Home | What's New - current | News Online | Publications | Analyses | Observatories | Database | SEMDOC | Journal | Support our work
What's New on the Statewatch website: 2015 (January-June)
What's New archives:1999 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, In the News and Observatories
Join Statewatch news e-mail list: Latest e-mail alerts sent out on: 24 June 2015 (14/15) and (15/15):previous: (12/15), (13/15), (08/15), (09/15) (10/15) and (11/15)
Statewatch: Civil liberties are continually under threat: Support our vital work
EU: MED CRISIS: TURKEY: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update and the outcome of discussion on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 9491, pdf):
"The visa regime in Turkey was a source of concern for many delegations. Both Egypt and Algeria have introduced visa requirements for Syrian nationals. Turkey maintained visa-free travel, which has been identified as a source of concern. Turkey had the capacity to act as a significant transit point for migrants from the wider Middle East-North Africa region: migrants may legally enter Turkey but then illegally enter the EU. Along with Syrians, Moroccan, Tunisian, Libyan, Georgian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iranian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Turkey."
See also: The hidden frontline of Europe's migration crisis - As a gateway to both the EU and the Schengen passport-free zone, Hungary has seen more than 50,000 migrants trying to cross its border this year. Now it is planning a 100-mile wall to keep them out (Daily Telegraph, link) and Top French court approves border controls with Italy (France 24,link): "France's top administrative court said Monday that border controls on migrants at the Italian frontier were legal and did not violate the Schengen agreement that created Europe's passport-free zone. The court dismissed a complaint by three organisations in support of scores of migrants stranded at the border between France and Italy since mid-June."
UK: New Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. (pdf) and the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (pdf) come into effect.
And see: Cameron backing counter-extremism strategy marks a fundamental shift - Analysis: Theresa Mays drive against non-violent extremists will mean acting against individuals and groups based on ideas and not actions (Guardian, link):
"David Cameron is to press ahead with Theresa Mays controversial counter-extremism strategy which includes blacklisting extremists from appearing on the airwaves and speaking at universities..... The agreed definition of extremism, which the Home Office will use to decide who to blacklist, is this:
"The vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.""
And: Teachers on the frontline against terror: what should schools do about radicalisation? (The Conversation, link) and Jails and universities obliged to prevent radicalisation as new act becomes law - Counter-Terrorism Act, which also applies to NHS trusts, schools and further education institutions, comes into force" (Guardian, link)
EU: DRONES: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 01/2015 on Privacy and Data Protection Issues relating to the Utilisation of Drones (pdf):
"In light of the progressive integration of drones into the European civil airspace and the emergence of numerous applications of drones (ranging from leisure, services, photography, logistics, surveillance of infrastructures) there is a real need to focus on the challenges that a large-scale deployment of drone and sensor technology could bring about for individuals privacy and civil and political liberties and to assess the measures necessary to ensure the respect for fundamental rights and data protection."
FRANCE-NSA: WikiLeaks continues "Espionnage Élysée", our ongoing publication of a collection of TOP SECRET documents from United States surveillance operations against France (link):
"publication comprises seven top secret documents detailing how the US has had a decade- long policy of economic espionage against France, including the interception of all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than $200 million. The documents demonstrate that the US National Security Agency, far from being a rogue organisation, is carrying out an economic espionage policy created by the US Director of National Intelligence. The documents detail the intelligence process, from the tasking of the NSA with collection of desired economic information to the production of developed intelligence reports, which are sent to "Supported Elements" of the US government, including the US Department of Commerce, the US Trade Represenative, the US Treasury and the Central Intelligence Agency."
See: Lespionnage économique, priorité de la NSA (Le Monde, link)
News Digest (30.6.15)
NEW ZEALAND: Through the story of the Waihopai 3, New Zealand's role in the global Five Eyes spy alliance is examined (link and appeal)
EU: Blurry, ambiguous net neutrality deal is an abdication of responsibility (EDRI, link)
EU: Better Regulation Watchdog (link): "We are a group of organisations of European consumer, environmental, development, citizen and public health organisations, trade unions and organisations advancing social justice. We work to promote and defend the rights of citizens to high social, labour, environmental,
consumer and public health standards."
MEPs give TTIP proposal a second try (euractiv, link)
Joint police operation Amberlight: critics miss the real questions (Reshaping Europe, link)
This referendum is a fight between the Greeks and Europes cruel capitalism - On Sunday the people of Greece can hit back at the eurozones busted economic system that is slowly strangling them. Their battle is ours too (Guardian, link)
UK: Manchester council take homeless to court to clear city centre (Independent, link): "Homeless people campaigning for better treatment in the city of Manchester could be put in jail if an oppressive injunction to remove them from the city goes ahead. Manchester council are seeking a city centre-wide injunction against the campaigners, which would ban the group from entering, sleeping or setting up tents in the city centre." See: Homeless Rights of Justice Mcr (link)
UK: Scotland Yard creates SAS-style unit to counter threat of terrorist gun attack - 130 counter-terrorism specialist firearms officers equipped with new weapons and retrained in new tactics, including fast-roping from helicopters (Guardian, link)
UK: Vulnerable children locked up in immigration detention centres for adults due to Home Office blunders (BIJ, link)
UK: Court suspends fast-track asylum appeal system - Appeal judges put process on hold until court hears government challenge against ruling that it is structurally unfair and must be quashed (Guardian, link)
Facebook Can Even ID You in Photos Where Your Face Isnt Showing (The Slate, link)
Is INTERPOL a reliable source? (GHERSON, link)
NATO Members Defense Spending, in Two Charts (Defense one, link)
Migrant tragedies, one of many fundamental rights challenges that need tackling, finds FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency, link)
Marruecos dice que gasta 217 millones al año en vigilar sus fronteras y 13.000 policías (eldiario.es, link) [Morocco spends 217 million euros annually and has
13,000 police to watch its borders]
EU: Commission: Introductory speech on defence at the joint meeting of the SEDE/IMCO/ITRE Committees (17 June, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security: Policy Cycle: Discussion paper EU Policy Cycle (LIMITE doc no: 10154-15, pdf):
"the Presidency would like to draw COSI's attention to a number of topics in order to further improve work within the EU Policy Cycle. Although steady progress is being made, some topics need to be addressed properly in order for the work to evolve to the next level."
European Parliament study: Towards a new European security strategy? Assessing the impact of changes in the global security environmentx (pdf):
"the report points at new threats and challenges and the changing nature of conflict. It also focuses on the and North Africa, which have challenged the assessment that Europe is not facing threats on its borders."
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation: Start of the trilogue legislative meetings between the Council and the European Parliament (held in secret)
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal
data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 9958-rev-1-15, 79 pages, pdf). A multi-column document containing the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Council positions.
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: COMBATING TERRORISM: Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation Process and U.S. Agency Enforcement Actions (pdf)
EU migration policy: comments on the results of the latest European Council (EU Law Analyses, link)
EU: LEGAL AID: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings - Preparation for the 1st trilogue (14 July 2015, Brussels (LIMITE doc no: 10296-15, 71 pages, pdf) Start of trilogue meetings: Multi-column document containing the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Council positions
EU: LEAs PERSONAL DATA EXCHANGE DIRECTIVE: Council of the European Union: Directive on the exchange of personal data between EU law enforcement agencies: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data - Discussion on questions suggested by the Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10208-15, pdf)
EU Council: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) Conclusions (pdf). Some change in terminology but same intent: For example, "structured border zones" now referred to as "first reception facilities"... and it not at all clear what the legal powers of Europol, Frontex or EASO are to ensure "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting":
"the setting up of reception and first reception facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots").
Background:: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
News Digest (29.6.15)
New Danish government calls referendum on EU Justice opt-out (euractiv, link)
ITALY: Polemics Over Italian Prison Reform Appointment (Liberties.eu, link)
Mediterranean migrants: EU leaders agree voluntary intake after heated talks - Long, fractious meeting finally reaches deal on resettling 60,000 asylum seekers, but exempts Hungary and Bulgaria, while UK opts out (Guardian, link):
"The national leaders of Europe have engaged in one of their most bitter rows in years over how to respond to the influx of refugees from across the Mediterranean after they scrapped plans for a quota system to share out the resettlement. The meeting descended into name-calling and recrimination as the leaders fought over a modest scheme to share the intake of 60,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers between their countries over two years...
Italy and Lithuania traded barbed insults, while two EU presidents Donald Tusk, chairing the summit, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European commission fought for hours over the wording of the summit statement, which could not be agreed."
And: EU leaders spend ill-tempered evening on Greece, migrants (euobserver, link)
News Digest (26-28.6.15)
General Data Protection Regulation: Document pool (EDRI, link)
The law of Grexit: What does EU law say about leaving economic and monetary union (EU Law Analyses, link)
How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times Warrantless Wiretapping Story (Intercept, link): "Three days after the New York Times revealed that the U.S. government was secretly monitoring the calls and emails of people inside the United States without court-approved warrants, the National Security Agency issued a top-secret assessment of the damage done to intelligence efforts by the story. The conclusion: the information could lead terrorists to try to evade detection. Yet the agency gave no specific examples of investigations that had been jeopardized."
Cameron's EU reform plea sidelined at Brussels summit (euractiv, link)
French Justice Minister Says Snowden and Assange Could Be Offered Asylum (Intercept, link)
Anti-refugee protests 'unacceptable,' says German Minister Heiko Maas (DW, link): "German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has sharply criticized the latest anti-refugee protests in the eastern town of Freital. He stressed that refugees were welcome and that xenophobia had no place in Germany."
EU: MIGRATION POLICY: Council of the European Union: Incoming Luxembourg Council Presidency: Strategic coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in the area of migration (LIMITE doc no: 10249-15, dated 25 June 2015, pdf):
The Council Presidency seem to have forgotten that migration policy is subject to co-responsibility with the European Parliament: How can a legislative body fully play its role if it is not associated when strategies are defined and when legislation is implemented?
"the Luxembourg Presidency proposes to start working on a short and concise paper on the Strategic Coordination of the work of the Council preparatory bodies in
the area of migration, in order to better integrate the work on the internal and external aspects of migration and to improve the efficiency and coherence of the Council preparatory bodies in this area.
The paper would define, under the responsibility of the Trio of Presidencies, the Strategic Coordination in the area of migration. It should be used to mainstream these priorities into the work of the Council preparatory bodies dealing with migration, in particular SCIFA and HLWG, but also other relevant thematic and geographical groups (CODEV, COHOM, etc.)."
Special Report: European Summit (meeting of Prime Ministers) Conclusions: European Council (25 and 26 June 2015) - Draft conclusions (dated 24 June 2015, LIIMITE doc no: 8395-15,pdf).
These Conclusions, drafted yesterday, still contain the same, worrying, and far-reaching measures on migration as the earlier draft and are based on:Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex (pdf) which spells out in more detail where the EU is going:
See: Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")" and Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
And Agenda of Summit (pdf) The UK issues are no 6 on Agenda. The Conclusions state: "IV. UK: 14. The UK Prime Minister set out his plans for an (in/out) referendum in the UK. The European Council agreed to revert to the matter in December."
Also: EU toughens stance on migrant returns (IRIN, link) and EU flexes its muscles to tackle failed asylum seekers (Times of Malta, link)
Data protection talks start ahead of digital focus at EU summit (euobserver, link): "EU lawmakers sat down for their first meeting yesterday (24 June) to work out details on the EU's data protection reform. Facing bumps ahead, negotiators said they were still committed to wrapping up the legislation package this year."
The two key documents on the table are: The positions (negotiating mandates) of the co-legislators:
Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation of a general approach (201 pages, 11 June, pdf)
and European Parliament negotiating position set out in the Annex to this report (pdf)
EU: What if a refugee allegedly supports terrorism? The CJEU judgment in T (EU Law Analysis):: "What happens if a refugee allegedly supports terrorism? The most obvious answer is that the person concerned might be excluded from getting refugee status in the first place, in accordance with Article 1.F of the Geneva (UN) Convention on Refugees, as reflected in the EUs qualification Directive and interpreted in the CJEUs B and D judgment of 2010. However, the situation is more complicated if the person already has refugee status, and his or her alleged support for terrorism begins or comes to light only later. This issue was addressed for the first time in todays CJEU judgment in T."
News Digest (25.6.15)
Stephen Lawrence's best friend says police are holding vital information (MIrror, link): "Duwayne Brooks says Scotland Yard broke a pledge to hand over all material officers collated on him since the horrific 1993 racist killing"
GCHQ documents raise fresh questions over UK complicity in US drone strikes - Details of 2012 Yemen drone strike prompt call for UK to reveal extent of involvement in US targeted killing programme outside recognised war zones (Guardian, link): "British intelligence agency GCHQ is facing fresh calls to reveal the extent of its involvement in the US targeted killing programme after details of a fatal drone strike in Yemen were included in a top secret memo circulated to agency staff." and see: Documents on 2012 Drone Strike Detail How Terrorists Are Targeted (International New York Timer, link): DOCUMENTS CITED BUT NOT RELEASED: GCHQ: Comet News (2-year span): A regular series of newsletters which are used to update GCHQ personnel on the work of Overhead, an operation based on satellite, radio and some phone collection of intelligence, GCHQ: 2009 legal briefing: Prepared for GCHQ personnel sharing target intelligence in Afghanistan which instructed them to refer to senior compliance staff before sharing information with the US if they believed it may be used for a detention or cross-border operation. GCHQ: October 2010 guide to targeting: Includes a reference to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, indicating that it was written to assist in strikes there (IC Of the Record).
USA: Has the CIA Asked the FISC to Restart Its Bulk Collection Program? (Just Security, link)
USA-FRANCE: If You Cant Beat Em: France, Up In Arms Over NSA Spying, Passes New Surveillance Law (The Intercept, link)
Hungary reverses decision to suspend EU asylum rules (euractiv, link): "Hungary reversed its decision to suspend a key EU rule on processing asylum claims on Wednesday (24 June), a day after its announcement caused concern in Brussels and elsewhere."
UK-EU: Queen speaks of need for unity in Europe (BBC News, link): "The Queen has spoken of the need for unity in Europe in a speech to German and UK leaders.The UK monarch, who was at a state banquet in Berlin as part of a four-day visit to Germany, said that "division in Europe is dangerous"."
GREECE: Citizenship bill approved despite ANEL opposition (ekathimerini.com): "The junior partner in the governing coalition, Independent Greeks (ANEL), on Wednesday broke ranks with leftist SYRIZA on a bill that foresees second-generation migrants being eligible for citizenship once they have enrolled at elementary school, provided one of their parents has a residence permit."
EU: Junckers migration plan faces key test - The major sticking point for the European Council remains whether assistance to migrants is mandatory or voluntary (Poliyico, link)
Reports: Russia, China have files leaked by Snowden (CNN video interveiw with the Sunday Times, link) Worth watching.
Statewatch: News Online 24 June 2015 (pdf): Thirty News items with documentation plus EU-USA-NSA-GCHQ and Update:Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (pdf):
NSA spied on French presidents: WikiLeaks (Reuters, link). See: Espionnage Élysée (Wikileaks, links): "Today, 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks began publishing "Espionnage Élysée", a collection of TOP SECRET intelligence reports and technical documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA) concerning targeting and signals intelligence intercepts of the communications of high-level officials from successive French governments over the last ten years." See: US Intercepts of France Complaining About US Intercepts of France (2 pages, pdf) and also: NSA: 14 page dossier on spying on three French Presidents (pdf)
GREECE:The Super-Panopticon Scandal of Áthens 2004 Olympics and its Legacy (Book Abstract, Pella, N.Y. 2014, pdf) by Minas Samatas:
"This book elucidates the super-panopticon scandal at the Athens 2004 Olympics, that is the technological fiasco of the C4ICommand, Control, Coordination, Communication, and Integrationsurveillance system, designed by the American SAIC corporation and subcontracted to the German company Siemens AG, which did not work during and long after the Games, despite its multi-million cost.... As a critical glocal analysis, it relates the nature and legacy of this scandal to post-9/11 neoliberal securitization, which has transformed the Olympics into security-surveillance and consumption Games with a loss of any true Olympic meaning, and finally thus reviving the discussion for alternative, pure Olympics."
EU: MED-CRISIS: EU to create new quarantine system for Mediterranean migrants - Italian PM accuses EU of betraying basic values as draft summit papers reveal plans to give police and border agencies enhanced powers of coercion (Guardian, link):: "Where is the EU going? asked Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring civil liberties in the EU. Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly fingerprinted or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.
News Digest (24.6.15)
Let Snowden return to US and plead public interest, says PACE (CoE, link)
AIDA: Legal Briefing on Detention under the Dublin Regulation (EDAL, link) and: The Legality of Detention of Asylum Seekers under the Dublin III Regulation (pdf)
3 Years in Embassy: Julian Assanges third anniversary in embassy of Ecuador (Wiki, link)
CJEU, asylum law Residence permit can be withdrawn from refugee who actively supports terrorism: see Judgment (pdf)
Fair Trials calls on INTERPOL to clarify role in journalists arrest (link) and Letter to Interpol also Questions remain after Mansour's release in Berlin (DW, link):" Germany has said it's looking "intensively" into how it ended up arresting Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour, who was released on Monday in Berlin. The opposition Greens have said they want answers in parliament."
Calais crisis: How militancy and desperation collided to plunge Channel crossing into chaos after migrants took advantage of wildcat strike by port workers (Independent, link)
Europe spends 11.3 bn euros deporting migrants since 2000: study (AFP, link)
The Migrants Files: A database on the more than 29,000 migrants who died on their way to Europe since 2000 (link) and The Making of the Migration Crisis (Telesur, link) also: The World at War (UNHCR, link)
Eurojust supports the prosecution of football hooligans (link)
Hungary suspends EU asylum rules (euractiv, link): "Hungary said yesterday (23 June) it has indefinitely suspended the application of a key EU asylum rule in order "protect Hungarian interests", prompting Brussels to seek immediate clarification."
Pugno di ferro su espulsioni e "mini-prigioni" in Italia. Guardian svela piano Ue per mettere in "quarantena" i migranti (Huffington Post, link) [Iron fist of expulsions and "mini-prisons" in Italy. Guardian reveals EU plan to put in "quarantine" migrants] See: Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")"
Pushing Back Against Ethnic Profiling in the Netherlands (OSF, link): "With the help of Mohammed Anouar, a Dutch activist of Moroccan origin, my organization, Blikopeners, produced a documentary that examines this dynamic. With Mohammed Onderzoekt Etnisch Profileren (Mohammed Investigates Racial Profiling), we wanted to show how ethnic profiling can be detrimental to the cohesion of open societies, and mobilize young people in the Netherlands to advocate against ethnic profiling and promote effective and honest policing."
ECHR: Chamber hearing concerning an extraordinary rendition (pdf): "The European Court of Human Rights is holding a Chamber hearing today Tuesday 23 June 2015 in the case of Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (application no. 44883/09). The case concerns the extraordinary rendition - the abduction by CIA agents, with the cooperation of Italian nationals - of Egyptian imam Abu Omar, and his transfer to Egypt, followed by his secret detention there for several months."
EU:Jailing migrant families together with convicted criminals: A desperate EU policy to deter irregular migration by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"Taken together, the loss of these protections will mean that irregular migrants, including irregular migrant families, will not only be detained in ordinary prisons, but mixed in with the ordinary prison population of convicted criminals and those awaiting trial for serious crimes. Moreover, their capacity to challenge their detention by means of judiicial review will be severely curtailed.
Coupled with the recent Commission paper offering guidelines for using force, including against pregnant women, on migrants who refuse to be fingerprinted, this represents a significant turn in EU policy - turning toward direct and indirect threats of physical violence to control their behaviour and induce them to leave.
To say the least, this is hard to square with the EU's frequent professions of support for the human rights and decent treatment of migrants."
See: Letter from Commissioner Avramopolous to Ministers with Annex (Statewatch version, 75KB) or link to Council's 10.5 MB version (pdf)
EU: German-Italian-French non-paper on EU migration policy (pdf) and Letter (pdf). Includes:
- Dialogue with source/transit countries: At upcoming EU-Africa summit in Malta "we should also discuss the relationship between migration and mobility and their impact on development, the promotion of fair trade and the strengthening of security cooperation as well as return and readmission issues"
- Proposal for EU CSDP civilian mission in Niger: EUCAP Sahel Niger to become permanent and "work even more closely with Nigerien authorities in the fight against smuggling and trafficking in human beings"
- Adequate funding for continued "engagement" with countries in the Horn of Africa, to deal with migration from/through those countries (in the recent ISF-Police work programme some money was put aside for this, see: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund
Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf)
- "We must increase the effectiveness of return and readmission programmes"
And: "Our migration policy goals should relate to other relevant horizontal foreign policies such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, water and climate policy and a reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy which also considers the neighbours of our neighbours."
Statewatch Special Report: "War" to be declared on migrants who - fleeing from war, persecution and poverty - have arrived in the EU are to be contained and detained in "Structured border zones" to be set up to "ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots")"
This is set out in the Draft Conclusions of the European Council [the EU Heads of State] meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015: Draft conclusions (pdf)
Section 5.c says: "the setting up of structured border zones and facilities in the frontline Member States, with the active support of Member States' experts and of EASO, Frontex and Europol to ensure the swift identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants ("hotspots");" [emphasis added]
Will the "swift fingerprinting" of those described here as "illegal" migrants involve coercive measures? See: Statewatch Briefing on a "Working Document" issued for discussion by the Commission: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the "proportionate use of coercion" may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..
Statewatch Director, Tony Bunyan comments: Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or are expelled and banned from re-entry.
Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments on the Draft Conclusions:
"It is remarkable that Member States (if this draft is accepted) are indeed willing to accept the relocation of 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and 20,000 resettled refugees.
It is also notable that all Member States will participate in the latter decision - with even the UK agreeing recently to resettle a few hundred more Syrians. This is a very modest amount of the numbers needing protection however.
The European Asylum Support Office does not seem to have the powers to participate in fingerprinting asylum-seekers, and the reference to 'bringing together' rules on fast-tracking asylum applications is very vague. Is the intention to lower standards, and if so, how exactly? Any moves to negotiate more readmission agreements and to expel more people who supposedly have no need for protection will have to comply fully with EU, ECHR and all national and international human rights standards.
Equally if Frontex is to gain more powers over expulsion it must be made more fully accountable, including as regards individual complaints against it."
See: UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU (euractiv, link): "The UN rights chief yesterday (15 June) called for the European Union to take bolder steps to address its swelling migrant crisis, insisting the bloc could easily take in one million refugees"
News Digest (23.6.15)
EU: Only a third of the EU is governed by the centre-left - Based on political positioning defined by affiliation in the European parliament, the eight countries on centre-left comprise about 32.5% of the EUs population (Guardian, link): "Since last years European parliament elections, where the centre-right European Peoples party (EPP) emerged as the largest bloc, there have been 13 parliamentary and presidential elections in the EU. Of these, the centre-left has won only one in Sweden. Following the ousting of Denmarks centre-left government last Thursday, only a third of the EUs population of 503 million is now led by a centre-left head of government or state. Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Malta, Slovakia and Sweden are the only EU members that are on the centre-left." and see: EU national Elections Guide (link)
EU beginnt Militäreinsatz gegen Schleuser: Kaum ist der Weltflüchtlingstag vorbei, beginnt die EU mit ihrem geplanten Militäreinsatz gegen Schleuserbanden im Mittelmeer. Kritiker befürchten einer Verschärfung der Notlage von Flüchtlingen. EU-Minister wiederum versichern die Einhaltung humanitärer Rechte (migazin, link) [As soon as the World Refugee Day past, the EU begins its planned military operation against smugglers in the Mediterranean. Critics fear a worsening of the plight of refugees. EU ministers in turn assure compliance with humanitarian rights]
This Tool Lets You See Exactly Whos Tracking What Youre Reading Online (OSF, link)
Yarl's Wood: Children fleeing warzones being locked up at detention centre, investigation finds (Independent, link)
UK: Deleted emails: The Cabinet Office has a policy of deleting all emails after 3 months, which recently featured in a front page Financial Times story on June 17 2015. Under the policy, all Cabinet Office emails are automatically deleted after 3 months anything needed for permanent preservation must be printed out and stored before this happens.(CFOI, link)
Opinion: Military force against human traffickers (DW, link): "The EU intends to use military force against human traffickers in Northern Africa. However, they will end up fighting against the refugees, says DW's Christoph Hasselbach"
Jamaica Interested in Free Entry Pact to EU Countries (Prensa Latina, link)
Ensuring the EUs future as a security provider Five recommendations for the June European Council's session on CSDP (EPC, link)
ITALY: Privacy chief warns against worker profiling in Jobs Act - Law must reconcile need for efficiency and rights (ANSA, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: European External Action Service (EEAS): European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean (Press statement, pdf): Contributing States: Currently 14 Member States (BE, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, LU, NL, SE, SI, UK):
"The Council shall assess whether the conditions for transition beyond the first phase have been met, taking into account any applicable UN Security Council Resolution and consent by the Coastal States concerned."
Consent is needed for the EU to act within the territorial waters of another state (eg: Libya) and see: Comments below on this position.
GCHQ-JTRIG: Spies Hacked Computers Thanks to Sweeping Secret Warrants, Aggressively Stretching U.K. Law (Intercept, link) and Controversial GCHQ Unit Engaged in Domestic Law Enforcement, Online Propaganda, Psychology Research (Intercept, link) also: Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks (Intercept, link)
Key documents: TOP SECRET: Behavioural Science Support for JTRIGs (Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Groups) Effects and Online HUMINT Operations (42 pages, pdf) and Key section from document: interference by JTRIG/GCHQ) (1 page, pdf) including: "discredit", "delay", "disrupt", "promote distrust" and "deter" and "take over control of online websites (to deny, disrupt, discredit or delay)" and GCHQ Stakeholders (pdf)
UK: Court says GCHQ spied on human rights NGOs, acted unlawfully (PI, link):
"Monday, June 22, 2015: The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) today revealed that the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spied on two international human rights organisations, failed to follow ITS own secret procedures and acted unlawfully.
The targeted NGOs are the South African Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Both are leading civil liberties organisations and co-claimants alongside Privacy International in a legal challenge brought against GCHQ in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations."
See: Full-text of IPT ruling (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Official statement on the launch of EUNAVFOR: Council launches EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean (Council of the European Union, pdf):
"The first phase focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.... The Council will assess when to move beyond this first step, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned.." [emphasis added]
It is by no means certain that a UN mandate will be forthcoming as this requires the consent of the affected states, in this case Libya. The EU's own mission in Libya, EUBAM, withdrew from from the country last autumn, has been slimmed down and is now based in Tunisia because of the highly unstable security situation in Libya where two separate governments are vying for power in addition to a number of warring groups:.See:
EU and political situation in Libya: Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya (LIMITE doc no: 7886-15, 13 April 2015, pdf): "a number of additional considerations have arisen as a result of the mission's relocation to Tunis. The mission's legal status in Tunis is still unclear, with the Tunisian authorities unofficially indicating that they would prefer not to explore the issue....its presence in Tunis will make it difficult for mission staff to assess conditions and operate in Libya" [emphasis added]
See also: EU foreign ministers to agree on Mediterranean intelligence operations (euractiv, link): "EU foreign affairs ministers will today (22 June) agree on an intelligence gathering operation, the first phase of the blocs response to the burgeoning migration crisis in the Mediterranean, but military action against people smugglers will depend on the support of Libyas National Unity Government and the United Nations." and Naval bid to tackle migrants in Med (Yahoo News, link): "With GCHQ - Britain's listening post in Cheltenham - said to be tracking the activities of smuggling gangs moving people to the Libyan coast, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon indicated that he wanted to see more intelligence-sharing." also: Exclusive: France backs Italy-UK Plan for Sicily Intel Cell (Migrant Report, link)
See: EU agrees to launch military operation against people smugglers (FT, link): "EU officials have warned that casualties were possible after deciding to launch military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Ministers of the 28-country bloc meeting in Luxembourg on Monday gave the go-ahead for a c controversial intelligence gathering operation, which will precede full-blown military action this year ... The use of firepower will be done in such a way that we do all we can to prevent any casualties to anyone, said one EU official. There is a difference between smugglers and migrants. If they are migrants, we will be even more cautious. Asked whether the military operation created the risk of collateral casualties, the official replied: Of course it would." and: EU navies take up position in Mediterranean (euobserver, link)
EU: European Parliament study: Surveillance and censorship: The impact of technologies on human rights (pdf):
"It concludes that different elements of EU strategic policy on human rights and digital policy need be better integrated and coordinated to ensure that technologies have a positive impact on human rights. The report concludes that EU should promote digital rights in national legislation of the third countries, but also in its own digital strategies."
EU: European Parliament study: Towards more effective global humanitarian action: How the EU can contribute (pdf):
"the EU and member states must commit to placing protection at the centre of humanitarian action and ensure that the EU´s humanitarian aid is not regarded as a crisis management tool, and allowed to become an instrument of its foreign policy."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Trade agreements and data flows Joint hearing of the INTA and LIBE committees, European Parliament Brussels, 16 June 2015 Giovanni Buttarelli European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf):
"The concept of adequacy indeed reflects respect for third countries' cultural and legal traditions, while ensuring an acceptable level of respect for the protection of the individuals as guaranteed by EU law, even when their personal data leaves EU territory.... the LIBE Committee in its comprehensive 2014 inquiry into 'Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens', sounded a clarion call to the Commission and Member States to be much more vigilant in addressing vulnerabilities in existing means for international transfer of personal information, notably Safe Harbour."
News Digest (22.6.15)
Italy: Court set for CIA terror abduction human rights complaint (CoE, link): "the human rights spotlight will fall again on the War on Terror, when judges hear legal arguments concerning Italys involvement in a CIA abduction. The European Courts chamber hearing in case Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (no. 44883/09) will take place on 23 June. The application concerns a case of extraordinary rendition, that is to say the abduction by CIA agents, with the cooperation of Italian nationals, of an Egyptian imam (Abu Omar), who holds refugee status, and his transfer to Egypt, followed by his secret detention there for several months."
Five horsemen of the euros future - As Grexit looms, the EU pushes new proposals for deeper integration of the eurozone (Politico, link) and see document: Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (pdf): "The threat of an imminent Greek exit from the euro may be the talk of Brussels, but the EU is unveiling bold proposals this week to deepen political and financial integration inside the eurozone. A so-called five presidents report obtained by POLITICO includes calls for a eurozone finance minister and stricter controls over the budgets of the 19 countries, including Greece, that use the single currency."
EU-MED-CRISIS: Fallon: UK aid budget should be used to discourage mass migration from Africa - Defence secretary says Britain needs to spend more of its budget on helping stabilise countries so that it doesnt have to fish migrants out of Mediterranean (Guardian, link): "He said the next phase of the operation was about building up better intelligence of who these gangs are as well as encouraging a policy of return. "
Calais' migrant shanty town to be provided with water and electricity by French government (Independent, link)
EU: Europol web unit to hunt extremists behind Isis social media propaganda - Europe-wide police team aims to find key figures in campaign producing 100,000 tweets daily linked to terror group, seeking to recruit foreign fighters (Guardian, link): "Europol said it would not name the social media firms who have agreed to help the police. It will use network analytics to identify the most active accounts, such as those pumping out the most messages and those part of an established online community."
Police detain more refugees (Prague Post, link): "The Czech police detained 12 refugees within a night check of trains that stopped in Breclav, south Moravia, after crossing the border from Austria, police spokesman Pavel váb, told the media today, adding that the refugees came from Syria, Afghanistan and Gambia."
Pro-Greek demos in Brussels, Amsterdam before crunch summit (ekathimerini.com, link)
Dispatches: Hungarys Anti-Migrant Fence Is an Insult to Its History (HRW, link)
Mark Thomas interview: The comedian has written a book about his year of 100 protests (Independent, link)
Al-Jazeera journalist detained in Germany denies 'false' charges - Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour has expressed surprise at his detention in Berlin while prosecutors decide whether he will be extradited. A Cairo court sentenced him to 15 years in prison over torture charges. (DW, link)
UK: Outrage after police keep identity and charges secret of Cambridge officer accused of crime (Cambridge News, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Issued by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party Art. 29 WP opinion on the draft Regulation in view of the trilogue (Press release, pdf), Letter to the Council and the European Parliament (pdf) and Core topics in the view of trilogue (24 pages, pdf)
"even if the Directive should be regarded as minimum standard allowing the Member States to provide additional safeguards, an extension of its scope as proposed by the Council of the EU to all processing activities for the safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to public security - in addition to processing activities carried out for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties -
would result in a different level of protection depending on its implementation.
Moreover, the notion of the prevention of threats to public security not linked to the concept of criminal offences is quite vague and may open the door to including in it types of processing operations just because they are carried out by controllers that operate in the widest context of law enforcement.....
[Recommendation] In order to ensure a consistent and high level of protection, the Working Party is of the opinion that the processing activities performed for purposes not linked to the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties should be clearly maintained under the scope of the Regulation."
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Policy Cycle & EMPACT
- EU Policy Cycle - Implementation monitoring - First progress reports 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 9853-15, 46 pages, pdf) with detailed annexes.
- Summary report of the National EMPACT Coordinator (NEC) meeting held at Europol on 28-29 May 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 9858-15, pdf)
Essential viewing: Building on communities of dissent (Institute of Race Relations):
How do we build on communities of dissent, asks veteran Black activist A. Sivanandan in a short film released this week by Sage Publications alongside a collection of his key writings in Race & Class. A Sivanandan, IRR Director Emeritus, is one of the UKs key thinkers on racism, imperialism, black identity and political struggle. His grounded theory has proved important both in the academy and the community for over four decades.
EU: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU prepares to go to "war" in the Med: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the Council for a Council Decision launching the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (pdf);
"The Operation Plan and the Rules of Engagement concerning the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) are approved.... EUNAVFOR MED shall be launched on xxx 2015."
And: EU naval mission for Med gets green light (Politico, link)
See also: Draft Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) (LIMITE doc no: 8921-15, pdf) and Proposal for for a Council Decision on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) (LIMITE doc no: 8731-15, pdf): This contains details on:
Mission: "The Union shall conduct a military crisis management operation contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling networks... systematic efforts to dispose of vessels and assets before they are used by smugglers"
Mandate: includes: "boarding search, seize and diversion of smuggling ships"
"The Operation Headquarters of EUNAVFOR MED shall be located in Rome, Italy"
"PSC shall exercise the political control and strategic direction of EUNAVFOR MED" [Political Security Committee]
"The EUMC shall monitor the proper execution of EUNAVFOR MED conducted under the responsibility of the EU Operation Commander" [EU Military Committee]
"The Council hereby authorises the PSC to invite third States to offer contributions"
EU: Promoting Intra EU labour mobility of international protection beneficiaries (pdf)
"The Meijers Committee proposes to enhance the opportunities for employment of international protection beneficiaries across the EU by allowing them to work in another Member State after two years of legal residency and under more favourable conditions than current EU directives allow. This incentive for achieving economic independence corrects the current legal regime under which socioeconomic criteria play no role in sharing the responsibility for asylum-seekers and international protection beneficiaries"
UK: Will the governments counter-extremism programme criminalise dissent? (IRR, link) Written by Arun Kundnani. The third of a post-election three-part series on civil liberties in the UK examines the governments new proposals to tackle extremism:
"From 1 July, a broad range of public bodies from nursery schools to optometrists will be legally obliged to participate in the governments Prevent policy to identify would-be extremists. Under the fast-tracked Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, schools, universities and health service providers can no longer opt out of monitoring students and patients for supposed radicalised behaviour. Never in peacetime Britain has national security surveillance been so deeply embedded in the normal functioning of public life."
News Digest (18-21.6.15)
Controversial security firm Serco lobbies for US migrant detention contracts - UK contractor has faced allegations of abuse and sexual assault in Britain and Australia but documents obtained by Guardian show it boasting to US lawmakers of its record (Guardian, link)
Bradford sisters who left UK 'to join Isis' were radicalised by British police, relatives say (Independent on Sunday, link)
Delfi v Estonia: Curtailing online freedom of expression? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The Strasbourg courts reasoning put Delfi in a position of effectively having to monitor user content."
UK: 'People have finally had enough': middle England marches against austerity - Placard-waving protesters from across the country join to make their frustrations known in largest protest against cuts since the Tory election victory (Guardian, link)
German parliament's NSA probe enters 'neutral' stage: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed that a third-party investigator be appointed to inspect a list of targets that German intelligence tracked on behalf of the US National Security Agency. (DW, link)
USA: The Obama administration fought a legal battle against Google to secretly obtain the email records of a security researcher and journalist associated with WikiLeaks. - Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one years worth of data from the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum (The Intercept, link)
Police crack down on illegal immigrants (Prague Post, link)
UK: Immigration Detention: Building Our Own Guantánamos (One Small Window, link)
UNITED: The Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe: More than 22.394 migrant deaths were documented up to now - No More Deaths Time for Change! (link)
UK: Home Office told to publish confidential reports on migrant detention sites (Corporate Watch, link): "The Information Commissioner has ordered the Home Office to disclose confidential self-audit reports written by the companies that ran two controversial immigration detention centres. The decision follows a ten month freedom of information battle by Corporate Watch."
"Turkeys example of dealing with Syrian refugees puts rest of Europe to shame' " (CoE Parliamentary Assembly, link)
UK-MED: Britain to send intelligence officers to Sicily to 'disrupt' human traffickers - David Cameron promises Italian PM extra help in tackling gangs smuggling people in boats across Mediterranean (Guardian, link): "David Cameron has offered to deploy an extra six British officers from the National Crime Agency to a special Europol intelligence cell in Sicily to disrupt the trafficking and smuggling gangs" and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that the UK will support Italys works to deal with the migration crisis (New Europe, link)
GERMANY: Commissioner slams data retention policies - Germanys Commissioner for Data Protection has published her latest report criticizing government plans on mass data retention laws.A previous supporter of such practices, her new position came as a surprise.(DW, link)
Europeans could get data protection rights in U.S. (Politico, link)
University research on terrorism may never be free from interference - Government agencies are regular attendees at academic meetings on conflict and terrorism, but their influence may affect the transparency of research (Guardian, link)
Hungary to fence off border with Serbia to stop migrants (Reuters, link): "Hungary announced plans on Wednesday to build a four-meter-high fence along its border with Serbia to stem the flow of illegal migrants, a move that triggered a swift rebuke from the United Nations Refugee Agency."
Europol and CTED affirm closer partnership to address the foreign terrorist fighter threat (link): "On 11 June 2015, experts from the European Police Office (Europol) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) met in New York to discuss the next phase of cooperation. In light of emerging terrorist threats and challenges, both teams affirmed their eagerness and readiness to bring their cooperation closer in order to increase deliverables, in particular in the areas of addressing the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon, preventing the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, effective border control, and enhancing capacity-building of Member States. " and Action against Threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters Must Be Ramped Up, Security Council Urges in High-Level Meeting (UN, link)
Trouble on Europes flanks lift interest in drones and military aircraft (euractiv, link)
France, Germany, and Italy outline migrant plan (euobserver, link)
Danish election: Opposition bloc wins (BBC News, link): "With all mainland votes counted, the centre-right group led by ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt's centre-left coalition, although her party is the largest. Ms Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader. The right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People's Party will become the second-largest in parliament."
Hungary's anti-migrant fence draws rebuke (euobserver, link)
EU ministers back weaker data protection rules (euobserver, link)
EU Transparency and decision-making: NON PAPER April 2015: Denmark - Estonia - Finland The Netherlands Slovenia - Sweden: Enhancing transparency in the EU (pdf)
"This paper mentions several steps that could be taken within the Council framework to enhance transparency, most importantly by focusing on active transparency, whereby the institutions pro-actively make their documents public and work in the most transparent manner."
Privacy Advocates Walk Out in Protest Over U.S. Facial Recognition Code of Conduct (The Intercept, link):
"Technology industry lobbyists have so thoroughly hijacked the Commerce Department process for developing a voluntary code of conduct for the use of facial recognition technology that nine privacy advocates involved withdrew in protest on Monday.
At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies theyve never heard of are tracking their every movement and identifying them by name using facial recognition technology, the privacy advocates wrote in a joint statement. Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain agreement even with that basic, specific premise.
