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Observatories on the state, civil liberties, openness and secrecy in Europe Bookmark and Share

Our observatories document the development of specific and thematic issues, bringing together draft policies and adopted legislation, analysis from civil society, media reports, critiques and campaigns. We also maintain the Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC),  which has systematically monitored and documented the development of EU Justice and Home Affairs policy since 1991.

Asylum, immigration and border control

EU: Asylum and immigration
Documents developments in EU and Member State asylum and immigration law and policy.
The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency
The arrival of refugees and migrants, the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities).
Tracking the activities and development of the EU's border control agency.

Freedom of information and access to documents

EU: Regulation on access to documents
On 30 April 2008 the Commission proposed a series of amendments to the Regulation on access to EU documents (1049/2001). This observatory tracks the negotiations between the Commission, Council and Parliament.
Freedom of information in the EU
Providing listings of all the relevant documents and analysis related to European Union freedom of information law.
Freedom of information in the EU: case law
This observatory provides an overview of every court case in either the Court of First Instance or the Court of Justice that has relevance for the issue of freedom of information.

Key texts and Analyses & critiques

Surveillance, privacy and data protection

EU: Interoperability of Justice and Home Affairs databases: a "point of no return"
This Observatory covers the so-called "interoperability" of EU JHA databases which in reality will create a centralised EU state database covering all existing and future JHA databases.
EU-USA: Data surveillance
Following the leaks from former US National Security Agency (NSA) employee Edward Snowden, this observatory documents new developments, historical context, political fallout and official inquiries.
EU: Surveillance of telecommunications
The EU's hugely-controversial Data Retention Directive enforced the mandatory retention of everyone's phone calls, emails and internet usage.
EU: Passenger Name Record scheme
If a proposal made by the Commission in February 2011 becomes law, personal data of all passengers flying in and out of the EU will screened to assess involvement in terrorism and crime.
EU-USA: The exchange of passenger information
An observatory examining the law and practice regarding the exchange of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data with the US.
UK: Telephone tapping figures (1937-present)
Listings and analysis of official reports on telephone-tapping in the UK.
EU-USA: General agreement on data protection and the exchange of personal data
The EU and the USA want to conclude a long-term general agreement covering all future exchanges of personal data concerning any criminal offence, however minor.
EU: Data protection and law enforcement agencies
Covers EU legislation on the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals put forward in 2011 and still under negotiation.
IT systems and information exchange for police and judicial cooperation in the European Union
EU databases and networked computer systems provide state authorities with significant powers, yet frequently lack the necessary checks, balances, oversight and scrutiny.

Other EU issues

Proceedings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1993 - present
This observatory lists the Agendas, "A" and "B" points, press releases, minutes/"outcomes" (known as outcome of proceedings or OP) and conclusions of the European Union's Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings from 1993 (when it was created) to the present.
The European security-industrial complex
The European security-industrial complex is a term used to describe the confluence of interests within the European Union between the 'homeland security' industry and politicians and state officials dealing with security policies.
EU: Internal Security Strategy
The EU state is beginning to flex its muscles with its emerging security-industrial complex, the state-private surveillance society and a free market in the exchange of personal information.
EU: Reactions to protests
Both European and national institutions have made a number of attempts in recent years to limit both freedom of expression and the right of assembly and association.
Rendition: The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners
Includes a wide selection of reports and articles and most of the documents submitted to the European Parliament inquiry.
European Investigation Order
The European Investigation Order was proposed in April 2010 and seeks to harmonise rules for cross-border gathering and transfer of evidence in criminal matters. It has been described in one Statewatch analysis as "an assault on national sovereignty and human rights."

Other UK issues

ASBOwatch: Monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout the UK
Analysis, background documents and sections on: children, protectors, "CRASBOs", general public order and extreme cases.
UK: Government's civil liberties programme
Despite a commitment "to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power," the government's approach has been characterised by caution and pragmatism rather than an unerring commitment to liberty.
UK: Civil liberties legislation
Listing UK laws that have an impact on civil liberties.

Archived observatories

EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty Observatory in defence of freedom and democracy S.O.S. Europe: Statewatch Observatory on Surveillance in Europe (2001-2006)
EU-FBI telecommunications surveillance plan EU: Data protection in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) Secret Europe
Observatory on the adoption of the new regulation on access to EU documents Terrorist blacklists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing EU: The Stockholm Programme

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