Statewatch: In the News - Archive 2003

December

USA: Data Debase - The powerful technology known as data mining -- and how, in the government's hands, it could become a civil libertarian's nightmare. American Prospect (link): Data-mining article

France: France to fingerprint for tourist visas, Agence France Press, December 17, 2003

International:
International law: justice as a commodity: International law now has some jurisdiction over dictators and war criminals, but not yet over economic crime: it reflects the balance of world power and is just as cowardly as the states that make it, by Nuri Albala: Article from Le Monde Diplomatique

UK: "Clause 10 of the new asylum bill will create a judicial body which is uniquely unaccountable": Guardian (link)

UK: Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) report on racism in prisons: Report (pdf) Guardian story (link)

Germany: 11 September trial collapses

USA: ACLU Says Skewed Statistics on Terrorism Prosecutions Show Credibility Gap, December 8, 2003. A new study examining Justice Department terrorism prosecutions since 9/11 by a university-based data analysis organization dramatically diminishes the credibility of the Bush administration’s public claims of success in the war on terrorism, the American Civil Liberties Union said today: ACLU (link)

UK: Amnesty report: "Justice perverted under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001": Amnesty report (link)

UK: Daily Mirror newspaper exposes Yarl's Wood detention centre shame: Mirror (link)

UK: "Defending British spies: The uses and abuses of intelligence": Speech by Sir Rodric Braithwaite, Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee 1992-1993: Cryptome (link)

UK: Amnesty demands medical trials for taser stun guns (Guardian link)

UK: Concern at new asylum measures - IRR News Service

UK: Rising deaths as a result of racial violence - IRR News Service

Cyber crime Resource Handbook (link to pdf)

UK: Government may "tag" asylum-seekers or track them by satellite as an alternative to detention centres: The Times (link) Independent (link)

November

UK: Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill: Full-text (pdf) (27.11.03) Explanatory Notes (link) Briefing from Amnesty International, Refugee Council, Refugeee Legal Centre: Briefing (pdf)

Justice and Home Affairs Council 27-28 November 2003: Press Release

European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights: Statement on EU Constitution

Police reform in Ireland, ICCL paper (link)

Antwerp police in immigrant clash: Expatica News, 24 November 2003

UK/Iraq: Evidence on the activities of the "Rockingham cell", formed by DIS (Defence Intelligence Staff) in the Ministry of Defence in 1991 in justifying the invasion of Iraq: 1) article in Guardian: "The very secret service" and 2) British Complicty - Operation Rockingham

UK/Ireland: "British and Irish immigration officials collaborated to save money on deporting illegal immigrants. A plane carrying 25 refugees from Dublin to Romania and Moldova made a stop in London to pick up 10 more people being deported to the same countries." By Brian Lavery, The New York Times, November 19, 2003, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/19/international/europe/19BRIE2.html

EU: Report on the state of play on the adoption of the: European Arrest Warrant (pdf)

EU: Proposal for a COUNCIL FRAMEWORK DECISION on the European Evidence Warrant for obtaining objects, documents and data for use in proceedings in criminal matters, 14.11.2003: COM(2003) 688 final (pdf)

Different kinds of chips and tracking devices: Guardian story (link)

EU: Guardian feature: ID cards may cut queues but learn lessons of history, warn Europeans

Greek Data Protection Commissioner bans "iris scans": Iris-scan ban (link)

USA: Speech by Al Gore (Democratic Party candidate in the last Presidential elections) on threats to freedom in the name of security: Freedom and Security speech (link)

Canada: First Palestinian refugee claimant sent to US: Coalition reacts angrily. More than 130 human rights groups urge Coderre to call off deportations: Montreal Gazette (link)

USA: ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) briefing on: The Matrix: Total Information Awareness Reloaded - data mining moves into the states (pdf link)

EU: Press release from the Council of Justice and Home Affairs on 6 November 2003: Press release (pdf)

Report from the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union:
Observatory on new EU Constitution

October

UK: full-text: UK laws (Acts of Parliament): UK laws 1988 - ongoing

UK: New deterrent measures for asylum seekers condemned: IRR News Service

USA: The White House is blocking search engines from finding a host of pages on its website, see: robot.txt (Thanks to indymedia.ie www.indymedia.ie)