News Digest 17.6.15
UK: Evidence of police complicity in blacklisting of trade unionists stretches back decades - Police are alleged to have been covertly helping companies to blacklist trade unionists since before the Second World War (Guardian, link)
EU: Ministers reject Commissions immigrant quota proposal (euractiv, link): "Meeting in Luxembourg yesterday (16 June), EU interior ministers rejected a plan by the European Commission to distribute 40,000 immigrants from Italy and Greece to the other member countries, according to quotas proposed by the EU executive." and Syria refugees: Nowhere to go (euobserver, link)
ITALY: Premier says Italy will deal with migrants if EU can't - 'Temporary residency permits a reserve weapon' says premier (ANSA, link)
"Refugee crisis may endanger free travel within Europe' (DW, link): "German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has warned that failure to tackle refugees could make EU countries reintroduce border checks. This could have adverse effects on free travel within the Schengen region."
Reform of the EUs Court System: Why a more accountable not a larger Court is the way forward (EU Law Analysis, link)
Libya: Widespread Torture in Detention - Government Should End Arbitrary Detentions, Ill-Treatment in Eastern Libya (HRW, link)
UK: Solicitor under investigation after advising police officers to alter statements on stop-and-search death (Independent, link)
CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation: Exclusive: Watchdogs shocked at disconnect between doctors who oversaw interrogation and guidelines that gave CIA director power over medical ethics: Read the document: Human experimentation and the CIA (Guardian, link)
EU: No agreement on sharing "relocation" of migrants: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June 2015, Luxembourg: Final press release (pdf):
"As regards the concrete proposal on relocation, Ministers stressed that on the basis of the principle of solidarity they are all ready to make an effort to help member states under a particular migratory pressure. Several delegations stressed the necessity to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.. Ministers invited the Councils preparatory bodies to continue these discussions with the aim of achieving full implementation as soon as possible."
See also; Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Claude Moraes, regrets EU minister's failure to reach agreement on the migration package (EP Press release, pdf)
Court: Estonia website liable for readers offensive online comments (CoE, link):
"Judges ruled today that an Estonian commercially-run Internet news portal was liable for the offensive online comments of its readers. In its grand chamber judgment in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia (application no. 64569/09), the European Court of Human Rights held, by 15 votes to two, that there had been:
no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was the first case in which the court had been called upon to examine a complaint about liability for user-generated comments on an Internet news portal."
Online book: Integrating Immigrants in Europe: Research-Policy Dialogues: Editors: Peter Scholten, Han Entzinger, Rinus Penninx, Stijn Verbeek (link). Download book (pdf) includes the following Chapter: Speaking Truth to Power? Why Civil Society, Beyond Academia, Remains Marginal in EU Migration Policy (pdf) by Ann Singleton:
"Many migrants are excluded from much of society, let alone the migration debates, by citizenship laws, poverty, gendered social and economic injustice and
institutional racism. They are structurally excluded and their lives are hidden from the priorities and gaze of the academic-policy nexus (notwithstanding some excellent qualitative research, social media and on the ground campaigns). Those whose lives are directly affected by migration policy and practice, namely recent
migrants, migrant groups, as well as the wider civil society, remain largely marginalised and their voices unheard in the policy discussions. It begs the question, what is academic research on migration for?"
Intelligence, security and privacy: A Note by the Director (Ditchley Park, link):
See: Snowden leak: governments' hostile reaction fuelled public's distrust of spies - Leading figures in British and international intelligence and security community agree agencies need more transparency (Guardian, link)
Also: Five Reasons the MI6 Story is a Lie (Craig Murray, link): "The Sunday Times has a story claiming that Snowdens revelations have caused danger to MI6 and disrupted their operations. Here are five reasons it is a lie."
News Digest (16.5.15)
Harmony? What harmony! Disharmony extends to one-third of the Data Protection Regulation (Amberhawk, link), and: European Ministers Agree To Disagree On Data Protection Reform (Tech Crunch, link) also: Grumpy EU ministers agree shaky pact on new data protection law - Talks start this month with EU Parliament and Commish (The Register, link)
Italy threatens to give Schengen visas to migrants as EU ministers meet - Frustrated at infighting over sharing the migrant burden, Rome says it will issue temporary visas allowing travel beyond Italy if an equitable deal is not reached (Guardian, link)
World leaders neglect of refugees condemns millions to death and despair (AI, link)
UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU (euractiv, link)
Translation of Süddeutsche Zeitung Article Calling for External Oversight of Data Protection at the EPO (Techrights, link)
Le Pen's new EU Parliament group to scoop 17.5 million of public money (euractiv, link)
Danish elections: A race to the bottom on immigration (euobserver, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation: Data Protection: Council agrees on a general approach (Press release, pdf) and Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation of a general approach (201 pages, 11 June, pdf):
"All changes made to the original Commission proposal are underlined; where text has been deleted, this is indicated by ( ). Where existing text has been moved, this text is indicated in italics....The comments of delegations on the text of the Regulation.... are reflected in the Outcome of proceedings of the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee on 9 June 2015 (9788/15)." [emphasis added]
Council document: 9788-15 (pdf) with 649 Member States' positions still on 9 June.
The previous: Consolidated version of the Council's negotiating position as at 5 June 2015: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no 9657-15, pdf) With 268 pages and still 646 Member States' positions.
European Parliament: Data protection: Parliaments negotiators welcome Council negotiating brief (Press release, pdf) and and EP negotiating position set out in the Annex to this report (pdf)
EDRI and PI: Privacy and Data Protection under threat from EU Council agreement (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Connected Continent: Council Presidency "compromise": Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Examination of the Presidency compromise text concerning open internet and amending Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (LIMITE doc no 9931-15, pdf): "Compared to doc. 9167/15 additions are marked with bold and deletions are marked with strikethrough."
UK: The Police Are Scanning the Faces of Every Single Person at Download FESTIVALS 2015 (noisey, link)
"This weekends Download Festival will be subjected to strategic facial recognition technology by Leicestershire Police, making those 100,000 plus attendees the first music fans to ever be monitored to this extent at a UK music festival, according to UK police news and information website Police Oracle..... The announcement article on Police Oracle reads, "the strategically placed cameras will scan faces at the Download Festival site in Donington before comparing it with a database of custody images from across Europe." [emphasis added]. See:
Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE - Face recog tech, RFID tracking gotta love Donington Park (The Register, link) and UK: Police exploit law to collect 18 million facial images (Statewatch database)
News Digest (15.6.15)
Why Technology Hasnt Delivered More Democracy - New technologies offer important tools for empowerment yet democracy is stagnating. Whats up? (Foreign Policy, link)
EU states in deals to shut Eritrean borders - UN raises concerns that secret deals are being brokered with Africas North Korea in an effort to stop migrants coming to Europe (Observer, link): "UN officials and human rights organisations are increasingly concerned at what they believe are secret deals being drawn up between Eritrea and European Union nations, which may involve the regime being given money or having sanctions lifted in return for imposing tougher border controls."
Sniffer mice are being trained in Israel to detect explosives at airports (Independent, link): ""At present no UK airport has plans to recruit rodents to tail terrorists but they could be one element in the emerging "risk-based" approach to security, where individuals are profiled in advance and assigned a risk profile. A passenger with an unusual travel history is likely to arouse more interest than a family going on holiday."
Italy's Renzi warns EU on refugees as neighbors block border crossings (Reuters, link): "Italy stepped up calls for a change to European asylum rules on Sunday as neighboring states tightened border controls, turning back African migrants and leaving hundreds stranded at the frontier in northern Italy." and see: Tri-nation patrols at railway stations (Statewatch database, link)
Timing of claims that British spies were withdrawn over Edward Snowden documents is 'extremely convenient', say campaigners (Independent, link) and The Sunday Times Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst - and Filled with Falsehoods (The Intercept, link). Also Snowden files 'read by Russia and China': five questions for UK government - The government has an obligation to respond to the Sunday Times report that MI6 has been forced to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries (Guardian, li nk)
UK: There is no real case for a snoopers charter but that wont stop it - Andersons landmark report showed that mass storage of data had little justification. Yet ministers and Home Office officials are likely to plough on regardless (Guardian, link)
Italian police once again push back migrants at French border (Press TV, link): "Italian police have once again pushed back a group of African migrants who have been holding a sit-in at a border crossing to France"
EU-USA data protection: Besserer Schutz für europäische Daten in den USA: Große Konzerne wie Facebook oder Google können Daten ihrer europäischen Nutzer in die USA übertragen. Bisher war nicht ausgeschlossen, dass die Daten bei den US-Behörden landen. Das soll sich ändern (morgenpost.de, link) [Better protection for European data in the United States - Large corporations such as Facebook or Google can transfer data of their European users in the United States. So far not ruled out that the data end up with the US authorities. That should change]
Belgian privacy watchdog sues Facebook (euobserver, link)
As election nears, Danish parties vow tighter immigration rules (Reuters, link)
'Mind your own business!' UN official blasted for ordering Britain to take MORE refugees - BRITAIN should be forced to take in more of the flood of migrants making their way across the Mediterranean, according to a senior UN official. (Daily Express, link)
Portugal ranks second worldwide on integrating immigrants (portugalglobal.pt)
TTIP: EU trade bill threatens media freedom (euobserver, link): "NGOs and journalists associations warn that the legislation could endanger freedom of expression and information. The main reason for concern is an unreasonably broad definition of "trade secrets". Companies could sue anyone who "unlawfully acquires, uses or discloses" a secret business informations. Trade unions say that even informations about future mergers or redundancies could fall under the scope of the directive. "
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June, Luxembourg:
- Agenda (includes legislative and non-legislative items plus Mixed Committee, pdf)
- "A" Points agenda (adopted without debate, pdf)
- Background Note (pdf)
EU: EUROPOL: General Report on Europol's activities in 2014 (pdf) Includes:
"Large File Exchange (LFE): The LFE solution enables the secure exchange of large files that exceed the size limit (50MB) of the Europol Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) when the need arises (for example sending an image of a hard drive or copy of a server)." [emphasis added]
News Digest (13-14.6.15)
ITALY: Clear out African migrants, Lega Nord governor orders in stand-off with Rome - Surge in support for rightwing party emboldens Northern Leagues Luca Zaia as humanitarian crisis creates political upheaval (Observer, link)
Chilcot report into the Iraq war 'unlikely to be published for another year' (Independent on Sunday, link)
USA-NSA: Germany drops inquiry into claims NSA tapped Angela Merkel's phone - Prosecutors say they can find no actionable evidence to support claims German chancellors mobile phone was tapped by US National Security Agency (Guardian, link)
Italy complain after Swastika is found on turf in Croatia (Eurosport, link): "Croatia's 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifying draw at home to Italy was marred by a racist incident when a swastika cross appeared on the pitch in a match played behind closed doors on Friday. Imprinted into the grass of the Poljud stadium, the swastika was noticeable in the first half of the Group H fixture played without any fans present after the Croatians had been given a one-match ban for prior offences. "
Twitter 'endangering national security' says top cop - The micro-blogging site is slammed for policy of alerting customers who may be under surveillance, as it emerges two out of three requests are blocked (Daily Telegraph, link): "Twitter is endangering national security by tipping-off customers who may be under surveillance by the security services, one of Britains most senior policing figures has said, as it emerged the technology company blocks two-thirds of Government requests for information"
Hungary Considers Barrier to Stop Illegal Immigrants Entering the EU - Barrier would be erected on the nations southern border (WSJ, link)
Italy must fight to get migrant results, says Gentiloni - EU States working on plan B (ANSA, link)
ISIS Is Winning the Social Media War, U.S. Concludes (INYT, link)
Asylum seekers set for pay-outs after fast track appeals ruled 'structurally unfair' (Daily Telegraph, link): "Ian Macdonald QC, former chairman of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, said the decision if the Governments appeal is unsuccessful could cost thousands of pounds in compensation payments." See: High Court quashes Detained Fast Track asylum appeals process (Detention Action, link) and see: Judgment (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 15-16 June, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Migration - Policy debate & European Council draft Conclusions
- European Agenda on Migration - Policy debate (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, pdf) Many areas of disagreement between Member States on how to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean:
""Immediate Action" but also builds on four pillars as a basis for a comprehensive European migration policy: - Reducing incentives for irregular migration; - Border management; - Strong common asylum policy; - New policy on legal migration....
There is wide consensus with regard to the need to further cooperate with third countries since both the root causes of and solutions to migration related issues can be sought there. In order to ensure a genuinely comprehensive approach, some Member States have suggested to strengthen the links with the Internal Security Strategy and measures proposed therein....
Member States views differ on the proposed concept of relocation in order to respond to high volumes of arrivals that includes temporary scheme for persons in need of international national protection.. The total number of persons to be relocated, the available funding, and the capacity of the Member
States' structures to deal with relocation were equally questioned..." [emphasis added]
and: Update: COR -1 (LIMITE doc no: 9825-15, 12 June 2015, pdf)
- European Council (25 and 26 June 2015) - Draft guidelines for the conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 8392-15, pdf): Covers Mediterranean crisis response, security challenges, economic issues, the Digital Agenda and the UK:
Position on "1. "Relocation / resettlement p.m." is blank as is Position: "IV. UK p.m" and "Return policy: Mobilise all tools to promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin and transit...." [emphasis added]
UK: MINERS STRIKE 1984-1985: ORGREAVE: Despite finding evidence of assault, police withholding evidence and committing perjury the IPPC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) decides not to investiage any further: IPPC Decision (pdf) and IPPC Review (pdf)
See: Orgreave: Truth and Justice Campaign (link): "Whilst disappointed, OTJC members are not surprised that the IPCC will not be conducting a full investigation into policing at Orgreave on 18 June 1984. It was back in November 2012 that South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the IPCC, which ever since has acted slowly and conducted little independent work in assembling and collating information. The fact that the IPCC, described rightly in our view by many prominent individuals as not fit for purpose, is stepping aside on Orgreave affairs will not therefore be deterring the OTJC from continuing its campaign." [epmhasis added]
See the excellent video: The Battle for Orgreave (YouTube, link, viewed 67,204 times): "The miners' strike 1984 was one of the longest and most brutal in British labour history. A community fighting for jobs and survival was wholly denigrated and depicted as violent by the majority of the media. THE BATTLE FOR ORGREAVE puts the record straight, as miners recount their own history.."
Orgreave: What they wouldn't say in public (Morning Star, link): "As early as 1991 ministers were privately admitting that there may have been problems with the policing during the most infamous incident of the miners strike"
IPCC will not investigate Orgreave police action during miners' strike - Watchdog says 1984 events too long ago despite evidence that officers assaulted miners, perverted the course of justice and committed perjury (Guardian, link): "In a report to be published on Friday, the IPCC says that the forces withholding of evidence about improper treatment of miners and perjury by officers, and its failure to investigate it, raises doubts about the ethical standards of senior officers at South Yorkshire police at that time and suggests they were complicit. However, after two and a half years research into evidence relating to the bitter Orgreave confrontation and prosecutions which followed, the IPCC has decided not to investigate further."
EU: Jump before youre pushed: the CJEU rules on the voluntary departure of irregular migrants (EU Law Analysis, link): "For the first time, the CJEU ruled yesterday (in its judgment in Zh and O) on the provisions of the EUs Returns Directive (the main set of rules governing the expulsion of irregular non-EU migrants) concerning voluntary departure. The word voluntary is a euphemism here, of course..."
See: Full-text of Judgment (pdf)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Prosecutors improperly withheld crucial evidence from trial of protesters - Police and prosecutors are facing claims that they have systematically - and unfairly - concealed the operations of undercover officers from the trials of protesters (Guardian, link).
See also: IPPC report on Mark Kennedy and collapsed trials - 2012 (pdf)
News Digest (12.6.15)
UK fast-track asylum system unlawful - High Court quashes Detained Fast Track asylum appeals process (Detention Action, link) and see: Judgment (pdf)
Ursula K. Le Guin Calls on Fantasy and Sci Fi Writers to Envision Alternatives to Capitalism - This award-winning author explains how fantasy and science fiction writers can stand up to the corporate system. (YES, link)
EU-MEXICO: "We agreed on the importance of discussing the issue of Passenger Name Records as a matter of priority. In this context, the EC has requested a mandate for negotiating a bilateral agreement with Mexico from the Council." See Statement (pdf) See: European Commission in a pickle over PNR - Mexico and Argentina about to implement PNR laws requiring "the transfer of passenger data from air carriers that operate in [their] countries" (Statewatch database)
FBI surveillance planes flying over US cities linked to fake companies (link) and FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities (Washington Post, link) also: How I tracked FBI aerial surveillance - Those mysterious planes overhead are actually government surveillance aircraft (AT, link)
Retain spot border checks, says German police union (DW, link): "Germany should retain spot checks at its borders despite Europe's Schengen policy on free travel, says the largest German police trade union. The GdP says "illegal entries" appeared rife during last week's G7 summit... German federal police detected 10,555 "illegal entrants" and 1,056 people sought on warrant during G7 summit-related spot checks."
Ex-Guantánamo prisoner stopped from boarding France to Canada flight - Airline says Mourad Benchellali is on the No Fly list and aircraft passes through US airspace. He addresses youth groups in Europe to dissuade them from jihad (Guardian, link)
The Special Rapporteurs Study on Protection of Roma - Combatting Discrimination as a Root Cause of Roma Marginalisation (CoE, link)
UK: A question of trust? Anderson report lays out tests for surveillance laws - Analysis: Expert wants tougher hurdles for security services before snooping powers are extended but judicial warrant proposal is unlikely to succeed (Guardian, link)
USA: Patriot Act Reform Curbed NSA; Cybersecurity Bill Would Empower It (Intercept, link)
GREECE: Atticas 17,700 homeless to get mobile showers, laundries (ekathimerini.com, link)
UK: Muslim students threaten to sue college after being suspended for complaining of Islamophobia (Independent, link): "Three Muslim A level students are threatening to sue their sixth form college after they were suspended shortly before sitting their exams for sending an email to students and staff complaining of Islamophobia."
UK: Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon denied compensation (BBC News,link): "Two men who served long sentences before their convictions were overturned have lost High Court actions in their fight for compensation" and see Full-text: Judgment (pdf)
SPAIN: Spanish Congress passes historic law granting citizenship to Sephardic Jews - Descendants of those expelled 500 years ago will not have to give up their own nationality (el pais, link)
UK-EU: Tory plans will destroy human rights across Europe, warns Dominic Grieve - Conservative MP says the governments plan to leave Strasbourg court threatens to make the European convention on human rights inoperable (Guardian, link) See also: Statewatch Analysis: UK: The new governments assault on civil liberties (pdf) by Chris Jones:
UK: SURVEILLANCE POWERS: Report from the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: Statement by the Inpdendent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation on publication of the Investigatory Powers Review (A Question of Trust) (Press release, pdf) and Full-report (382 pages, 2MB reduced pdf version) and Section on the law in other "Five-Eyes states" (pdf)
For full list of documents and annexes see: IRTL site (link)
See also: UK Investigatory Powers Review: A New Blueprint for Surveillance? (Just Security, link): "privacy campaigners may be unhappy with Andersons endorsement of the contention that the law should seek to minimize the (virtual) areas where individuals actions are beyond the reach of investigation."
And UK intelligence agencies should keep mass surveillance powers, report says - Report by official reviewer of counter-terrorism laws also says power to issue interception warrants should be transferred from ministers to judges" (Guardian, link)
EU: European Commission: Commission Implementing Decision: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf):
"Call for proposals restricted to EU Member States aiming at improving law enforcement information exchange by interconnecting Passenger Information Units (PIUs) to facilitate the exchange of PNR data... The ambition is to embed PNR into a wider context of law enforcement information exchange and include European Information Exchange Model (EIXM) related topics given the uneven development of relevant initiatives among EU Member States and the need to share experiences between EU Member States with Member States that are most advanced in the lead...These action grants will be awarded through a call for proposals restricted to the EU Member States" (see pp9-10) [emphasis added]
See: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database)
BELGIUM: The Constitutional Court repeals the transposition of the data retention directive (nurpa, link) [The Constitutional Court annulled the law on the retention of communication data] "two actions for annulment brought independently, the Constitutional Court today ruled against the widespread retention of communication metadata. This decision is in line with a recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidating the directive behind Belgian law".
And see: Judgment (French, link)
News Digest (11.6.15)
USA: TORTURE: Proposed Torture Ban Includes New Transparency and Oversight Mechanisms (Intercept, link): require the Pentagon and all federal agencies to conduct interrogations in accordance with the Army Field Manual, which forbids the worst of the Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques documented last year by the Senate Intelligence Committees report on the post-9/11 torture program."
GREECE: Lesvos mayor pleads for help with migrant influx (ekathimerini.com, link)
Fake mobile phone towers found to be actively listening in on calls in UK (Independent, link): "The London Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering."
UK-ECHR: Jean Charles de Menezes arguments heard in Strasbourg - Case against Metropolitan police over killing of Brazilian electrician in 2005 reaches European court of human rights (Guardian, link): "De Menezes died on 22 July 2005; his death came a fortnight after four men detonated devices on Londons transport system, killing 52 other people, and a day after the further failed attacks of 21 July, when five bombs failed to explode at Tube stations and on a bus. Two members of the Mets armed unit, CO19, opened fire centimetres away from De Menezess head as another officer pinned him into a seat on an underground train at Stockwell station."
German watchdog doubts constitutionality of data retention plans (euractiv, link): "Germanys Federal Data Protection Commissioner issued clear criticism against the governments bill on data retention, saying it not only amounts to a disproportionate violation of Germans basic civil rights, but also those of Europeans." See: Stellungnahme der Bundesbeauftragten für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit zum Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einführung einer Speicherpflicht und einer Höchstspeicherfrist für Verkehrsdaten (pdf) [Comments by the Federal Commissioner for Privacy and Freedom of Information for Draft law on the introduction of a Memory requirement and a maximum storage period for traffic data]
Protect journalists from Trade Secrets Directive, French MPs say (euractiv, link): "French MPs have called on the European institutions to rework the Trade Secrets bill, which they say hampers the freedom of information and puts journalists' sources at risk."
Mastermind: The evil genius behind the migrant crisis (Newsweek, link)
EU: Comment: The case for radical change in Europe cant be left to the nationalist right - by Seumas Milne (link): "Greeces punishment and Camerons referendum games underline who really calls the shots in the EU...As things stand, however, voters in Britain will next year be offered the choice of a yet more corporate-controlled EU, shorn of social protections or withdrawal on the terms of the nationalist right. In the interests of both Britain and Europe, that needs to change, and quickly." And see: The TTIP trade deal will throw equality before the law on the corporate bonfire by George Monbiot (link): "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a reckless destruction of democratic principles. But we can beat it."
EU: European Parliament Study: Privacy and Data Protection Implications of the Civil Use of Drones (pdf):
"At the request of the LIBE Committee, this research addresses the implications of the integration of drones for civilian use into the European civil aviation system. It notably looks into the EU policy on drones and the potential impacts on citizens' right to privacy and data protection, as well as on security and safety. The research concludes that a series of important pre-conditions still need to be addressed and met in order to ensure that drones do not pose serious risks for citizens' fundamental rights to privacy and data protection, to security and to safety."
See also: Statewatch Report: Eurodrones Inc
UK: Schools monitoring pupils' web use with 'anti-radicalisation software' - Software flags up trigger words and phrases such as jihadi bride, jihobbyist and you only die once (Guardian, link) and see: Impero (link)
ECHR: Menezes hearing at the European Court of Human Rights: Grand Chamber hearing concerning fatal shooting in the London Underground of a Brazilian national mistakenly identified by the police as a suicide bomber (Press release, pdf):
"The applicant, Patricia Armani Da Silva, is a Brazilian national who was born in 1974 and lives in Thornton Heath, London.
The case concerns her complaint about the polices fatal shooting of her cousin, Jean Charles de Menezes, aged 27, who was mistakenly identified as a terrorist suspect and shot dead on 22 July 2005 by two special firearms officers (SFOs) at Stockwell London Underground Station."
USA-GUANTANAMO: Congressional Research Service: Note: House Votes to Keep Guantanamo Open (pdf): "After rejecting a floor amendment that would have eased Guantanamo detainee transfer restrictions after the Administrations submission of a detailed plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the House voted to clamp down on detainee transfers, prohibiting them altogether in certain circumstances."
ECHR: European Court of Human Rights: Forthcoming Grand Chamber judgment concerning the liability of an Internet news portal for offensive online comments (Press relese, pdf):
"The European Court of Human Rights will be delivering a Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia (application no. 64569/09) at a public hearing on 16 June 2015 at 2.30 p.m. in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg.... The owner of the ferry company sued Delfi in April 2006, and successfully obtained a judgment against it in June 2008. The Estonian court found that the comments were defamatory, and that Delfi was responsible for them. The owner of the ferry company was awarded 5,000 kroons in damages (around 320 euros)."
Delfi AS is appealing against this Judgment (Press release, pdf) by the ECHR
UK: Indefinite detention is wrong, says watchdog (IMB, link):
"In its 2014 Annual Report, published today after election purdah, the Independent Monitoring Board at Yarls Wood draws attention to the harmful effects of lengthy, indefinite periods of detention and calls for reform.
68 women were detained at Yarls Wood for more than six months in 2014, and one woman was detained for 800 days, before being released. The IMB recommends a time limit on detention, such as the six months laid down in the 2008 European Returns Directive"
See: Full-text of Report (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: After ACTA: EU needs new tools to protect EU intellectual property rights (pdf):
"The EU needs better tools to protect EU intellectual property in third countries, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday. They ask the EU Commission to look into appropriate means and methods to this end. In a separate resolution, also voted on Tuesday, they also advocate assessing and adjusting intra-EU rules to combat online breaches of intellectual property rights (IPRs)."
News Digest (10.6.15)
EP-HUNGARY: Hungary: MEPs condemn Orbáns death penalty statements and migration survey (Press release, pdf): "The European Parliament asks the European Commission to assess the situation in Hungary and to establish an EU mechanism to monitor democracy, the rule of law and human rights annually across the EU, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. Reinstating the death penalty in Hungary would breach the EU Treaties and Charter of fundamental rights, and the wording of the Hungarian governments public consultation on migration is "highly misleading, biased and unbalanced", it says."
Estonia: Court set for judgement on internet news portals liability for offensive online comments - A human rights court judgment on the liability of an Internet news portal for offensive online comments will be made public next week (CoE, link)
Divided EU Parliament postpones vote on TTIP (euractiv, link): "he European Parliament failed on Tuesday (9 June) to agree a unified stance on a proposed trade deal with the United States, postponing a vote that was meant to cement its support for the biggest accord of its kind."
EU Wont Confirm Migrant Quota Until September: Delay seen as further setback in the blocs response to Mediterranean migration crisis (Wall Street Journal, link)
BRUSSELS: Hours before major summit, a bomb scare - The false alarm forced the closure late Tuesday of the area around the European Council building (Politico, link)
The Governments case against the European Court of Human Rights is a smokescreen (Democratic Audit, link) and see: ActForTheAct (link)
UK: Violent crime against women massively understated, statistics agency told - Crime Survey of England and Wales fails to account for nearly half the attacks on women, particularly those where victim knows the attacker, warns professor (Guardian, link)
GREECE: Citizenship bill to apply to fewer than 100,000, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link)
UK: Track the Act: European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16 (House of Parliament, link)
TTIP: The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries - Fifty years ago, an international legal system was created to protect the rights of foreign investors. Today, as companies win billions in damages, insiders say it has got dangerously out of control (Guardian, link)
Know your enemy: How to break the EUs gridlock on security measures (Centre for European Reform, link)
Jean-Marie Le Pen visé par une enquête pour blanchiment de fraude fiscale [Jean-Marie Le Pen under a tax fraud money laundering investigation] (Le Monde, link)
How just is the EU, or: is there a new European deficit? (verfassungsblog.de, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: UK: The new governments assault on civil liberties (pdf) by Chris Jones:
"On Thursday 8 May the UK election saw the Conservative Party return to power. With no formal coalition (they previously governed with the Liberal Democrats), they now have more leeway to try to advance an agenda that, if successful, will be deeply damaging to civil liberties and human rights. This article provides an overview of the governments intentions.
The major civil liberties issues included in the Conservative programme include new digital surveillance powers for the security agencies, known more commonly in the UK as the Snoopers Charter proposals; yet more anti-terrorism and counter-radicalisation laws; the abolition of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with a British Bill of Rights; further restrictions on immigration and migrants; and new restrictions on the right to strike."
European Parliament to postpone vote on TTIP (Politico, link): "Divisions within the two major party groups in the European Parliament have forced the president of the assembly, Martin Schulz, to postpone Wednesdays scheduled vote on trade talks between the EU and U.S."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Consolidated version of the Council's negotiating position as at 5 June 2015: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no 9657-15, pdf) With 268 pages and still 646 Member States' positions:
"consolidated version of the General Data Protection Regulation as it stands after the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Counsellors on 5 June 2015.
With a view to preparing a text for a General approach which obtains the required majority in Council on 15/16 June 2015, the Presidency prepared new compromise suggestions."
And: SCOPE: Chapter I - Article 2(e) - scope of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Directive (LIMITED doc no: 8745-REV- 3-15, pdf): A crucial issue seeking to limit access in the proposed Directive on the exchange of personal information between law enforcement agencies as it would affect the Regulation in matters of the maintenance of public order and national security:
"Following the discussion in the JHA Counsellors' meeting on 5 June the text in subject was amended taking into account comments of delegations....
The activities carried out by the police or other law enforcement authorities are mainly focused on the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences, including police activities without prior knowledge if an incident is a criminal offence or not. This These can also includes the exercise of authority by taking coercive measures, such as police activities at demonstrations, and major sporting events and riots... aimed at preventing human behaviour which may lead to threats to fundamental interests of the society ( ) protected by law and which may lead to a criminal offence...
AT proposed to add to the recital: Administrative tasks such as tasks with regard to the right of association and assembly, immigration and asylum or civil protection shall not be considered as activities falling under the prevention of threats of public security....
Since this Directive should not apply to the processing of personal data in the course of an activity which falls outside the scope of Union law, activities of agencies or units dealing with national security issues should not be considered as ( ) activities falling under the scope of this Directive."
EU: ECRI reports RACISM: HUNGARY and POLAND: ECRI report on Hungary (pdf),ECRI report on Poland and Albania (pdf)
See: Council of Europe criticises racism in Hungary, Poland (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europes expert group on racism and intolerance today (9 June) called for action to fight prejudice in Hungary and Poland, after publishing damning reports on the two countries."
News in Brief (9.6.15)
Dangerous Territory: Neo-Nazis slowly taking over villages in Germany (YouTube, link)
Prosecutors improperly withheld crucial evidence from trial of protesters - Police and prosecutors are facing claims that they have systematically - and unfairly - concealed the operations of undercover officers from the trials of protesters (Guardian, link): "Prosecutors have been ordered to pay the legal bill of 29 environmental protesters who were unjustly convicted. The Crown Prosecution Service has been forced to pay £43,000 after conceding that crucial evidence gathered by an undercover police officer was improperly withheld from the protesters trial. The money covers the legal costs incurred by the protesters and their out-of-pocket expenses."
Protesters mount last-ditch bid to prevent Glasgow student's deportation - Majid Ali, who claims he would be in danger if he returned to Pakistan, due to be deported from the UK imminently despite efforts to have his case reviewed (Guardian, link)
Chief Superintendent tells court gardaí in Catch 22 policing water meter protests (Irish Times, link): "A Chief Superintendent has told the High Court that locations where water meters were being installed were not public areas for the purpose of the Public Order Act, leaving gardaí with a difficulty when it came to policing protests.On November 5th, the High Court granted an order to a water meter installation contractor, establishing the 20-metre exclusion zone around locations where its workers were installing meters in Dublin City.....
Migrant Rights Film Among Finalists for Top Italian Prize (Liberties.eu, link)
UK: Nazi sympathiser and former King the Duke of Windsor 'wanted England to be bombed', international archives reveal (Independent, link)
GREECE: Golden Dawn trial staggers along (ekathimerini.com, link)
The Computers Are Listening - NSA Wont Say If It Automatically Transcribes American Phone Calls in Bulk (The Intercept, link)
Five false assumptions driving EU migration policy (IRIN, link) and see: Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link)
Read the TPP (link)
Italy PM Renzi attacks northern regions for refusing migrants (BBC News, link)
N IRELAND: Fighting the Repeal of the Human Rights Act (CAJ, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: Report on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 9422-25, pdf): Includes:
"Deepening of cooperation of Member States' security services: At the initiative of the Latvian Presidency, Member States' security services informed COREPER on 16 April 2015 about their cooperation, which takes place outside EU structures...."
The "Club of Venice" (informal network of Member States communications directors) will have a meeting in Vienna in June 2015 focusing on communication challenges related to preventing radicalisation, an exchange of views on Member States' communication strategies and activities. Attention will be paid to the use of new media instruments (effectiveness, affordability, outreach, monitoring)....
On Libya, a second Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (PFCA) was provided and discussed by the Foreign Affairs Council in April 2015. Counter-terrorism aspects were part of the PFCA. Building on the PFCA and further developments, a CT strategy for Libya will be prepared as soon as conditions on the ground allow..." [emphasis added]
See also: On the EU and political situation in Libya: Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya (LIMITE doc no: 7886, pdf): "The previous Strategic Review of EUBAM Libya, undertaken in May 2014, had highlighted the importance (and fragility) of a political transition and stable security situation as essential prerequisites to underpin the viability of the mission. These two key assumptions have not been met, although it should be noted that many elements of the previous review, in particular the decision to focus on operational activities through pilot projects in Libya, might still be applicable in the event that a sustainable political and security transition does eventually occur."
And: Regarding: "enhanced checks of the relevant databases and Member State capacity to do so, the Commission had issued informal recommendations" Foreign Fighters: Application of the Schengen Border Code Follow-up (LIMITE doc no: 16880-14, pdf)
News Digest (8.6.15)
EDPS: Speech by: European Data Protection Supervisor: Brussels, 5 June 2015: European Anti-Fraud Congress: Anti-fraud investigations and data protection in the EU (pdf)
New Director General in the Council General Secretariat: "On 8 June 2015, the Council appointed Ms Christine Roger as Director General responsible for Justice and Home Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council as from 1 July 2015."
Many EU countries say no to immigration quotas (euractiv, link): "The European Commission has submitted a proposal to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers in the EU. But its up to the member states to decide, and many dont accept the proposed distribution of migrants."
SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines - The unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been converted into a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.(International New York Times, link) Exclusive: Detainee Alleges CIA Sexual Abuse, Torture Beyond Senate Findings (INYT, link) and Link to US CIA torture report
EU Council of the European Union: Foreign Relations & the Charter
- OUTCOMES: Summary of discussions of the Foreign Relations Counsellors/Sanctions formation Working Party meeting held on 29 May 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 9690-15, pdf) including Swift adoption of EU legal acts implementing UN Sanctions, Reporting obligations to the UN, Prohibition of extension and payment of counter-guarantees and Cultural goods.
- CHARTER 2014: Draft Council conclusions on the application of the Charter on Fundamental Rights in 2014 (LIMITE doc no: 9409-15, pdf) Including:
"The Council emphasises the importance of complying with fundamental rights in the EU asylum and migration policy at all stages, starting with the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in the EU, through to migrant and refugee integration, and the return of those with no right to remain....
the Council invites the Member States to strictly enforce the immigration and asylum acquis, including the respect for the procedures and standards that allow Europe to ensure a humane and dignified treatment and a proportionate use of coercive measures, in line with fundamental rights and the principle of non-refoulement, and to reinforce the protection of the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers, paying particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups, such as children." [emphasis added]
UNHCR: OPTIONS PAPER 1: Options for governments on care arrangements and alternatives to detention for children and families and OPTIONS PAPER 2: Options for governments on open reception and alternatives to detention (links)
CoE: Counter terrorism and human rights protection (Commissioner for Human Rights, link):
"Forfeiting human rights in the fight against terrorism is a grave mistake and an ineffective measure that may help the cause of the terrorists. Policies which are human rights compliant preserve the values the terrorists are trying to destroy, weaken support for radicalism among potential adherents, and strengthen public confidence in the rule of law."
See: Positions on counter-terrorism and human rights protection (pdf)
EU: Council of he European Union: "WSIS+10", Internet stakeholders, Internal Security Strategy
- World Summit on the Information Society: Draft lines to take to guide the EU and its Member States in the preparatory process of the World Summit on the Information Society + 10 ("WSIS+10") Review Process - Approval (LIMITE doc no: 9334-15, pdf): "The Delegations will find in the Annex draft lines to take to guide the EU and its Member States in the preparatory process of the World Summit on the Information Society +10 (WSIS+10) Review Process".
- INTERNET STAKEHOLDERS: Draft Council Conclusions on the transfer of the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the multistakeholder community - Adoption (LIMITE doc no: 9482-15, pdf)
- INTERNAL SECURITY STRATEGY: Draft Council Conclusions on the Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020 (LIMITE doc no: 9416-15, pdf)
OSCE: Handbook: How to prevent human trafficking for domestic servitude in diplomatic households and protect private domestic workers (pdf)
News in Brief (6-7.6.15)
UK: Mediterranean migrant crisis: Millions of pounds of UK aid funding could be diverted to stop flow of people from Libya (Independent, link)
Mediterranean migrant crisis: number of arrivals in Italy in 2015 passes 50,000 (Guardian., link)
G7 protesters unite in opposition to TTIP under the alpine sun - A stroll in the alps with protesters at the G7 summit at Garmisch and the largest police operation in the history of Bavaria (Guardian, link) and see: Securty for the G7 Summit in El&SHY;mau Federal Minister of the Interior temporarily reinstates border checks (link): "The checks are intended to meet security requirements, prevent potential violent offenders from entering the territory and ensure that the event can take place without disruptions." and No hiking, no hang-gliding, no helium balloons, the G7 is in town: Residents of the German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen are annoyed. Some say the gathering of world leaders, and all its brimborium, is Merkels revenge (Guardian, link): "For days now the manhole covers have been sealed. Locals are controlled by police wherever they go and have been told to remove any flower boxes or woodpiles that are out on the street. Theres a virtual ban on hiking in the local forests, and hang-gliding. Indeed, flying of any kind of private planes, kites, helium balloons or drones is strictly forbidden. Police thinly disguised as hikers have been patrolling the forests for months, habitually stopping mountain bikers and ramblers and asking for their ID.."
International week of actions to close detention centres 15 - 21 June 2015 (link): "To all organizations and collectives that are working for the closure of migrant detention centres and against migration policies that criminalize migrants and refugees"
Greater Manchester Police officer sacked over 'offensive and racist' comments about Muslims on Facebook (Manchester Evening News, link)
G7: Protesters and police clash as G7 leaders prepare to discuss corruption and trade - Several people taken to hospital after scuffles in German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen as demonstrators, some throwing bottles, face off with riot police (Guardian link)
UK: Hundreds protest to demand closure of Yarls Wood immigration centre - Juliet Stevenson and Shami Chakrabarti speak out after abuse of women inmates is revealed in Channel 4 documentary (Guardian, link)
Trade treaty negotiations can remain secret, EU court rules (PC World, link)
Portugal decriminalised drugs 14 years ago and now hardly anyone dies from overdosing (Independent, link)
Die Europol-Verordnung im Trilog [The Europol Regulation in the trilogue] (CILIP, link) by Eric Töpfer
UK: Nearly 1 million patients could be having confidential data shared against their wishes - Calls for an official investigation as it is disclosed that at least 700,000 patients opted out to having their GP data shared with third parties only to have their demands ignored. (Daily Telegraph, link)
Migrants turn to Greece-Turkey route to Europe (BBC News, link): "More migrants are trying to reach the EU via Turkey and Greece than taking the perilous sea crossing from Libya, the EU's border management agency says.So far this year around 46,000 migrants have used the eastern Mediterranean route, compared with 43,000 crossing between Libya and Italy, Frontex says." and UNHCR boosts presence in Greek islands to cope with soaring refugee arrivals (link)
CoE: DEMOCRATIC OVERSIGHT of SECURITY SERVICES: Reinforcing democratic oversight of security services cannot be further delayed
(Press release, pdf) and Report: Democratic and effective oversight of national security services (78 pages, pdf):
"This issue paper addresses the question of what is required to make national oversight systems more effective in helping to promote human rights compliance and accountability in the work of security services.
