attacks were directed at free speech: the foundation of liberal democracy. Of course efforts should be stepped up to prevent such attacks from happening again; but existing laws allow for targeted intelligence gathering and sharing already, The Commission’s immediate response reeks of panic. And the direct attack on fundamental democratic principles this week in Paris is precisely the wrong context to consider that new legislation curtailing other fundamental freedoms."

After Charlie Hebdo attack, do spy agencies need more powers? And if it is the case that more surveillance powers are required, what should Whitehall demand in terms of extra oversight (Guardian, link): "The tragic terrorist events in Paris should not be used as an excuse for an extension of the already extensive surveillance powers enjoyed by intelligence agencies."

See also: Terrorism, technology and accountability: Address by the Director General of the Security Service, Andrew Parker, to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) at Thames House, 8 January 2015 (MI5, link)

And Paris damages the case for mass surveillance (Paul Bernal blog, link): "The fundamental problem is that terrorism, by its very nature, is hard to deal with. That’s something we have to face up to – and not try to look for silver bullets. No amount of technology, no level of surveillance, will solve that fundamental problem. We shouldn’t pretend that it can."

And: The response to the Charlie Hebdo murders is not more untargeted surveillance (Open Rights Group, link)

Italian Reaper Drones To Be Used for Crowd Monitoring (Defense News, link): "As their deployment to Afghanistan comes to an end, unarmed Italian Reaper UAVs are to be used to monitor soccer games and demonstrations in Italy’s cities, following a deal struck between the Italian Air Force and the country’s police forces."

EU ACCOUNTABILITY GAP: European Parliament: Joint Police Operation "Mos Maiorum" (13-26 October 2014): During this JPO the Commission, the Council and Frontex denied any part in planning it - its was all the responsibility of the Italian Council Presidency (and presumably the Greek Council Presidency which took the decision) plus all the EU Member States who took part.

See: Council put out censored, "partially accessible", version of the operation document deleting the date and all the details of Joint Police Operation (JO): Censored text (pdf) and see: Full-text (pdf)

MEPs tried to find out more: Question to the Council: Subject: Planned joint police operation ‘Mos Maiorum' (EP, link) from: Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL) , Malin Björk (GUE/NGL) , Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL) , Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL) and Reply by the Council (EP link) and see Question: ‘Mos Maiorum’ joint operation and role played by Frontex: from Silvia Costa (S&D) , Kashetu Kyenge (S&D) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Patrizia Toia (S&D) and the Reply by the Council (link) which simply refers to the same answer as that given to the first question. Thus the replies by the Council are:

"The attention of the Honourable Members is drawn to the fact that the joint police operation Mos Maiorum is being conducted under the responsibility of the Italian State, with the support of those Member States which have decided to participate. The Council as an institution has therefore not taken any decision in its setting up, nor is it in a position to comment on the way it is managed.

The competent courts, along with the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, are responsible for overseeing Member States' application of Union law...."

Background: Statewatch Summary of coverage: (5.11.14): Media and Web coverage: no 7 (pdf) (24.10.14): Media and Web coverage no 6 (pdf), (20.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 5 (pdf), (17.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 4 (pdf), (15.10.14): Media and Web coverage: no 3 (pdf), 13.10.14: : Media and Web coverage: no 2 (pdf) and 13.10.14:same day Web-media coverage: no 1 (pdf) and see: "Mos Maiorum": Images and photos of protests (pdf)

EU: European Parliament: Legal Services Opinion: CJEU's ruling on the Data Retention Directive (pdf)

See also: Executive Summary: LIBE – Questions relating to the judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2014 in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and others – Directive 2006/24/EC on data retention – Consequences of the judgment (link)

EU: European Parliament Study: Network Neutrality Revisited: Challenges and Responses in the EU and in the US (pdf):

"This analytical study provides background on the debate over network neutrality, including (1) its technological, economic, and public policy aspects, and (2) the implications for European public policy going forward, including the position of the European Parliament on the Telecoms Single Market Regulation that was adopted in the first reading of the European Parliament in April 2014. It includes a comparison between the US, where these issues continue to be debated intensely, and the EU."

EU: Council of the European Union: PRUM exchange of DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration: Implementation of the provisions on information exchange of the "Prüm Decisions" - overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (pdf) and Conclusions of the 10th Annual meeting of the National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams (25 - 26 June 2014, the Hague) (pdf)

USA-DRONES: Border Patrol Hiding Costs of Ineffective Drone Program (The District Sentinel, link) and see: US Customs and Border Protection's Unmanned Aircraft System Program Does Not Achieve Intended Results or Recognize All Costs of Operations (Office of Inspector General, link)

EU seeks new anti-terror measures after Paris attack (Yahoo News, link): ""Brussels officials said a key aim is to push through a scheme to
share data on all airline passengers despite opposition from some of the EU's 28 member states and the European Parliament."