The European Commission has put forward two draft Directives on the environment: 1) on access to documents (COM 622) and 2) on access to justice (COM 624): Full-text of proposals:
Access (pdf) Justice (pdf)

"Forgotten your computer password again? Press Here" article from Computerworld on how a biometric image or your fingerprint (or face) means passwords will no longer be needed for bank and credit cards or for employees to enter buildings: Computerworld (link)

Statewatch online resources - full-text: UK laws (Acts of Parliament): UK laws 1988 - ongoing

UK: Full-text of letter from Jack Straw (Foreign Secretary) to David Blunkett (Home Secretary) opposing the introduction of ID cards: Straw letter (link to Times newspaper)

France: Greenpeace defies secrecy order: Demand for public scrutiny of dangerous plutonium shipments in France could bring jail terms: Greenpeace (link) and coverage in: VOA News (link)

Dead man found under Air France plane (Agence France Press, October 10, 2003): Expatica (link)

Amnesty International and Oxfam report on world trade in small arms:
Report (link to pdf, 3.25MB)

Poland - cross border traffic drops due to visa regime: Report

Anti-terrorism used as excuse to clamp down on religion - UN report: Report

Spain: Big Brother Awards in Spain will be held on 24 October 2003 : BBA in Spain 2003 and Awards in: BBA Spain 2002

Spanish Big Brother Awards: The Spanish Big Brother Awards, which are handed on a yearly basis to persons, businesses and government bodies that have stood out for violating privacy rights, will be held on 24 October 2003 in Pamplona. The Spanish version of the Big Brother Awards takes place under the auspices of the CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility), an organisation that arose in opposition to former US president Ronald Reagan's "star wars" defence programme and has been active in the struggle for individuals' privacy rights. The first Spanish Big Brother Awards, held on 5 October 2002 in Madrid, saw awards given to the Danish Presidency of the EU (in the Public Sector category), Deutsche Bank (in the Private Sector category), Microsoft Passport (for the Intrusive Technologies category), the SGAE (Spanish General Authors Society) in a votation by the public, and the Stop 1984 campaign (the Mariana Pineda award) for its activities in defence of cyber rights). Press statement from the Spanish Big Brother Awards Organising Committee (in Spanish)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 2-3 October, Brussels: Press release (pdf)

IRR News Service: Canary Islands tragedy: did the RAF put border security before human safety?: IRR story

UK: "The truth behind the MI6 facade: Governments should realise that intelligence is often simply self-serving gossip - or just plain wrong" by former UK diplomat: Story (link) and front page overview of this article, "MI6 flaws exposed by former diplomat": Overview (link)

UNHCR says "safe countries" cannot be assumed to be "safe": Press releases

UK: ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) "Good Practice Guide for Computer based Electronic Evidence": Guide (pdf) Guide (html, thanks to Cryptome)

New global survey on freedom of information: Survey

September

Ireland:Report on freedom of information in Ireland from the www.freedominfo.org website: FOI in Ireland

UK development NGOs question the new EU security doctrine: Report

Council of Europe: 13th Annual Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): Report (link to pdf)

UK: Report from the Intelligence and Security Committee: Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction - Intelligence and assessments, Cm 5972: Full-text (pdf)

Corporate Europe Observatory report: "The Cunning Bully - EU bribery and arm-twisting at the WTO": CEO (link) full report (pdf)

Privacy International report for 2003 (released 5.9.03), overall report plus survey country by country: PI 2003 (link)

EU: Full-text of Dublin II implementing Regulation: Text (pdf)

UK: In an interview with Reuters news agency Sir John Stephens, the Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, says that ID cards are "a must" to combat terrorism and organised crime. He is quoted as saying: "The excuse people say that terrorists and organised criminals get around it. They might do. But in getting around it, it will identify who they are", the logic of which is not entirely clear. Reuters (llink, only viewable with Netscape 7 or Explorer)

August

UK: "MI5 leads hunt for BBC's dossier mole": Guardian

USA: ACLU - "America, Land of the Watched: CAPPS II and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance" press release: ACLU

Europe: ARTICLE 19 submission to Council of Europe on "right of reply" in new media environment: Press release