This issue paper focuses on the oversight of state bodies, including both autonomous agencies and departments/units of other government departments or the armed forces, that have a mandate to collect, analyse and disseminate intelligence within the borders of their state in order to inform decisions by policy makers, military
commanders, police investigators and border/customs agencies about threats to national security and other core national interests."
UK-USA: America curbs state snooping, Britain gives the green light - As the US Congress passes a Freedom Act, the grip of the UKs securocrats on ministers is clearer than ever (Guardian, link):
"The US Congress passed a Freedom Act this week, partially curbing its power to harvest bulk data on the lives of Americas citizens.... Meanwhile Britains government moves relentlessly in the opposite direction. It wants to revive the snoopers charter bill, which failed in the last parliament. Among other things, this would give police and secret services more surveillance powers and, David Cameron hopes, ban server encryption that could impede surveillance."
UK: OFSTED: (HM Inspector of Prisons): Inspection of Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre: February 2015 (pdf).
See: Children suffer racist abuse and degrading treatment by guards high on drugs at G4S Rainsbrook prison (Open Democracy, link): "G4S appoints new leadership at Rainsbrook: the man in charge when Gareth Myatt, 15, was restrained to death, the man who told an inquest he hadnt read the restraint manual.
Liquid Traces - The Left-to-Die Boat Case Vimeo, link): "Liquid Traces offers a synthetic reconstruction of the events concerning what is known as the left-to-die boat case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATOs maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived." See also: Left ot die - report (link)
SNOWDEN: UK-EU-USA: MASS SURVEILLANCE: Report from PI and Amnesty International: Two Years After Snowden: Protecting human rights in an age of mass surveillance (pdf):
"This briefing, published on the two-year anniversary of the publication of the first Snowden revelations, warns that governments are looking to maintain and expand mass surveillance, despite the practice being condemned as a human rights violation by courts, parliaments and human rights bodies. It comes on the heels of the adoption of the USA Freedom Act by the US Congress, a solitary and limited example of legislative rollback of surveillance powers since Edward Snowden's revelations began."
See also: Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance (New York Times, link):
"For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects."
News in Brief (5.6.15)
EU-MEXICO: EU - Mexico summit, Brussels, 12 June 2015 (pdf): "he summit should also provide an occasion for the leaders to take stock and welcome recent progress made in the field of Passenger Name Records (PNR). They will agree starting technical discussions on the use of such data by law enforcement agencies." See: Letter from Commissioner to Claude Moraes, Chair LIBE Committee (pdf) and Statewatch story filed on 8.3.15: European Commission in a pickle over PNR So far the EU has PNR agreements with the USA, Canada and Australia (close "Five Eyes" allies). Will the deal with Mexico open the door to dozens more?
EU: Integration requirements for third-country nationals: the first CJEU ruling (EU Law Analysis, link)
Privacy Is Not a Barrier to Trade - How a secretive trade agreement could change the global Internet (SLATE, link)
An Easy Target: Homophobia for Political Ends (HRW, link)
EU governments in disagreement over data breach liability rules (Outlaw, link): "EU governments are in disagreement over whether consumers should be able to sue businesses for damage they suffer as a result of a data breach even where those businesses are not responsible for the damage caused"
EU: NEW DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Latest "consolidated" version of the Council's position (3 June 2015): Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation)xxx (LIMITE doc no 9281-15, dated 3 June 2015,pdf) 267 pages, with 646 Footnotes with Member States' positions.
"a consolidated version of the General Data Protection Regulation as it stands after the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Counsellors on 1 June 2015.... The comments of delegations are reflected in the footnotes"
This version supersedes the previous: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no:9398-15 dated 1 June 2015, pdf): 264 pages, with 626 Footnotes
USA: Airport Security: Astoundingly Expensive and 95 Percent Ineffective - A recent leaked report on the TSA revealed glaring failures by the agency. But screenings arent worth the cost even in the best of circumstances. (CityLab, link) and
EXCLUSIVE: Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports (ABC News, link) and TSA Director Reassigned in Wake of Security Failures (ABC News, link) also: Yawning, Whistling Might Get You Flagged at Airport Security (ABC News, link)
UK: Immigration: battening down the hatches (IRR News, link) by Frances Webber:
"The second of a post-election three-part series on civil liberties in the UK observes how the Queens Speech immigration proposals contain more of the same old deterrence policies, creating more desperation, in the face of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II."
EU-USA & OTHERS: Trade in Services Agreement - Press release (Wikileaks, link):
"WikiLeaks releases today 17 secret documents from the ongoing TISA (Trade In Services Agreement) negotiations which cover the United States, the European Union and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan & Israel -- which together comprise two-thirds of global GDP. "Services" now account for nearly 80 per cent of the US and EU economies and even in developing countries like Pakistan account for 53 per cent of the economy. While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become well known in recent months in the United States, the TISA is the larger component of the strategic TPP-TISA-TTIP 'T-treaty trinity'. All parts of the trinity notably exclude the 'BRICS' countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa."
And see: Statewatch: Analysis - TTIP and TiSA: big pressure to trade away privacy (pdf) by Ralf Bendrath,Senior Policy Advisor to Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP (Greens/EFA), Brussels
EU Court of Justice (CJEU): Dodgy ruling in Corporate Europe case: Its OK for the Commission to give documents to lobbyists, but not general public or NGOs: Judgment on appeal (pdf)
See: Blow for citizens as EU court backs privileged corporate access to EU trade talks (Corporate Observatory Europe, link): "In a decision that risks deepening the secrecy shrouding EU trade policy, the CJEU confirmed that the Commission did not violate EU access to documents rules by sharing information about the talks with big business lobbies while keeping it hidden from the public."
UK-ECHR: INQUEST: European Court of Human Rights family to challenge UK government failure to prosecute police officers: background briefing on the broader context of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes (link):
" Deborah Coles, Co-Director, INQUEST who will be attending the hearing in Strasbourg alongisde the family and their lawyers. The failure to bring any criminal prosecutions against police officers responsible for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, by Metropolitan police officers on 22 July 2005 raises significant questions about how the state and its agents are held to account for killing its citizens.
Prosecutions are extremely rare after a death in custody, even where an inquest jury has returned a finding of unlawful killing. This has been and remains one of the most contentious issues in relation to the approach of the criminal justice system to deaths in all forms of custody."
EU-USA "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT on the exchange of personal data: Agence Europe news agency reports that in Riga on 3 June the European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, said that once the US Congress had passed the Judicial Redress Act that both side can finalise the "Umbrella" Agreement on data protection. ""We are not there yet, but we have not much further to go", the Commissioner said. The Agreement has been under negotiation since 2010 and the European Parliament has maintained that the new EU Regulation on data protection must be put in place first.
See: USA: Judicial Redress Bill (pdf) and also: European Parliament Study: The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement. Safeguards, rights and remedies for EU citizens (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: EU-PNR: MEPs to discuss possible changes to Commission proposal (Press release, pdf): "Amendments to the EU Passenger Name Record data (EU PNR) proposal will be discussed in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Thursday 4 June from 11.15 to 12.15. Of the 836 amendments tabled, 47 were presented by rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK) in his draft report and 789 by MEPs from various political groups."
EU: MED-CRISIS: UN Security Council resolution on migrant trafficking halted (Ansa, link): "Preparation of a draft UN Security Council resolution to authorize an European mission against migrant traffickers in the Mediterranean "has been suspended until the issue of the consent of the Libyan authorities has been resolved," a diplomat of the UN Security Council told ANSA on Wednesday..... the same source said that "regarding implementation, cooperation is necessary from all parties in the country"; and the Libyan government can not give authorization because it does not control the whole territory."
EU: Council of the European Union: Preparation of maritime operation EUNAVFOR MED (Press release, pdf)
And see: Efforts to Secure Security Council Resolution on EU Migrant Plan Paused (MIgrants at Sea, link)
Also: Juncker: Commission wont change its migration agenda (euractiv, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday (3 June) that in spite of opposition from some member states, the EU executive would not change its mind on the proposals it recently made in its attempt to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers in the EU."
EU: European Parliament: JOINT INTA/LIBE PUBLIC HEARING: Trade agreements and data flows: Safeguarding the EU data protection standards (pdf) and Agenda (pdf)
EU: Visa Information System to start operations in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan on 12 October 2015: Visa Information System (VIS): Commission Implementing Decision: (EU) 2015/854 of 1 June 2015 determining the date from which the Visa Information System (VIS) is to start operations in the nineteenth region (pdf):
See also: EU: Collection of personal data for the EU's Visa Information System spreads further across the globe (Statewatch database), EU: Law enforcement authorities to gain access to European visa database on 1 September and EU officials discuss interconnection of visa database and Schengen Information System
EU: European Parliament Study: Civil Judicial Expertise in the EU: Analysis of EU Legislation and Recommendations (pdf):
"this study provides an analysis of existing EU legislation applicable to judicial expertise for the purpose of assessing whether cross-border expertise in the EU is hampered or restricted, and whether steps could be taken to facilitate it and to further develop a genuine European area of civil justice. It concludes that, while existing EU law is largely satisfactory, there are still major issues, and that EU action would be necessary to address them."
EU-USA: European Parliament Study: The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement. Safeguards, rights and remedies
for EU citizens (pdf) Key findings include:
"With the exception of FISA electronic surveillance orders, the data protection guarantees afforded to non-US persons are minimal. The stated intent of PPD-28 [Presidential Policy Directive 28] is to provide for stronger personal data protection for non-US persons, but it is difficult to come to any conclusions at this point in time on what effect it will have...
As David Kris puts it, PPD-28 could either be a new paradigm of transparency, privacy, and internationalism in US intelligence or a collection of fairly modest changes, largely cosmetic in nature, that were designed to placate critics in the United States and abroad.....
..... Another question raised by this overview is the lack of legal limits in US law on the sharing of personal data between intelligence and law enforcement officials..... the law confers broad authority to transfer personal data collected through intelligence methods to law enforcement agencies, regardless of the type of criminal offense that is suspected.... Unlike EU law, US law does not contain a general prohibition on transfers of personal data to jurisdictions without
adequate data protection guarantees....
there are at least two important mechanisms that can be used in the bilateral agreements under negotiation to improve the rights of EU citizens.... The first is carefully drafted purpose, use, and sharing provisions that limit personal data processing to certain types of crimes...The second type of guarantee is oversight and redress mechanisms for EU citizens that can operate in conjunction with those currently in place under US law....
Although internal oversight bodies like Inspectors General and agency privacy offices lack the independence of European DPAs, they are tasked with enforcing civil liberties and have the capacity to administer ombudsman-like complaints systems for those who allege that their privacy rights have been violated. Ensuring that such an ombudsman process exists in all significant law enforcement agencies, expressly acknowledging a right to participate for EU citizens, and allowing European DPAs to intervene on the behalf of EU citizens would improve significantly legal oversight of privacy rights." [emphasis added]
See also: Executive Summary (EASFJ, link)
News Digest (4.6.15)
UK: Don't let the Snoopers' Charter Bounce Back! (Open Rights Group, link)
Hunting for Hackers, N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border (New York Times, link)
SCOTLAND: Police statements row over death in custody (The National, link): "A MONTH after the death of Sheku Bayoh, police officers who were with him on the day he died in police custody in Kirkcaldy are to assist with the Police Investigations and Review Commissioners (PIRC) inquiry into his death. Sources tell The National that of the 11 police officers who had dealings with Bayoh on Sunday, May 3, only two officers have so far given statements to the inquiry. Unlike officers in England and Wales, Scottish police officers do not have to co-operate with investigators. The officers have not had to turn over their notebooks and are not banned from conferring with one another. Nor have they been taken off active duty." See also: Police reject Sheku Bayoh custody death criticism (BBC News, link) and BAYOH FAMILY HIT BACK (Glasgow lawyer, link)
Migrants in Greece: The struggle for a better life (.aljazeera, link): "On the streets there is fear and trepidation of far-right Golden Dawn party members known for their attacks on migrants."
Europes open border dilemma; is Schengen a success? (euronews, link)
US pledges to extend EU visa perks (euoberver, link) Extending "perks" for the few not the many.
What next after multiculturalism? (euobserver, link) "One possible approach is that of interculturalism, a concept developed by the Council of Europe." See also: Where monoculturalism leads (IRR News, link)
High Court to hear Libertys legal challenge to Governments emergency surveillance law (link): " Liberty, David Davis and Tom Watson use Human Rights Act to challenge DRIP Act - Hearing comes as Government seeks to expand same data-gathering powers through Investigatory Powers Bill"
European Parliaments TTIP vote in limbo (euractiv, link): "Thirteen parliamentary committees have given their opinion on TTIP, and all included ISDS, despite the growing public outcry against enabling corporations to use extra-juridical tribunals to challenge state authorities and national laws."
Berlin and Paris propose radical eurozone integration (euobserver, link): "he eurozone should have its own budget, an institution which can raise taxes, a separate body inside the European Parliament, and wage harmonisation, France and Germany have said."
CIA sex abuse and torture went beyond Senate report disclosures, detainee says - Majid Khan, who underwent enhanced interrogation, says authorities poured ice water on his genitals and hung him naked from a beam for days (Guardian, link)
Lampedusa in the Alps (euobserver, link): "in Bolzano, Italian policemen blocked all doors of the IC train to Munich, asking black passengers for passports. White people were waved through without having to show either passports or tickets. In the run-up to a G7 summit in Elmau on 7 and 8 June, Germany has reintroduced border controls. Passports will be checked over a three week period, from 26 May to 15 June. "
Frontex: Eastern European Borders: Annual Risk Analysis 2015 (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Seventh bi-annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area: 1 November 2014 - 30 April 2015 (pdf)
CoE-Internet: Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on ICANN, human rights and the rule of law (pdf)
EU-USA: EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting: Riga statement on enhancing transatlantic cooperation in the area of Justice, Freedom and Security (pdf) Including:
"Conclude the review of the Safe Harbor Framework and negotiations of the Umbrella Agreement concerning law enforcement transfers of personal information between the European Union and the United States, in order to ensure effective protection of such information when transferred across the Atlantic...
Enhance bilateral information sharing between the EU Member States and the U.S. Terrorist Screening Centre... Promote dialogue on voluntary and forced return and readmission, in accordance with the international protection standards including cooperation with third countries."
USA-NSA: US Freedom Act passed but surveillance of "foreigners" continues:
"It leaves untouched formerly secret programs the NSA says are authorized under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, and that while ostensibly targeted at foreigners nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications. It wont in any way limit the agencys mass surveillance of non-American communications." (The Intercept, link) [emphasis, added]
See also: Previous coverage: The Intercept, link): "Congress is doing nothing to limit NSA programs ostensibly targeted at foreigners that nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications, nor to limit the agencys mass surveillance of non-American communications. The limited reforms in the new bill affect only the one program explicitly aimed at Americans." [emphasis added]
See: US Freedom Act 2015 (pdf)
Congress passes NSA surveillance reform in vindication for Snowden - Bulk collection of Americans phone records to end as US Senate passes USA Freedom Act (Guardian, link): "The US Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to end the bulk collection of millions of Americans phone records, ushering in the countrys most significant surveillance reform since 1978 two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdens revelations... The American Civil Liberties Union praised the passage of the USA Freedom Act as a milestone but pointed out that there were many more intrusive and overbroad surveillance powers yet untouched."
Congress turns away from post-9/11 law, retooling U.S. surveillance powers (Washington Post, link): "Congress on Tuesday rejected some of the sweeping intelligence-gathering powers it granted national security officials after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the Senate voting to end the governments bulk collection of private telephone records and to reform other surveillance policies. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, passed on a 67-to-32 vote, against the will of Senate Republican leaders who wished to preserve existing spy programs." and Questions and answers about newly approved USA Freedom Act (Washington Post, link)
UK-USA: Secret report urges treaty forcing US web firms' cooperation in data sharing - Exclusive: UK privacy campaigners say international treaty could provide legal alternative to governments snoopers charter proposals (Guardian, link)
"A top secret report to the British prime minister has recommended that a new international treaty be negotiated to force the cooperation of the big US internet companies in sharing customers personal data, the Guardian has learned."
This is a recognition that new powers under Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA 2014) to serve warrants (under Extra-territoriality in Part 1 of RIPA) on CSPs outside the UK is unworkable, especially in the USA.
EU: Ombudsman welcomes improvements to Commission expert groups (Press release, link): "The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has welcomed the Commission's agreement to improve its system of expert groups in response to proposals made by her in an own-initiative investigation."
and see: The European Ombudsman's own-initiative inquiry OI/6/2014/NF concerning the composition of Commission expert groups Commission's opinion on the European Ombudsman's analysis and suggestions (pdf)
ECHR: Jean Charles de Menezes Case to be heard on 10 June: ECHR Announcement (pdf) and Statement of Facts (pdf)
See: De Menezes family take fight for 'justice' to European Court (Evening Standard, link): "The family of an innocent man shot dead by police after the 2005 London bombings are seeking justice and accountability at the European Court of Human Rights over his killing. Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician, was on his way to work when officers mistook him for a suicide bomber amid a bungled Metropolitan Police surveillance operation in south London. Mr de Menezes was held down and shot seven times in the head on a Tube train at Stockwell station...The case has been brought by his cousin, Patricia Armani da Silva, on behalf of the family and will be heard in Strasbourg after being lodged seven years ago."
Also: IPCC report is damning indictment against Metropolitan Police Service Menezes Family say (Statewatch database)
UK: Internal memo shows Greater Manchester Police 'spied on Stephen Lawrence campaigners ahead of a public inquiry' (Manchester Evening News, link):
"The message - obtained by the M.E.N. - was circulated to senior officers on the forces computer system before being passed on to junior ranks...The forces Special Branch sought information or intelligence on anyone likely to attend the public inquiry."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Preventing and combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance should be a priority for member States (link) and see adopted Report (pdf)
UK: The Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel a whitewash operation exposed (Undercover Research Group, link)
"Sophie Khan announced to stand down from the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel. Via a tweet and a blogpost at the Telegraph site earlier this week; it almost passed unnoticed. Until recently, the existence of this Panel was unknown, even to the Undercover Research Group. But that has changed now....The National Undercover Scrutiny Panel (or Undercover Policing Oversight Board) is a working group established in 2014 by the College of Policing as part of a set of changes to providing greater transparency and review of undercover policing. "
And: Sophie Khan resigns from College of Policing panel (viewing article requires free account) (Police Oracle, link): ""A lawyer who volunteered for a College of Policing panel has resigned after claiming it wasn't fulfilling its purpose...Sophie Khan... was the highest profile member of a group to check on the standards of training and public confidence in the use of undercover tactics. (...) "Ms Khan... told PoliceOracle.com today (June 2) that nothing had been achieved beyond agreeing a term of reference."She said: 'It has done nothing. I couldn't continue when I have been a member for a year and nothing has happened.'"
Also: The Panel was a good idea but ..I have today stood down from the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel.
News Digest (3.6.15)
UK: Police accused of 'breathtaking changes' to story of their search of man who died - Five Thames Valley officers removed details of interaction with Habib Paps Ullah, who died later the same evening, disciplinary hearing is told (GUardian, link)
Orban says migrants will change European civilisation (euobserver, link): "Hungarian leader Viktor Orban has warned that immigrants will alter Europes civilisation, amid ongoing EU debate on the Mediterranean crisis.... "There is no way back from a multicultural Europe. Neither to a Christian Europe, nor to a world of national cultures, he added."
Citizens of five more Caribbean countries get visa-free travel to Schengen area (Curacao Chronicle., link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Latest "consolidated" version of the Council's position (1 June 2015): Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no:9398-15, pdf): 246 pages still with 626 Footnotes with Member State positions:
"In view of the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Counsellors on 1 June 2015, delegations will find in annex a consolidated version of the General Data Protection Regulation as it stands on 29 May 2015."
See also: Delegated and implementing acts (LIMITE doc no: 9185-15, pdf) and REMEDIES, LIABILITY AND SANCTIONS: Chapter VIII (LIMITE doc no: 9083-15, pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Germany and France urge Commission to revise immigration plan (euractiv, link): "Germany and France on Monday (1 June) urged the EU to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers, as their leaders met the European Commission chief in Berlin..... France and Germany said in the joint statement that they currently were among five member states, along with Sweden, Italy and Hungary, that "are in charge of 75% of the asylum seekers". "This situation is not fair and no longer sustainable," they said."
See European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf) and Annexes (pdf)
EU-USA: Safe Harbour deal held up by US (euractiv, link): "European negotiators are still waiting for the US to budge on intelligence services' use of personal data before there can be a breakthrough on the Safe Harbour agreement, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová said last week (28 May)... The European Commission sent a list of 13 recommendations to American negotiators in 2013. Jourová said two last points were still holding up an agreement. If there were only 11 points, we could finalise negotiations. There are two more, however, which concern exceptions under which national intelligence services can use data, Jourová said at a panel discussion in Brussels."
See: Restoring Trust in EU-US data flows - Frequently Asked Questions (pdf) including 13 Recommendations on p4 and
"Why is Safe Harbour relevant to surveillance?
Under Safe Harbour, limitations to data protection rules are permitted where necessary on grounds of national security, the question has arisen whether the large-scale collection and processing of personal information under U.S. surveillance programmes is necessary and proportionate to meet the interests of national security. Safe Harbour acts as a conduit for the transfer of the personal data of EU citizens from the EU to the U.S. by companies required to surrender data to U.S. intelligence agencies under the U.S. intelligence collection programmes."
G6 Interior Ministers plus the USA: Meeting of G6 interior ministers at Schloss Moritzburg (BMI, link) and see: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after the G6 meeting with Interior Ministers in Moritzburg (pdf) G6 is made up of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK and the USA always attend.
WHISTLE-BLOWERS: Daniel Ellsberg credits Edward Snowden with catalysing US surveillance reform - Prominent US whistleblowers applaud Snowdens Patriot Act revelation for inciting Congress to take action, though they doubt he can ever return to the US (Guardian, link) and The Forgotten Pentagon Papers Conspirator (Mother Jones, link).
Also Report on public meeting in London on Monday 1 June: The Truth Tellers: Supporting Whistleblowers (link): "The brief talks were followed by interesting questions and discussion on the issues from the floor. The key issues highlighted by all the speakers were the role of the media and the governments need to control the public through surveillance and managing information. In a time when victims, from survivors of war to child abuse, are not believed and taken seriously, whistleblowers provide a safeguard against those who abuse and silence the vulnerable, providing a vital public service. We cannot protect the vulnerable unless we protect those who blow the whistle on abuse, whether of power, people, or both."
Statewatch: News Digest May 2015 (pdf) with 162 stories
News Digest (2.6.15)
EU-Peru: Biometric passports, requirement for Schengen Visa Exemption (Andina, link)
UNDER ATTACK WE FIGHT BACK: Sunday 7 June 2015, 3-5pm at North London Community House, Moorefield Road, Tottenham, London N17 6PY: "Since the publication of the whitewashed IPCC report into the killing of Mark Duggan, the justice for Mark Duggan Campaign have been busy conducting their own investigations into the police investigation. They are now ready to report back on a number of new revelations, some contained in David Rose's explosive article revealing previously unpublished details on the role of the Mets Operation Trident in Mark's death (please see link below) and the IPCC's role in fanning the flames that led to the riots of 2011." And see: Did gun crime conspiracy spark the 2011 inferno? Rioting. Bloodshed. A complete breakdown of the rule of law. But now a shocking new fact about a police operation before the riot poses a disturbing question (Mail Online, link)
Prague, Berlin to restart cooperation (Prague Post, link): "Foreign ministers will sign a new strategic partnership: The Czech and German foreign ministers are to sign a new strategic partnership deal in July, which will replace the 20-year-old declaration on bilateral relations and which should completely restart cooperation between Prague and Berlin
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Severe labour exploitation in the EU - 2/6/2015 - Press Pack (link)
EU-USA: Softer secrecy deal for TTIP group - The Commission backs down from requiring a strict confidentiality agreement for its trade expert panel. (Politico, link)
German Federal Prosecutor investigating US actions on drones base (Reprieve, link): "The German Federal Prosecutor is reported to have begun investigating a US base in Germany that is used as a hub for drone strikes, days after a Yemeni man testified in a Cologne court about the 2012 strike that killed his relatives." And US-Militärbasis: Bundesanwalt prüft Ramsteins Rolle im US-Drohnenkrieg (Spiegel Online, link) [Prosecutor probes Ramstein's role in US drone war]
Morris Beckman fought fascism, home and away (Camden New Journal, link): "Morris, who passed away this week aged 94, would not stand idly by as the far right made speeches and sold pamphlets that denied the Holocaust. Instead, he and other Jewish ex-servicemen set up the 43 Group an organisation that fought fascists on post-war Londons streets." and another East End anti-fascist: Happy 100th Birthday, Max Levitas! (Spitalfields Life, link); "Today we salute Max Levitas, celebrated anti-Fascist campaigner & veteran of the Battle of Cable St who enjoyed his one hundredth birthday yesterday"
ECHR: Italy : Court set for CIA terror abduction human rights complaint (CoE, link):
The European Courts chamber hearing in case Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (no. 44883/09) will take place on 23 June.
"The application concerns a case of extraordinary rendition, that is to say the abduction by CIA agents, with the cooperation of Italian nationals, of an Egyptian imam (Abu Omar), who holds refugee status, and his transfer to Egypt, followed by his secret detention there for several months. The applicants, Osama Mustafa Hassn Nasr, alias Abu Omar, and Nabila Ghali, are a married couple. They are both Egyptian nationals who were born in 1963 and currently live in Alexandria (Egypt)."
See Statewatch Observatory on CIA Rendition
EU: European Parliament: Conference on the Democratic Oversight of Intelligence Services in the European Union, European Parliament, Brussels 28-29 May 2015: Joint concluding remarks: As read out by the LIBE Chair (Claude Moraes MEP) on behalf of the 4 co-Chairs (pdf):
"the increase in the exchange of information and international cooperation between EU Member States and between Member States and third countries calls for increased cooperation also at the level of democratic oversight of intelligence activities, which is still only conducted at national level"
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU Data Protection Reform: the EDPS meets international civil liberties groups (pdf) Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said:
The EU Data Protection Reform is long overdue and continues to have my active support. My colleagues and I are committed to guiding the legislator to find the right solutions and ensure that key safeguards are not weakened in the search for political compromise. It is imperative that the reform increases and modernises standards of protection and makes existing and future safeguards more effective in the world of big data. Like civil liberties organisations, we believe that the reform must centre on the rights of the individual. We also believe that involving the general public in a text which is future-oriented, easy to understand, scalable, flexible and simple to implement is the only way forward."
CoE: Criminal justice access to data in the cloud: challenges: Discussion paper prepared by the T-CY Cloud Evidence Group (pdf): "The purpose of the present discussion paper is to facilitate an exchange of views on current and emerging challenges faced by criminal justice authorities and to seek the cooperation of industry and other stakeholders in identifying solutions. Such solutions may range from practical measures and documentation of good practices, to guidelines or a binding additional protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime."
USA: Senate takes up House bill but fails to avoid spying lapse (Washington Post, link): "Eight days after blocking it, Senate Republicans have agreed to begin debate on a House bill that would overhaul the National Security Agencys handling of American calling records while preserving other domestic surveillance provisions.But that remarkable turnabout didnt happen soon enough to prevent the laws governing the programs from expiring at midnight Sunday as Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a presidential contender, stood in the way of extending the program, angering his GOP colleagues and frustrating intelligence and law enforcement officials. Now, the question is whether the Senate will pass a bill the House can live with. If so, the surveillance programs will resume, with some significant changes in how the phone records are handled. If not, they will remain dormant."
And: Senate Lets NSA Spy Program Lapse, at Least for Now (New York Times, link) and For the First Time Since 9/11, Congress Checks the Security State (The Intercept, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: "Countering Hybrid Threats", Connected Contested World, Foreign Fighters: Risk Indicators, Smart Borders, Migration and development and Discrimination Directive
European External Action Service (EEAS): To: Political and Security Committee (PSC): Subject: Food-for-thought paper "Countering Hybrid Threats" (LIMITE doc no: 8887-15, pdf)
"Hybrid warfare can be more easily characterised than defined as a centrally designed and controlled use of various covert and overt tactics, enacted by military and/or non-military means, ranging from intelligence and cyber operations through economic pressure to the use of conventional forces.
By employing hybrid tactics, the attacker seeks to undermine and destabilise an opponent by applying both coercive and subversive methods. The latter can include various forms of sabotage, disruption of communications and other services including energy supplies. The aggressor may work through or by empowering proxy insurgent groups, or disguising state-to-state aggression behind the mantle of a "humanitarian intervention"." [emphasis added]
The EEAS describes itself as a "virtual fusion cell" which "could catalyse all indicators from the EEAS services, including EU Delegations and the COMMISSION services, and other key partners both countries and organisations, such as NATO... The EEAS provides the natural focus for this intelligence led work..... By denying
or distorting facts, populations can be easily manipulated, politicians dissuaded."
EEAS: The EU in a Changing Global Environment - A more connected, contested and complex world (LIMITE doc no: 8956-15, pdf)
"Europe too is more contested, as growing forces in Europe criticise, and at times oppose, the European project. Yet a more contested Europe can also spur decision-makers to better connect foreign policy with citizens expectations and inject momentum in the European debate through generational change....
Fragile states and ungoverned spaces are spreading. To the east, the EUs neighbours suffer from economic, political and energy fragilities. Across the Mediterranean, the spread of ungoverned spaces has enabled criminals, extremists and terrorists to thrive. Further south, instability and violence are the product of underdevelopment, lawlessness, corruption and conflict-ridden electoral politics - with more than 50 million people displaced."
Foreign Terrorist Fighters: - Application of the Schengen Border Code - Follow-up - Update on progress on the preparation of risk indicators (LIMITE doc no: 8741-15, pdf)
"In the context of the Riga Joint Statement, Ministers concluded regarding Schengen framework as follows: We consider that beyond the current efforts to make full use of existing Schengen framework, a targeted proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code is a necessary step to reinforce external borders by making it possible to proceed to systematic checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on the common risk indicators......
There is currently no agreement among Member States as to the need of carrying out systematic checks on documents (only one carries out such checks and eleven have declared that they are ready to do so). Those which have concerns have invoked technical/practical/economic) concerns.
See also: Foreign Fighters: Application of the Schengen Border Code Follow-up (LIMITE doc on: 16880-14, pdf)
Including SMART BORDERS: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee: Outcomes:Smart Borders Package, Biometric data in large IT databases in the area of borders, visa and asylum, Foreign Terrorist Fighters (LIMITE doc no: 8964-15, pdf)
EEAS: Migration in development cooperation - Issues Paper (LIMITE doc no: 9118-15, pdf)
"The answer to many of the challenges in the field of migration lies in the relations with third countries. Partnership with countries of origin and transit is thus crucial and the EU has established dedicated bilateral and regional migration dialogues with all of the most important regions concerned....
EU efforts on fostering diaspora engagement is continuing, in particular on capacity building for government authorities and diaspora associations in developing
appropriate policies and programmes to maximise the development contribution of their diaspora."
Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age
or sexual orientation (LIMITE doc no: 8679-15, pdf). Council developing its negotiating position - with 30 Member State positions.
Statewatch: JHA archive - EU Justice and Home Affairs documents from 1976 - 2000 UPDATED: 200+ new EU documents have now been uploaded bringing the current total to: 8,240 records:
This database contains bibliographic records and full-text documents on EU Justice and Home Affairs policy dating back to 1976 when the Trevi Group was set up (Trevi was ad hoc intergovernmental cooperation on Terrorism, Radicalism and Violence, and grew into formal European political cooperation in the former Third Pillar after the Maastricht Treaty). It has been created to allow researchers to chart the historical development of EU JHA policy from the start.
News Digest (1.6.15)
Kincora: calls for abuse to be included in UK inquiry (CHannel 4 News, link): "A man who was abused at Kincora children's home in Belfast is demanding that what happened there decades ago should be included in the UK-wide inquiry set up by the government."
How Private Contractors Have Created a Shadow NSA - A new cybersecurity elite moves between government and private practice, taking state secrets with them.(The Nation, link): "the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. INSA is a powerful but little-known coalition established in 2005 by companies working for the National Security Agency. In recent years, it has become the premier organization for the men and women who run the massive cyberintelligence-industrial complex that encircles Washington, DC."
FRANCE: French Data Protection Authority Unveils Its Inspection Program for 2015 (WSGR, link)
ECRE: Publishes Information Note on Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (link): "It is foreseen that the wide range of actions that AMIF supports should better address the needs and challenges faced by asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Europe, and the note calls on Member States to make use of the possibilities offered by the fund, such as support to alternatives to detention and addressing identified needs"
UK: My dad, the undercover policeman - As a child in the 1970s, Clare Carson knew her father, with his bushy beard and secretive ways, was a funny sort of copper. But it was only as an adult that her memories of their strange suburban life began to make sense (Guardian, link)
EU-USA:"European Commissioner Jourova said that she was waiting for the United States to respond, by the end of June, to the concerns raised by the EU following the NSA scandal (see EUROPE 11294). In 2013, the Commission submitted 13 recommendations to improve this mechanism on the transfer of personal data to American commercial businesses such as Google and Facebook, but the United States have not yet set all of them in place" (Agence Europe)
Internet of Things: the Italian Data Protection Authority has launched a public consultation in order to collect contributions and comments (Lexology, link)
Germany licks lips, eyes new data gulp with revised retention law - Wrong in 2006, 2010 and 2014, but it's now fine (Register, link)
International effort rescues over 5,000 Mediterranean migrants (euractiv, link): "The corpses of 17 migrants were brought ashore in Sicily aboard an Italian naval vessel on Sunday along with 454 survivors as efforts intensified to rescue people fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East."
UK police requests to access phone calls or emails are granted 93% of the time Campaigners call for a curb on the scale of police access to private communications data as the Tories prepare to expand surveillance powers (Guardian, link): "Ministers are facing calls to curb the scale of police access to private phone and email records, after a report by privacy campaigners found officers were making a request every two minutes and getting access in 93% of cases."
EU referendum: David Cameron boosted by support from European politicians for a 'two-speed Europe' (Independent, link): "Two senior European politicians have sketched the outline of a possible pre-referendum deal with David Cameron that would allow Britain to become a kind of low-definition member of the European Union. Emmanuel Macron, the French Economy Minister, said that it was time to accept the idea of a two-speed Europe in which some countries would stand aside from progress towards greater unity and integration."
News in Brief (30-31.5.15)
Boycott after Muslim woman claims discrimination on flight (Channel 4 News, link): "Muslim chaplain Tahera Ahmad claims she faced discrimination and verbal abuse while she was on board a United Airlines flight on Friday."
How the Human Rights Act escaped the Tory axe - David Cameron convinced voters with his pledge to scrap European human rights laws and bring in a British Bill of Rights but he could not persuade his own MPs (Daily Telegraph, link)
GERMANY: Heimliche SMS - NRW-Polizei zapft zehntausende Handys an [Secret SMS - NRW police taps into thousands Phones] (WAZ, link)
UK: Tim Berners-Lee urges Britain to fight 'snooper's charter' - Inventor of world wide web also advised developing world to just say no to Facebooks Internet.org scheme (Guardian, link): "Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has urged Britons to fight the governments plans to extend the countrys surveillance powers, and act as a worldwide leader for promoting good governance on the web. Berners-Lee said Britain had lost the moral leadership on privacy and surveillance, following the revelations of the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden."
GERMANY-NSA: New details about the joint NSA-BND operation Eikonal (Techdirt, link): "This weblog first reported about the joint NSA-BND operation Eikonal on October 15, 2014, but meanwhile interesting new details became available from the hearings of the German parliamentary inquiry, and from recent disclosures by a politician from Austria. Under operation Eikonal, the NSA cooperated with the German foreign intelligence service BND for access to transit cables from Deutsche Telekom in Frankfurt"
SNOWDEN: Here's the Best Stuff from Edward Snowden's Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (Mother Jones, link)
UK: Broadcasters attack Theresa May's plan to vet TV programmes for extremism - Industry figures say powers proposed by home secretary for Ofcom to approve content prior to transmission are completely impractical and difficult to justify (Guardian, link): "[Ofcom] all of its regulatory powers are post-transmission. Mays plan, revealed in a pre-election document outlining an extremism strategy for a stronger Britain, would give Ofcom the power to approve programmes before transmission, a fundamental shift."
Despite Dutch protection, Azer is still trapped by INTERPOL (Fair Trials, link): "Azer Samadov, a former Azerbaijani political refugee who currently has Dutch citzenship, has been subject to an INTERPOL arrest warrant since 2009."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf): It was going to be 5,000 people, then 40,000 now: "A total of 20 000 persons should be admitted to the Union during a two-year period of implementation of this scheme by the Member States"
and Annexes (pdf)
Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
New guidelines released by the European Commission allow Member States to use physical and mental coercive measures to take fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe, including minors and pregnant women. If they refuse, they face detention, expulsion and a potential five year EU-wide ban.
If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the proportionate use of coercion may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject.. [emphasis added]
See also: The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures (EU Law Analysis, link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Press coverage:
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos (Independent, link)
Italy Hands Smuggler Unprecedented Life Sentence as Europe Prepares for Migrant Deluge (BB, link)
Tunisian - and Top E.U. Generals - Fear Mission Creep Madness in Libya (The Daily Beast, link): "A newly revealed classified document and a history of grave misjudgments warn against the dangers of the new EU plan to stop migrants.... Europes defense chiefs are warning their political superiors that the planned military mission to stop migrant-smuggling boats crossing the Mediterranean can lead to land operations in Libya and possible clashes with the Islamic States affiliate in that failing North African state, a turn of events bound to threaten neighboring Tunisias fragile equilibrium still further."
Tunisian PM Speaks Against EU Military Action to Stop Refugee Smugglers (Sputnik News, link):
"Tunisia opposes any military effort by the EU to tackle refugee smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Thursday. Tunisias position was always clear We are originally against all military action, both to regulate political conflict and to regulate the problem with illegal smugglers, Essid said in the European Parliament."
Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire [Migrants in the Mediterranean: Tunisia against all military intervention] (rtbf.be, link):
"Habib Essid said that his country is "against any military intervention to solve this problem. This problem must be resolved upstream and downstream. These people take risks, sell everything they have around them to come to Europe, for more freedom, for better economic opportunities for work. I know the problems this poses for all countries of the European Union, but the solution is to look other than make occasional military interventions."
The European Parliament press release does not mention these comments: Tunisias Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges (pdf)
Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link): "Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark."
UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye (pdf):
"In the present report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 25/2, the Special Rapporteur addresses the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communications. Drawing from research on international and national norms and jurisprudence, and the input of States and civil society, the report concludes that encryption and anonymity enable individuals to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age and, as such, deserve strong protection." [emphasis added]
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 8161-15, pdf) See detailed ANNEX pp6-15. And: "Reports indicate that the surge of migration flows towards the EU from Turkey is partly due to Egypt and Algeria (since January 2015, also Lebanon) implementing visa requirements for Syrian nationals, who enjoy a visa-free entry to Turkey."
News in Brief (29.5.15)
European Commission: Take Swift Action Against Attacks on Core EU Values in Spain! (Liberties.eu, link)
Britain 'protected state-sponsored serial killers' on both sides during Irish Troubles, BBC documentary claims (Independent, link) and link to Video
Inside NSA, Officials Privately Criticize Collect It All Surveillance (The Intercept, link): "The problem is that when you collect it all, when you monitor everyone, you understand nothing. Edward Snowden"
EU: Nerds, techies and lobbyists - The Commission this week will unveil an overhaul of the extensive system of expert groups (Politico, link)
Marauders Map: the Chrome app that stalks Facebook Messenger users - Privacy concerns over app that allows you to pinpoint location of anyone who is part of same messaging thread, and track them via time stamps (Guardian, link)
UK: Fury after primary pupils are asked to complete radicalisation-seeking surveys - Parents complain after London council circulates questionnaire among year 6 pupils in schools with large Muslim intakes (Guardian, link)
EU-USA: MEPs give passing vote to TTIP (euractiv, link): "The European Parliaments Committee on International Trade has given its go-ahead to the European Commission on the EU-US trade agreement, conceding that a controversial arbitration clause, albeit reformed, needs to remain part of the deal." and Parliament Committee adopts a disappointing position on TTIP (EDRI, link)
Spare Rib goes digital: 21 years of radical feminist magazine put online (Guardian, link) and see Journal Archives (link)
GERMANY: Draft law could restrict protection of confidential sources, information in the public interest (IFEX, link)
USA: State Law Enforcement Body Camera Policies (EPIC, link)
EU: FORCIBLE FINGERPRINTING, DETENTION, EXPULSION & ENTRY BAN of MIGRANTS including pregnant women and minors: European Commission: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or expelled & banned from entry. To add insult to injury the Commission deliberately withheld publication of the Guidelines yesterday to control news reporting when announcing its new migration plans."