See also: Key European terrorism legislation may be revised (Statewatch), Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and "Foreign fighters" phenomenon spurs dozens of new counter-terrorism policies (Statewatch database)

EU: European Parliament: Debate: refusal to disclose details of implementation US-EU anti-terror deal (link):

"The EU and the US are able to share information about bank transfers in order to track suspected terrorists thanks to the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement, also known as the Swift agreement. However, as Europol refuses to give public access to an annual audit report on it, there are concerns about whether there is enough democratic oversight of the deal's implementation. The EP's civil liberties committee will discuss it with European ombudsman Emily O'Reilly on Thursday."

And: US gag order on EU police agency stirs controversy (euobserver, link): "he EU’s ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, told MEPs in the civil liberties committee the situation amounts to giving the US “a veto over the democratic oversight of EU institutions”. “It may well be the case that it contains sensitive data from the US and so should not be released - but we have no way of knowing without sight of the report,” she said. “It should be pointed out that this is a document from an EU institution.”"

EU: Council of the European Union: Report and Guide (p24): Report on the exercise of the rights of the data subject in the SIS and Guide for exercising the right of access in the SIS (110 pages, link)

EU: European Parliament: Working documents: Registered Traveller Programme (pdf) and the use of the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) (pdf)

Ferguson Solidarity Tour UK: January 2015 (link): "The Reverend Osagyefo Sekou – a leading organiser of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to demand justice for Michael Brown – will be visiting the UK in January for a solidarity tour. He will speak alongside Carole Duggan, Marcia Rigg, Janet Alder and other campaigners and activists around the issue of deaths in custody.."

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: The EU data protection regulation after 3 years of negotiation (Inside Privacy, link) Good summary although observes that: "This trilogue will not be easy. The Parliament decided early on a position which does not take into account many of the compromises arrived at in the Council after long debates". It is in the nature of secret trilogue meetings between the Council and the European Parliament (the EU legislature) that the parliament does not have to enter negotiations until the Council has adopted its final position - which it has yet to do.

IXMKANDER (Humanity Defense and Brotherhood Association): REPORT OF REFUGEES' DEATH CASES” on Boat Disasters Befallen by Immigrants and Refugees (pdf): "Refugees flock to Europe and to the Continent of America (United States of America and Canada) primarily from the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia because of the warfare and violation of human rights by the hand of governments in power in these countries...

This report incorporates results of accidents emerging from deliberate sinking or ordinary sinking during illegal human trafficking, as well as the refugees' death cases. Loss, death and injury cases reported in January and December 2014 are examined in this report."

EU: Council of the European Union: EnviCrimeNet - Intelligence Project on Environmental Crime - Preliminary Report on Environmental Crime in Europe (LIMITE doc no: 16438-14, pdf): "Towards the end of 2013 the EU’s Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) tasked the informal Environmental Crime Network (EnviCrimeNet) to report about their activities and to provide a scan in relation to environmental crime in the EU by the end of 2014."

UK: Conference: Police corruption, spying, racism and accountability (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): 6-7 February 2015: Conway Hall: "The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group are holding a unique two-day conference seeking common ground, between families, community workers, journalists, academics, lawyers and affected communities, to understand and challenge the problem of police corruption, spying and racism."

EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 – Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] (LIMITE doc no: 16343-14, 158 pages, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "At its meeting held on 2 December 2014, the JHA Counsellors had an exchange of views on the Presidency compromise suggestions included in document 15800/14. The outcome of this exchange of views is reflected in the text in Annex. " With 177 Footnotes including Member State positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Schengen cooperation with third countries, Migratory flows & Med Task Force and Nuclear transport

• Third countries: Local Schengen cooperation between Member States' consulates (Article 48(5), first subparagraph, of the Visa Code) - Compilation of summary reports covering the period 2013-2014 (209 pages, pdf)

• Managing migratory flows: follow-up to Council conclusions "Taking action to better manage migratory flows" of 10 October 2014 - Implementation of the actions under the Task Force Mediterranean and the Justice and Home Affairs Council conclusions of October (LIMITE doc no: 16222-14, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) - Action Plan (19 December 2014, pdf) and European Union Maritime Security Strategy (adopted 24 June 2014, (pdf) The former includes reference to search and rescue at sea - though not all Member States agree and this UK statement was not disowned by other Member States: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link).

And: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU Military Rapid Response Concept (pdf): "This document describes the EU's approach to Military Rapid Response and how it could be delivered. This EU Military RR action may either involve EU BGs (Joint Land Centric RR), Single Service RR elements (Land, Maritime or Air), Joint RR (combining EU BG and Single Services RR elements, or combining Single Service RR elements) or any other RR elements offered by volunteered MSs."