EU: Draft final text of the implementing Regulation, which the Commission will presumably formally adopt very shortly so it applies by 1 September when Dublin II enters into force: Dublin II - full-text (pdf)

International: Report on research on privacy Europe: Europe section of the report

UK: Lie detector tests to be used by insurance companies for claims: Daily Mirror (link)

UK: Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly and WMD website with transcripts of sessions: Hutton Inquiry

USA: the surveillance of travel under CAPPS-II. Very good summary of the current situation is on: What's wrong with CAPPS-II

USA: Anti-war activists on fly check-list (link to Indpendent)

A major debate is opening up on the use of nanotechnology, "Future technologies, Today's choices" is very interesting report by Alexander Huw Arnail for the Greenpeace Environmental Trust on the implications of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics: Text (pdf, link)

July

Dutch MEP announces court case on PNR (Passenger Name Record) data. From: EDRI-gram, bi-weekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe: Dutch member of the European Parliament is threatening to take the European Commission to court for failing to protect the digital privacy of its EU citizens. EU MP Johanna Boogerd is also vice-chairman of LIBE, the parliamentary committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. As she explains in an interview with Radio Netherlands, providing such access to third parties breaks EU laws and directives designed to protect the privacy of the individual. Ms Boogerd says that although the European laws are under review for being too harsh, privacy cannot be altogether ignored. Interview with Johanna Boogerd (24.07.2003)

Update: far-Right political parties in Europe, by Liz Fekete, 4:00pm, 24 July 2003 --- In its latest review of the successes and losses of far-Right and anti-immigrant electoral parties in Europe, the Institute of Race Relations notes that extreme-Right immigration and law and order policies are being incorporated into the agenda of mainstream centre-Right parties; extreme-Right electoral parties are appealing increasingly to rural constituencies; and new political parties are emerging, whose policies are shaped almost entirely by an anti-immigration agenda: IRR News Service

Drawing Support 3: Murals and Transition in the North of Ireland by Bill Rolston: Report

UK: Torture testimony 'acceptable' - Expert tells terror appeal hearing that MI5 would use information obtained under duress in court, Audrey Gillan Tuesday July 22, 2003, The Guardian Torture evidence "acceptable" (link)

European Commission Staff Working Paper on: "Intensified cooperation on the management of migration flows from third countries", 9.7.2003:
SEC(2003)815 (pdf)

Sri Lanka: 1) Use of fingerprints to be tested on Sri Lankans: IRR News Service (link) 2) Agreement with Sri Lanka government on readmission - return of nationals, third country nationals in transit and stateless persons: Text (pdf)

UK: Report from the "Independent Race Monitor" appointed to review the "effect of Ministerial authorisations to discriminate on grounds of nationality or ethnic origin" in immigration and nationality matters: Report (pdf)

USA-ICC: Military Assistance Deadline Passes, Boucher Says (Aid subject to suspension when Article 98 agreements not signed) (1430) July 1 was the deadline for the United States to assess the provision of military assistance to states that are parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that have not entered into non-surrender Article 98 agreements, says State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. This is one of the key provisions of the American Servicemembers' Protection Act of 2002, Boucher said at the State Department daily briefing June 30. "We will need to balance our broader bilateral interests with substantial consideration to the risks posed to U.S. citizens and servicemembers by the potential for politically motivated charges before the ICC," he said. Link to full story

UK: News from NENIG (Northern European Nuclear Information Group):UK: Radioactive rabbits and annual report on nuclear industry discharges: Report

EU: Latest "Roadmap" (13.6.03) on combating illegal immigration, integrated management of external borders, integration of immigration policy into the Union's relations with third countries and the speeding up of legislative work in framing a common policy on asylum and immigration: Roadmap (pdf)

June

Commission Staff working paper on the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), 19.2/03, SEC(2003) 206: Paper (pdf)

Report of the Roma National Congress on the Situation of Roma Refugees on the FYROM / Greek Border: Report (link)

UK: Government extends list of "safe" third countries to 24: Report

Northern Ireland: McBride decision welcomed by five human rights organisations: Report

UK: Extradition Bill draft Code of Practice: draft Code (pdf) Extradition Bill and explanatory notes (link)

UK: Asylum-seekers without passports or papers to be immediately deported says Home Secretary: Report in Indpendent (link)

Press release from the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, 5-6 June 2003 in Luxembourg: Press release (pdf)

IRR News Service: the scotsman: "Ali Serir walks free" An Algerian man detained four months ago under the Terrorism Act but never charged was released yesterday after being granted bail in Glasgow.