See also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers (Statewatch News, March 2015)
UK: Wide-ranging snooper's charter to extend powers of security services (Guardian, link):
"David Cameron is to use the Tories unexpected parliamentary majority to press ahead with a turbo-charged version of the snoopers charter that will extend the powers of the security services in response to the debate that followed surveillance disclosures by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a surprise move, the government is to introduce an investigatory powers bill far more wide-ranging than expected. The legislation will include not only the expected snoopers charter, enabling the tracking of everyones web and social media use, but also moves to strengthen the security services warranted powers for the bulk interception of the content of communications."
EU: Ombudsman opens investigation to promote transparency of "trilogues" (pdf, letter to the Council of the European Union)
The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has opened an investigation into the transparency of "trilogues" with a view to boosting transparent law-making in the EU. Trilogues are informal negotiations between the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Commission aimed at reaching early agreements on new EU legislation.
See: Statewatch Analyses: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf) and Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf)
EU Ombudsman: Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
UK: EU Referendum Bill published (pdf) and Explanatory Memorandum (pdf) And see: Press Pack All new Bills (pdf)
GERMANY-EGYPT: New measures on the part of the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Police to assist Egyptian police authorities (pdf) including migrants, football fans and protest.
Data Protection or exploitation? The erosion of safeguards for health and genetic research (Genewatch, link): "This briefing describes proposed changes to the research exemption which , if adopted, would allow data to be stored and shared with commercial companies without peoples knowledge or consent . It considers the implications of these changes for the future storage and use of personal medical records and genetic data."
News in Brief (28.5.15)
Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy -The creator of PGP has moved his mobile-encryption firm Silent Circle to Switzerland to be free of US mass surveillance. Here he explains why (Guardan, link): "Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way, he warns. We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We dont want to become like North Korea.
Poland elects right-wing president who criticized predecessors apologies to Jews (Times of Israel, link)
The 43rd European Regional Conference of Interpol started in Bucharest (link) and INTERPOL Europe meeting develops regional collaboration against transnational crime (pdf)
INTERPOL training in Ghana aims to strengthen regional police capacity in border management (Interpol, link) See also: EU: Millions of euros for new police databases in West Africa (Statewatch database)
German court gives Yemeni man permission to continue case against Government over role in US drone strikes (Reprieve, link)
European Defence Agency: EDA Chief Executive briefs European Parliament (link) and see: INTERVENTION BY EDA CHIEF EXECUTIVE IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTS SUBCOMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND DEFENCE (pdf)
UK: Hundreds sign up for Yarls Wood protest calling for an end to detention (Bradford Today, link)
Lawyers denied access to case file LEAP Survey Report (Fair Trials, link) and Legal Experts Advisory Panel: Survey Report: Access to the Case File (pdf)
Lithuania's spy officially charged (New Europe, link): "The President neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a swap "
Sanctions being finalised to crack down on disruptive TDs (Irish Times, link): "Tough new sanctions on TDs who behave in a disorderly and disruptive way in the Dáil chamber are close to being finalised."
EU: European Commission Migration Action Plan: The following documents were released:
- Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (COM 286-15, pdf)
- Communication: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 - 2020) (COM 285-15, pdf)
- European Commission makes progress on Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf)
- Questions and Answers pdf
But if you search for the following you get a PR statement/News management (27 May)
- Guidelines on the implementation of EU rules on the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)
- Recommendation on a European Resettlement Scheme (pdf) see: Initial Draft (pdf)
European Parliament: INTERPARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MEETING: National Parliaments - Conference on the Democratic oversight of Intelligence services in the European Union, 28-29 May 2015: Agenda (pdf) and Background documents (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europes violent humanitarianism in the Mediterranean (Ceasefire, link):
"Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration at the University of Oxford, speaks to Ceasefire's Luke De Noronha about Europe's response to the Mediterranean crisis and how borders are 'a dystopian project whose enforcement exposes the horrific violence of the state..... But it is the nation state that is ultimately what needs to be challenged. Of course the nation state is not going to quietly legislate itself out of existence. And while bordering has intensified, resistance has too.'
EUROSUR: European Day for Border Guards (2013): Panel Discussion III - Eurosur and the Future of Border Management (pdf):
"The European Commissions Oliver Siefffarth, who acts as policy officer for Eurosur.... he [said] that not everything is expected to be up and running from day one: On the contrary, Eurosur is conceived as a process which will never stop, which will always be further improved,"
European Commission: Report: Progress report on the implementation of the Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies (COM 2176-14, pdf):
"On the important issue of the prevention and management of conflicts of interest the Commission issued guidelines in December 2013. The Commission invites the agencies to adopt without delay respective frameworks on conflicts of interest in line with these guidelines. Agencies hereby need to strike an adequate balance between managing conflicts of interest and preserving their capability to obtain best possible scientific advice. The Commission recalls the fact that as the agencies are legally independent entities, they alone are responsible for the way they handle the issue of conflicts of interest in practice and notably, how they enforce and control that the key principles in this domain are respected, as well as for reporting on it."
ECHR: Judgment against France for not providing, at the relevant time, an effective remedy to address inhuman or degrading detention conditions (Press release, pdf):
"the Court found that at the relevant time French law had not provided Mr Yengo with any preventive remedy by which he could have promptly obtained the termination of his inhuman and degrading conditions of detention. There had therefore been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention.."
Judgment (French, link)
USA: Congressional Research Service reports: Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief (pdf) and Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief (pdf)
News in Brief (27.5.15)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Frontex expands its Joint Operation Triton (Frontex, link): "Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri signed the amended operational plan of the Joint Operation Triton, expanding its operational area and bringing in a number of additional experts, vessels and aircraft. The operational area will be extended to 138 NM south of Sicily. During the peak summer season, Triton will deploy 3 airplanes, 6 Offshore Patrol Vessels, 12 patrol boats, 2 helicopters, 9 debriefing and 6 screening teams.
Libya PM 'escapes assassination attempt' in Tobruk (BBC News, link): "Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni says he has survived an assassination attempt by gunmen who attacked his car in the city of Tobruk.....A government spokesman said the prime minister escaped unharmed but one of his bodyguards was wounded. Libya has been in turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power in 2011. Mr al-Thinni is trying to run the country from Tobruk after being expelled from the capital, Tripoli, by militias in 2014. His power has been challenged by the establishment of another body in Tripoli that claims to be the legitimate government."
Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey Move to Jointly Tackle Migration (Novinite, link): "Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, facing a surge in illegal migration, have signed an agreement to set up a joint contact centre for border and customs control, the Interior Ministry in Sofia announced on Monday. The joint contact center will start functioning on Bulgarian territory at Kapitan Andreevo crossing at the border with Turkey. The agreement needs parliamentary approval in Greece and Turkey to take effect , while in Bulgaria it only has to be endorsed by the government." Agreement (Bulgarian, link)
Commission promises cash for taking migrants - Under the proposal, member states would get a payment of 6,000 for each asylum-seeker coming from Italy or Greece (Politico, link)
UK: Government delays Human Rights Act repeal amid opposition from senior Tories (Independent, link): "Todays Queens Speech will not include full legislation to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights in this session of parliament, it has emerged."
GERMANY-NSA: Aktenvermerk bringt Merkel in Bedrängnis (SZ.de, link): "Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the German chancellor knew in August 2013, at the peak of the NSA espionage affair and amid the national elections, that the US might not offer Germany a so-called "no-spy treaty" nevertheless the government announced that such an agreement would come. It never did."
EP: What if your shopping was delivered by drones? (pdf) and see: USA: H.R. 1646, the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act (link)
CANADA: The Governance of Telecommunications Surveillance (Telecom Transparency Project, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Statewatch Analysis: Manufacturing consent, EU style: The EUs anti-smuggling military operation (pdf) Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
A EU military planning document reiterates that the EUs new anti-smuggling operation could result in a ground conflict in Libya that leads to the loss of life of soldiers, refugees and smugglers, and destabilise Libya in the process. The document makes clear that most of the key details of the plan have not been worked out yet, and there is no political end point. But this is all fine, because the document plans a media strategy designed to brush these problems under the carpet.
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Despite the claims of the Council Presidency that it hopes to conclude the negotiations between Member States by the end of June much remains to be agreed:
Chapter I - Article 2(e) - scope of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Directive (LIMITE doc no: 8745-15, pdf):
"a number of delegations expressed concern about the use of the term maintain law and order and broadening the scope of the Directive." So two options are proposed:
Option 1: "Article 1: Subject matter and objectives: 1. This Directive lays down the rules relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent ( ) authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the prevention of threats to public security.
Option 2, proposed by the UK would read: "falling within the scope of Chapter 4 or 5 of Title V of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union." which, for the unitiated, covers "Such competent authorities may include not only public authorities such as the judicial authorities, the police or other law enforcement authorities but also any body/entity entrusted by national law to performing public duties or exercising public powers" In other words covering the maintenance of "law and order"
Article 6 and recital 40 in Chapter II and Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 9082-15, pdf) 59 pages with 248 Member State positions or reservations.
Chapter III and horizontal issues, including Chapter II, Article 6 (LIMITE doc no: 8835-15, pdf) 56 pages with 230 Member State positions or reservations
Chapter VIII ( LIMITE doc no: 8383-15, (pdf) 73 Member State positions or reservations
Interesting comment on what "partial general approaches" agreements within the Council mean:
"The Council gave priority on achieving progress on the General Data Protection Regulation finding agreement on several partial general approaches between June 2014 and March 20151. These partial general approaches are based on the understanding that:
- nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and future changes to be made to the text of the provisionally agreed Articles to ensure the overall coherence of the Regulation are not excluded;
- such partial general approaches are without prejudice to any horizontal question; and
- such partial general approaches do not mandate the Presidency to engage in informal trilogues with the European Parliament on the text."
Delegated and implementing acts (LIMITE doc no: 8833-15, pdf) 20 Member State positions or reservations:
The Commission proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation contains 26 delegated acts and 22 implementing acts. In the Presidency compromise text the majority of delegated acts and implementing acts have not been retained or replaced by an alternative, such as a providing more details in the regulation itself or leaving these rules to be worked out in codes of conduct."
German delegation: Horizontal issues (LIMITE doc no: 8836-15, pdf)
Applicability of the General Data Protection Regulation to the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (LIMITE doc no: 8837-15, pdf):
"The ICRC has indicated that the draft Regulation may give rise to two different concerns. A first concern relates to the effect certain provisions of the draft Regulation may have on the confidentiality of personal data processed by the ICRC..... The ICRC has referred to the possible impact on confidentiality regarding detainees, where the ICRC may intervene with the detaining authorities to request respect of their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. An intervention of this type is likely to provide details of the alleged ill treatment and conditions of detention and is confidential. "
See also: See Data bill enters final leg of state-level talks (euobserver, link): "Five chapters remain to be wrapped up in the next few weeks. We still think this is a reasonable aim and feasible, said one EU diplomat. The remaining chapters include issues on data subject rights, sanctions, definitions, final provisions, and the complex legal interpretations of implemented and delegated acts (secondary legislation)".
EU: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks
Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):
"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
And see: Boat-sinking operation poses 'risk' to EU image (euobserver, link) and EU military mission against Libya: further details/docs (UndercoverInfo, link)
LONDON: SNOWDEN MEETING: Stand Up for Truth: Whistleblowers speaking tour London: Monday, 1 June 2015 from 18:30 to 21:00 at Birkbeck (University of London) Main building, Room B35 (entrance on Torrington Square) London WC1E 7HX Speakers: Eileen Chubb, Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, Norman Solomon & Justin Schlosberg
See also Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance: June 2013 - ongoing
UK: Legal experts call for greater scrutiny of surveillance laws - Government must not repeat mistakes of previous administrations, but instead must have an open and transparent assessment and critique of UK surveillance powers, academics say (Guardian, link): "An alliance of prominent academics have signed a letter to the government warning against any expansions of state surveillance without the full involvement of parliament and the public. The letters 38 signatories, led by LSE law professor Andrew Murray and University of East Anglia lecturer in IT law Paul Bernal, call on the new government to ensure that any changes in the law, and especially any expansions of power, are fully and transparently vetted by parliament, and open to consultation from the public and all relevant stakeholders."
and see: Open letter to UK MPs: Ensuring democratic scrutiny of UK surveillance law changes (EU Law Analysis, link)
News in Brief (26.5.15)
UK: Making our whole society into immigration controllers is bad for Britain (Migrants' Rights Network, link):
EU: Net neutrality faces unwilling Council negotiators (euractiv, link):"A European Council communication sent to the Parliament Friday (22 May) shows that it hasn't budged on net neutrality legislation. The Council is pushing back against the Parliament's earlier move towards net neutrality rules that would prevent telecommunications companies from giving some internet traffic special treatment."
German based FBI informer who runs fake WikiLeaks sites loses case to censor his photo (link)
LONDON: Thousands expected at anti-Tory protests as Queen opens parliament - Demonstrators to gather at Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, part of wave of planned protests since Conservatives election win (Guardian, link)
UK data watchdog: Massive fines won't keep data safe - We should be able to use threats though (The Register, link)
EU: Net neutrality is the European Parliament ready to accept complete failure? (EDRI, link): "After an overwhelming vote in favour of net neutrality by the European Parliament in April 2014, this position in favour of free speech, competition and innovation is now in danger."
New Finnish Government Raises NATO Stakes (Politico, link): "In a move that is certain to further irritate Moscow, Finland's new center-right coalition has included the option of applying for NATO membership "at any time" in its government formation Joint Policy Position statement.... In a move that is certain to further irritate Moscow, Finland's new center-right coalition has included the option of applying for NATO membership "at any time" in its government formation Joint Policy Position statement."
Spain, Poland and Greece: shudders in Europes political foundations (Channel 4 News, link)
The second job you dont know you have - How self-checkouts, ATMs and airport check-ins are changing our economy (Politico, link) ": Young people are 17 percent of the global population but 40 percent of the unemployed."
Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning - In an exclusive interview from Moscow, Snowden cautions that more needs to be done to curb NSA surveillance two years after his disclosures (Guardian, link)
EU: In memoriam of Simonetta POZZI co-founder of the FREE-Group (ASFJ, link)
"On May 15, 2015 Simonetta POZZI co-founder (with Philippe DE BRUYCKER and myself) of the Fundamental Rights European Experts Group passed away due to severe heart failure.
What will be most missed by everyone who met her will be her noble spirit, her constant research of perfection together with true, heart-warming generosity, and her heightened sensibility.
On a political perspective She was a truth and Justice seeking person. She hated hypocrisy, easy compromises as well as window dressing of political and diplomatic discourses. Hating ostentation She worked hard in the background to make more visible to the ordinary citizens the activity of regional, national and European Institutions.
I consider then a unique privilege to have been on her side in the last forty years.
Emilio DE CAPITANI
News in Brief (25.5.15)
Justice for Deepan - Born in Canada but currently STATELESS (link)
EU: Migration plans and UK top the bill this week (euobserver, link)
UK: Family of handcuffed student urge inquiry into deaths in police custody - Relatives of Kingsley Burrell say concern over issue is reaching boiling point, after 87 such deaths in England and Wales since 2010 (Guardian, link)
GERMANY-NSA: Germany silent on report that leak has made US review spying cooperation - Bild reported intelligence director James Clapper had ordered review - Secret documents allegedly leaked to media from parliamentary committee (Observer, ink):
"The German government declined on Saturday to comment on a report that US intelligence agencies were reviewing their cooperation with German counterparts and had dropped joint projects due to concerns secret information was being leaked by lawmakers.
The Bild newspaper reported on Saturday that the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had ordered the review because secret documents related to the BNDs cooperation with the US were being leaked to media from a German parliamentary committee." and see:
German parliament inquiry 'more dangerous' than Snowden (DW, link): "There are reports US intelligence director James Clapper wants to put future cooperation with Germany's BND under review. The agency is facing scrutiny following revelations it helped the NSA spy on European targets."
USA: NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure - Administration has not applied to secret court for 90-day extension - USA Freedom Act fails in early hours after long Senate session (Guardian, link)
"We did not file an application for reauthorization, an administration official confirmed to the Guardian on Saturday. The administration decision ensures that beginning at 5pm ET on 1 June, for the first time since October 2001 the NSA will no longer collect en masse Americans phone records....
A chaotic early morning on Saturday in the Senate ended with the procedural defeat of the USA Freedom Act, which would have banned the NSA bulk collection program while renewing an expiring Patriot Act provision allowing FBI access to business records and a vast amount of US communications metadata."
News in Brief (23-24-5-15)
UK: Jihadi threat requires move into 'private space' of UK Muslims, says police chief - Exclusive: Britains most senior Muslim officer says potency of Islamist propaganda means some five-year-olds believe Christmas is forbidden (Guardian, link): "Islamist propaganda is so potent it is influencing children as young as five and should be countered with intensified monitoring to detect the earliest signs of anti-western sentiment, Britains most senior Muslim police chief has warned."
GLOBAL ECONOMY: Borders are closing and banks are in retreat. Is globalisation dead? In the days before the Great Recession, the liberalisation of world trade seemed a certainty: now fears over hot money and migration have changed the mood (Observer, link) "Obama has made it clear that a major rationale for the TPP is not promoting shared prosperity the idealistic motivation that lay behind the birth of the Doha round but creating a political and economic counterweight to the might of China".
Apple and Google Just Attended a Confidential Spy Summit in a Remote English Mansion (The Intercept, link): "At an 18th-century mansion in Englands countryside last week, current and former spy chiefs from seven countries faced off with representatives from tech giants Apple and Google to discuss government surveillance in the aftermath of Edward Snowdens leaks. The three-day conference, which took place behind closed doors and under strict rules about confidentiality, was aimed at debating the line between privacy and security." See: Ditchley Foundation: Conference Note (pdf)
EU: DP REGULATION: No Food, No Drink, No Water: EU Ministers Agree on One-Stop Shop, Plan June Lock-In (Privacy Tracker, link): "EU ministers dramatically agreed to hold a marathon meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June in order to finalize their version of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, having earlier reached agreement on the regulatory one-stop shop and the principles underpinning the regulation. Agreement in June would then allow trilogue discussions between the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission to commence in the summer"
How were fighting back against the UK surveillance state - and winning (Ars Technica, link) Concludes: "If the courts continue to rule in favour of rights organisations and other complainants, then the real work can begin: the daunting task of actually rolling back the vast surveillance apparatus that was first revealed in June 2013 to an unsuspecting world. And that will be a tough fight." Comment: In the EU the battles have largely been in the courts not in governments. parliaments and certainly not in the EU or the Council of Ministers.
UK: The police didnt see Deen as a victim despite blood pouring out of his head - Deen Taiwos ordeal at the hands of racists is being made into a documentary in an innovative attempt to improve police responses to hate crimes (Observer, link)
UK: Human Rights Act: If Michael Gove listens to Daniel Hannans honeyed polemic on Human Rights he really will get into a muddle (Barrister Blogger, link)
EU: Commission Drones policy: Question: European legislation on drones (EP, link) and Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the Commission (EP, link) See: Commission Communication: A new era for aviation: Opening the aviation market to the civil use of remotely piloted aircraft systems in a safe and sustainable manner (pdf)
UK: David Cameron backs plans for Ofcom to block 'extremist messages' on TV - PM appears to support Theresa Mays proposals despite business secretary Sajid Javids statement that measures would amount to state censorship (Guardian, link)
UK: CCTV cameras secretly being switched off by cash-strapped councils (Independent, link): "Tony Porter, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, told The Independent that a rising number of local authorities in England and Wales were shutting down CCTV networks to cope with the Governments austerity cuts, raising the prospect of a postcode lottery for crime detection."
UK: Theresa May's plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague - Exclusive: Former culture secretary Sajid Javid told prime minister he was unable to support home secretarys proposal as it infringed free speech (Guardian, link)
"A plan by the home secretary to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters programmes before they are transmitted has been attacked in the bluntest terms as a threat to freedom of speech by one of her own Conservative cabinet colleagues, the Guardian has learned.
Sajid Javid wrote to David Cameron to say that, as culture secretary, he was unable to support Theresa Mays proposal to give Ofcom the new powers to take pre-emptive action against programmes that included extremist content, in a letter sent just before the start of the general election campaign."
And see: New counter-extremism plans to allow police to ask to vet anyone's internet communications (Independent, link): "Counter-extremism powers that will allow the police to vet the online conversations of those considered extremists are to be fast-tracked into effect, David Cameron said."
EU: EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?: 21 May 2015: Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Frontex Conference on the European Day for Border Guards, Warsaw Poland (pdf):
"The ongoing evaluation of Frontex activities should also identify the limitations and shortcomings that will have to be addressed in the medium and long term development of the Agency. When speaking about the future of border management, one of the issues that we will explore is the possible creation of a European System of Border Guards."
And see: Commissioner backs EU 'border guard corps' (euobserver, link):
"Avramopoulos, a Greek former defence minister, used strident terms to praise the EUs new military operation, EUnavfor Med, which is to start sinking migrant-smugglers boats in July if it gets UN and Libyan permission. Europe has declared a war against smugglers, he said. He noted that Frontex will create profiles of the type of vessels being used in order to improve their detection. He also said Frontex' mandate must be reinforced so it can physically help EU countries deport failed asylum claimants."
EU: MED-CRISIS: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration (euractiv, link): "The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EUs idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean."
And see: Twisting the 'lessons of history' to authorise unjustifiable violence: the Mediterranean crisis (Open Democracy, link): "More than 300 slavery and migration scholars respond to those advocating for military force against migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This is no slave trade. Where is the moral justification for actions that cost lives?"
Also: "The War on migrants and refugees: has the never again imperative been forgotten?" (Franck Duvell, link): "This imperative derived from the lessons learned from the Holocaust and the failure to rescue the European Jews has now been relinquished it seems. Are we now back at the moral state of the 1930s were unwanted populations are removed from the realm of moral subjects (Bauman 1996) and killed or left to die and the needy are turned away and refused shelter?"
EU: CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES: European Parliament: Draft Opinion: on safe use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in the field of civil aviation (pdf):
""whereas Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can be used for a range of civil (non-military) purposes, such as critical infrastructure and civil protection, disaster management and search and rescue, environmental protection, law enforcement and surveillance, journalism, commercial activities and leisure...
reiterates that when personal data are processed by RPAS operated in the EU, including for law enforcement purposes, the right to the protection of personal data enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) applies and that the EU legal framework for data protection is to be fully complied with"
See: Statewatch Report: Eurodrones Inc
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Healthcare on the move (Press release, pdf) and Opinion - full-text (pdf):
"Failure to deploy data protection safeguards will result in a critical loss of individual trust, leading to fewer opportunities for public authorities and businesses, hampering the development of the health market. To foster confidence, future policies need to encourage more accountability of service providers and their associates; place respect for the choices of individuals at their core; end the indiscriminate collection of personal information and any possible discriminatory profiling; encourage privacy by design and privacy settings by default; and enhance the security of the technologies used." [emphasis in original]
UK: One Nation: but whose? The first of a post-election two-part series on civil liberties in the UK examines the governments proposal to replace the Human Rights Act by a British Bill of Rights (IRR, link) by Frances Webber: "Prime minister David Cameron was quick to don the mantle of One Nation Toryism after his partys election victory. But the Tories priorities set out in their manifesto would suggest that Camerons version of One Nation owes more to Thatcher and Bush than to its inventor Harold Macmillan."
And: Where the war on welfare and the war on migrants and refugees lead - The war on welfare has parallels with the war on migrants and refugees, both in terms of rhetoric and impact (IRR link) by Jon Burnett.
EU: DATA PROTECTION: Resolution of the European Data Protection Authorities Conference 18-20 May 2015 Manchester, United Kingdom
Meeting data protection expectations in the digital future (pdf):
"Data Protection Authorities are increasingly facing financial and other resource constraints whilst at the same time the demands on them are increasing. Not only does the law need to keep pace with the ever changing digital world but so does the capacity of the Data Protection Authorities for effective supervision at national, EU and the wider European level. If individuals are to have the trust and confidence necessary for a successful digital future the powers and resources available to Data Protection Authorities must be sufficient to enable them to properly uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals in the digital age."
News in Brief (22.5.15)
Scotland Office memorandum leak: Cabinet Office inquiry statement (Cabinet Office, link) and see: Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael admits responsibility for anti-Sturgeon leak (Guardian, link) - He is currently the only Scottish MP representing the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Commons.
Senate Expected to Act on NSA Collection of Phone Records (New York Times, link): "The fate of the bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency is now before the Senate, in what is increasingly looking like a game of legislative chicken. The Senate is expected to decide Friday what to do with the oft-debated measure.If the Senate doesn't act, the laws authorizing the programs will expire June 1"
Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying? (Washington Post, link)
Migrants in Tunisia: Detained and Deported - In the past few months, we witnessed the attempt to strengthen the project of European borders externalization.(storiemigranti.org, link)
Europe and Whistleblowers : still a bumpy road (EASFJ, link)
Refugees to Sweden left in six-month limbo (The Local, link): " Asylum seekers arriving in Sweden are now likely to face a wait of up to six-months before they can have their cases heard, as migration officers struggle to cope with the workload."
Saving Macedonia: The European People's Party has repeatedly shielded the Balkan country's corrupt and undemocratic government (Politico, link)
UK: Conservative manifesto plan to reduce immigration is an 'aim' not a promise, says Theresa May (Independent, link) and Deport First, Appeal Later: Cameron Hardens Stance in New Immigration Bill (sputnik, link)
Online now: Statewatch News Online digest 21 May 2015 (pdf) and Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response (pdf): "MEPs discussed on 20 May European Commission plans to tackle the large
numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea. Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders."
See also: MEPs angry at member states over immigration (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers on Wednesday accused some member states of passing the buck by rejecting a Brussels plan for binding quotas for refugees making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing."
NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones (Intercept, link): "The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.
The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the Five Eyes alliance the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia."
See: Document from Five Eyes (4MB, pdf)
Council of the European Union: Eurojust: Confiscation, Bosnia: Mandate & Revised civilian tasks: CSDP
- EUROJUST: Strategic Seminar towards greater cooperation in Freezing and Confiscation of the proceeds of crime: a practitioner's approach Eurojust, The Hague, 11 December 2014 Report (LIMITE doc no: 8570,pdf)
- BOSNIA MANDATE EXTENDED: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for a Council Decision extending the mandate of the European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (LIMITE doc no: 8829-15, pdf)
- Revised draft list of generic civilian CSDP tasks (LIMITE doc no 7656-REV-2-15, pdf)
News in Brief (21.5.15)
Save William McNeilly, Trident whistleblower (COURAGE, link)
European Roma Institute launches online consultation (CoE link)
Brussels scrambles to salvage troubled migration plan (Politico, link): "Commission president's chief aide, Martin Selmayr, is on a mission to EU capitals to save 'Juncker's baby.'"
GERMANY: Cyberattacke auf Bundestag: Abgeordnete fühlen sich nach Hackerangriff alleingelassen (Spiegel Online, link): : MPs and their assistants fear that their confidential data might be compromised after a big hack by unknown attackers. Now they complain that there is almost no information shared by the administration about what happened and how they can protect themselves better. Some MPs say they have "a bad feeling," and some already stopped "sharing confidential informations via email."
UK: Cameron's immigration bill to include crackdown on illegal foreign workers - David Cameron to promise bill in Queens speech that will make Britain a less attractive place to come and work illegally (Guardian, link) and see: What are the Member States doing regarding sanctions on employers of irregularly staying third country nationals? (EU Law Analysis, link). New UK rules on seizing wages of irregular migrants will contradict EU Directive (which UK opted out of.
EU: Dont Endanger Lives at Sea or Deny Protection (HRW, link): "Migrants intercepted by EU vessels in the Mediterranean, including those participating in EUNAVFOR Med, should be taken to safe ports in the EU, where those asking for protection or indicating a fear of return should undergo asylum screening. Under no circumstances should the EU transfer boat migrants to the Libyan coast guard or disembark them in Libya, where they have no possibility of seeking asylum and where they risk being detained in appalling and abusive conditions and being harmed by the violence that is pervasive across the country"
Americans do not like NSA spying and want to reform the Patriot Act, new poll reveals (link)
Big Brother is watching EU - As the US moves towards privacy reform, Europe enacts sweeping new spying powers (Politico, link):
"A strange and strangely unnoticed trend is emerging in the evolving global response to massive 2013 leaks about US surveillance activities. While our European cousins talk privacy reform, the United States is actually moving ahead with it, albeit more slowly than many would like. As the American side of the Atlantic inches toward self-restraint, many European governments are seeking sweeping new spying powers. Europe is at risk of falling behind the US in privacy reform."
HUNGARY: European Parliament: Views on Hungary, fundamental rights and EU values (Press release, pdf): "The situation in Hungary, following Prime Minister Viktor Orban's remarks on the possibility of reinstating the death penalty there and the government's public "consultation" on immigration, were debated by MEPs, Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Latvian State Secretary for European Affairs Zanda Kalni.Lukaevica for the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers and Mr Orban himself on Tuesday afternoon.... Sophie In 't Veld (ALDE, NL), said that the Council's "non-statement" signalled its "moral bankruptcy". There is "no place" for the death penalty in Europe or "anywhere in the world", she stressed, asking the Commission to check the legality of the Hungarian migration questionnaire. Parliament must elaborate proposals for enforcing fundamental rights, she added.
And see: Hungary's Orbán angers EU over death penalty, migrants (euractiv, link)
EU: MORE MONEY for MED CRISIS: New budget: Responding to migratory pressues (pdf):
"additional appropriations EUR 75,8 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 69,7 million in payment appropriations to provide the additional funding to be authorised in the 2015 budget for the migration measures. These reinforcements are distributed across five budget lines" [see p7]
EU: MED-CRISIS: The Guardian view on Mediterranean migrants: a rescue plan with many flaws - Editorial (Guardian, link):
"Britain has taken the lead in trampling the solidarity principle on asylum. The EU migration plan is long on rhetoric but short on substance. The causes of African migration must be addressed ...
The military aspect of the plans is also problematic. Yes, force may be required to combat trafficking networks, particularly to take control of empty boats and put them beyond use. But talk of possible onshore, commando-type operations, or infringement of Libyan sovereignty, has opened up a Pandoras box of uncertainties. Although Ms Mogherini is ruling out boots on the ground, mission creep is an obvious worry. Russia will not be inclined to cooperate in the UN with anything suggesting the use of force in Libya, given the 2011 Nato precedent. The military option sounds tough, but who knows how EU forces, once deployed, could react if attacked in the context of the Libyan tinderbox?"
European Commission: Better regulation for better results - An EU agenda (COM 215-15 Final (pdf)
"In particular, we are calling on the European Parliament and the Council to: Carry out an impact assessment on any substantial amendments the Parliament or Council propose during the legislative process. Where the Parliament and the Council find an agreement significantly different from the initial Commission proposal, they should assess the likely impact and regulatory burden before any final decision" [COM 215-15] and
"The three institutions will ensure an appropriate degree of transparency of the legislative process, including of trilateral negotiations between the three institutions." [emphasis added] The question is how will "appropriate" be defined?
and see earlier draft: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
Adopted: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (COM 216-15, pdf)
Also: The Commission goes big on downsizing - Frans Timmermans presents his plan for cutting red tape. But it's already undergoing an impact assessment of its own (Politico, link) and EU to shed light on law-making 'kitchen' (euobserver, link): "The European Commission on Tuesday (19 May) presented plans designed to rid itself of its image as of an out-of-touch and overactive bureaucracy.... A regulatory scrutiny board of seven members including three from outside the commission will replace the impact assessment board created in 2006. It will be chaired by a person independent of the commission hierarchy."
News in Brief (20.5.15)
Migration: We need legal and save ways to enter Europe- Not the army (YouTube, link) Ska Keller MEP
No Borders protesters perform die-in at London St Pancras - video (Guardian, link)
EU plan for migrant quotas hits rocks after France and Spain object - French president François Hollande says quotas are out of the question 24 hours after Spanish foreign minister flatly rejects proposal (Guardian, link)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Ansip denies rumours of encryption backdoors in EUs digital plan (euractiv, link): "European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, rejected suggestions on Tuesday (19 May) that the European executive was planning workarounds to crack encryption technologies, which ensure secure communications on the Internet."
LONDON: Police officer found guilty of assaulting student at tuition fees protest - PC Andrew Ott faces jail after breaking front tooth of William Horner with riot shield during 2010 demonstration in London (Guardian, link)
Outrage in Portugal over police beating of man in front of his children - Video footage of Jose Magalhaes being struck by police at Benfica football match has put family at centre of national scandal over alleged police brutality (Guardian, link)
CIA: Mission Unstoppable: From drone strikes to prison torture, the CIA has been pulling the strings of U.S. Foreign Policy since 9/11. And if history is a guide, the agency will be calling the shots in the Middle East for years to come.(FP, link)
UK Government Counter-Terrorism Bill Would Criminalize Speech, Political Activity (GlobalReach, link)
Passenger Name Records and data protection issues: busting some myths (Media Poicy Project, LSE, link)
Council of Europe (CoE): European ministers adopt new legal standards for tackling foreign terrorist fighters: "Foreign ministers from across Europe have adopted the first set of legally-binding international standards to help tackle so-called "foreign terrorist fighters". The measures take the form of an additional protocol to the Council of Europe's convention on the prevention of terrorism, which has so far been signed by 44 of the organisation's 47 member states. The protocol will require countries to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information."
- Additional Protocol to Convention on Terrorism (pdf)
- Action Plan (pdf)
- Political Declaration (link)
The Bureau of Investigative Journalists and the Rendition Project map: The 119 CIA Detainees (link): "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Rendition Project compiled this information from the US Senate intelligence committee's summary report on CIA detention and torture, from documents relating to military detention in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, and from media and NGO reports."
See also: Statewatch's Observatory on "rendition" including over 220 submissions to the European Parliament inquiry
EU: MED CRISIS: European Agenda on Migration Missed Opportunity to Protect Rights and Save Lives (EMHRN, link):
"As the European Parliament is set to look at the Commissions bold Agenda on Migration, the European Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) warns of its many pitfalls and shortcomings....By focusing on the consequences rather than the real root causes of irregular migration, the Commission has missed an opportunity for a meaningful alternative the EU can and should embrace."
See: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf)
GREEN/EFA Group: Beyond Dublin: Rethinking Europe's Asylum System, Public conference: 3 June 2015 (link) from 15:00 to 18:30: European Parliament - Room ASP A1G3 60 rue Wiertz - 1047 Brussels
EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Germany toughens up on data retention (euractiv, link):
"German policymakers have moved to strengthen data retention laws, insisting that information will only be stored in Germany, and for much shorter periods, after the European Court of Justice struck down weaker EU privacy legislation.... A 55-page draft of Germany's planned data retention law was published on the blog Netzpolitik.org over the weekend. It is reportedly scheduled to be presented to the federal government in two weeks, and in the Bundestag in June."
Draft Bill: Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einführung einer Speicherpflicht und einer Höchstspeicherfrist für Verkehrsdaten (pdf) [A draft law introducing a storage obligation and a maximum retention period for traffic data]
Italy, France, Germany sign European drone project (Reuters, link): "Italy, France and Germany agreed on Monday to develop a European drone programme for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology."
See also: France, Germany, Italy Confirm Joint MALE Drone Development Program (Defence World.net, link): Notes that: "The contract will be issued later this year with OCCAR and European Defense Agency (EDA) as part of program management and certification. The EDA will provide support for air traffic insertion and airworthiness." This does not mean, as various news websites are reporting, that an 'EU drone' is being developed - rather, that three Member States are using the EDA [European Defence Agency] as a forum for cooperation. Whether EU institutions will ever get their hands on it (if it ever does get developed) is another question.
The French-German-Italian agreement seems to be a diminished version of previous plans for seven Member States to get involved in the joint drone project:
See: Statewatch Report Eurodrones Inc - detail on cooperative Member State drone programmes in Chapter 4
USA: Congressional Research Service reports:
- Perspectives on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: In Brief (pdf)
- Reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) (pdf): "there has been ongoing litigation in the lower federal courts as to ECPAs extraterritorial
reach. The Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act (S. 512, H.R. 1174) would require third-party service providers to disclose the contents of U.S persons electronic communications held overseas upon issuance of a warrant based on probable cause."
- Genomic Data and Privacy: Background and Relevant Law (pdf): "Genetic and genomic researchand other omics researchhave generated large amounts of genetic data."
News in Brief (19.5.15)
The new tech changing airport security (BBC Future, link)
GERMANY: NDR reports Hanover federal police tortured migrants (DW, link): "German public radio has reported that federal police in the northern state of Lower Saxony are accused of attacking migrants in their custody for entertainment. Prosecutors are investigating the case. "
What happens to democracy in a cashless society? (Open Democracy, link): "New technology is transforming the way we pay for everything, but at what cost?"
Libya says EU boat-sinking operation 'not humane' (euobserver, link)
Denmark plans to collect all passenger data (The Local, link): "While the European parliament continues to wrestle with the privacy repercussions of a proposal on collecting passenger data, Denmark plans to move ahead with its own domestic plan. The Danish government plans to give the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) the ability to collect passenger data on all flights in and out of Denmark. PET would be given access to passengers names, passport information, travel patterns and travelling companions."
CoE: Ministers to green-light new legal measures against foreign terrorist fighters (link)
EP: Launch of the Historical Archives of the European Parliament website (link)
UK: Majority of whistleblowers left without legal representation (Law Society Gazette, link)
EU ministers back Mediterranean naval mission, reject migrant quotas (euractiv, link): "European Union foreign and defence ministers agreed on a naval mission on Monday (18 May) to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya. But parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for housing asylum seekers."
And see: Italian coastguards: military action will not solve Mediterranean migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The Italian coastguards leading migrant rescue missions in the southern Mediterranean have voiced concern about the EUs migration strategy, arguing that military operations will not stop migration to Europe and calling instead for European navies to prioritise search-and-rescue missions. Speaking on Monday before EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch military operations against Libyan smugglers, coastguard captain Paolo Cafaro said a military campaign would not eradicate the root causes of the Mediterranean crisis....
Cafaro also questioned whether European navies would be able to target smugglers boats before they are used for migration missions, due to both the absence of a blessing from Libyas official government and the UN, as well the complexities of the smuggling process. Smuggling boats are often simply fishing boats bought in the days prior to a trip, and kept in civilian harbours until the night of their departure."
EU: MED CRISIS RESPONSE: Statewatch Analysis: The EUs Planned War on Smugglers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"it is clear from the documents discussed in the EUs Political and Security Committee last week that (unless plans have changed radically in the meantime) the High Representative is being economical with the truth. The EU action clearly contemplates action by ground forces. Moreover, it anticipates the possible loss of life not only of smugglers but also of Member States forces and refugees. In effect, the EU is planning to declare war on migrant smugglers without thinking through the consequences."
See: Secret EU plan for a war on smugglers - document (pdf)
DEVELOPING STORY (18.5.15): Council of the European Union: Press Release: Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean (pdf) See:Mediterranean migrants crisis: Is military force the solution? (BBC News, link) and EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The missions rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as the next step in terms of operational details. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said." [emphasis added]
EU RESPONSE TO MED CRISIS: BOARDING AND DESTROYING BOATS-"BOOTS ON THE GROUND"- "COLLATERAL" EFFECTS? Today EU Defence and Foreign Affairs Council is meeting in Brussels - on Tuesday there will be a meeting of EU Defence Chiefs (with NATO in attendance). The EU is still waiting for UN approval of its Libya plan, which being drafted by the UK to legitimate EU military operations in Libyan waters and coast. See: Remarks by HR/Vice-President at the start of the meeting (Council press release, pdf)
UK to offer drones to help combat people-smugglers in Libya - Britain set to take leading role in Mediterranean military operation by supplying intelligence in response to migrant boat crisis (Guardian, link), Nato 'ready to help' EU anti-migrant smuggler operation (euobserver, link) and EU: boat-sinking Yes, migrant quotas No (euobserver, link)
Among the responses will be the report to the Political and Security Committee of the Council last Tuesday (12 May 2015) which includes:
"Non-compliant boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life [page 8] ...Collateral effects of EU kinetic actions will need to be avoided but the risk remains. Any casualties as a result of EU action could trigger a negative response from the local population and the wider region, jeopardising support and follow-up." [page 16]
"The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include:
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance;
- Boarding teams;
- Patrol units (air and maritime);
- Amphibious assets;
- Destruction air, land and sea, including Special Forces units" [p18, emphasis added]
UK: May asked to define extremism in new counter-extremism bill (BBC Radio 4 link)
"Theresa May said the government's counter-extremism strategy is designed to combat people who are "seeking to divide us". The home secretary said that "we are one nation" but some people want to divide us into "them and us".
She claims the measures will be part of a bigger picture which would includea strategy to "promote British values" - which, she says, include tolerance and respect for different faiths."Nobody is suggesting that different views cannot be expressed but one reason for looking at extremism in this way, is the path down which it can lead people", she adds. David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long. The PM will tell the National Security Council a counter-extremism bill will be in the Queen's Speech on 27 May".
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LIMITE doc no: 7779-15, 366 pages, pdf):
"The manual contains an overview of all EU systems, legal bases and instruments of information exchange available to the law enforcement authorities of the Member States." [emphasis in original] and includes the : "following key operational contexts:
prevention and investigation of criminal offences (and illegal immigration)
maintaining public order and security."
EU: UNI Global Union: Civil society groups form Better Regulation Watchdog to protect citizen, worker and consumer rights (link) and See: Founding Statement (pdf)
The Commissions Better Regulation power play - New internal documents show an effort to control the Parliament and Council's appointments to a proposed legislative board (Politico, link): "The European Commission is trying to exert more control over both the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in determining the make-up of a powerful new legislative board that forms a key component of its Better Regulation initiative."
See also: Commission: COMMUNICATION: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (pdf): Draft Agreement between the Commission, Council and the European Parliament: "The European Parliament and the Council will carry out impact assessments prior to the adoption at any stage of the legislative process of any substantive amendment to the Commission proposal." [emphasis added] and Commission proposal: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
European Ombudsman: Ombudsman makes eight proposals to Commission to avoid fundamental rights violations in multi-billion euro "cohesion" policy (pdf):
"Emily O'Reilly explained: "The Commission should not allow itself to finance, with EU money, actions which are not in line with the highest values of the Union that is to say, the rights, freedoms and principles recognised by the Charter. Among the fundamental rights issues I was alerted to during this inquiry were the following: EU funds being used to build institutions for people with disabilities instead of community-based living; a planned segregated neighbourhood for Roma, publicly advertised as benefitting from ESI Funds; and higher barriers to women's associations' access to funds. I trust that the Commission will take my proposals on board at this early stage of the 2014-2020 funding period."
News in Brief (18.5.15)
NSA surveillance opposed by American voters from all parties, poll finds - Poll taken as key aspect of Patriot Act is set to expire finds opposition to government surveillance across partisan, ideological, age and gender divides (Guardian, link)
French police cleared over teenagers' deaths that sparked riots - Two officers acquitted of failing to help boys who died in electricity substation in 2005, prompting fears of renewed unrest in France (Guardian, link)
Angela Merkel under pressure to reveal extent of German help for US spying - German chancellor called on to divulge a list of targets, including the IP addresses of individual computers, tracked on behalf of the NSA (Guardian, link)
Spains Gag Law: spectre of an authoritarian past (Equal Times, link)
Smart cities: Haven for tech geeks or hacker paradise? (Extremetech, link)
The Killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books, link)
Lack of trust takes sting out of EU measures - Anglia Ruskin academic co-authors study on counter-terrorism law and policy (link) Press release about the book that came out of the SECILE:project
SPAIN: OSINT: Indra y Accenture pugnan por diseñar el sistema que buscará sospechosos en las redes sociales (eldiario.es, link). Spain has assigned 1.6M euros to the creation of a system to track social media and store nicknames, comments and metadata. The system will explicitly not delete any of the compiled data.The goal is to create a database of threatening profiles based on their social and demographic info
EU: Drone rules hover into view - European Commission package is expected to address safety, security, privacy and noise pollution (Politico, link) See: Concept of Operations for Drones - A risk based approach to regulation of unmanned aircraft (pdf)
VIDEO: 10 points to really end the deaths of migrants at sea (YouTube, link)
GCHQs Rainbow Lights: Exploiting Social Issues for Militarism and Imperialism (Intercept, link)
UK: Police warn big budget cuts will lead to 'paramilitary' force - Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, says service is on its knees, and predicts end of policing by consent and move towards more violent style (Guardian, link): "Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now. White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK. White said cuts would see the bedrock principle of British law enforcement, policing by consent, ripped apart."
EU: European boots on Libyan ground - That's just one of the questions facing EU foreign and defense ministers as they consider migration crisis options (Politico, link)
"European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday to consider proposed military action against human traffickers in Libya find themselves faced with a series of questions on just how far they can take the fight.
At the same time, the EU is seeking approval from the United Nations for its plan, which would allow it to go after smugglers in Libyan waters and possibly even on land. The meeting will also address logistical concerns. Federica Mogherini, the EUs foreign policy chief, said she expects the group to decide on the headquarters and command of the mission. In a joint session, EU foreign and defense ministers will discuss strategy and tactics.
EU: Council of the European Union: Law Enforcement Working Party: Overview of expert groups and networks related to the LEWP and the provisional planning of their meetings (LIMITE doc no: 7706-rev-1-15, pdf): "Updated overview of the expert groups and networks related to the LEWP and the provisional planning of their meetings"
Includes RAILPOL (link), European Union (EU) Mobile identification interoperability group (e-Mobidig) (link), AQUAPOL (link), AIRPOL (link), EMPEN (European Medical and Psychological Experts' Network for law enforcement) (link) and ENLETS (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, EPPO, Presumption of Innocence & Fraud
- DP REGULATION: REMEDIES, LIABILITY AND SANCTIONS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter VIII (LIMITE doc no: 8371-15,pdf) 87 Footnotes with Member State positions.
See also European Parliament: Council's consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
- EPPO: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Orientation debate (LIMITE doc no: 8240-15, pdf)
- PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings - Preparation of second trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8547-15, 86 pages, pdf) Multi-column document with Commission Proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
- FRAUD: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law[First reading] - Preparation of the next trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8604-15, (pdf)
EU: Naval Force tipped to begin work in Mediterranean as soon as mid-June
As a result of the tragic events unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea over the last few months, with over 1000 lives lost this year alone, the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) is said to be preparing for operations in European waters. According to news website Bruxelles2 , the details of a Mediterranean operation have been tentatively planned, with some Member States providing 'means and resources'.
News in Brief (16-17.5.15)
UK: Royal Navy investigates Trident whistle-blower William McNeilly who claims nuclear programme is a 'disaster waiting to happen' (Independent on Sunday, link) and Navy probes leaked Trident safety claims (BBC News, link)
A.T. v Luxembourg: the start of the EU-ECHR story on criminal defence rights (EU Law Analysis, link): "The applicant, A.T. was questioned by police following surrender under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) (as to the cross-border aspect, see the post-script). On arrival, he demanded a lawyer. Police gave information (it is unclear what) which led him to accept to be questioned without one. He denied the offences. He was then questioned again before the investigating judge, with a lawyer present but (a) without having had the chance to talk with that lawyer beforehand and (b) without the lawyer having had sight of the case file prior to that questioning; again, he denied the offences."
WATCH: How the CIA Helped Make Zero Dark Thirty (PBS, link)
EU to open shelters in Niger in bid to keep illegal migrants out of Europe - Faced with increasing migratory pressures and human trafficking, the EU unveils plans to stem growing tide of illegal migration (The Observer, link): "Neither the nature of these programmes, nor their size, nor the key issue of funding has been decided. European funds could be mobilised, the source said."
EU: MED CRISIS: Small boats, choppy seas - A plan to deal with the boat people is ambitious, but the outcome will be woefully inadequate (Economist, link): "The bigger problem is that, until the EU works out how to end war and poverty, no proposal can match the scale of the problem... With delicious timing this week the commission also published a sobering demographic forecast. By 2060, it said, the EUs population will be in absolute decline. There will be just two workers for every man or woman over 65, compared to four today. If Europeans want to continue to fund the generous health care and pensions they have awarded themselves, then in the absence of a hitherto concealed fondness for procreation they will have to attract more workers from abroad."
USA-NSA: Former NSA Lawyer Says Keeping Bulk Collection Secret Was a Mistake (The Intercept, link): "The Bush administrations decision to keep bulk collection of domestic phone records a secret was a strategic mistake, former NSA Inspector General Joel Brenner told his former colleagues on Friday."
UK: MAKING REMOTE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS "LAWFUL": Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told - Legislative changes exempting law enforcement officers from ban on breaking into peoples digital devices were never debated by parliament, tribunal hears (Guardian, link):
"GCHQ staff, intelligence officers and police have been given immunity from prosecution for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under legislative changes that were never fully debated by parliament, a tribunal has been told.
The unnoticed re-writing of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other peoples laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in March. The new clause 10, entitled somewhat misleadingly Savings, is designed to prevent officers from committing a crime when they remotely access computers of suspected criminals.
Changes to the Computer Misuse Act were introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015 which received royal assent on 3 March 2015. No reference to the true impact of the changes was made in the parliamentary explanatory notes that accompanied the bill, according to Privacy International."
The Serious Crimes Act 2015 (pdf) contains the following amendment to the Computer Misuse Act: "the person does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer" [emphasis added: Section 41] As long as it is "authorised" its lawful.
See: After legal claim filed against GCHQ hacking, UK government rewrite law to permit GCHQ hacking (PI, link):
"In its legal filings, sent to Privacy International only the day before the hearing began, the Government notified claimants that the Computer Misuse Act was rewritten on 3 March 2015 to exempt the intelligence services from provisions making hacking illegal.
The explaintory notes that accompanied the act [Computer Misuse Act] make no reference to the true impact of the change. It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner's Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes. There was no published Privacy Impact Assessment. Only the Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Scotland Office, Northern Ireland Office, GCHQ, Police and National Crime Agency were consulted as stakeholders. There was no public debate.That legislation, deemed the Serious Crime Bill 2015, passed into law on 3 March 2015 and become effective on 3 May 2015."
Today, 15 May 2015, the Home Office issued two amended Codes of Practice:
- Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data Code of Practice (pdf)
- Retention of Communications Data Code of Practice (pdf)
NSA: USA Freedom Act Passes House, Codifying Bulk Collection For First Time, Critics Say (The Intercept, link):
"After only one hour of floor debate, and no allowed amendments, the House of Representatives today passed legislation that seeks to address the NSAs controversial surveillance of American communications. However, opponents believe it may give brand new authorization to the U.S. government to conduct domestic dragnets. The USA Freedom Act was approved in a 338-88 vote... The measure now goes to the Senate where its future is uncertain. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined to schedule the bill for consideration, and is instead pushing for a clean reauthorization of expiring Patriot Act provisions that includes no surveillance reforms."
It does not limit the governments authority to collect information overseas, including data on telephone and email records - in short NSA can carry on spying on the rest of the world.
EU: Joint Communication: European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Capacity building in support of security and development - Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises (pdf) Details EU external policies and begins with the statement that:
"Events in Africa, in Europe's neighbourhood and beyond point to a dramatic and deteriorating global security situation, with more than 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict affected regions worldwide. On current trends, this number is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030."
European Parliament Study: Comparative study on access to documents (and confidentiality rules) in international trade negotiations (pdf):
"It is extremely difficult to strengthen parliamentary oversight of the EUs trade policies without clear and predictable rules and procedures for the EP to access relevant information from the Commission and the Council. This study provides an overview on the rules guaranteeing access to information in international trade negotiations both in the EU and in selected third countries."
EU: PRUM STATISTICS: Council of the European Union: "PRUM Decisions": overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (28 pages, pdf):
"The provisions of the "Prüm Decisions" relating to information exchange concern:
supply of information relating to major events and in order to prevent terrorist offences;
automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data [fingerprints] and vehicle registration data (VRD);
data protection." [emphasis added]
The Council Decision on PRUM data exchange (2008, pdf) Article 14:covers the "Supply of personal data":
"For the prevention of criminal offences and in maintaining public order and security for major events with a cross-border dimension, in particular for sporting events or European Council meetings, Member States shall, both upon request and of their own accord, supply one another with personal data if any final convictions or other circumstances give reason to believe that the data subjects will commit criminal offences at the events or pose a threat to public order and security, in so far as the supply of such data is permitted under the supplying Member State's national law." [emphasis added]
No figures are supplied in the Annex on the use of Article 13 or 14 (Article 13 concerns the exchange of "non-personal data" for the same purpose)
EU-MED-CRISIS: Libya to Europe: Please Dont Come to Our Rescue (FP, link): "Libya's U.N. envoy expresses skepticism over European plans to fight migrant smugglers in Libyan territory, saying it will cause more trouble than it's worth."
GERMANY-NSA-INQUIRY: WikiLeaks, er, leaks the Bundestag Inquiry into NSA naughtiness - Includes a German spook explaining how to siphon data from fibre-optic cables (The Register, link)
See: Bundestag Inquiry into BND and NSA (Wikileaks, link) Excellent, with transcripts of hearings.
News in Brief (15.5.15)
EU: Non-refoulement, push-backs and the EU response to irregular migration (EPRS, link)
NATO moves closer to EU, Sweden, Finland (euractiv, link): "NATO will look at increasing cooperation with the European Union and its non-EU members Finland and Sweden through information-sharing and more military exercises, the alliance said on Thursday (14 May), a move likely to cause concern in Moscow."
EU Asylum Policy: In Search of Solidarity and Access to Protection (EASFJ, link)
Eurosceptic David Davis could oppose government on human rights reform - Tory MPs comments show growing backbench rebellion over plan that could lead to withdrawal from European court of human rights (Guardian, link): "The Conservative MP David Davis, a prominent Eurosceptic, has threatened to oppose government proposals that could lead to the UK withdrawing from the European court of human rights. Daviss reported comments are a sign of growing rebellion on the Tory backbenches as the complexity and political difficulties involved in seceding from the judicial authority of the Strasbourg court become increasingly apparent to the government."
UK: Young prisoner AJ Cracknell found dead in his cell in HMP Rochester (Kent Online, link): "A young man was found dead in his cell in HMP Rochester this week, the prison service has announced today. The inmate, named as AJ Cracknell, was 25 years old. On Tuesday at around 2pm prison officers entered his cell and found him to be unresponsive."
UK: Systemic failures of prison service contributed to death of killer Simon Hall in Norfolk jail, inquest hears (Eastern Daily Press, link)
There is a threat to British values - the British government - The government's plans are among the greatest threats to our freedoms, spreading intolerance in the name of tolerance by Caroline Lucas MP (New Statesman. link)
Defence budgets in Europe: downturn or U-turn? (ISS, link to pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf):
"The criminal networks which exploit vulnerable migrants must be targeted. The High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) has already presented options for possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations to systematically identify, capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers. Such action under international law will be a powerful demonstration of the EU's determination to act." [emphasis in original]
The Commission "Agenda" will thus be supplemented by a plan for a military-intelligence operation "on the ground" in Libya being prepared by the High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) through the European External Action Service (EEAS) - see Guardian story below. See: Current: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) and European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf)
See: Military action underpins EU migration plan (euobserver, link): "Foreign and defence ministers, in Brussels on Monday will discuss a 19-page blueprint prepared by Mogherinis staff and leaked to British daily The Guardian... It notes that a [military] presence ashore might be envisaged if agreement was reached with relevant authorities. But it warns that the terrorist presence in the region constitutes a security threat. Action taken ashore could be undertaken in a hostile environment. and National concerns erode European migration strategy (euractiv, link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Migrant crisis: EU plan to strike Libya networks could include ground forces - Exclusive: Strategy paper for the mission focuses on air and naval campaign, but adds that presence ashore might be needed to destroy smugglers assets (Guardian, link)
"European plans for a military campaign to smash the migrant smuggling networks operating out of Libya include options for ground forces on Libyan territory.
The 19-page strategy paper for the mission, obtained by the Guardian, focuses on an air and naval campaign in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters, subject to United Nations blessing. But it adds that ground operations in Libya may also be needed to destroy the smugglers vessels and assets, such as fuel dumps...
The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.
EU: Council of the European Union: SEAFARERS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on seafarers amending Directives 2008/94/EC, 2009/38/EC, 2002/14/EC, 98/59/EC and 2002/23/EC - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 8664-15, pdf) and 8664-ADD-1-15 (pdf): EP/Council deal is important for workers' rights - improving protection for everyone who works at sea.
See: Commission Proposal (pdf) and Staff Working Dcoument (pdf)
News in Brief (14.5.15)
UK-HUMAN RIGHTS ACT-ECHR: Letter from International Bar Association to govermnent (IBA, pdf)
LONDON: Challenging state and corporate impunity: Is accountability possible? (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Speakers include: Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) What is the role of researchers in supporting movements for state accountability?, Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group), Deborah Hargreaves (High Pay Centre) How do we challenge corporate abuses of power when this power is increasingly concentrated in elites? Ewa Jasiewicz (Fuel Poverty Action) How do we work for state and corporate accountability under conditions of austerity? Will McMahon (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool) Linking academic research to social movements."
EU removes 6 people from its Al-Qaida Sanctions Listing (European Sanctions, link)
CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: May 2015: Cover Up! to Defend Your Privacy (Netpol, link): "Help us raise £2500 to pay for 500 face coverings to distribute to protesters"
GERMANY: Berlin police powers strengthened (WSWS, link): "The changes agreed in late March to Berlins General Security and Public Order Act (ASOG), strengthen the powers of the police and undermine fundamental civil liberties. They are another step on the governments road to a police state."
Belgium Starts Unannounced Home Visits to Fight Social Benefit Fraud (Liberties.eu, link): "To fight social benefit fraud, the Belgian government has announced that it will begin unannounced home inspections of jobseekers and use energy usage data to target suspicious homes."
UN experts: Secretive trade agreements threaten human rights (IFEX, link)
Campaigning to Save our Human Rights Act (LIBERTY, link)
UK: Cameron faces Tory backbench rebellion over plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (Independent, link)
: "current Tory proposals, that would allow the UK Parliament to opt out of rulings by the ECHR that it disagreed with, would be incompatible with its obligations under Convention of Human Rights. This could even lead to Britains expulsion from the organisation it helped found in the wake of the Second World War."
A.T. v Luxembourg: European Court of Human Rights follows EU law on access to lawyer (Fair Trials, link): "The European Court of Human Rights has given judgment in A.T. v Luxembourg, and it is the first time one of the Roadmap Directives has been relied upon in the interpretation of the ECHR. These Directives set minimum standards regarding access to a lawyer, the waiver of the right to a lawyer and remedies when that right is infringed."
Policeman accused of framing student at tuition fee riot (Channel 4 News, link): "PC Andrew Ott, who hit student William Horner with his riot shield, was recorded saying after the incident "he's going to have to have done something, coz I've put his tooth out".
Google wins first "right to be forgotten" case in Finland (YLE, link): "Internet and search giant Google has prevailed in a case involving a private individual looking to remove information about himself from search engine results. The case marks the first time the EU's controversial new "right to be forgotten" rule has been tested in Finland."
Germany gives huge amount of phone, text data to U.S.: report (Reuters, link):
"Citing confidential documents, Die Zeit Online reported on Tuesday that of about 220 million pieces of meta data gathered per day, some 1.3 billion pieces per month go to the NSA. The data includes raw material from phone calls and text messages which shows contact details and times of activity but does not contain content. In particular, it sends raw material on foreign communication in crisis regions, said Zeit Online. "It is questionable as to whether this practice is covered by German laws," wrote Die Zeit, citing a BND official responsible for data protection."
CYPRUS: KISA Press Release: Serious violations of detainees rights in Detention Centre in Mennogeia (pdf):
"On Friday, 08.05.2015, delegation of KISA visited and talked to a number of detainees, the majority of who are currently on a hunger strike. Unfortunately, the findings of the meeting confirm the findings of our previous meetings according to several serious violations of the rights of the detainees...."
News in Brief (13.5.15)
UK: The Government's Plans for Union Ballots Will Make Legal Strikes Close to Impossible (Huffington Post, link): Frances OGrady, TUC General Secretary
UK: Mediterranean migrant crisis: May wants some people returned (BBC News, link): "Economic migrants rescued from the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe should be returned home, Home Secretary Theresa May has suggested." Is someone fleeing from poverty an "economic" migrant?
UK: New laws to target radicalisation (BBC News, link): "David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long."
UK: Theresa May to revive her 'snooper's charter' now Lib Dem brakes are off - Election results were barely in when the home secretary indicated the Tories will increase state surveillance powers, to the alarm of privacy campaigners (Guardian, link)
UK: Michael Gove to proceed with Tories' plans to scrap human rights act - Newly appointed justice secretary to follow through with pledge which would remove European court of human rights leverage over UKs supreme court (Guardian, link) See: Protecting Human Rights in the UK: The Conservatives' Proposals for changing Britain's Human Rgihts Laws (pdf)
EU member states fail to display solidarity over Mediterranean (EP, link)
Opt-outs to poke holes in EU migration policy (euobsever, link)
The Commissions new EU Migration Strategy: Waiting for the Great Leap Forward (EU Law Analysis, link)
INFOGRAPHIC: The facts about asylum seekers in Europe (euractiv, link)
GREECE: UN urgently called the Greek government to implement anti-racism measures to address issues of hate speech and verbal abuse against vulnerable people (New Europe, link): "UN Special Rapporteur also underlined the need for the creation of an indepedent body investigating police violence "
EU: "A huge power grab" by the Commission - Seeking to "regulate" EU legislators: "experts" Board will pronounce on any substantive changes made by the legislators to a Commission proposal (but who will "regulate" the Regulators?): See:
Commission: COMMUNICATION: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (pdf): Draft Agreement between the Commission, Council and the European Parliament:
"The European Parliament and the Council will carry out impact assessments prior to the adoption at any stage of the legislative process of any substantive amendment to the Commission proposal." [emphasis added]
and Commission proposal: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
"Carry out an impact assessment on any substantial amendments the Parliament or Council propose during the legislative process. Where the Parliament and the Council find an agreement significantly different from the initial Commission proposal, they should assess the likely impact and regulatory burden before any final decision." [emphasis added] .... "As announced in December 20146, a new and reinforced Regulatory Scrutiny Board will take the place of the existing [Impact] Board."
This Regulatory Board (replacing the Impact Assessment Board) would have six fullttime Members and three hired from outside EU institutions.
In simple terms the EU "Legislature" - the Council and the Parliament" - could not make any substantive amendments to a new measure without the Regulatory Board of "experts" pronouncing on how the original Commission proposal would be changed by the legislators.
As if to sweeten the move "consultations" are to take place at several stages before the Commission agrees a Proposal and sends it to the legislators and the secretness of "trilogues" would be ended (in most cases) - the latter should happen regardless of these ideas (see: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf).
Background: Commission wants to vet changes to draft EU law (euractiv, link): "EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will call on MEPs and national governments to commit to its drive for better regulation, and submit substantial changes to bills to scrutiny by experts, according to a leaked draft of its strategy to cut red tape.
UN-MED: EU mission could endanger refugees, UN warns (euobserver, link): "A senior UN official has warned the EU that innocent refugees, including children, will be in the line of fire of any operation to sink migrant smugglers boats. Peter Sutherland, the UN special envoy on migration and a former EU commissioner, issued the warning at a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Monday (11 May).
And see: Mediterranean crisis demands intensive dialogue among UN and regional actors, Security Council told (UN News Centre, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference St. Pölten, Austria, 4 and 5 May 2015 - Joint Declaration (LIMITE doc no: 8626-15, pdf ): "The three main challenges discussed were migration and asylum, security and police cooperation with a focus on the fight against terrorism and cyber security."
The Salzburg Forum: Its member states are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. It is based on an Austrian initiative taken in 2000, is a platform for multilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of internal security.
EU-MED: Human Costs of Border Control - Deaths at the Borders of Southern Europe (link)
"The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe."
EU:UN-EU RESOLUTION ON MED: Questions and answers: High Representative/Vice President (pdf):
"I'm afraid that what I can say now might not convince them to stop. Especially because the people that are leaving are coming from crisis areas, from conflict areas. And I'm afraid that there is nothing I can say to someone leaving from Syria, or from areas of conflict nowadays. What I can say to them is we, as Europeans, I add personally, finally, understood that we have to take this seriously, and together as Europeans. On different elements - preventing and managing conflicts - the main point is Syria there, but not only. Majority of the people come from the Horn of Africa."
See also: Commission: Strategy Note on "Legal Migration" (pdf)
German government denies deceit in NSA scandal (euractiv, link):
"Chancellor Merkels spokesman Steffen Seibert rejected accusations of a govenment cover-up in the mushrooming NSA scandal. Seibert said on Monday (11 May) that he reported on the issue that to the best of his judgement, appropriately presenting his level of knowledge at that time. His statement comes in response to accusations that Washington never offered Germany a No-Spy-Agreement, in contrast to government statements that suggested otherwise at the time. "
and see: BND spying affair divides German coalition (euractiv, link)
News in Brief (12.5.15)
NORTHERN IRELAND: Chief Commissioner Responds to Human Rights Proposals (NIHRC, link): "he Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has commented: It is deeply concerning that after 17 years of improving lives and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable in society that a newly elected Government should be indicating its intent to repeal the Human Rights Act. This is even more worrying during a time of austerity."
SCOTLAND: SACC Statement on the death of Sheku Bayoh (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, link): "The death of Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh while in police custody in Kirkcaldy on 3 May appears to have disturbing similarities to the deaths of black people at the hands of police in England and the USA. What happens next will be a litmus test for Scotland's legal and political institutions and for Scottish civil society."
IRELAND: Plan to give Ireland share of refugees acceptable (Irish Examiner, link)
FRANCE: Police violence in Calais: Calais Violences Policieres vs Cazeneuve mai 2015 HD (YouTube, link)
Frequently Asked Questions on IP and TPP Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) (Infojustice.org, link)
EU-UK: Home secretary hardens refusal to accept EU resettlement programme - British refugee organisations criticise Theresa Mays decision to take no responsibility for refugees or migrants caught up in Mediterranean boat crisis (Guardian, link)
USA: NSA Ruling Is a Victory for Privacy (TIME, link)
EU: Controversial French Surveillance Regulation Should Re-Ignite EU Debate on Surveillance Reform (CDT, link)
EU: European Commission: EU Migration Agenda (pdf)
A leaked draft of the Commission communication on the EU migration agenda which is due to be published on Wednesday 13th May. It might be changed before publication and may also be missing some text.(First published on EU Law Analysis)
EU moves ahead with military response to migration; pushes for Europe-wide migrant "quotas"
The EU's proposal to try and deal with the crisis in the Mediterranean by destroying boats used to transport migrants is moving ahead, with foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini making the EU's case for military action to the UN Security Council today. The proposed military effort will feature in the Commission's forthcoming 'Agenda on Migration', to be published on Wednesday (pdf), which will revolve around four themes: "a strong common asylum policy, the fight against trafficking and the prevention of irregular migration, managing external borders, and a new policy on legal migration."
UK: The Judiciary and Institutional Racism (London Review of Books blog, link). In this article Nadine El-Enany examines the recent High Court judgment that found Lutfur Rahman, former mayor of London borough Tower Hamlets, guilty of multiple offences including electoral fraud and corruption. As El-Enany puts it: "That a judge can put forward the view that the natural instinct of Muslims is to defer to their religious leaders and that Bangladeshis are a less sophisticated and less well educated people raises the question of whether the charge of institutional racism that Mawrey [the judge] is so quick to dismiss cannot also be laid at the door of the judiciary."
See: Full-text of judgment (200 pages, pdf) and Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman found guilty of election corruption and barred from office (The Independent, link)
UK: Anti-austerity protesters accuse police of 'violence' after 15 arrested near Downing Street (The Independent, link): "Police have arrested 15 people, including a 16-year-old boy, following angry anti-austerity protests near Downing Street that saw a war memorial vandalised." See also: from the Metropolitan Police: UPDATED Statement following disorder in Westminster on 9 May (mynewsdesk, link)
FRANCE: Controversial French Surveillance Regulation Should Re-Ignite EU Debate on Surveillance Reform (Center for Democracy & Technology, link): "As has been widely reported in the press, France is moving ahead with new legislation to enable expanded electronic surveillance.. the bill is so excessive that we believe it could, and should, lead to a renewed debate on surveillance reform across Europe. We have long believed that action at the EU level is critical to protecting human rights in the surveillance context, and the French bill shows that this need is more urgent than ever."
See: Full-text of the law: Assemblée Nationale: Projet de loi relatif au Renseignement (link) and France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack (The Guardian, link)
UK & IRELAND: MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE
UK: Sam Hallam: The man who spent over seven years in jail for a murder he did not commit (The Independent, link): "'I used to get really angry. But now, I say to people I feel more angry than I did then,' says Sam Hallam, who spent more than seven years in jail for a murder he didnt commit. A teenager when he was sentenced to life in 2005 for a gang-related murder in north London, Mr Hallam always protested his innocence."
See also: Wrongly convicted men launch new case against the Justice Secretary (The Independent, link): "Victims of two of Britains most worrying miscarriages of justice of modern times [Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon] are to take the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, to court over changes to the law stopping them from receiving compensation for the 24 years they wrongly spent behind bars."
And: Europe: Irish families seek justice for dead relatives (BBC News, link)
News in Brief (11.05.15)
EU to propose mandatory migrant settlement quotas (euractiv, link)
NSA-GERMANY: US 'asked Berlin to spy on Siemens': NSA suspected firm was supplying technology to the Russian secret service (Daily Mail, link): "German secret service also allegedly spied on French government for USA - Merkel's government has rejected requests for NSA's 'search terms' list - Edward Snowden: latest claims show 'massive surveillance is a reality'
EU: Police disrupt organised criminal group smuggling people from Africa to the EU (Europol press release, link)
Frances Far-Right Family Implodes as National Front Founder Jean-Marie Le Pen Disowns His Daughter (Vice News, link)
GERMANY-USA: Documents: BND/NSA relationship; EU agreement which Germany flouts (UndercoverInfo, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch receive slightly more refugee requests than EU average (Expatica, link)
SPAIN: X-ray scan at Spanish border finds child stashed inside suitcase (The Guardian, link)
SWEDEN: Assange appeal rejected by Sweden's supreme court (The Guardian, link)
UK: Manchester council bans homeless people from using library (The Guardian, link)
USA: FBI admits to using surveillance planes above Baltimore protests (RT, link)
Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones
"On the basis of the Commission's communication and ongoing political and legal developments, it is doubtful - to say the least - whether the proposed "full compliance with fundamental rights" will be achieved. Instead, the Agenda looks likely to legitimise more repressive laws and policies at EU and national level."
See also: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015
UK: The ongoing fiasco of privatised court interpreting services (IRR, link): "Three years after Capita took on a Ministry of Justice contract to provide interpreting services in courts and tribunals, recent cases and an independent review have demonstrated that it is still failing, with serious consequences."
See also: Lost in privatisation: Capita, court interpreting services and fair trial rights (IRR, February 2014)
EU: SCHENGEN: Germany to reintroduce border controls for G7 conference
Thomas de Maizière, Germany's Interior Minister, informed the Council of the EU at the end of April that Germany will be reintroducing border controls from 26 May to 15 June 2015. This is to due to the "increased security requirements" of the G7 summit which takes place in Elmau, Bavaria, on the 7 and 8 June. According to de Maizière's letter, "the controls will be conducted subject to police intelligence, not on a permanent or nationwide basis, but flexibly in terms of time and place. Controls are likely to be focused on the German-Austrian border and... the German-Czech border... In particular, potential perpetrators of violence should be prevented from travelling to the venue in Germany, to help ensure that the summit passes without incident."
See: NOTE from: German delegation: Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the German internal borders (pdf)
Protests against the summit are taking place, for example: Stop G7 Elmau 2015 (link). See also the official site: G7 Germany 2015: "Think Ahead. Act Together." (link)
USA: NSA mass phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden ruled illegal (The Guardian, link): "The US court of appeals has ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is unlawful, in a landmark decision that clears the way for a full legal challenge against the National Security Agency."
See the full judgment: ACLU v. Clapper (pdf)
EU Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants fundamental rights during "forced returns" (pdf) and Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (link)
EU: Tripling Triton's budget: how fast will the EU move?
One of the European Council's recent proposals for dealing with the migration crisis in the Mediterranean was to "rapidly reinforce" the Triton border control mission, operated by EU agency Frontex. However, the speed of the decision-making process in the EU suggests that this reinforcement is not likely to be particularly rapid.
News in Brief (7.5.15)
FRANCE: Surveillance - FIDH and LDH challenge the decision of the Prosecution not to hold an inquiry (FIDH, link): "Today FIDH and LDH filed a request with the Paris General Prosecutor for an administrative review of the 13 April decision to refuse opening an inquiry following a complaint lodged in December 2014 against French intelligence services for illegal surveillance."
CYPRUS: Conditions in Cyprus for refugees still a far cry from EU standards(Cyprus Mail, link): "Around 65 per cent of people applying for asylum in Cyprus are granted subsidiary protection but conditions for refugees are still a far cry from EU standards, according to a new report."
Migrants rescued after 12 days at sea; EU eyes seizing boats (WRAL, link)
'Everyday racism' weaves its way into welcoming Germany (DW, link): "While the PEGIDA movement has lost much of its steam, a spate of attacks on asylum seekers' homes across Germany reveals a worrying trend. Is a greater police presence the answer to creating a more open society? "
Direct Provision system for asylum seekers 'not fit for purpose' (Breaking News.ie, link): "A new report into Direct Provision in Ireland has found it is "not fit for purpose" and residents are being "failed". The Public Service Oversight Committee is publishing the full report later, following a series of interviews with residents and staff at the centres in Galway, Foynes, Mosney and Clondalkin."
Turkish student sentenced for re-tweeting satirical news (EDRI, link): "Meral Tutcali, a student in Anadolu University, was sentenced by the provincial court of Adana to one year in jail for insulting a public official, after she re-tweeted Zaytungs article, which reported satirically that former Adana governor Huseyin Avni Cos declared his autonomy. The article included an illustration showing the Governor in a military vehicle, surrounded by guards. The picture was taken during a national holiday during which its customary for governors to appear in such parades. Tutcalis house was raided twice by police for her retweet."
EU-UAE visa waiver takes effect from May 7 - The UAE is the first Arab country to be granted this facility (Gulf News, link)
GERMANY: Four Held In German Right-Wing Extremist Raids - Prosecutors say the "Old School Society" group was planning to attack asylum-seeker housing, mosques and Islamic extremists (Sky News, link)
Deaths at Sea: No more excuses! (EHRN, link): "Amid public shock and anger at the tragic death of more than 900 people including refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Libya, the EU Council held an emergency summit on April 23rd. Following a moment of silence to mourn these preventable deaths, EU leaders went back to business as usual."
Libya Coastguard Intercepts 500 Illegal Immigrants (Outlook, link)
What it means when we call people illegal (LACUNA, link): "More than 60 years ago European leaders gathered to sign the European Convention on Human Rights; a landmark international treaty born out of the horrors of the Second World War, and championed by the then British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The Convention declares that human rights are the foundation of peace and justice in the world and that they are universal they apply to everyone."
UN calls for suspension of TTIP talks over fears of human rights abuses - UN lawyer says tactics used by multinationals in courts outside of public jurisdiction would undermine democracy and law (Guardian, link)
Navy Robots Test the Limits of Autonomy (New York Times, link)
Garda actions towards homeless man justified (Irish Examiner, link): "A Garda Ombudsman report into the filmed arrest of a homeless man by a garda last March found the force used appeared to be justified, lawful and proportionate.
EU-TTIP: Council of the European Union: European Commission Note: Investment in TTIP and beyond the path for reform (LIMITE doc no: 8555-15, pdf): "CONCEPT PAPER: Investment in TTIP and beyond the path for reform Enhancing the right to regulate and moving from current ad hoc arbitration towards an Investment Court." This TTIP document is on the key issue of investment arbitration against governments.
And see: European Commission: RECONSTRUCTED: Draft sent 26/3-15 from the Commission to the Trade Policy Committee CHAPTER [ ] Regulatory Cooperation (pdf)
and Press release: TTIP Round 9 - final day press conference: Comments by EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Analysis of Agenda Setting in the European Council, 20092014 (80 pages, pdf): "The research is based on a quantitative analysis of the European Council Conclusions (ECCs) complemented by qualitative examinations of particular elements of the agenda that emerge from the results of the quantitative analysis."
GERMANY: NSA: BND spying affair divides German coalition (euractiv, link): "Angela Merkel defended cooperation between Germanys intelligence service, the BND, and its US counterpart, the NSA, amid fresh accusations of illegal spying operations. EurActiv Germany reports. After sharp criticism from Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel, Germanys ruling coalition parties are facing off in the spy debate."
See also: Austria files criminal complaint over alleged NSA snooping (Washington Post, link): "Austria is asking for a legal investigation of allegations that the German intelligence service helped the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdrop on the countrys political leaders. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Tuesday her ministry has filed a criminal complaint against unnamed persons or entities on suspicion of secret ntelligence activities to the detriment of Austria.
News in Brief (6.5.15)
France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack - Controversial new bill that allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without judicial permission sparks protests from civil liberties groups (Guardian, link) and see: France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition (Statewatch)
European Court of Justice to advise on legality of web links to unpublished content (electronista, link(
EU: MED CRISIS: Russia to oppose EU sinking of migrant smuggler boats (euobserver, link): "Russia has indicated it will block UN approval of EU plans to sink migrant smugglers boats, but says the disagreement isnt linked to Ukraine. Vladimr Chizhov, its EU ambassador, told press in Brussels on Tuesday (5 May) that apprehending human traffickers and arresting these vessels is one thing, but destroying them would be going too far."
EU: JUSTICIA: Procedural Rights (link): "The most up-to-date and relevant documents, press releases, academic comment, legislation, and case-law is collated and organised here in this fully-searchable central storage space. Here you can get an overall sense of the information available in the area of procedural rights or quickly find a specific document." and see: Snapshot (link)
GREECE-UK-IRELAND: Treatment of vulnerable people: Greece: Police Abusing Marginalized People (HRW, link), Family demand answers after inmate dies of asthma attack in prison... (ITV, link) and Cabinet to discuss concerns on imprisoning people for non payment of debt (Irish Examiner, link)
USA- NSA: The Computers are Listening - How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text (The Intercept, link):
"Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored."
See documents: Media Mining - the future is now (pdf) and UK: Security Service and speech technology (STRAP 1, pdf):
UK: Client snooping: concern despite case victory (Law Society Gazette, link)
"Legal professional bodies have renewed their call for statutory protection for professional privilege despite a landmark ruling against the security services.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) this week ordered intelligence agency GCHQ to destroy illegally intercepted communications between Libyans subjected to renditions and their lawyers in the UK. This is believed to be the first time the tribunal has ordered an intelligence agency to give up surveillance material in its 15-year history.
However, both the Law Society and the bar said the ruling did not go far enough to protect lawyer-client communications."
GERMANY-NSA: BND scandal: Bundestag committee issues ultimatum (euractiv, link):
"The Bundestag's NSA investigation committee has demanded lists of search terms Germany's intelligence service, the BND, allegedly spied on for Washington."
And see: Merkel defends BND amid NSA spy scandal (euronews, link): "intelligence agencies must be able to work in secret to ensure the publics safety. The German government will do everything it can to ensure that intelligence agencies are able to carry out their duties. In the face of international terrorism threats, they can only do this in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and that includes first and foremost the NSA.