IRR News Service: Australia signs refugee deal with Iran - will Europe follow? IRR News Service

G-8 Leaders Create Counterterrorism Action Group: G8 (link to Cryptome)

EU-NATO Ministerial Meeting in Madrid on 3 June, press statement. This notes that since the EU adopted NATO rules on security of information (NATO-EU Agreement on Security of Information) the EU has access to "NATO's collective capabilities and assets for EU-led operations": Press release (pdf)

May

EU: Commission Staff Working Paper on: "Actions to combat the financing of terrorism": Paper

EU: Updated "Roadmap" on "illegal" immigration, external borders, relations with third countries (6023/4/03), 5 May 2003: Roadmap

EU: European Commission Scoreboard on Justice and Home Affairs issues: Full-text (pdf), 22.5.2003, COM(2003) 291 final. Biannual update, First half of 2003.

USA: "War on terror" Use of Data Collection Systems Is Up Sharply Following 9/11 by Ann Davis, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal, 22 May 2003: Link to Cryptome

EU: Agenda for the European Council, 20-21 June 2003 in Thessalonika, Greece: Agenda (Word) Agenda (pdf)

The European Commission has just put out the first report on the operation of the 1995 EC Directive on data protection at national level (15.5.2003) (COM(2003) 265 final) "First report on the implementation of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)": Report (pdf). The discrepancies are however more evident in the Technical analysis (pdf). Particularly illuminating is the submission by the US government which calls on the EU to: "refrain from imposing compliance standards", to inform the USA of "any actions taken which may interrupt data flows to the United States" and to "refrain from concentrating their enforcement efforts exclusively on large multinational corporations": Text of US letter

EU: Press release from the meetng of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8 May 2003: Press release (pdf)

USA: FISA Surveillance Reached All-Time High in 2002: Report from EPIC

UK: Conference at LSE, London on the government's "snooping plans", organised by Privacy International and the Foundation for Information Policy Research, on 14 May 2003, 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm: Press release

Guardian articles: "How US paid for secret files on foreign citizens" (link) and "Firm in Florida election fiasco earns millions from files on foreigners" (link)

April 2003

EU: Four politicial groups in the European Parliament put down questions on the ICC and the EU-US agreements: Questions

UK: Government plans to send back Iraqi and Kurdish people who have been allowed into the country since 1991, either voluntarily or if necessary - like those being returned to Afghanistan - forcibly, see: Observer story (link)

UK: Chief Inspector of Prisons, Ann Owers, issus highly critical report on asylum detention centres: Report (pdf) and analysis by IRR News service: Link

The EU's new Border Control Programme, by Liz Fekete. Under plans to be presented tomorrow by the home secretary, David Blunkett, to the European Union summit in Brussels, asylum seekers will be held in 'temporary processing centres' outside the EU - possibly in Ukraine, Russia, Turkey or North Africa. A report by the Institute of Race Relations shows how this proposal is part of an ongoing attempt to create a militarised migration bulwark around the EU: Report

IRR News service: Members of one of the most socially deprived communities in Europe, the Roma, are being deported in large numbers and at huge expense: Britain 'fast-tracks' Roma back to discrimination

March 2003

USA: Amnesty International condemns Operation Liberty Shield - criticizes blanket detentions for asylum seekers from specific countries: Report

France charters weekly flights to expel illegal immigrants: Report

UK: GCHQ arrest over Observer spying report: Story (link)

European Coordination for Foreigners’ Right to Family Life: press release

February 2003

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 27-28 February 2003: Press release (pdf)

EU: Text of Consolidated EU Treaty incorporating the Nice Treaty: Full-text (pdf, 563k)

January 2003

EU: Joint patrols mounted in Med by Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and UK: Report

UK: All Party Committee rejects data retention: Report from All Party Internet Group (pdf)

UK: New Labour and new authoritarianism in criminal justice, by Lee Bridges, Chair of the School of Law at Warwick University, comments on the government's new Criminal Justice Bill (IRR News Service): Link