SPAIN: Deportation flights violating migrants rights, says Ombudswoman - Procedures regarding onboard medical and language assistance are not being followed (El Pais, link)
"Becerrils report notes that Frontex did not order the presence of a physician on several deportation flights that it monitored. On others, there was no interpreter. The migrants were sometimes not informed about the possibility of filing a complaint against violations of their fundamental rights... On all monitored deportation flights, there was no video recording as stipulated in the code, especially for difficult cases, adds the study."
As usual: "Frontex has rejected any responsibility for the conditions on deportation flights, underscoring that this falls to the member states."
And see: VÍDEO. Policías golpean a un inmigrante en un avión durante su deportación (link)
News in Brief (5.5.15)
Expulsados de sus vidas en 48 horas - Interior deporta en avión a más de 26.000 extranjeros en los últimos cinco años (El Pais, link) [Spain deported 26,491 people between 2010 and 2014, according to government data - 15 people per day]
EU Triton mission yet to receive extra cash and boats (euobserver, link): "Plans for more money and boats to expand the EUs surveillance mission Triton in the Mediterranean have yet to be realised as migrants continue to attempt to make the perilous sea journey....The money will be siphoned from the EU budget but is currently mired in technocratic procedures... The EU-led mission is technically limited to a 30 nautical mile range along the Italian coast although discussions on expanding its operational scope are taking place between the EUs border agency, Frontex, which coordinates the sea missions, and Italy, Greece, and Malta."
UK: IPCC investigates death of man restrained by police outside Devon pub - Devon and Cornwall police launch criminal inquiry into death of man who fell unconscious while he was being restrained after disturbance in Paignton (Guardian, link)
SERBIA: Right to asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2014 (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, pdf)
Global Detention Project (GDP): The Detention of Asylum Seekers in the Mediterranean Region: April 2015 (pdf): IThis Global Detention Project background paper is intended to highlight some of the vulnerabilities that people seeking international protection face when they are taken into custody in Mediterranean countries and to underscore the way that European Union-driven policies have impacted the migratory phenomenon in the region."
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Internet Referral Unit at Europol - Concept note (LIMITE doc no: 7266-15, pdf)
"Given the size of the problem, its span across multiple linguistic audiences and jurisdictions, tackling this phenomenon efficiently requires the EU Member States to pool resources and devise a coherent and coordinated European prevention strategy to counter terrorist propaganda and ensure that Internet remains a public good, free of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda while respecting fundamental principles such as the freedom of speech.
Accordingly, on 12 March 2015 the Council of Ministers agreed that building on the Check-the- Web project, Europol will develop an EU Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) by 1 July 2015"
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Speech in Berlin: Value of the EU Data Protection Reform against the Big Data challenges (pdf):
"Let me start with a message that I hope will resonate with all of you: We need global bridges to be able to protect the personal data and privacy of the individuals facing borderless technologies, business models and networks that use their data as fuel."
GERMANY-USA: NSA: German Prosecutors Launch Investigation of Spying Charges (Washington Post, link): "Germany's top public prosecutor will look into accusations that the country's BND foreign intelligence agency violated laws by helping the United States spy on officials and firms in Europe, including Airbus group, the federal prosecutors office said."
And see: Report: BND-NSA collaboration deeper than thought (DW, link): "The German news magazine Der Spiegel first outlined the extent of the BND's partnership with the NSA last week. But details are continuing to emerge, suggesting that more than metadata was shared.
EU: ERITREA: EU plans to provide Eritreas oppressive regime with new funding ( Reporters Without Borders, link): "Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF) on a significant improvement in fundamental freedoms, including freedom of information."
And see: Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE): Letter to European Commission: EU's Development aid to the Eritrean Government (link) and Quand lUE finance la dictature de lÉrythrée pour stopper les migrants (When the EU finances the Eritrean dictatorship to stop migrants) (France 24, link)
News in Brief (4.5.15)
Revealed: refugees at Dungavel paid just £1 an hour for work in detention centre (HeraldScotland, link)
Europes journalists face growing climate of fear (Xindex, link): "Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs, according to a survey of the verified incidents reported to Index on Censorships Mapping Media Freedom project."
Pressure on Central Europe to Take More Asylum-Seekers (BalkanInsight, link): "Newer EU member states likely to face pressure to share the asylum burden, which is weighing on Germany on Sweden."
Congressman with computer science degree: Encryption back-doors are technologically stupid (Washington Post, link):"law enforcement officials to urge Congress to mandate that companies create a way for them to access encrypted content. But encryption experts say building such back-doors would fundamentally undermine the security of people who rely on those products because it could create new vulnerabilities and give hackers a new target to attack."
EU: MED-CRISIS: Thousands of migrants rescued in Mediterranean (euobserver, link):
"Thousands of people in rickety boats and rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean were rescued over the weekend in one of the largest life-saving operations to date led by Italys coastguard. Italian officials say some 5,800 were plucked from the sea on Sunday (3 May) and Saturday. Around 10 were found dead off the Libyan coast with more 2,150 of them rescued on Sunday alone. The migrants were taken to southern Italian ports."
Europe Weighs Bombing Migrant Boats (Defense News, link):
" Europe's leaders are carefully weighing the chances of pulling off an unusual military operation: Bombing small boats before they're loaded up with fishermen or illegal migrants. What sounds like a hypothetical war college exercise has instead become a pressing political problem..."
EU: MED-CRISIS: With details of exactly what the EU is going to do and on what legal basis still undecided it is perhaps useful to be reminded of similar ongoing operations the EU is undertaking: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) This is full of acronyms, this is what they stand for:
EUAM (EU Administration of Mostar)
EUMM (EU Monitoring mission)
EUPOL (EU Police Mission)
EUMAM (Military Advisory Mission in the Central African Republic)
EUCAP ((EU capacity-building) NESTOR in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP SAHEL Niger EUAVSEC (aviation security) in South Sudan
EUFOR ALTHEA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
EUBAM (EU Border Assistance Mission)
EUNAVFOR (EU Naval Force)
Background: A EU Mission in the Med could call for financial support under the: ATHENA Council Decision (pdf). As to the legal basis it could be under Article 44 of the TEU and this was discussed in the Council's Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on Article 44 TEU (LIMITE doc no 6108-15, pdf) which notes that "The Council Legal Service advised that use of an Article 44 mission must be in accordance with: Article 42(1) and Article 43(1)" for a military-civil operation.
The Council Legal Service also concluded: that i) A Article 44 Mission has to be established by a Council Decision, adopted by unaminity ii) the actual implementation can be undertaken by a group of Member States and iii) A Third State can take part.
EU: Juncker demands secret service for Europe (The Times, link): "The president of the European Commission has demanded his own secret service to counter spies from the blocs national governments after it emerged that German secret agents helped America to spy on Brussels."
USA-NSA: SURVEILLANCE: Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.s Warrantless Spying (New York Times, link):
"The secrecy surrounding the National Security Agencys post-9/11 warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program hampered its effectiveness, and many members of the intelligence community later struggled to identify any specific terrorist attacks it thwarted, a newly declassified document shows.
The document is a lengthy report on a once secret N.S.A. program code-named Stellarwind. The report was a joint project in 2009 by inspectors general for five intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and it was withheld from the public at the time, although a short, unclassified version was made public. The government released a redacted version of the full report to The New York Times on Friday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit."
See 751 page document (Cryptome, link)
See also: A Bills Surveillance Limits (New York Times, link): "Bipartisan legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee would reauthorize mass surveillance programs revealed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, but impose new limits on them. Although it does not limit the governments authority to collect information overseas, including data on telephone and email records" [emphasis added] See: US Freedom Act 2015 (pdf)
News in Brief (2-3.5.15)
UK: Open letter condemns legal aid cuts, calls on new government to restore justice - More than 100 judges, peers, lawyers and doctors write open letter to the Guardian calling on new government to prevent widespread miscarriages of justice (Guardian, link)
From laws to trade agreements The uncertain future of the EUs privacy framework (link)
The Returns Directive and the Expulsion of Migrants in an Irregular Situation in Spain (EU Law Analysis, link)
EU: Case C-192/15, Rease secretly spied on, medical data leaked, and left unprotected by the Dutch regulator (EU Law Radar, link)
African migrants lost at sea recalled (Irish News, link): " he countless migrants who died trying to escape poverty and persecution in Africa have been remembered in Dublin. A wreath was laid for the countless mothers, fathers and children who have died after risking their lives on what have been dubbed modern day 'coffin ships'.... Their desperate flight and the many tragic deaths have been likened to the harsh experiences of the Irish people who died in coffin ships on the Atlantic, trying to escape the Great Famine of the 1840s."
UK: Action taken against hundreds of police officers for misconduct -Hundreds of misconduct notices have been served to police officers in the forces that cover Shropshire and Mid Wales, new figures reveal today. (Shropshire Star, link) and see: Over 3,000 police officers being investigated for alleged assault - and almost all of them are still on the beat (Independent, link)
UK: Cabinet minister accepted donation from corporate spy - Nicky Morgan received £3,220 from Paul Mercer, who has been paid by large firms including BAE to monitor political campaign groups (Guardian, link): "A cabinet minister has accepted a donation from a corporate investigator with a history of spying on political campaigners. The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, who received £3,220 from Paul Mercer, is fighting to be re-elected in her marginal seat of Loughborough in Leicestershire. Mercer, who has lived in the area for many years, is taking an active part in promoting her campaign."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union discussing its negotiating positions (30 April 2015): Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):
Relationship Chapters II and IX (LIMITE doc no: 8309-15, pdf) includes "Purpose limitation and further processing in Chapter II" and "Further processing and Article 83", includes research exception.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 8372-15, pdf) 66 Member State positions.
EU: RETURNS POLICY: Council of the European Union: From Council Presidency: Return and readmission policy - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no 7156-15, pdf):
"In its March 2014 Communication on EU Return Policy, the Commission reported that "there is a considerable gap between the persons issued with a return decision (approximately 484 000 persons in 2012, 491 000 in 2011 and 540 000 in 2010) and those who, as a consequence, have left the EU (approximately 178 000 in 2012, 167 000 in 2011 and 199 000 in 2010). There are multiple reasons for this gap, including in particular lack of cooperation from the non-EU country of origin or transit (e.g. problems in obtaining the necessary documentation from non-EU consular authorities) and lack of cooperation from the individual concerned (i.e. he/she conceals his/her identity or absconds).".....
Quite frequently, the third countries concerned appear reluctant to accept the third country national clause or even oppose its inclusion in the agreement.... It would probably be useful to further reflect on the need to review this strategy on readmission, adopted by the Council in 2011, and to look for more powerful incentives for third countries of origin to cooperate on readmission.
It might be useful to establish a linkage between the currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code and the cooperation of third countries in the return/readmission of their nationals. The currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code provides for a number of visa facilitations to third country nationals who are subject to the visa requirement. The applicability of these facilitations is currently exclusively linked to individual circumstances of third-country nationals. This approach might be reviewed, and visa facilitation only be granted to nationals of third countries who cooperate on readmission." [emphasis in original]
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Cybersecurity and Privacy Innovation Forum 2015, Brussels, 28 April 2015: Keynote address: Giovanni Buttarelli European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf):
"For nearly twenty years now, the EU data protection directive has provided a solid basis for safeguarding the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. But after so many years of rapid technological and business development, the law is due for maintenance.
We urge the European Parliament and the Council to adopt a new framework which reinforces the rights of the individual, before the end of this year.
Now is not the time to weaken the protection of personal data and to lower the level below the one provided by the current Directive."
EU:Meijers Committee: Note on the LIBE amendments to the draft directive Presumption of Innocence (pdf): "The Meijers Committee has carefully examined the amendments adopted by the LIBE Committee to the proposal for a directive on strengthening certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.1 As explained below, the Committee considers the adoption of a number of these amendments highly advisable in order to provide strong procedural rights in this matter, but also in light of previously created cooperation mechanisms in criminal affairs."
USA: ALL THE PRESIDENTS PSYCHOLOGISTS: The American Psychological Associations Secret Complicity with the White House and US
Intelligence Community in Support of the CIAs Enhanced Interrogation Program (pdf)
See also: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says (New York Times, link)
News in Brief (1.5.15)
Is Gladio still alive in Turkey? (Todays Zaman, link): "A recent decision by a public prosecutor's office to drop a five-year case investigating top-secret documents found at a Turkish military headquarters has revived suspicions that now-defunct Gladio-type illegal structures from the Cold War years within NATO might still be alive in this member of the alliance."
Forgot your password? The SME Intrinsic-ID proposes a device fingerprint to authenticate your access (COM Digital Agenda, link)
HUNGARY-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Statement by the President after phone conversation with Prime Minister Orban (EP, link)
Juncker on Germany's BND scandal: 'It is very difficult to keep secret services under control' (euractiv, link): "ermany's intelligence agency, the BND, spied on French officials and the EU's headquarters on behalf of US intelligence, German media reported Thursday (30 April). Asked to comment, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that it is very difficult to keep secret services under control."
LSE takes legal action to evict occupying student protesters - London students took over university room in March to protest against tuition fees and privatisation, with support from Russell Brand (Guardian, link)
EU: "A huge power grab" by the Commission? Seeking to "regulate" EU legislators: Commission wants to vet changes to draft EU law (euractiv, link):
"EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will call on MEPs and national governments to commit to its drive for better regulation, and submit substantial changes to bills to scrutiny by experts, according to a leaked draft of its strategy to cut red tape"
See: Commission proposal: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf).
EU: Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM): PICUM Position Paper on EU Returns Directive (pdf):
"Based on the impacts on undocumented migrants of the provisions established within the Return Directive as identified by PICUM members, this position paper
aims at informing the debate on possible further development of the EU return policy by providing concrete policy recommendations concerning the situation faced by undocumented migrants within the return process."
EU: Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2015 (pdf)
See also: Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2014 (pdf), Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2013 (pdf) and Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2012 (pdf)
European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Joint Communication: Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) "Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda" (JOIN 15-15, pdf)
European Parliament: Briefing on EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) (pdf)
CoE: The Council of Europe is currently negotiating additions to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, in the form of a protocol dealing with the "foreign fighters" phenomenon. The protocol will implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 Last week the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs proposed (pdf) "some changes to the text which would help to strengthen human rights safeguards, including putting greater emphasis on the right to a fair trial and the principle of legal certainty."
The rapporteur, John Tomlinson, who is part of the Socialist Group within the CoE Parliamentary Assembly, does not seem altogether convinced by the need for a new protocol. As he puts it: "Without prejudging the usefulness of the Draft Additional Protocol and the likelihood of its future application, I am convinced that there is a need for more clarity about the scope of terrorist offences and the application of international humanitarian law".
The original draft of the protocol was heavily criticised by Martin Scheinin, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism
UK: Detainee died in centre after allegedly waiting 15 minutes for medical help (Eastern Eye, link):
" What was supposed to be a ten-day dream holiday, including a trip to Scotland, turned into a nightmare when they were sent straight to Yarl's Wood because officials believed they planned to stay in the UK despite having booked return tickets to India."
See also: Dying for Justice (IRR, link): "gives the background on 509 people (an average of twenty-two per year) from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated"
HUNGARY: EU chief demands Orban drop Hungary death penalty revival (Reuters, link). And see: ECHR Protocol on absolute ban on the death penalty comes into force (Statewatch database)
Germany spied on France and the EU Commission: Report (euobserver, link):
"German Chancellor Angela Merkels government has been embarrassed by reports that the country's intelligence service was spying on France and the European Commission for the US National security agency (NSA).
According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Thursday (30 April), the BND, the German intelligence service, listened in on officials from the French presidency and foreign affairs ministry, as well as the EU Commission.... "The core of the issue is the political espionage of our European neighbours and of the EU institutions," a German official is quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung."
UN Security Council President on Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: Its Not About Protecting Europe; Its About Protecting the Refugees. (Migrants at Sea, link) "diplomats are warning that United Nations backing for any European Union plan to address the growing Mediterranean migration crisis could take longer than anyone wants. Ambassador Kawar said I dont think were anywhere close to having [support] now and that the effort is not about protecting Europe. Its about protecting the refugees."
The Slovak Constitutional Court cancelled mass surveillance of citizens (EISI, link):
"An act, which ordered large-scale mass surveillance of citizens (so called data retention) is now history. Today the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic proclaimed the mass surveillance of citizens as unconstitutional. The decision was rendered within proceedings initiated by 30 members of the Parliament on behalf of the European Information Society Institute (EISi), a Slovakia based think-tank."
UK: GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules - Eavesdropping agency must destroy documents containing legally privileged communications relating to Libyan rendition victim Sami al-Saadi (Guardian, link):
"The ruling marks the first time in its 15-year history that the investigatory powers tribunal has upheld a specific complaint against the intelligence services, lawyers have said. It is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security service to give up surveillance material.
The IPT says GCHQ must destroy two documents which are legally privileged communications belonging to a former opponent of the Gaddafi regime, Sami al-Saadi, who was sent back to Libya in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA rendition operation with his wife and four children under 12."
News in Brief (30.4.15)
MEPs challenge Orban's 'horrible' migration survey (euobserver, link): "In a questionnaire to be sent out to 8 million citizens over 18 years of age, Hungarians are asked to answer 12 questions on whether the mismanagement of the immigration question by Brussels may have something to do with increased terrorism. They are also asked if they would support the Hungarian government in detaining illegal migrants who themselves should cover the costs of staying in Hungary."
Norway to send second ship to Mediterranean (The Local, link)
LEAP Report Towards an EU Defence Rights Movement (Fair Trials, link)"Legal Experts Advisory Panel (*LEAP) &SHY; a pan-EU nnetwork of over 130 criminal justice and human rights experts representing all 28 EU Member States and coordinated by Fair Trials Europe &SHY; has llaunched its strategy for supporting the implementation of the EU Roadmap Directives. The LEAP report, *Towards an EU Defence Rights Movement sets out the various ways in which LEAP members hope to contribute to national implementation activities through litigation, practitioner training, the production of template pleadings with comparative and EU law arguments, and participation in national legislative discussions."
On Willems et al. v Burgemeester van Nuth and the processing of personal data by law enforcement agencies If only the CJEU had been more prolix .(peepbeep!, link)
Joined Cases C-446/12 449/12 Willems: The CJEU washes its hands of Member States fingerprint retention (EU Law Blog)
Juncker calls for EU refugee quotas, legal migration to Europe (DW, link): The European Commission's president has called for refugee quotas for EU
countries ... "We must distribute refugees throughout the whole of Europe. "If we don't open the door, even partly, you can't act surprised when the unfortunate from across the planet break in through the window," he said."
UK: Labour promise full inquiry into 'odious' blacklisting of thousands of workers - Alleged role of covert police in passing information about workers to blacklisting agency could come under further scrutiny (Guardian, link)
USA: NSA allowed to continue spying on the rest of the world: Nearly Two Years After Snowden, Congress Poised to Do Something Just Not Much (The Intercept, link):
"Congress is doing nothing to limit NSA programs ostensibly targeted at foreigners that nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications, nor to limit the agencys mass surveillance of non-American communications. The limited reforms in the new bill affect only the one program explicitly aimed at Americans." [emphasis added]
See: US Freedom Act 2015 (pdf) and see: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the world but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis)
CoE: Secretary General cites judicial weaknesses and media freedom as top human rights concerns: State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe; A shared responsibility for democratic security in Europe : Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (pdf)
"Europes democratic shortcomings are bigger, deeper and geographically more widespread than previously understood according to the latest overview of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the 47 Council of Europe member states. The report, by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, identifies the lack of judicial independence in many countries and threats to media freedom across the continent as the two biggest challenges to democratic security.
Honest and decent courts are essential for supporting democracy and maintaining stability, yet over a third of our member countries are failing to ensure that their legal systems are sufficiently independent and impartial, said the Secretary General.
Media freedom, on the other hand, is under pressure across the whole continent. Journalists face physical threats in many places, anti-terror laws are being used to limit free speech and certain media arrangements unfairly favour those who are in power.
News in Brief (29.4.15)
Migration: Europe's wakeup call (euobserver, link)
MEPs call on member states to share asylum seeker burden (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers Tuesday (28 April) demanded the bloc share the burden of accepting asylum seekers, as the pressure on southern European countries from migrants crossing the Mediterranean showed no sign of easing."
Press release Open Access Now - Closing of the 2014-2015 mobilization (migreurop, link) with documentation
UK intelligence tribunal to rule on surveillance case - Judgment could prove decisive in case involving Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj, returned to Gaddafi regime in UK-US rendition operation (Guardian, link)
EU to set up new counter-terrorism center (I24news, link)
Commission links security to development (euractiv, link) "The Juncker Commission presented Tuesday (28 April) new proposals to strengthen the link between security and development in the external actions of the European Union, two fields of action which were largely kept separate in the previous commission." See story below)
SECURITY AGENDA: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015
EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: LIMITE documents from 27 April 2015: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Preparation for a general approach: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7978-REV 1-15, pdf) 53 pages with 233 Member State positions. Possible deal on the key chapter of the data protection regulation - going to COREPER tomorrow.
"SWEDEN: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 8353-15,pdf)
EU: CONNECTED CONTINENT: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012:
"Preparation for the third informal trilogue - examination of the Presidency compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 8337-15,pdf)
EU: MED CRISIS: Agence Europe reports that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said: ""To be able to take action, we have to have a United Nations mandate. That will not be easy, just as it will not be easy to get the agreement of the Libyan authorities which do not yet have a government of national unity, Mogherini said on Sunday in an interview with Italian media."
European Commission: Take Swift Action Against Attacks on Core EU Values in Spain! (Liberties EU, link): "Human rights, justice and the rule of law are core values on which the EU is founded. The Spanish government has adopted a package of legal reforms that severely undermines these principles. Ask the Commission to take action to protect European values!"
REPRIEVE: Renewed Concerns that UK 'Lobbied' US on CIA Torture Report (Common Dreams, link):
"Senior British ministers had several meetings in the past year with a Senate Security and Intelligence Committee member who was vocally opposed to the publication of the CIA torture report, its emerged.
Documents obtained by human rights organization Reprieve have revealed that in the 12 months prior to the Senate reports release, senior members of the British government had five previously undisclosed meetings with Senator Marco Rubio, who had publicly stated his opposition to the report's publication."
See also: As the Senate Torture Report Gathers Dust, Is the Obama Administration Giving Torturers De Facto Amnesty? (Just Security, link) and: CIA report: UK defends actions over interrogation claims (BBC News, link
Germany-NSA: Spying Close to Home: German Intelligence Under Fire for NSA Cooperation (Der Spiegel , link): "US intelligence spent years spying on European targets from a secretive base. Now, it seems that German intelligence was aware of the espionage -- and did nothing to stop it."
European Parliament to debate the German secret service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND) on Wednesday.
CJEU: Advocate-General: "Is it a crime to be a foreigner?" Opinion: all custodial criminal penalties for irregular migrants breach EU law
See: AG Opinion (pdf)
News in Brief (28.4.15)
Collaborating across borders: European journalists band together to track the migrant crisis (NiemanLab, link)
Justice for Assange (link) and see: Submission the the Working Group on the Arbitrary Detention by Mr Julian Assange (pdf): "The applicant, Mr. Julian Assange, hereby submits an urgent request for relief to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) and for an opinion regarding the arbitrary nature of the detention of Mr. Assange."
IFJ Shocked by the Slaughter of Six Libyan journalists and Media Workers (link)
EVENT VIDEO Chomsky, Jay, Raza & Machon: Whistleblowers, Activism & the Alternative Media (acTVism, link): "An informational event was hosted by acTVism Munich at the Muffatwerk in Munich in which the significance and role of whistleblowers, the alternative media, activism and a host of other related issues were discussed. Guests: Prof. Noam Chomsky, Paul Jay und Annie Machon."
May 7&8: Conference 2015 - "Can We Have Some Privacy?" (Bard College, Berlin, link)
Voices: Unequal Assistance: How Criminal Legal Aid Varies across the European Union (OSF, link): "Since 2009, the member states of the European Union have been steadily trying to establish standard protections for the rights of people who find themselves under police investigation, or facing criminal charges. If citizens can move across the EU to live, work, and study - so the EU argues - should they not also expect to find the same level of fairness in the criminal justice system? As a result of this effort, recent EU legislation has required detainees to be given information about their rights in a language they can understand, and to be guaranteed early access to a lawyer. Now the member states are embarking upon the interconnected but thorny question of access and eligibility to legal aid"
No Interpol access to Schengen visa fingerprints of Belarusians (Belarusian News, link)
Euroboffins want EU to achieve techno-independence - EuroCrypto and EuroCloud needed to protect local data (The Register, link)
Former Romania president admits allowing CIA site - Ion Iliescu said he approved so-called CIA 'black sites' but would have refused had he known their purpose.(Aljazeera, link)
Bulgarias prosecutors office in Plovdiv weighs up evidence to press charges against Traffic Police Directorate employees (FIA, link)
Statewatch News Online: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (08/15) (pdf) and News Online, 27 April 2015 (09/15) (pdf): 18 stories with documentation and 26 News reports from In the News Digest (129 news links from across the EU, so far in April, updated daily)
EU will keep treaty with USA on terrorist finance tracking in force, see: Draft reply to a letter from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party concerning the Renewal of the TFTP Agreement between EU and US (pdf): "the Agreement will automatically be renewed for a period of 1 year from 1 August 2015." See attached letter to Ms Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairperson, Article 29 Data Protection Working Party.
EU: MED CRISIS: Reportage:
Royal Navy to send drones to the Mediterranean to save migrants - Unarmed surveillance drones could be sent to search for dangerously overloaded boats packed with people making the perilous crossing from Libya to Europe (Daily Telegraph, link)
If the EU Attacks Migrant Boats in Zuwara, Libya, How Will It Select from Among the 100s of Boats? (Migrants at Sea, link): "There is no effective and safe (or legal) means by which a particular smuggling boat can be identified and destroyed without destroying multiple other boats."
EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans (Reuters, link): ""Yet hours after European Union leaders agreed in Brussels on Thursday to treble funding for EU maritime missions and pledged more ships and aircraft, 14 clandestine migrants were killed when a train ploughed into dozens of Somalis and Afghans making their way in darkness along a rail track in a Macedonian gorge."
Italian judge keeps migrant disaster ship skipper behind bars (SUNdaily, link): "The Tunisian captain of a migrant boat in which at least 700 people
drowned is to remain behind bars as an Italian judge continues his inquiry into the deadly disaster."
Africa's gendarme' France to seek UN approval for new military battlefront - this time in the sea (Mail & Guardian Africa, link): ""FRANCE and Britain agreed Thursday to seek United Nations approval for an EU military operation against people smugglers, in a bid to curb the soaring number of migrants dying as they seek a better life in Europe."
UN Security Council Working on Migrant Resolution (ABC News, link): "France's ambassador to the U.N. says Security Council members are already working on a council resolution to address the spiraling migrant crisis."
The EUs disappointing response to the migration crisis (IRIN, link): "A closer look at the list of commitments from Europes leaders after their hastily-arranged migrant crisis summit in Brussels reveals no substantial change in response and few measures likely to have any major impact on the flows of migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe" and Europe must stop exporting its migration fears or face the consequences (link):
"Thirty years ago we knew that there was a demographic and economic crisis on the horizon. We knew, because the International Labour Organization and the UN Fund for Population Activities had done their homework and told us so. We knew just how many young people would be entering the work force in the developing world; we knew how many jobs would be required; we knew that regular migration to the developed world could provide only a small percentage of solutions, at best; and we knew, too, that conflict, turmoil, upheaval and displacement would likely still be with us.
"And what did we do? Essentially, we did nothing. We put our heads in the sand, crossed our fingers, and hoped that the inevitable would never happen. Well, it did, as the inevitable generally does. And the price is being paid today, in lives lost in flight and in transit from situations of utter desperation which we saw coming, and in the floundering ineffectiveness of regional and national policies."
UK: Special branch "political police" spied on Wapping leaders (Morning Star, link):
"Reports unearthed by SOLOMON HUGHES show anti-violenceofficers kept secret files on union chiefs and MPs who dared to support striking printers: "In 2005 I asked for pecial Branch files relating to the Wapping dispute between the Print Unions and News International. The Metropolitan Police gave me the 215-page file, which includes regular - often daily - reports of the picketing and demoemonstrations by Special Branch officers....
In a bizarre twist, while the Metropolitan Police did release these Wapping files to me in 2005, they have since refused all requests from other people for copies of the files, for "national security" reasons. They were not secret in 2005, but they are in 2015."
See also: Postal staff urged to find out if they were included on blacklist - Secret file of workers uncovered in 2009 after raid by Information Commissioners Office on Consulting Association (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Police use CS spray as anti-gentrification protesters mass in Brixton - Police station and town hall invaded and shop window smashed as thousands demonstrate against soaring rents (Guardian, link):
"A peaceful protest against gentrification in Brixton, London, has ended in violence. The local town hall was stormed by protesters, the window of an estate agents was smashed, and CS spray gas was used to disperse protesters who had gathered at a Brixton police station.
More than 1,000 people had taken part in the Reclaim Brixton rally on Saturday and its organisers insisted they did not want trouble. Their aim was to demonstrate the communitys concern about the areas gentrification, with locals being priced out of the housing market and smaller, individual businesses being driven out by high rents."
News in Brief (27.4.15)
Spanish gag law is against European values and basic democratic rights (European Alternatives, link): "The Spanish government has passed a law reclassifying peaceful protest as a threat to public securityand introducing hefty fines up to ¬600,000 for those joining demonstrations near sensitive targets including government buildings. The unauthoriseduse of images of security forces will also draw a ¬30,000 fine, in a clear attempt to intimidate journalists and citizens who document police abuses. You can even be prosecuted for a tweet if it contains a hashtag publicising an unauthorised political event. The law is due to come into force in July."
AIDA Update: France debates asylum reform and prompts more robust procedural guarantees (AIDA, link)
Euro accession a turn-off for Polish voters (Reuters, link)
UK refuses visa to Chechen political prisoner for Oxford University visit - Home Office accused of punishing activist over trumped-up terrorism charge (Daily Telegraph, link): "Human rights advocates in Russia have condemned a Home Office decision to refuse a British visa to a former political prisoner who was invited to take part in a research project at Oxford University."
Clinks report highlights redundancies at criminal justice charities (Third Sector, link): "The umbrella body surveyed 62 of its 600-plus member organisations and found that nearly 400 jobs had been lost in three years"
The time is here to be seized (Institute of Race Relations, link) Written by A. Sivanandan:
"Neoliberalism is not working. All that stuff, about wealth trickling down, no society only individuals, the market as the regulator of everything, is shown to be false in terms of everyday reality."
And: Living to tell the tale (link): "On 18 April, a celebration event of the work of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and its Director Emeritus, Sivanandan, turned into a serious discussion on how to unite and strengthen struggles at a time of globalisation and austerity." and Film: Catching History on the Wing and Buy a copy of the film (link) plus Sivas aphorisms (powerpoint, link)
EU: European Public Prosecutors Office: Council of the European Union developing its negotiating position:
CHAPTER III: STATUS, STRUCTURE AND ORGANISATION OF EPPO: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Orientation debate (LIMITE doc no: 8240-15, pdf): Includes 37 Member States' positions: "With a view to approaching an agreement on the text of this part of the future Regulation, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives to: lift any outstanding reservations on Articles 7 to 12 in the draft Regulation, as presented in Annex"
Presidency proposal for Articles 20, 26 and 26a (DS LIMITE doc no 1236-15,pdf) and see earlier version LIMITE doc no 7876-15, pdf
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Written comments from the German delegation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1234-15, pdf) Articles 20 to 26a.
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Written comments from the Austrian and German delegations: Article 26a (DS LIMITE doc no: 1237-15, pdf): Article 26a
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Proposals from the Finnish and Polish delegations (DS LIMITE doc no: 1238-15, pdf): Articles 26a and 20(1).
CHAPTER IV: RULES OF PROCEDURE ON INVESTIGATIONS, PROSECUTIONS AND TRIAL PROCEEDINGS: MEETING DOCUMENT: Drafting proposal from the French delegation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1241-15, pdf): including covert operations
Commission proposal for a Council Regulation: on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (COM 534-13, pdf)
See also: (EPPO) European Public Prosecutor: also the European Parliament wants a say&(EASFJ, link)
EU: NEW REGULATION ON DATA PROTECTION: European Parliament: Councils consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
UN-UK-MEDIA: UN Human Rights Chief urges U.K. to tackle tabloid hate speech, after migrants called cockroaches(link):
"After decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion, and in the wake of a recent article in the Sun newspaper calling migrants cockroaches,the UN Human Rights Chief on Friday urged the U.K. authorities, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred by British tabloid newspapers, in line with the countrys obligations under national and international law."
UN human rights chief denounces Sun over Katie Hopkins 'cockroach' column - High commissioner launches scathing attack on tabloid columnist, comparing Hopkins migrant remarks with hate language used before Rwandan genocide (Guardian, link)
"The UNs human rights chief has attacked the Sun newspaper for publishing an article by columnist Katie Hopkins, branding her use of the word cockroachesto describe migrants as reminiscent of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.
In a scathing and extraordinary intervention, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, points out that the word cockroacheswas used by both the Nazis and those behind the genocide in Rwanda, and urges the UK government, media and regulators to respect national and international laws on curbing incitement to hatred.
The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,said Zeid. Escaping Eritrea: 'If I die at sea, it's not a problem at least I won't be tortured': This type of language is clearly inflammatory and unacceptable, especially in a national newspaper.""
News in Brief (25-26.4.15)
The internets dark corners cannot be without laws - The police are sometimes demonised as agents of digital repression, says Rob Wainwright (FT, link)
London: Reclaim Brixton march: Protesters smash up Foxtons shop front and storm Town Hall (Evening Standard, link)
US unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance (Washington Post, link): "With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a 6-year-old report examining the once-secret program to collect information on Americans calls and emails. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency program had already been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it."
USA: Surveillance reform bill returns with concessions to NSA on data collection - Exclusive: New modifications to USA Freedom Act permit agency to warrantlessly monitor foreign targets in US and track certain domestic targets (Guardian, link): "According to congressional sources, the architects of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that seeks to stop the NSAs bulk collection of Americans phone records, have agreed to grant the surveillance giant temporary abilities to continue monitoring foreign targets who enter the US while agents seek domestic warrants; and to permit the agency to do the same for domestic targets for whom it has a probable-cause warrant who subsequently travel overseas."
EU: MED CRISIS: Draft list of Member State "pledges" of military and other "assets" (pdf) Note so far Germany has only given 2 ships and UK warships are not included.
EU: MED CRISIS: Dont Rock the Boat: EU leaders do as little as possible to address the migrant crisis (EU Law Analysis, link)
"Yesterday the EU leaders, in the European Council, adopted a policy for addressing the recent crisis of large-scale migrant death tolls crossing the Mediterranean. It builds upon the recent 10-point plan adopted by ministers (discussed here), but builds upon it in some respects. There were also some interesting last-minute changes to the earlier draft of the text (all of which are shown in the annex below), indicating leaders real priorities...
there is a specific commitment to triple the funds for search and rescue as regards existing EU operations. However, this is only within the mandate of Frontex and the head of the EU border agency has stated that this agency does not really have a search and rescue role.
It should be noted that since these operations are coordinated by Frontex, detailed rules of EU law will apply (discussed here) will apply. These rules do allow, in some cases, for returns of migrants directly from their rescue to non-EU countries as long as those countries are safe. It is unlikely that in the current situation, Libya would qualify as safe."
See: Comparison between Draft and Final Statements (pdf)
Although the statement limits fingerprinting to those who apply for asylum see Statewatch on EU plan for ""systematic identification": Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers
EU MED CRISIS: Press coverage:
- European Parliament: European Council: Civil Liberties Committee Chair regrets lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle (pdf): "Reacting to the final statement of the European Council held yesterday in Brussels, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee responsible for dealing with migration, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), welcomed the setting up of a voluntary resettlement scheme to those qualifying for protection, but regretted the lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle. "Bolder pledges should have been made" at the summit, he said."
- Open letter to David Cameron: Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results - In this open letter, a coalition of 19 charities calls on the UK to ensure that a fully resourced search-and-rescue mission is re-established (Independent, link)
- EU to target migrant smugglers (euobserver, link): "EU leaders on Thursday (23 April) declared war on migrant smugglers and promised to triple the monthly budget of the EUs sea surveillance mission, Triton.But broader efforts to address politically sensitive issues on a better distribution of asylum seekers and refugees largely fell to the wayside as leaders instead placed emphasis on giving the EU's surveillance mission Triton more cash, more boats, and more planes.
- NGOs: Migration summit fell short of expectations (euractiv, link): "EU leaders have missed a real opportunity to make a serious difference in the lives and deaths of the people suffering daily in the Mediterranean, say NGOs."
- EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)
- Coffin-carrying migrants march on European Council (euractiv, link)
GERMANY-NSA: NEW OUTCRY OVER SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL: For years, the German intelligence service (BND) shared its own collected data of telephone calls and internet traffic with the NSA, as Der Spiegel reports. However, not only data about criminal or terrorist activities was shared with the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade but also information on European companies and defense firms. German MPs speak of "very serious allegations" or even "treason"; the Chancellor's office names "technical and organizatorial deficits" at the German intelligence service. BND chair Gerhard Schindler is under fierce criticism. (Spiegel Online, link)
News in Brief (24.4.15)
London airport police to use surveillance drones (BBC News, link)
Summary of the Swedish Data retention law (DFI, link) and see: The Swedish Administrative Court of Appeal has decided to refer data retention case to the CJEU (twitter)
Malawians seek compensation for Nyasaland massacre during British rule - Families of 33 pro-independence protesters killed in 1950s say decision to sue is inspired by success of legal action by Kenyan victims of Mau Mau crackdown (Guardian, link)
Mediterranean dreams, climate realities by Paul Rogers (Open Democracy, link): "The drowning of would-be migrants attempting to reach Europe is a humanitarian tragedy that reflects a growing crisis of environmental security."
Lawyers Take Dutch State to Court Over Eavesdropping (Liberties.eu)
EU MED CRISIS: European Council: Press release (pdf) Final text does not even commit to tiny number of 5,000 resettlement places
EU: MED CRISIS: MEPs condemn EU leaders shameful response to migration crisis in Mediterranean (GUE/NGL, link):
"GUE/NGL MEPS have condemned EU leaders in the strongest possible terms for not responding to the spiralling death toll in the Mediterranean with a much-needed robust search and rescue operation as well as proposals for safe and legal access to the EU.
Draft conclusions from today's emergency summit in Brussels show that instead EU governments want to prevent migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores and return swiftly those who arrive in Europe."
Euromedrights: OPEN LETTER TO THE EU HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENTS: No More Excuses for Deaths at Sea: Reform Policies, Save Lives! (link):
"Ahead of the EUs extraordinary summit of 23 April 2015, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is calling on the 28 Heads of States and Governments to urgently reconsider the proposed package of measures to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The EMHRN exhorts EU leaders to shift their focus away from surveillance, intelligence gathering and border controls towards a genuine human rights perspective with the protection of migrants and refugees at the heart of their concerns."
See also: A deadly crossing: Hasans story (AI, link)
EU: MED CRISIS: EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING 23 APRIL 2015, Brussels: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf)
See also: Questions and Answers: Facts and Figures on cooperation with Africa How does the EU cooperate with Africa on migration? (pdf) and An employment office in Bamako: the European Unions transformation of Mali into a migration control laboratory, by Stephan Dünnwald (Statewatch database) and see story below
See also; Special EU summit on the Mediterranean crisis: euractiv tracker (link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Most migrants crossing Mediterranean will be sent back, EU leaders to agree - Exclusive: Confidential draft from summit reveals that only 5,000 migrants will be allowed to resettle in Europe with at least 150,000 likely to be repatriated (Guardian link):
"EUs Frontex border agency, the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, said on the eve of the summit that saving migrants lives should not be the priority for his maritime patrols despite the clamour for a more humane response after the deaths of 800 refugees and migrants at the weekend."
See: Statewatch EU Council Draft Conclusions document: Draft European Council Conclusions (pdf)
EU-MED-CRISIS RESPONSE: Draft European Council Statement for 25 April 2015 Summit of Prime MInisters and Heads of State (pdf). includes:
- "to increase the search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX; [p.m.: welcome pledges]
But asks for "volunteer" Member States to join search and rescue - no commitment by all governments
- increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries
- systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers. The High Representative is invited to immediately begin
preparations for a possible CSDP operation to this effect, in accordance with international law
- increase support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger among others, to monitor and control the land borders and routes in order to prevent potential
migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores,
- promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin
- new return programme for the rapid return of irregular migrants
- voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering at least 5,000 places to persons qualifying for protection
- registration and finger-printing" [emphasis added]
EU-MED CRISIS: EU borders chief says saving migrants' lives 'shouldn't be priority' for patrols - Coastal fleet missions off Italy not mandated or resourced for full search and rescue operations, and nor is EU, says head of Frontex agency (Guardian, link)
"Triton cannot be a search-and-rescue operation. I mean, in our operational plan, we cannot have provisions for proactive search-and-rescue action. This is not in Frontexs mandate, and this is in my understanding not in the mandate of the European Union,Leggeri told the Guardian."
And see today: Falling into line - but will Frontex's mandate be changed? Frontex ready to implement European Council conclusions - Executive Director (link): "My proposal is to increase as an immediate step air surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy and Malta in addition to the vessels currently deployed, which is aimed at enhancing search and rescue capacities in the area,Leggeri said."
And see: EU leaders to consider military crackdown on Libya human traffickers (euractiv, link) and EU to 'capture and destroy' migrant traffickers' boats (euobserver, link): "the text [of the Draft Conclusions] does not mention changing Frontex's mandate, with human rights organisations regularly criticising the EU for focusing on protecting its borders rather than dealing with the humanitarian aspect."
EU: CJEU JUDGMENT: !mmigration law: Member States cannot just fine irregular migrants, they have to expel them (full text)
Frontex and eu-LISA Sign Cooperation Plan for 2015 (Frontex link), LISA Press release (pdf) and Annual Cooperation Plan 2015 of eu-LISA and Frontex (pdf)
CRISIS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN: German Marshall Fund: The United States and the Future of Mediterranean Security: Reflections from GMFs Mediterranean Strategy Group (GMF, link) This article in on the "Reading List" of the Background briefing on the Special European Council of 23 April 2015:
"Mediterranean security is set to pose key tests for both NATO and EU strategy in the years ahead. U.S. political and military engagement will be important elements in regional stability. But the relatively diffuse nature of Mediterranean security risks, a substantially reduced permanent military presence, and some marked differences in the European and U.S. approach to the region will complicate policy looking south.
See: GMF Reflections (pdf)
News in Brief (23.4.15)
People leaving flowers outside European Union House in remembrance of lives lost on Europe's shores Mediterranean (Irish Refugee Council, twitter)
From 'handouts' to 'hands on' - remodelling EU-Africa relations (euobserver, link)
Frontex director Klaus Roesler hit by paint bombs over refugee policy (DEMOTIX, link)
UK: SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes): Homes, Not Jails SQUASHs latest report (link)
Some tech firms being 'friendly to terrorists' says UK police chief (Reuters, link)
New Danish PNR system will rival the EU PNR Directive (EDRI, link) and French surveillance bill pushed ahead despite massive criticism (EDRI)
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and endangers human rights (link):
"Approving a draft resolution based on a report by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Assembly said: Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act.
See: Resolution (pdf) Adopted Recommendations (pdf)
The EU response to migrant deaths: protection and prevention or policy laundering? (EU Law Analysis, link): "Overall, this is a very disappointing document. Its not only vague on crucial details but more importantly focusses less on the situation of the migrants (addressing the root causes which cause them to move, and protection from drowning and persecution) and more on border control and repression."
and see: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which does not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" and African Union Commission and European Commission meet to bring new impetus to the EU-Africa partnership (pdf): "In the context of the ongoing crisis in Libya and the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean, we have to enhance cooperation with North African and Sub Saharan African countries to build migration and border management capacities."
News in Brief (22.4.15)
Mediterranean Migration Tragedy Points to Long-Term Challenges (GMF, link)
Britain considers ways to assist in Mediterranean migrant rescues (Guardian, link): "Weve got one of the strongest and best-organised aid budgets anywhere in Europe and we can help stabilise some of these countries,the prime minister said. Weve obviously got all sorts of resources at our disposal in terms of national criminal intelligence systems and intelligence services where we can go after the criminal gangs....Options under consideration included the deployment of one of Britains biggest warships, the HMS Bulwark, or using the destroyer HMS Dauntless, or naval helicopters, to help with surveillance"
Will Europe make migrant crisis worse? (HRW, link): " ultimately, it would meaningfully address the root causes of forced displacement in a host of failed states that are hemorrhaging people: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan..."
The sea does not care: the wretched history of migrant voyages - Thousands of migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life. From the horrors of slavery to the coffin ships of the Irish Famine, there are grim historical parallels to the latest disasters (Guardian, link)
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column (Independent, link)
EU: New Commission proposal on banning GM foods: Proposed Regulation (pdf) and Communication (pdf)
This week: U.S. Congress tees up five cyber-surveillance proposals (Access, link): "These bills allow companies to sharejust about any type of information, including personal information such as your computers IP address and email content. As technologists explain in a letter to leaders in Congress, much of this information is of little use to cybersecurity, and sharing it may even pose a threat to network security."
USA: Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI's 'mass disaster' of false conviction - A dirty bomb of pseudo-science wrapped up nearly 268 cases perhaps hundreds more. Now begins the herculean effort to right the wrongs (Guardian, link)
Czechs, Germans to sign deal on extended police cooperation (Prague Post, link): "Rules for cross border pursuits and monitoring are expanded; drugs and theft are key problems"
Amnesty International puts 200 body bags on Brighton beach in EU migrant disaster protest (Independent, link)
ITALY: Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) statement:
Italy and Europe must react immediately to stop the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean:
"Inactivity makes them accomplices of a slaughter: A failure to immediately adopt the measures listed above would entail a serious responsibility on Europe's part as, by forgetting its founding values, it remains objectively indifferent to the tragedies that are taking place at our borders."
EU: OPENNESS: Secretive 'trialogue' talks to agree EU law face investigation (euractiv, link):
"Three-way talks between the major European institutions to broker deals on EU law face being investigated over their lack of transparency by the blocs maladministration watchdog."
See: Statewatch Analyses by Tony Bunyan: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all(pdf) and Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf): "Under a new agreement between the Council and the European Parliament the efficiency of decision -making is enhanced at the expense of transparency, openness and accountability "
EU: LIBYA & SEARCH & RESCUE: European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf):"three possible scenarios for the near future; a stalemate, with no clear winner; an escalation of violence, in which one side might overcome the other following a full-scale civil war; or a cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the political process. What these scenarios demonstrate is that the possibility for the EU to define its strategy and programme its activities depends highly on the outcome. The first 2 scenarios are clearly not conducive to any major EU footprint and/or support programme. Only a ceasefire agreement could eventually allow for a resumption of EU support" [emphasis in original]
Mass drowning prompts talk of EU search-and-rescue operation (euobserver, link):
"The EU is mulling options to launch a fully-fledged search and rescue operation following the reported drowning of some 700 EU-bound migrants over the weekend. Speaking on the behalf of Latvias EU presidency, interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis on Monday (20 April) said options should be explored for setting up a full-fledged search and rescue operation of the EU.
But Kozlovskis call for a EU-wide rescue mission is likely to meet resistance from national governments like the UK, which insist aid efforts are a pull factor for more people to make the perilous journey. The deaths and boating tragedies have historically been met with emotional statements from the EU and most governments but little in terms of action. How many more people will have to drown until we finally act in Europe?said European parliament president Martin Schulz in a statement."
And: EU to launch military operations against migrant-smugglers in Libya (Guardian, link): "The European Union is to launch military operations against the networks of smugglers in Libya deemed culpable of sending thousands of people to their deaths in the Mediterranean. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration issues, said the operation would be civil-militarymodelled on previous military action in the Horn of Africa to combat Somali piracy. The military action would require a UN mandate." [emphasis added]"
News in Brief (21.4.15)
UK-MALAYA: Supreme Court prepares to hear 1948 massacre survivors plea for British justice (Bindmans, link): "Tomorrow (22 April 2015) Britain's highest court will hear an extraordinary test case in which survivors of a 1948 massacre by British troops in colonial Malaya argue for a public inquiry into what happened and its six-decade long cover-up. The case has huge ramifications in Malaysia, where a campaign supported by 500 organisations has been pressing for justice for the survivors and their families, and in Northern Ireland, prompting an intervention in the litigation by its Attorney General and a response by the Pat Finnucane Centre and Rights Watch UK on behalf of families seeking accountability for British troops' actions during the Troubles."
Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of Americas Drone War (The Intercept, link): " TOP-SECRET U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of Americas drone program. Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones."
Ombudsman: EU must interrogate US over TTIP transparency (euractiv, link): "The United States resistance to greater transparency in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, poses a problem to a European Commission that must answer demands for more openness from civil society if it is to seal the trade deal, the European Ombudsman has told EurActiv in an exclusive interview."
Migrant crisis: good samaritans set sail in daring Mediterranean rescue mission - Philanthropists and activists launch private initiatives to distribute water, food and rafts to those in peril (Guardian, link)
EU: DP NGO letter (pdf)"The undersigned organisations, NGOs from the European Union and around the globe are deeply concerned at the changes to the data protection reform package being made in the Council of the European Union. Europe's data protection framework is not just important for the protection of European citizens, it is not just important for building trust in European businesses, it is also crucial as an international gold standard for data protection and privacy on a global level"
Mediterranean refugee crisis: EU reduced to impotent handwringing (Guardian, link) and UN says 800 migrants dead in boat disaster as Italy launches rescue of two more vessels - PM Matteo Renzi says Europe cannot close our eyes and commemorate later the tragedy, as another migrant boat runs aground on Rhodes
EUROPOL "CHECK THE WEB": Development of the German Federal Criminal Police Office Check the Web project, which was originally launched to monitor the Internet, into a referral unit for unpleasant content "Check the Web is now to be developed into an EU Internet Referral Unit":
"The CtW file contains structured information on videos, audio files, texts and statements published on the Internet. The organisations and individuals associated with the publications are linked with the stored publications and contain further background information. The evaluations of individual publications available in the Member States can also be supplied to CtW. The database also contains information on relevant individuals, organisations, media centres and internet sites in the field of religiously-motivated terrorism."
See also: Fight against terrorism: follow-up to the statement of 12 February by the Members of the European Council and to the Riga Joint Statement of 29 January by the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the EU - Implementation of measures( (LIMITE doc no: 6606-15, pdf)
EU: Leaked digital single markets evidence file reveals Commissions ambitions - Documents show policy came before evidence for cybersecurity measures (Politico, link):
"Leaked copies of the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy and its supporting Evidence file show the European Commission is ready to propose vast regulatory reforms that could affect everything from sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches and big data. The Evidence file, obtained on Monday by POLITICO, tracked changes in the Commissions priorities and concern for its public image... The strategy, which is entering into service consultation Tuesday and is set to be released on May 6, sets out a roadmap for pushing member states to accept far-reaching changes....
the Commissions document pointedly identifies their failure to finalize a substantial Telecom Single Market package, known as Connected Continent. The inter-service version of the new plan, now circulating, confirms that the Commission is giving up on much of the Connected Continent and, for now, settling for a deal restricted to roaming and net neutrality."
See: Commission Communication (pdf) and Digital Single Market Evidence (link to pdf, 21MB)
See also: CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
EU: "FORTRESS EUROPE" RE-BORN: SEARCH & RESCUE CRISIS IN MED: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which do not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" but which includes:
- "A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers" which would require a "civil-military" operation to be authorised by the Council
- "Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants"
- "Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States" and "Consider options for an emergency relocation"
See: Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU sets out measures (BBC News, link) and Mediterranean Humanitarian Crisis: if not now, then when will the EU trigger the temporary protectionmechanism? (EASFJ, link)
France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition A new bill on intelligence gathering, debated this week in the French Parliament has been criticised over its ambiguity, allowing for increased surveillance by the State. Motivated by the protection of national security, as well as territorial integrity, the bill is drafted for the additional purpose of counter-terrorism, counter organised crime and in the interests of foreign policy including within the European Union.
If passed, the bill would strengthen the monitoring techniques of intelligence services as well as the methods and technology currently used in surveillance.
Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: What can the EU do? (EU Law Analysis, link): "There is a moral imperative for the EU to act swiftly and effectively to address the issue."
And see: EU ministers meet for crisis talks after hundreds of migrants drown in Mediterranean - Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi says EU action must be a priority as death toll of drownings this year now stands at 1,500 50 times more than at same point in 2014 (Guardian, link)
and also Watch the Med (link): "Watch the Mediterranean Sea is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU"
EU: Response to deaths in the Mediterranean (19.4.15): Press release (pdf):
"the Foreign Affairs Council that will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg, will [discuss] the next steps the EU is going to take to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in an effective and truly European way."
EU: Search and rescue: The Observer view on the human tragedy in the Mediterranean (link) Editorial: "Europe cant afford to sit back and do nothing when thousands of migrants are dying every week in search of a new life in Italy and Greece... The fundamental causes of this crisis will take years to address. An urgent first step is to reinstitute EU-underwritten search and rescue operations" and see:
Trivialising migrant deaths: why words matter (EU Law Analysis, link): "The escalating tragedy of thousands of migrants lives being lost every year during attempted Mediterranean crossings is one of the most difficult issues facing the EUs immigration policy."
EU response: European Commission: European Commission Statement on developments in the Mediterranean (19-4-15,pdf): "as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk" [emphasis added]
And see: Statement of High Representative on capsizing of a migrants' boat in the Mediterranean Sea (19-4-15, pdf):
"Every single day, we have the duty to save human lives, sharing among all the 28 this duty and a responsibility that for too long has been left only to the southern countries.... I've decided to put the issue of migration as a formal point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council I convened tomorrow in Luxembourg, where I'll present a set of proposals for Libya, one of the main routes of illegal trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"Migrants are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty which require long-term solutions. The underlying causes are wars and conflicts, persecution by oppressive and authoritarian regimes or "broken" states, poverty stemming from global inequality and exploitation and the long-term implications of climate change. And the political will to meaningfully address these issues is manifestly absent.
The response to the immediate and continuing tragedies should be obvious. The EU needs to launch an unequivocal and permanent search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean matched by a commitment by all EU governments to share responsibility for migrants' welfare." .
And: UNHCR - New Mediterranean boat tragedy may be biggest ever, urgent action is needed now (link)
EU: European Commission says the plans for accession by the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights needs to be changed: Presidency: To: Working Party on fundamental rights, citizens' rights and free movement of persons: On: 21 April 2015: Subject: Technical written contribution from the Commission services - Co-respondent mechanism - Prior involvement of the CJEU (LIMITE doc no DS 1216-15, pdf):
"Article 3 (6) of the draft Accession Agreement should be amended in such a way as to provide for an unlimited right of the EU as a co-respondent to initiate the prior involvement procedure (on the basis of its own interpretation of the case of the Court of Justice)
- paragraph 66 of the Explanatory Report should be amended in order to clarify that the prior involvement procedure also covers the interpretation (and not only the validity) of secondary law."
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposals from Eurojust: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7445-15, pdf) including the involvement of Eurojust at the investigative stage.prior to arrest and charges.
News in Brief (19.4.15)
Revealed: how Tories covered up pro-EU evidence in key Whitehall report (Guardian, link)
EUISS Yearbook of European Security Y"E"S 2015 (EU Institute for Security Studies, 242 pages, link)
UK: Erol Incedal trial: media groups dispute refusal to lift reporting restrictions - The Guardian, Times, Daily Mail and others launch challenge to restrictions in terrorism trial of London student cleared of plotting Mumbai-style attack. This article omits information that the Guardian and other news organisations are currently prohibited by a court order from publishing (Guardian, link)
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Launch of a parliamentary campaign to end immigration detention of children (link): "This parliamentary campaign is part of a global campaign launched during the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2012. It aims to raise awareness of the issue in Europe, and to encourage states to adopt alternatives to detention that fulfil the best interests of the child and allow children to remain with their family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts while their immigration status is being resolved."
UK: Julian Assange speech prompts judges to boycott legal conference - Senior British justices say the addition of a fugitive from justice at short notice forced them to withdraw from the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow (Guardian, link)
EU Zombie Law: the CJEU re-animates the old 'third pillar' (EU Law Analysis, link):
"Back in 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force, the EU began adopting measures on criminal law and policing under a peculiar institutional system, known in practice as the third pillar of EU law. This system was amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, and then survived several attempts to kill it over the next decade; indeed I once compared it to Rasputin. The Treaty of Lisbon nominally finished it off it as from that Treatys entry into force (1 December 2009); but this was subject to a five-year transitional period.
That makes it sound as though the third pillar finally came to an end on 1 December 2014 but it did not. Indeed two judgments of the CJEU yesterday (here and here) not only maintain old third pillar measures in force, but allow new measures based on them to be adopted. Third pillar measures arent exactly dead yet rather they are undead. Lets take a look at these zombies of EU law."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Biometric data and data protection law: the CJEU loses the plot (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Universityof Essex:
"I wont mince words: this judgment is appalling. Its sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasnt intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. But the Courts fundamental flaw is its failure to confirm and elaborate upon the application of the Charter and the data protection Directive to such databases."
See: Judgment (pdf)
EU: ODYSSEUS Network: EUROPEAN SUMMER SCHOOL: European Union Law & Policy on Immigration and Asylum (pdf): 29 June - 10 July 2015, UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES.
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, DP Directive (LEAs) & Connected Continent (Updated)
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: CHAP III: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter VII (LIMITE doc no 7722-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 90 Member State positions/footnotes)
"LEAs PERSONAL DATA EXCHANGE: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal
penalties, and the free movement of such data - Chapters I and II (LIMITE doc no 7740-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 184 Member State positions/footnotes) significant points: Chapter I: General provisions and Chapter II Principles.
See Statewatch: EU: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies
CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
IRELAND: Supreme Court alters rule for criminal trial evidence - Bar on use of evidence obtained in breach of a constitutional right has now been removed (Irish Times, link):
"A hugely significant majority Supreme Court decision today has introduced a new rule concerning the admissibility of evidence in criminal trials.... By a four to three majority, the court granted an appeal by the DPP to alter a rule which had applied since the 1990 Supreme Court DPP v Kenny decision.
That rule effectively excluded all evidence obtained in circumstances where there was a breach of a constitutional right, whether or not that breach was deliberate or due to a mistake. The majority court decision introduces a new test which provides that evidence taken in deliberate and consciousviolation of constitutional rights should be excluded except in certain exceptional circumstances."
See: Supreme Court Judgment (pdf), Dissenting view (pdf), Judgment of Mr. Justice Clarke delivered the 15th April, 2015 (pdf) and Information Note (pdf)
EU: Rights groups: EU leaders dont care about drowning immigrants (euractiv, link): "Rights groups lashed out at the EU on Wednesday for scrapping rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying it had endangered the lives of thousands of desperate migrants making perilous journeys across the sea."
And see: CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mediterranean migrant tragedy: PACE rapporteur calls for a co-ordinated European response (link): "The humanitarian plight of these people has become unbearable,said the rapporteur. The human rights of refugees, on the one hand, as well as the fight against unscrupulous traffickers, on the other, should be addressed at a European level as a matter of priority.
See: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament
Brussels, 14 April 2015 (pdf): Makes no mention or commitment to search and rescue.
News in Brief (16.4.15)
"London Radical Bookfair 2015 - presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (link): LONDON RADICAL BOOKFAIR 12 noon - 7pm, Saturday 9 May
47/49 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PL (tube: London Bridge) https://londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com FREE EVENT!
The Commission's failure to carry out a human rights impact assessment of the envisaged EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (link) and see: Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 1409/2014/JN against the European Commission (link) and also: EU Commissions refusal to conduct a human rights impact assessment in the context of trade agreement negotiations constitutes maladministration, says EU Ombudsperson (FIDH, link)
Secret documents shine light on GCSB spying in Bangladesh (New Zealand Herald, link): "Secret files reveal the GCSB spies both on and for the South-East Asian nation" See: Document (pdf)
Fair Trials Launch Roadmap Practitioner Toolkit (link)
Pressure mounts as two more MEPs question Commission on postal addresses policy (Access-Info, link)
Special Branch collusion with Southampton University security (Undercover Research Group, link)
German government repackages data retention regulations (euractiv, link): "With their proposal to reintroduce data retention in Germany, Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière are planning a new law that opposition parties say is simply a scheme to relabelexisting legislation"
EU under pressure over migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean - Human rights organisations call for collective European effort to prevent further disasters after 400 lives lost in latest incident (Guardian, link)
Data protection and privacy must be excluded from TTIP (LSE Media Policy Project, link)
'There Is No Limit to Jobbik's Expansion': Does Hungary's Future Belong to the Far Right? (VICE News, link): "It has been denounced by opponents as a stain on Hungary, an alarming reflection of rising nationalism and xenophobic sentiment. But to far right party Jobbik, the victory of its first ever directly elected parliamentarian is a sign that it is the movement of the future."
Yes voters right to suspect MI5 of spying on them (The Scotsman, link)
Dutch Government Wants Carte Blanche to Link Data without Restrictions (liberties.eu, link): "A legislative proposal from the Dutch government would enable public authorities to link all available data of citizens for any purpose, partly suspending the Personal Data Protection Act."
USA: Counter-Terrorism Officials Helped Track Black Lives Matter Protesters (East Bay Express, link): "A cache of California Highway Patrol emails provides a glimpse into how anti-terrorism agents helped law enforcement officials monitor Black Lives Matter protesters on the web."
UK: Which of us are being watched? (Morning Star, link): "KEITH EWING, JOAN MAHONEY and ANDREW MORETTA probe the Special Branch files which destroyed an innocent mans livelihood and ask whether anyone on the left is safe from secretive state-sponsored sabotage."
EU: ACCOUNTABILITY of SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES: CoE: Venice Commission: Update of the 2007 Report on the democratic oversight of the Security Services and Report on the democratic oversight of Signals Intelligence Agencies (pdf): Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 102nd Plenary Session (Venice, 20-21 March 2015).
See Executive Summary (EASFJ, link) and see Venice Commission: 2007 Report (pdf)
Lampedusa: why are so many migrants dying at sea? (Channel 4 News, link): "The UNHCR says that at least 500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2015 - 30 times higher than in the same period last year. Channel 4 News asks if European policy is to blame."
See: EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes: "effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."
And: 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, linlk
"British policy was quietly spelled out in a recent House of Lords written answer by the new Foreign Office minister, Lady Anelay: We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,she said, adding that the government believed there was an unintended pull factor, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. [emphasis added]
UK-EU: The UK's general election: a fundamental change to UK/EU relations? (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
" The result of the current British election campaign could be crucial for the future of the UKs relations with the European Union. Every UK-wide election party which is likely to win seats in the election has now released its election manifesto, namely: the Conservatives; Labour; Liberal Democrats; UKIP; and the Greens. Its therefore a good time to examine what the parties are saying about the EU, and what the various post-election scenarios would mean for the UKs relations with the EU."
Germany-Egypt: What new progress can the Federal Government report on the negotiations or potential conclusion of an agreement regarding police cooperation with Egypt (pdf): Written question submitted by Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko on 25 March 2015: Including:
"In February 2015, the Federal Ministry of the Interior agreed measures with the Ministry of Interior Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt for a more intensive cooperation in the Federal Polices sphere of responsibility for the current year. These measures cover combatting illegal migration, support in ensuring aviation security, as well as the topics of explosive detection/disposal, police role at major events and training."
EU: Council of the European Union: ID: National contact points & Mutual recognition: confiscation orders
List of national contact points available to the general public for information on identity and travel documents (pdf)
Implementation of the Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of the Council of the European Union of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders - Information provided to the General Secretariat (pdf):Member States' listing.
"updated information about the state of play of the implementation of Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders (OJ L 328, 24.11.2006, p. 59). The information provided in the table is up-to-date as at 31 March 2015".
EU: European Parliament: International Trade Committee: TTIP: MEPs differ on safeguards for data, services, environment and investment (Press release, pdf): "Eight hundred and ninety-eight amendments to a draft resolution on progress in talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were debated by the International Trade Committee on Monday."
And see: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (pdf) Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP.
News in Brief (15.14.15)
EU Airlines Face Growing Demand for Passenger Data (Wall Street Journal, link) Statewatch story filed on 8.3.15: European Commission in a pickle over PNR
EU-USA: Joint Press Statement for the 2015 U.S.-European Union Information Society Dialogue (US State Department, link)
EUs approach to migrants: humanitarian rhetoric, inhumane treatment (Open Democracy, link)
EU to accuse Google of abusing power (euobserver, link)
Outcry over French Intelligence Bill (euractiv, link)
In Germany, Data Retention refuses to die (EDRI, link)
Cameron hints at civil liberties crack-down after election (Politics.co.uk, link)
Writers demand greater protection for refugees in Europe - More than 1,100 authors sign a petition to the European parliament, calling on EU countries to create common, humane laws of asylum (Guardian, link)
Brussels vows to block Cameron on EU treaty (The Times, link): "The president of the European Commission has ruled out any treaty negotiations on Britains relationship with Europe until two years after the referendum promised by David Cameron yesterday... sources close to Jean-Claude Juncker told The Times that there was no prospect of formal plans for treaty change until the end of 2019 at the earliest, with negotiations beginning the following year."
Germany: Linke: Police instigated Frankfurt violence (The Local, link): "The head of Die Linke (The Left Party), Gregor Gysi, suggested on Monday that the security services were behind the violence which broke out at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March"
USA: CBS4 Investigation: TSA Screeners At DIA Manipulated System To Grope Mens Genitals (CBS Denver, link)
Statewatch: News Online, 13 April 2015 (07/15) (pdf): 24 pages: "News, Analyses and extensive Documentation "EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA surveillance "News in Brief "Using the Statewatch website. Search our database (over 31,000 entries added since 1991) for more articles or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.
EU: Council of the European Union: NIS trilogue: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security: Preparation for the informal trilogue (LIMITE 6905-15, pdf) Council presentation of multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and "Compromise" text.
EU: The difference between torture and other ill-treatment: Cestaro v. Italy and the prohibited purposerequirement (EU Law Analysis, link):
"What is the central element which distinguishes torture from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment? Some scholars claim that the prohibited purposerequirement of the torture definition is the most central as well as the only criterion which is decisive in differentiating between that crime and other forms of ill-treatment.. However, in my view this is incorrect..."
News in Brief (14.4.15)
UK: SCHENGEN SIS II: Scotland to make record number of extraditions as UK gains access to EU crime database (Scottish Legal News, link)
USA-EU: After victory for net neutrality in the US, the battle moves to Europe - Campaign urges the European parliament to save EU net neutrality (ars technica, link) and see: Save the Internet! Defend net neutrality in Europe: Your freedom online is threatened by an EU proposal: The fight for the open internet is happening right now in Brussels (Save the Internet.eu, link)
UK opposes international ban on developing 'killer robots' - Activists urge bar on weapons that launch attacks without human intervention as UN discusses future of autonomous weapons (Guardian, link)
Spain urges more cooperation with South to tackle terrorism and immigration (euractiv, link)
Former Blackwater guards sentenced for massacre of unarmed Iraqi civilians - Ex-security contractor receives life in prison and three fellow employees sentenced to 30 years each after killing of 14 civilians in 2007 (Guardian, link)
Pre-trial detention (Fair Trials, link)
Fight discrimination, Schulz says at Nazi camp (ruractiv, link): "The head of the European Parliament implored citizens to fight the "demons" of racism and anti-Semitism that still haunt Europe, in a speech to mark the liberation of Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp 70 years ago."
EU: Council of the European Union: Intelligence exchange: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no 7272-25, pdf): lots of figures including:
Use of Europol's secure information and intelligence platform (SIENA):
- Only 14 Member States have connected a counter terrorism unit/authority to SIENA.
- In 2014, terrorism crime related information and intelligence exchange accounted for 4% of the overall volume of messages exchanged (605.000) between EU Member States, Europol and third parties through SIENA. This ratio has been at comparable levels since 2010.
- This figure showed a significant increase to 8% in January 2015 but by the end of February 2015 had already returned to the average level of 4%." [emphasis in original]
UK JOINS SIS II: "Today the UK authorities took the necessary steps to integrate into the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS), the largest tool supporting law enforcement cooperation in Europe" (LISA) See: Press Release (pdf) and Council Implementing Decision (pdf) The UK is joining the police and judicial cooperation aspects of SIS II not aspects related to immigration and asylum:
"Article 3: As from 1 March 2015, SIS alerts defined in Chapters V (alerts in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes), VI (alerts on missing persons), VII (alerts on persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure), VIII (alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks or specific checks) and IX (alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings)"
SPAIN : Watch world's first hologram march as thousands protest against 'gag law' - without being there (Mirror, link):
"Thousands of people have staged a protest over new laws which they claim will impede their human rights - but nobody was there. The world's first hologram march has been in staged in Spain in anger over new laws which will see heavy fines handed to public protestors.
The Spanish government has passed the controversial Citizen Safety Law that can see those protesting outside government buildings receive hefty fines. To get round the new laws - set to come into effect in July - demonstrators organised the virtual protest which saw ghost-like figures armed with placards marching past the Spanish Parliament in Madrid."
News in Brief (13.4.15)
"New French Data Transfer Rules Could be Sign of BCRs to Come (link): "On March 24, 2015 Frances Data Protection Authority (CNIL) issued a press release announcing the simplification of its data transfer policy. The new requirement will now allow companies to transfer data outside of the EU after going through just one authorization process. This change could anticipate a new strategy for regulating international data transfers on a global scale."
"Italy picks up another 700 boat migrants (euractiv, link): "Italian ships have picked up almost 700 migrants in seven inflatable boats and further rescue operations are underway, as calm seas favoured departures from Libya for the Italian coast, the coast guard said on Sunday"
"New Swiss vote on immigration 'inevitable', EU says (euobserver, link)
"Brussels unaware Malta had outsourced border control software (Independent, link): "After German MEP Cornelia Ernst had recently 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, the European Commission has said that it is, "not aware that Malta has externalised such IT-services"." and see: MALTA-USA: MEP questions Malta's use of US-supplied border security technology (Statewatch database)
"Italy rescues nearly 6,000 migrants in a single weekend - New arrivals, spurred on by warm weather and calm seas, bring the total number of migrants to have entered Italy this year to more than 15,000 (Guardian, link)
EU: Meijers Committee: Gaps and inconsistencies in legal protection in EU criminal law
"The current body of EU criminal law offers inconsistent and incomplete legal protection to European citizens. Shortcomings are found in the procedural safeguards in instruments of mutual recognition, the proposal on a European Public Prosecutors Office and the criteria used to decide on criminalization of conduct at the EU level. In light of an expert meeting held at the European Parliament in January 2015, the Meijers Committee publishes three short notes on gaps and inconsistencies in the legal protection offered by EU criminal law. This third note concerns the use of criteria to determine whether material prohibitions are appropriate at the EU level and the role of the European Parliament therein."
"Inconsistencies in applied grounds for adopting Union-wide criminal prohibitions (pdf)
"Inconsistent legal protection in mutual recognition instruments (pdf)
"Legal Protection and the future European Public Prosecutors Office (pdf) See story below
EU: Fundamental Rights and the European Public Prosecutors Office: an uncomfortable silence (EU Law Analysis, link):
"So far, political negotiations over the draft regulation have focused on the question why the EU is in in need of this new supranational body in the first place, and on the extent of the EUs influence on national affairs, particularly in such a sensitive area as criminal justice.
Supposing that in the near future the European Public Prosecutors Office will indeed be established, more attention to the substance of the current proposal needs to be paid without delay, particularly to the protection of fundamental rights. The current proposal raises serious concerns on this matter, as it is unclear who will supervise the actions of the EPPO and how this may be done effectively."
EU: Data Protection: Confirmation that the Data Protection Regulation reduces protection for data subjects from Directive 95/46/EC (Hawktalk, link): Summary of how the Council's position would reduce protection to below the 1995 Directive in UK, by Chris Pounder
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation - latest documents
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):
"GENERAL PROVISIONS & GENERAL PROVISIONS: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 7700-15, pdf) With 38 Member State positions or Footnotes.
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7651-15, pdf) With 150 Member State positions on Footnotes. Includes: "However, if requests are manifestly unfounded such as when the data subject repetitiously requests information or where the data subject abuses its right to receive information for example by providing false or misleading information when making the request, the controller could refuse to act on the request." [emphasis added]
"Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, pdf) includes "Profiling" (pp 6-7)and 15 Member State positions or Footnotes.
"PRINCIPLES, INDEPENDENT SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES and CO-OPERATION AND CONSISTENCY: Chapters II, VI and VII (Doc no 7466-15, pdf) With 147 Member State positions or Footnotes
"Note: Spanish delegation on Chapters III & VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7586-ADD-1-15, pdf)
News in Brief (12.4.15)
"UK: Stephen Lawrence investigation: inquiry was not told of corrupt detective - Special unit concluded that John Davidson was corrupt but did not tell the public inquiry into the bungled investigation of teenagers murder (Guardian, link)
"EU: Tuesday 28 April: Commission to adopt European Agenda on Security (link)
"USA: 2009 DHS Document Says Border Patrol Can Search/Copy The Contents Of Your Device Just Because It Wants To (Techdirt, link)
ITALY: GENOA 2001: Statewatch Analysis: Italy/ECtHR: 2001 Genoa G8 police beating in the Diaz-Pertini school was torture- Italy contravened art. 3 of the ECHR in case involving 62-year-old beaten during police operation (pdf):by Yasha Maccanico:
On 7 April 2015, the fourth section of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found Italy guilty of contravening art. 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids torture and inhuman or degrading treatment due to the treatment Arnaldo Cestaro was subjected to and to the criminal offences used to prosecute the case. The courts press release highlights that:
In particular, the Court rules that, considering the totality of the circumstances that have been presented, the ill-treatment suffered by the applicant in the Diaz-Pertini school must be classified as torture in accordance with article 3 of the Convention. The Court notes that the lack of identification of its material authors results in part from the objective difficulty for the court to undertake certain identifications as well as due to shortcomings in cooperation by the police."
EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes:
"effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."
EU: Connected Continent: Council of the European Union: Preparation for the second informal trilogue: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 5 (LIMITE doc no 7741-15, 342 pages pdf): Multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament position, Council position and "compromise" text.
Signiicant changes proposed by Council Presidency: "Before examination of the amendments, the Working Party will be further debriefed on the results of the two technical meetings and reasoning for the amendments as proposed by the Presidency."
UK: Institute of Race Relations: The Met Gangs Matrix institutional racism in action (link):
"Lee Bridges, Professor Emeritus (School of Law, University of Warwick), examines the ethnic composition of the Metropolitan polices gangs database.,,,
the presumption that gangs databases and the policing policies and practices that utilise them represent a clear example of institutional racism will remain. Indeed, there is a strong case for suspending their use as the basis of such policies as targeted stops and searches, let alone for special operations such as Operation Shield. which so clearly involve collective and potentially indiscriminate punishment."
And: Where was our independence? The persistent questions about the IPCCs Mark Duggan investigation (link) by Betsy Barkas:
"Last week the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report into the death of Mark Duggan exonerated the officers involved and was immediately condemned by the family as a whitewash. IRR News analyses previously unreleased internal documents that shed new light on the IPCCs investigation in the immediate aftermath of the shooting"
BELGIUM: CIRÉ statement on two suicides:A dark day for migrants and for Belgian migration policy - press statement of 3 April
"Thursday 2 April 2015 will remain etched as a dark day. Two people who were refused the right of residence by Belgium killed themselves. Acting as spokespersons for many others, they send out a message to our humanity and recall - if it still needs to be demonstrated - the true cost of our migration policies."
SURVEILLANCE: ECHR: Liberty takes fight against mass surveillance to European Court (LIberty, link) and see: Privacy International calls on Europes top human rights court to rule on British mass surveillance (Privacy International, link):
"Privacy International and several other human rights organisations are taking the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights over its mass surveillance practices, after a judgement last year found that collecting all internet traffic flowing in and out of the UK and bulk intelligence sharing with the United States was legal.
The appeal, filed last week by Privacy International, Bytes for All, Amnesty International, Liberty, and other partners, comes in response to a ruling in December by the UKs surveillance court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, dealing with the industrial-scale spying programmes TEMPORA and PRISM revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden."
See Application to the ECHR: 10 Human Rights organisations (pdf)
UK: The roots of PREVENT: the National Co-ordinator for Special Branch (Undercover research, link):
"For a long time it has been argued that Prevent is being used as cover for spying on the Muslim community. When you realise Prevent is just Special Branch re-branded, we think this conclusion is incontrovertible." And see: National Co-ordinator for Special Branch (Wiki, link)
News in Brief (10.4.15)
"USA: Dispatches: No More Excuses on Patriot Act Surveillance Reform (HRW, link)
"UK: What is a reasonable periodfor immigration detention? (Free Movement, link)
"EU: Dublin III Regulation on asylum and unaccompanied minors (EASFJ, link)
"GREECE: Golden Dawn Watch to shine a spotlight on upcoming trial - Greek anti-racism groups announced on Thursday an initiative to provide daily coverage and analysis of the upcoming trial of Greek far right party, Golden Dawn. (Press Project, link)
"EU Politicians Say: Don't Undermine Data Protection Rules With TAFTA/TTIP -- And Stop The Mass Surveillance (Techdirt, link)
"Google ordered by German authority to change privacy practices (NETWORKWORLD, link)
"IRELAND: DirectProvision15: Legal Insights into the Direct Provision System (Human Rights in Ireland, link): "The Direct Provision system in Ireland to accommodate Asylum seekers is now 15 years old. It is a remarkable system and over the past 13 years I have visited almost every hostel at this point in different parts of the Country. All of them appear to have the same hallmarks. Direct provision hostels are institutions which are wholly unsuitable for the people and families who reside in them."
"The Killer Robots Accountability Gap (HRW, link): " Programmers, manufacturers, and military personnel could all escape liability for unlawful deaths and injuries caused by fully autonomous weapons, or killer robots,Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report was issued in advance of a multilateral meeting on the weapons at the United Nations in Geneva. The 38-page report, Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,"
EU: Shipowners, Unions Urge EU Address Migrant Crisis (Maritime Executive, link):
"European and global operators of merchant ships have joined forces with seafarers unions in a letter urging EU Member States to take immediate collective action in addressing the growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.....
In a joint letter to leaders of all 28 EU Members States dated March 31, the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA), the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have warned that the crisis is spiralling out of control. They warn there is a serious risk of further catastrophic loss of life unless EU Member States respond with greater urgency."
See: Letter from shipping industry to EU Heads of State/Heads of Government of EU/EEA Member States: Humanitarian crisis in Mediterranean sea (pdf)
CoE: SPAIN: Report to the Spanish Government on the visit to Spain carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf)
"The Council of Europe anti-torture committee (CPT) today published the report on its visit to Spain in July 2014, in which it examines the treatment of irregular migrants intercepted in Melilla on the border with Morocco. It also assesses the implementation of previous CPT recommendations in relation to the detention centres for foreigners (CIEs) in Barcelona (Zona Franca) and Madrid (Aluche).....The CPT also expresses its concern on recently adopted legislation, pending in front of the Spanish parliament at the time of the adoption of the report, which legalises the practice of forcibly deporting irregular migrants without any prior identification or assessment of their needs."
UK: Data protection concerns 72% of Britons in post-Snowden world, research shows - NSA revelations, hacks and identity theft have left seven in 10 people in the UK concerned about their privacy, and a third willing to pay to protect information (Guardian, link): "New research has found that 72% of British adults are concerned about their private information online, worried about hackers and unauthorised access to their data."
EU: Council of the European Union: Vienna Declaration - Tackling Violent Extremism and Terrorism (LIMITE doc no 7500-15, pdf):
"Delegations will find in annex the declaration of the Ministerial Conference of Foreign and Interior Ministers Tackling Jihadism Togetherheld in Vienna on 20 March 2015...
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Ministers of Interior of Croatia, Italy, Slovenia and Austria (as host of the Conference) together with our colleagues from the Western Balkans 6 in the presence of the European Commission, the OSCE, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Europol and the Regional Cooperation Council at the Conference Tackling Jihadism Together Shaping, Preventing, Reacting
REPRIEVE: UK Stalls Publication of CIA Rendition Flights Records (Common Dreams, link):
"The UK Government is continuing to delay the publication of flight records which could hold evidence of the use of British territory by CIA "torture flights" &SHY; over eight months after iit said it was "assessing their suitability for publication.... Commenting, Donald Campbell from Reprieve said: â¬SIt is now over seven years since the UK Government was forced to admit that CIA torture flights were allowed to use the British territory of Diego Garcia, yet we still seem no closer to the publication of flight records which could provide crucial evidence of what wen. on."
See also: Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says (VICE News, link)
News in Brief (9.4.15)
"Spanish Citizens Security law: There is still some hope (EDRI, link)
"French surveillance legislation is off to a bad start (euractiv, link): "The new French Intelligence Bill has provoked concern among many of the countrys lawmakers, as well as international NGOs. According to French Human Rights Defender Jacques Toubon, the legislation contravenes the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights."
"German government blames Pegida for rise in crimes against refugees (euractiv, link): "Germanys Ministry of Internal Affairs is blaming right-wing extremist demonstrations, aimed especially at asylum seekers, for the growing number of attacks on refugee shelters."
"USA: DEA Global Surveillance Dragnet Exposed; Access to Data Likely Continues (The Intercept, link): "Secret mass surveillance conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration is falling under renewed scrutiny after fresh revelations about the broad scope of the agencys electronic spying... The DEAs data dragnet was apparently shut down by attorney general Eric Holder in September 2013. But on Wednesday, following USA Todays report, Human Rights Watch launched a lawsuit against the DEA over its bulk collection of phone records and is seeking a retrospective declaration that the surveillance was unlawful. And see: U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades (USA Today, link)
"TTIP: Protect our privacy in EU-US trade deal or ELSE, snarl MEPs (The Register, link)
"CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Spring Session: mass surveillance, drones, situation in Ukraine (link)
"Norway to pay reparations to Roma for racist policies and suffering under Nazis - Prime minister Erna Solberg apologises for discrimination which led to dozens of Roma dying in Nazi death camps after being denied re-entry into Norway (Guardian, link)
GENOA 2001: ECHR Press release: Police violence: Italian criminal law inadequate and not an effective deterrent (pdf) and Full-text of judgment - French (pdf):
"In todays Chamber judgment1 in the case of Cestaro v. Italy (application no. 6884/11) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of ill-treatment sustained by the applicant, and a further violation of Article 3 on account of the criminal legislation applied in the present case. The case concerned events which occurred at the end of the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, in a school made available by the municipal authorities to be used as a night shelter by emonstrators. An anti-riot police unit entered the building around midnight to carry out a search, leading to acts of violence."
See: Statewatch Analysis: Italy: Making sense of the Genoa G8 trials and aftermath by Yasha Maccanico (pdf) and Statewatch Observatory: EU: Public order and reactions to protests
See also: Italian police 'tortured' Genoa G8 protester, says ECHR (BBC News, link)
USA: Exclusive: TSA Behavior Detection Program Targeting Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists (The Intercept, link):
"A controversial Transportation Security Administration program that uses behavior indicatorsto identify potential terrorists is instead primarily targeting undocumented immigrants, according to a document obtained by The Intercept and interviews with current and former government officials.
The $900 million program, Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, employs behavior detection officers trained to identify passengers who exhibit behaviors that TSA believes could be linked to would-be terrorists. But in one five-week period at a major international airport in the United States in 2007, the year the program started, only about 4 percent of the passengers who were referred to secondary screening or law enforcement by behavior detection officers were arrested, and nearly 90 percent of those arrests were for being in the country illegally, according to a TSA document obtained by The Intercept.
Nothing in the SPOT records suggests that any of those arrested were associated with terrorist activity."
See: Document (pdf) and Examples of SPOT targets (png)
UK: Met adopts Kafkaesque position on secret surveillance database - The Metropolitan Police has dreamt up a new excuse for blocking domestic extremistsubject access requests (Netpol, link):
"This is the Kafkaesque position we have arrived at. It is impossible to know for certain whether a secret database holds data about you, so you can only speculate that your involvement in protests means it is possible. However, submitting a request without evidence that you are in fact on the database is a speculative search.To make matters worse, advice from the Information Commissioners Office yesterday suggested providing evidence of your participation in protests, to show that your request is not simply based on unreasonable assumptions or guesswork.
Thats correct: in order to find out if the police hold data about your participation in political protest, you are expected to tell the police all about your participation in political protest."
News in Brief (8.4.15)
"France accused of tabling 'Patriot Act' style surveillance law - No, its a completely different type of power expansion (The Register, link)
"EU regrets Roma integration a long way off (euroactiv, link): "There is still a long way to go for Roma integration in the EU, the European Commission said on the eve of International Roma Day Wednesday (8 April)"
"Malaysia uses specious terrorism threat to regress on human rights - New Prevention of Terrorism Act will give Najib Razaks government powers to detain people without trial, and could usher in new wave of repression (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union:
"Foreign fighters": the EU response to UNSC Resolution 2178, the CoE Protocol and critical commentary
"AGREEMENT TO START NEGOTIATIONS BY WRITTEN PROCEDURE: Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations on an additional protocol supplementing the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196) Outcome of written procedure (LIMITE doc no: CM 2128-15.pdf): "We are pleased to inform you that the written procedure initiated by CM 2089/15 of 30 March 2015 was successfully completed..... the United Kingdom regrets the late publication of the Recommendation for a proposed Council Decision. This was published only after the negotiations for the Additional Protocol had been commenced. This is not consistent with the duty of sincere cooperation." ("Written Procedure" ids a process by which Member States do not meet but the text is circulated to all Member States and agreement is assumed if there are no substantive problems - in this instance a Member State Statements are attached)
"Criminal justice response to the phenomenon of foreign fighters - Compilation of replies (LIMITE doc no: 5206-rev-2-15, 87 pages, pdf) Responses from 22 EU Member States
"Judicial response to terrorism = State of play and next steps (5917-15, pdf) including: "Reinforced cooperation with third countries is indispensable to amplifying the response to terrorism across the EU. This is of particular importance for the identification of the alleged perpetrators and the collection of evidence based in foreign jurisdictions or the collection of e-evidence."
Commentary: Foreign Fightersand EU implementation of the UNSC resolution 2178. Another case of Legislate in haste, repent at leisure&? (EASFJ, link): "the European Commission and the Council informed the EP of their intention to negotiate in the framework of the Council of Europe a protocol to the European Convention against terrorism, to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution 2178 on foreign terroristfighters... highlights the main aspects of the issue of Foreign Fighters starting from the International law dimension by taking as basic references:
the excellent briefing Foreign Fighters under International Lawof the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the very timely and focused remarks of the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin on UNSC Resolution 2178": Back to post-9/11 panic? Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters
Martin Scheinin's comments include:"Let us assume that a country applies a definition of terrorism that includes organized campaigns of indigenous groups toward self-determination by non-violent means. Criminalizing the provision of training to empower these groups, including in the field of human rights, would then be legitimized by OP6. The repressive regime would refer to its obligations under the UN Charter to justify a crackdown upon travel, training and funding of organizations and movements said to constitute a threat to the oppressive regime itself even when totally nonviolent."
See: Resolution 2178 (2014): Adopted by the Security Council at its 7272nd meeting, on 24 September 2014 (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Cyber Security, Restrictive Sanctions, PRUM automated data exchange
"EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Road map development (LIMITE doc no: 6183-rev-1-15. 22 pages, pdf): "Delegations will find in Annex an updated version of the road map on the implementation of the Council conclusions on the EU Cybersecurity Strategy taking into account the progress made on the respective already agreed actions, the discussions at the Friends of the Presidency Group on Cyber Issues meeting held on 23 February 2015 and subsequent comments received."
"Restrictive measures (Sanctions) - Update of the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures (LIMITE doc no: 7383-rev-1-15, 34 pages, pdf) Covers: "Designation and identification of persons and entities subject to targeted restrictive measures - Identification of designated persons or entities - Claims concerning mistaken identity - De-listing" and financial sanctions.
"Italian delegation: Action 7.7 "To analyse the problem of underevaluation from the point of view of the possible involvement of organised crime in this type of fraud, to evaluate existing tools and best practices to counter this phenomenon (legal/operational) and to propose adoption of new ones if needed" - Final Report (LIMITE doc no: 16072-rev-2-14, pdf): "The aim of Action 7.7 of the CCWP was to "analyse the problem of undervaluation from the point of view of the possible involvement of organised crime in this type of fraud, to evaluate existing tools and best practices to counter this phenomenon (legal/operational) and to propose adoption of new ones if needed".
"PRUM: AUTOMATED DATA EXCHANGE: Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime, Council Decision 2008/616/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the implementation of Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime ("Prüm Decisions") - statistics and reports on automated data exchange for 2014 (5503-rev-2-15, 50 pages, pdf) Detailed, Member State by Member State statistics on the the automated exchange of DNA data, of dactyloscopic reference data as well as of Vehicle Registration Data (VRD).
News in Brief (7.4.15)
"Europe Steps Up Pressure on Tech Giants - Facebooks privacy controls come under rising scrutiny; Apple faces competition queries (Wall Street Journal, link)
"Not-so-private lives - Can America and Europe ever get over their differences on data protection? (The Economist, link)
"UK: Court 'effectively strikes down' part of the Data Protection Act (Data Guidance, link)
"TTIP: Trade agreements must not undermine EU data protection laws, say Civil Liberties MEPs (European Parliament, link)
"PACE President calls for greater support for Italy in dealing with boat people (CoE, link)
"Data privacy: the tide is turning in Europe but is it too little, too late? (Guardian, link)
"Boat sinks in Aegean Sea, 4 dead (World Bulletin, link): "At least four people have drowned after a boat illegally carrying migrants to the Greek islands sank in the Aegean Sea on Monday, Turkish officials said. Nine people were also rescued, governor of the southwestern province of Mugla, Amir Cicek, told.....The migrant boat was heading to Greeces Kos Island when it capsized off the Datca Gulf, in Mugla province in southwestern Turkey,"
"FRANCE-UK: 'At night it's like a horror movie' inside Calais's official shanty town new jungle camp, which has no shelter for men and no running water, represents an alarming toughening in Frances treatment of UK-bound migrants (Guardian, link)
"Poland to build watchtowers at Kaliningrad enclave border (euroactiv, link)
"Opinion: Don't reintroduce Schengen border controls! - After last week's Germanwings crash, the German interior minister wants to examine reintroducing Schengen area border controls. It is a wrongly timed move playing on people's fear of terrorism, says DW's Nina Haase. (DW, link)
"IRELAND: FoI restrictions on refugee issues rushed through Oireachtas (Irish Times, link): "The Irish Refugee Council has expressed its concernat the manner in which restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act, as it applies to bodies dealing with asylum and refugee issues, were rushedthrough the Oireachtas before Easter. Both Houses debated and approved the restrictions on the date from which the records of two refugee bodies - Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the Refugee Applications Commissioner - can be now be accessed under the Act."
"UK: 40 illegal immigrants detained every day (The Times, link): " Forty illegal immigrants a day are being arrested in Britain as enforcement squads swoop on premises known for employing people in the black economy. Raids on Indian and Chinese restaurants, petrol stations and car washes have helped to boost the number of illegal immigrants being picked up by the authorities. "
"UK: "Should we talk to terrorists?" is The Big Question at forthcoming debate (Coventry University, link)
"UK: Returns Directorate: Detention services order 14/2012C: Home Office: Guidance: To provide instructions and guidance for Home Office staff operating in the detention estate on the correct process for dealing with individuals claiming to be under 18 (link) and Detention services order 02/2006 Release of detainees by IS 106 release orders Process: This order clarifies the procedures to be followed by staff on receipt of a form IS106 Release Order for a detainee in their custody (link)
"Greece plan to release 3,500 immigrants from asylum centres sets it on a collision course with Europe (Independent, link)
"France: Bill Opens Door to Surveillance Society - Short-Changes Rights Obligations; Bad Model for Other Countries (HRW, link): "Draft legislation authorizing sweeping powers of digital surveillance is inconsistent with Frances international human rights commitments, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, which has already won approval of the National Assemblys Law Commission, would create a highly damaging model for other countries and should be reconsidered and revised, not rushed through the parliament."
"Italian coastguard and navy rescue 1,500 migrants in less than 24 hours - Migrants rescued in five separate operations after three of the vessels carrying them got into difficulty off Libyan coast (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: Investigators seek answers over Tröglitz asylum attack (DW, link): "Questions remained unanswered in the eastern German city of Tröglitz on Easter Sunday following what appeared to be an arson attack on a planned refugee camp. The attack has caused outrage across Europe. "
UK: "Dirty tricks"?: The FCO leaked memo - Nicola Sturgeon - the Labour Party and the Zinoviev letter
A Cabinet Office inquiry has been launched into the leaking of a government document concerning alleged remarks by Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), which are damaging to the SNP and the Labour Party. Are there historical parallels?
In 1924 the leak of the "Zinoviev letter" by MI6 to the Daily Mail contributed to the fall of the first (minority) Labour government: See: "Zinoviev letter" extract from The Political Police in Britain by Tony Bunyan, 1977 (pdf)
News in Brief (5.4.15)
"Push Back Frontex! Against a new dimension of left - to - die - policy at sea (WSF 2015 Tunis, pdf link)
"Pegida London demo hit by poor turnout and massive opposition (EDL News, link): "Pegida UK appears to be on its last legs as the far right organisation achieved a pitiful turnout and massive opposition by several hundred Londoner who turned up to stop them spreading their message of hate on the streets of the capital. The spin off group from the German neo Nazi group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have had little success in the United Kingdom."
"UK: MedConfidential: Keep My Secrets (link)
News in Brief (3.4.15)
"UK: 100% passport checks will mean ferry port gridlock, say coach operators - Ministers hope last-minute decision to phase in exit checks for Eurotunnel and cross-Channel ferry passengers will prevent peak-time queues (Guardian, link)
"EP-FRONTEX: Question for written answer to the Commission Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL) Subject: Asylum applications and Frontex operations (link) and Answer (link): "According to information provided by Frontex, the agency has so far assisted and coordinated 270 joint return operations in which 13 798 non-EU citizens have been returned to their home countries. Frontex is not in possession of any figures on how many people have applied for asylum during these operations..." [emphasis added]
"ECRE has published an information note providing guidance to apply the recast Dublin Regulation from the perspective of the fundamental rights of the asylum seekers. The Dublin Regulation determines the Member State responsible for the examination of an asylum application in the EU (link)
"ETHICAL JOURNALISM NETWORK: "This month we published a new report covering 18 countries and focusing on growing concerns inside media about newsroom bias and secret deals which undermine ethical values. Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Stalk the Newsroom" (link to pdf Report)
EU: DATA RETENTION JUDGMENT: European Parliament: Legal Services: Opinion LIBE - Questions relating to the judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2014 in Jolned 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 (27 pages, pdf)
"The DRI judgment presents a novel aspect in so far as the Court of Justice refers specifically to a particular body of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on the issue of "general programmes of surveillance", The Court of Justice has now effectively incorporated the same principles, stemming from this case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, into EU law in this same field. In view of the fact that the cited case-law of the European Court of Human Rights itself relates to a diverse category of surveillance measures (which is not at all limited to data retention issues), it is to be expected that the Court of Justice will, in future, also apply the same reasoning when assessing the validity, under the Charter, of other EU legislative acts in this same field of "general programmes of surveillance....
All new and pending ED legislative proposals which concern the special context of "general programmes of surveillance" must clearly now take account of the reasoning of the Court of Justice in the DRI judgment. Great care must therefore be taken in such cases to ensure full respect for the Charter.
The same considerations will apply also in the case of international agreements under negotiation, given that the EU legislature's discretion, in external relations, to conclude international agreements, under the Treaty and in accordance with the Charter, cannot be wider than the discretion, in internal matters, to adopt ED legislation applying within the ED legal order....
Following the DRI judgment, Member States run an even higher risk than before of having their legislation annulled by the national courts, in a similar way to what has already happened in a number of Member States."
But: "bilateral agreements concluded by the Member States with third countries requiring mass collection of personal data and exchange of personal data for law enforcement purposes would presumably have been concluded in the exercise of the competence of the Member States. Consequently the Charter would not be applicable to such agreements and so the DRI judgment would not then have any particular consequences in this regard." [emphasis added]
See also: European Parliament: Legal Service Opinion on the ECJ judgment (dated 8 April 2014, pdf) and Statewatch Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU (from 2004 and ongoing)
UK-ECHR: The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes: Oral hearing 10 June 2015: Alleged failure to conduct effective investigation into fatal shooting of person mistakenly identified as suspected terrorist: communicated (link): "The applicant is a relative of Mr Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistakenly identified as a terrorist suspect and shot dead on 22 July 2005 by two special firearms officers in London."
See: Statement of facts (pdf).
See also: No charges to be brought against officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes (Statewatch database) and Justice4JeanFamily Campaign (Statewatch database)
News in Brief (2.4.15)
"Record number of migrants expected to drown in Mediterranean this year - In the first quarter of 2015, nearly 500 migrants have drowned, ten times as many as in the same period of 2014, leading to fears of a record death rate this year (Guardian, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"."
"UK: Reforming laws on free movement will be a headache for any future government (Democratic Audit, link): "Immigration will be one of the defining issues of the General Election, with Labour and the Conservatives responding to UKIPs hardline, anti-EU stance with tough and supposedly crowd-pleasing measures of their own. Here, Marley Morris argues that freedom of movement rules are something that any party is going to struggle to reform after the general election."
"Roadmap Practitioner Toolkits: Using EU law in Criminal practice (Fair Trials, link)
"From social media service to advertising network: A critical analysis of Facebooks Revised Policies and Terms (EMSOC, link)
"Spain to allow illegal immigrants to access free public healthcare - The Spanish government has done a u-turn on its policy of banning undocumented migrants from seeing GPs after A&E wards were "saturated" (Daily Telegraph, link): "It seems more sensible and reasonable that basic health care should be offered [to immigrants] at local centres so that, among other things, A&E wards are not collapsed", Mariano Rajoy, the Spainish Prime Minister said, admitting that "decisions taken in some regions" had affected the central government's policy. Catalonia and the Basque Country led a revolt of six regions which created their own regulatory framework permitting illegal immigrants to access free health care, while other regions largely ignored the ban."
"UK: Kurds protest in support of British teenager at terrorism hearing - Two dozen protesters gathered outside Londons Old Bailey at the pre-trial hearing of Shilan Ozcelik, 18, charged in relation to activities in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, link): "A small but noisy group of Kurdish protesters gathered outside the Old Bailey in London on Wednesday to protest at terrorism charges brought against a British teenager. Shilan Ozcelik , an 18-year-old of Kurdish descent, was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. She is believed to be the first British citizen to be arrested for allegedly trying to join the campaign against Islamic State in eastern Syria and western Iraq."
"CoE:Recommendations on the protection of personal data in the workplace (CoE, link) and see: Recommendations (link)
"DHS renews quest for access to national license plate tracking system (Washington Post, link): "The Department of Homeland Security is seeking bids from companies able to provide law enforcement officials with access to a national license-plate tracking system a year after canceling a similar solicitation over privacy issues....Ginger McCall, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centers Open Government Project, said the new safeguards were not meaningful.She called the data retention requirements exceedingly vagueand said tracking people through alert lists without a warrant is troubling."
African Union opposes outsourcing migrants (euobserver, link):
"The African Union is opposed to any EU-level plan to outsource asylum processing centres to countries in Africa. "From the African perspective, this would be a dangerous approach,said African Union ambassador to the EU, Ajay K Bramdeo, on Wednesday. Niger, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey may host such centres."
And: African envoy expresses concern over EU migrant center plans (New Europe, link)
See also Statewatch: Plan to set up "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to north African states
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Marrakesh Treaty for the blind and disabled, Rights of child suspects & EPPO
"Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled - Guidance for further work (LIMITE doc no: 7321-15, pdf) You might think it would be easy for EU governments to agree on facilitating access to publication for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled - but you would be wrong:
"the will to sign without delay the Marrakesh Treaty was strong, but the issues linked to the legal basis and the nature of the competence of the European Union controversial, it was agreed that the discussions on those issues would be postponed to a later stage. Thus the Council reached a fragile compromise and adopted on 14 April 2014, the decision on the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty on behalf of the European Union, with the United Kingdom voting against and Poland abstaining out of opposition to the use of Article 207 TFEU as legal basis. The signature took place in Geneva on 30 April 2014."
But the EU Member States (governments) having signed up to the Treaty disagree on the legal basis for the EU to implement it. Worth reading.
"CHILD SUSPECTS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings - Outcome of the first trilogue and the first technical meeting / preparation of the second trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7503-15, 132 pages, pdf): Report on trilogue meeting:
"The Presidency generally retains a positive impression of the two meetings, which were held in a very pleasant atmosphere. This being said, the pace of the meetings is rather low; the European Parliament clearly wants to take the negotiations regarding this Directive more slowly than the negotiations regarding the procedural rights Directives that were adopted in the recent years. It may therefore take more time before concrete results can be reported."
"EPPO: MAJOR RE-DRAFT OF COUNCIL's POSITION: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (LIMITE doc no: 7070-15, pdf). Lots of footnotes referring to "Some delegations" or "A few delegations" "A number of delegations" or "Many delegations" without naming the Member States.
UNHCR concerned by border practices after deaths of two Iraqis at the Bulgaria-Turkey border (link to press release):
"GENEVA, 31 March (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday expressed increasing concern that people needing international protection were being blocked from entering the European Union, citing the deaths of two Iraqi men who were in a group of 12 Yazidi people allegedly beaten by Bulgarian border guards....
The statement followed a recent incident in which UNHCR was told 12 Iraqis belonging to the Yazidi minority were stopped by Bulgarian border guards as they tried to enter from Turkey. The Iraqis had their belongings seized and were badly beaten.
The group scattered and two of the men, suffering from severe injuries, died later of hypothermia on the Turkish side of the border. According to the reports, a third person was taken in a critical condition to a hospital in Edirne after Turkish authorities were alerted."
European Parliament: PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: Fair trials: MEPs beef up draft EU law on presumption of innocence (Press release, pdf):
"Draft EU rules to ensure that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is fully respected in member states were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. MEPs inserted amendments to prevent statements by public authorities that might suggest a suspect is guilty before a final conviction, ensure that the burden of proof stays with the prosecution and guarantee the rights to remain silent, not to incriminate oneself and to be present at trial...
Result of the vote on the mandate to open negotiations with the Council: 43 votes in favour, 6 against and 1 abstention."
Googles misuse of private browsing data entitles individuals to damages Court of Appeal (UK Human Rights Blog, link): Google Inc v Vidal-Hall and others  EWCA Civ 311 (27 March 2015) - read Judgment (pdf)
"This case concerned the misuse of private information by an internet provider based in the United States. Google had secretly tracked private information about users internet browsing without their knowledge or consent, and then handed the information on to third parties (a practice known as supplying Browser-Generated Information, or BGI)."
See also: Facebook tracking said to breach EU law (euobserver, link)
Exclusive: TSAs Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists (The Intercept, link):
"Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points. These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for and score in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.
The checklist is part of TSAs controversial program to identify potential terrorists based on behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception known as the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT."
See TSA document (pdf)
Why 1.3 million dead are not worth mentioning (Matt Carr's Infernal Machine - Notes From the Margins&, (link):
"Its one of the essential tenets of the new age of humanitarian war that war is not as bad as it used to be, or at least that its not so bad that the costs outweigh the gains....
Once of the ways in which these governments have attempted to ensure popular acceptance is by ignoring or downplaying any evidence that contradicts this new mythology of war. Last month a joint report Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror produced by the medical-political peace organization Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concluded that 1.3 million people have died as a direct or indirect of wars fought in three main theatres of war in Iraq (1 million), Afghanistan (220,000) and Pakistan (80,000)."
See: Physicians for Global Survival, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War report: Body Count (pdf)
News in Brief (1.4.15)
"EU:-ECHR: Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice on access of EU to the ECHR One step ahead and two steps back (EASFJ, link)
"Fundamental rights in the EU: Where to next? (euobserver, link): "Despite progress made, there continues to be serious gaps in both the EU fundamental rights and equality legislation and its enforcement. This is all the more worrying in the current context of austerity, which is having a disproportionate impact on groups at risk of discrimination as well as adverse effects on equality policies."
"UK: Privacy, security and surveillance: tackling dilemmas and dangers in the digital realm (Wilton Park, link)
"UK: Probation officers face redundancy in plan to replace them with machines - Sodexo, UKs largest operator of privatised probation services, is to use cash-machine style kiosks for offenders to report in without seeing an officer (Guardian, link)
"Big Data poses questions about human role in society (euobserver, link)
"New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups (The Intercept, link): "Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasnt surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups."
"Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Czech Republic (link) and see: Report (pdf): " Particular attention was paid to the situation of juveniles, high-security and life-sentenced prisoners. For the first time in the Czech Republic, the delegation examined the treatment of and legal safeguards offered to persons held under the court-ordered measure of security detentionat Brno Prison. Further, the delegation visited a detention centre for foreigners as well as a psychiatric hospital where it examined the situation of involuntary patients. The report also deals with the issue of surgical castration of sex offenders which was the subject of consultations with representatives of the relevant national authorities."Dutch placing immigration issues centre stage (Irish Times, link): "Austerity and terrorism have made people in The Netherlands more conservative"
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Following Canada's Bad Example, Now UK Wants To Muzzle Scientists And Their Inconvenient Truths (Techdirt, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Amazon's clouds are da bomb, say EU data protection watchdogs (The Register, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Americans Privacy Strategies Post-Snowden (Pew Research Centre, link): "34% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (30% of all adults) have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government." and see: NSA Telephone Records Surveillance (EPIC, link)
EU-MEXICO PNR (Passenger Name Record) : European Commission to open negotiations on PNR agreement: Letter from Commissioner to Claude Moraes, Chair LIBE Committee (pdf)
See: Statewatch story filed on 8.3.15: European Commission in a pickle over PNR
- Mexico and Argentina about to implement PNR laws requiring "the transfer of passenger data from air carriers that operate in [their] countries"
- The Commission has only 2-3 weeks to sort this out: airlines face fines if they do not comply and would break EU law if they do
EU DEFENCE UNION: Yet another elite "Group of Personalities" set up: Bienkowska launches high-level defence research group (euractiv, link):
"Elzbieta Bienkowska , Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, launched a new high-level group to advise the EU on how it can support research on a future defence union."
See: High-level group of personalities on defence research (pdf)
Background: First EDA-Commission workshop on the preparatory action for CSDP-related research (European Defence Agency, link) and ASD: Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe: Position paper: (pdf): "ASD represents the Aeronautics, Space, Security and Defence industries in Europe. Based in Brussels, the organisations membership today comprises 15 major European aerospace and defence companies and 27 member associations in 20 countries" and also: EU: Commission proposes military research programme (Statewatch database)
See also: Arming Big Brother: the EU's Security Research Programme (Statewatch, pdf): "The story of the EU Security Research Programme is one of Big Brothermeets market fundamentalism. It was personified by the establishment in 2003 of a Group of Personalities(GoP) comprised of EU officials and Europes biggest arms and IT companies." And the ground-breaking report from Statewatch & TNI: NeoConOpticon: The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf)
UK government trying to prevent justice for rendition victims (Reprieve, link):
"The UK government is refusing to guarantee that it will not misuse the intercepted lawyer-client communications of two rendition victims in their legal cases again the British government. Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, from Pakistan, are bringing legal action against the British government for its complicity in their torture and rendition. The men were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British forces, before being rendered by the US to Bagram prison, Afghanistan. They endured a decade of secret US detention and torture in Bagram before their release last May without charge or trial....
Kat Craig, Mr Rahmatullah's lawyer and Legal Director at human rights organization Reprieve, said: "Not content with complicity in the torture, rendition and decade-long secret detention of Mr Rahmatullah and Mr Ali, the UK is now trying to prevent them from achieving justice. Why would any government otherwise refuse to implement safeguards, and which only serve to achieve a fair balance &SHY; and protect an age-old principle of our justice system? By preventing our clients from communicating privately with their legal team, and fairly and robustly seeking the justice they so sorely deserve, the UK government is holding itself above the law."
News in Brief (31.3.15)
"EU:-ECHR: Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice on access of EU to the ECHR One step ahead and two steps back (EASFJ, link)
"Fundamental rights in the EU: Where to next? (euobserver, link): "Despite progress made, there continues to be serious gaps in both the EU fundamental rights and equality legislation and its enforcement. This is all the more worrying in the current context of austerity, which is having a disproportionate impact on groups at risk of discrimination as well as adverse effects on equality policies."
"UK: Privacy, security and surveillance: tackling dilemmas and dangers in the digital realm (Wilton Park, link)
"UK: Probation officers face redundancy in plan to replace them with machines - Sodexo, UKs largest operator of privatised probation services, is to use cash-machine style kiosks for offenders to report in without seeing an officer (Guardian, link)
"Big Data poses questions about human role in society (euobserver, link)
"New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups (The Intercept, link): "Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasnt surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups."
"Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Czech Republic (link) and see: Report (pdf): " Particular attention was paid to the situation of juveniles, high-security and life-sentenced prisoners. For the first time in the Czech Republic, the delegation examined the treatment of and legal safeguards offered to persons held under the court-ordered measure of security detentionat Brno Prison. Further, the delegation visited a detention centre for foreigners as well as a psychiatric hospital where it examined the situation of involuntary patients. The report also deals with the issue of surgical castration of sex offenders which was the subject of consultations with representatives of the relevant national authorities."
CEUTA-MELILLA: Against a state of exception for human rights in Ceuta and Melilla (pdf):
"The 150 undersigned social associations have looked into the eyes of these migrants and seen their injuries, traumas and persecutions often, very often. This is why we wont look away and allow our shame for this illegal practice through which our name is being soiled to discourage us. We wont allow the existence in our country of zones of exception for human rights regardless of how hard they try to legalise them."
HUNGARY: Helsinki Committee: Refugees and migrants: Hungarian government plans to breach EU asylum law and to subject asylum-seekers to massive detention and immediate deportation (link) and see: Media information note (pdf, link):
"Hungarian Helsinki Committee aimed at providing background information and key facts about migration to *Hungary*, conditions for migrants in the country and recent developments in the government's migration policy. With 42,777 asylum claims registered last year, the number of asylum-seekers in Hungary saw a twentyfold increase from 2012 to 2014. The already problematic situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in the country risks to deteriorate following the *anti-migrant communication campaign* initiated by the Prime Minister last February.
Planned amendments to asylum and immigration laws are going, for example, in the direction of *systematic detention* of asylum-seekers and migrants irregularly entering the territory, *undermining the protection of their fundamental rights."
Do Facebook and the USA violate EU data protection law? The CJEU hearing in Schrems (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-EU: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union report: The Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU (pdf) and Evidence submitted (pdf) in respone to: Government Review (link): "Although the reports represent a significant and worthwhile body of work, the Review as a whole is diminished by the Governments failure to deliver its undertaking in 2012 to draw together the analysis contained in the Review."
See: Lords slams UKs splendid isolation on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link): "The House of Lords has called on the British government to abandon its legally unsustainableinterpretation of EU justice and home affairs law, and drop its unnecessarily confrontational strategy."
Statewatch Analysis: The EU's Maternity Leave Directive: The Council secretly rejects the EP's olive branch by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"The Council's refusal to accept the EP's olive branch and even start negotiations on a possible compromise (however unlikely that might be) is petty and vindictive"
UK: Student cleared of London terror charge after partially secret trial - Erol Incedal found not guilty of preparation of acts of terrorism after a retrial in which large parts of evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom (Guardian, link): ""A man who faced accusations that he was plotting to mount an Islamic State-inspired gun or bomb attack on the streets of London has been acquitted after a highly secretive Old Bailey trial. Erol Incedal, 27, was cleared of preparation of acts of terrorism after a four-week retrial in which large parts of the evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom." And see: "Old Bailey must lift secrecy around Erol Incedal case, say media lawyers - Anthony Hudson QC tells court that public can only understand acquittal over terrorist plot charge if press is allowed to report key evidence (link)
Also: Court case brought by the Guardian last year over secrecy in the case: "Open justice is both a fundamental principle of the common law and a means of ensuring public confidence in our legal system; exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts." (link to judgment)
Netanyahus Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents (The Intercept, link):
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His offices denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israels other allies.
Israels claim is not only incredible on its face. It is also squarely contradicted by top-secret NSA documents, which state that Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S."
See: Excerpt from 2008 NSA document Which Foreign Intelligence Service Is the Biggest Threat to the US?" (link)
News in Brief (30.3.15)
"Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO - Single currency area must become a "United States of Europe" in order to secure its future, says manager of world's largest bond fund (Telegraph, link)
"Calais mayor blames UK's approach to Europe for migrants gathering in town - Natacha Bouchart claims Britain refuses to take responsibility for problems caused by migrants in the French channel port (Guardian, link)
"EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal: what's at stake (EP News, link)
"Europol chief warns on computer encryption (BBC News, link)
"EU keeps Hamas on terror list, despite court ruling (euractiv, link)
"Dying for Justice: black and minority ethnic deaths in custody (Open Democracy, link): "509 suspicious deaths of people from BME, migrant and asylum seeker communities in state custody over 23 years. Five prosecutions. Not one single conviction. A chilling report from the Institute of Race Relations."
"IRELAND: Gardaí could be given access to PPS numbers of two million drivers (Irish News, link): "Other measures examined by the multi-agency group include the exchange of PPS numbers between private vehicle buyers and sellers.... Also being reviewed is the linking of car-owners' PPS numbers for each new vehicle registration. Social security numbers being used to block people with unpaid fines from selling or buying cars or from renewing a licence is also being assessed. PPS is short for Personal Public Service Number, "a unique reference that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland."" See also: Personal Public Service Number (Citizens Information, link)
"Polish Nazis target Aviva football fans - Gardai monitor skinheads ahead of tonight's [29 March] crunch Euro qualifier (Irish News, link)
"Albania to Disclose Data About Telephone Surveillance (freedominfo.org, link)
"Rise of urban warfare spurring wave of special equipment demands (Defence iQ, link)
"UK: Labour vows to ban indefinite detention of asylum and immigration applicants - Yvette Cooper says current system is inefficient and deeply scarring for detainees, and move would bring UK in line with most western countries (Guardian, link)
"Paris and Copenhagen attacks have 'put European values to the test (EP Parliament, link): ""The western response to terrorism, insisting on a narrow definition of 'European', 'British', or 'French' values, rather than human values, can lead to pigeonholing 'the other' as 'radical', painting two-dimensional images that only increase alienation, and can lead to abuse""
"PERU-EU: European Parliament approves elimination of Schengen Visa (Peru This Week, link)
"USA: FBI told its cyber surveillance programs have actually not gone far enough - In-house 9/11 Review Commission calls for further expansion of informant and cyber surveillance networks but largely ignores domestic intelligence gathering (Guardian, link) and see: The FBI used to recommend encryption. Now they want to ban it
"Bulgaria: Anti-torture experts speak out over persistent failuresin treatment of jailed and detained people (CoE, link) and see: European Committee
for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): Public statement concerning Bulgaria (pdf)
"Peter Greste calls for universal charter of media freedoms - Al-Jazeera journalist says the so-called war on terror is a kind of globalised McCarthyism that is being used by governments to limit the press (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: This a redraft of important clauses on data subjects' rights and remedies: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, 27 March 2015, pdf)
USA: REMOTE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS: Advisory Committee Approves Rules to Expand Police Hacking Authority (EPIC, link):
"according to a news report, a committee of the Federal Judicial Conference voted on Monday to approve changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Under the revised rule, judges could issue "remote access" warrants authorizing law enforcement to search computers remotely, even when the target is outside the jurisdiction of the court."
See also: FBIs Plan to Expand Hacking Power Advances Despite Privacy Fears - Google had warned that the rule change represents a monumentalconstitutional concern. (National journal, link) and UK: Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" (Statewatch)
Deaths of Europes unwanted and unnoticed migrants exposed (Institute of Race Relations, link): "The deaths over the last five years, in the detention and reception centres, the streets and the squats of Europe, are a product of the rightlessness and the lack of human dignity European governments accord to migrants and asylum seekers. They are also the tip of the iceberg; the true figures are unknown, as in many countries migrants deaths are not recorded or investigated. But of the deaths whose circumstances are known, the largest number, sixty, were suicides; 26 were caused by untreated illness or illness exacerbated by detention, while sixteen were caused by destitution.
"Liz Fekete, Director of the IRR, said, Some lives simply dont matter. These deaths reflect exactly the same indifference to human life that we see at the border &this suffering, these deaths need to be accounted for."
Full report: Unwanted, Unnoticed: an audit of 160-asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe (link to pdf)
UN: New U.N. investigator to probe digital spying (Reuters, link): "The United Nations top human rights body agreed on Thursday to appoint a special investigator to probe digital spying and violations of online privacy.
"Brazil and Germany spearheaded the resolution, which voiced deep concern over electronic surveillance and the interception of digital communications, as well as data collection by governments and private companies."
See also: Human Rights Council creates mandate of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy: Adopts Three Other Texts on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Right to Work, and the Effects of Terrorism on Human Rights (UN ,link) and Human rights, democracy and the rule of law (link)
See: UN Human Rights Council: The right to privacy in the digital age (pdf) and: UN Human Rights Council Appoints Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy (Electronic Frontier Foundation, link)
UK: CRIMINAL COURT TAX: Court charge of up to £1,200 for criminals revealed (BBC News, link): "Convicted criminals in England and Wales will have to pay up to £1,200 towards the cost of their court case under new rules, it has been revealed. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the Criminal Courts Charge would ensure criminals "pay their way"."
See: Ministry of Justice: Fact Sheet: Criminal Courts Charge (pdf): "The government considers that convicted adult offenders who use our criminal courts should pay towards the cost of running them."
See also the government's impact assessment (pdf) from last year which notes as a risk: "Changes in offender behaviour. This includes more defendants pleading guilty, not opting to be tried in the Crown Court, accepting cautions, or paying fixed penalty notices". The government's response to this problem does not really address the issue: ""We have considered whether there is a risk that an offender may feel that they have reduced choice in whether to plead guilty or go to trial as that may result in a higher criminal courts charge than otherwise , particularly if that offender has limited means. The policy will not impose a charge on anyone who is found not guilty. Additionally, if an offender is found guilty and charged, the rate at which they pay the charge can be adjusted according to their income. This should act as a mitigating factor by ensuring that offenders would not be expected to pay the charge at a rate which is beyond their means.""
UK: SPECIAL BRANCH SPIES ON MPs: Furious Labour MPs allegedly spied on by undercover cops demand to see files (Mirror, link): "Furious Labour MPs have demanded to see their secret Special Branch files after it emerged they were allegedly spied on by undercover cops.
"Deputy party leader Harriet Harman, ex-Cabinet Minister Peter Hain and senior backbencher Jeremy Corbyn urged the Government to release the confidential documents detailing their activities.
A now-defunct unit of Met Police officers has been accused of threatening democracy by keeping and even updating records on their targets after they became MPs - including Jack Straw during his time as Home Secretary."
Parliament is about to go into recess before the general election in March, so it is unlikely that there will be many formal developments before the election of a new parliament. As Home Officer minister Mike Penning noted during the debate: "Lots of things are possible with noticein the next Parliament.". Penning also told Harriet Harman that he could not guarantee MPs would be able to see the full contents of the files kept on them: "Ultimately, there may be reasons for that. I was a counter-terrorism Minister in Northern Ireland, where there had to be redactions. I will make sure that as much as can be released is released." See: debate: Undercover Policing (Hansard, link)
Background: Pollice continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council position on Chapters II (Principles), VI (Independent Supervisory Authorities) and VII ("one-stop-shop")
"Delegations will find attached the texts of Chapters II (Annex I), VI and VII (one-stop-shop) (Annex II) as agreed in the partial general approach reached at the Council on 13 March 2015.": See: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapters II, VI and VII (7466-15, pdf)
From earlier this month: Statewatch Analysis: Second version: The Proposed Data Protection Regulation: What has the Council agreed so far? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex
EU: European Neighbourhood Policy evaluation for 2014 published
"In 2014 the EU maintained a high level of engagement with partners, in which the instruments offered by the ENP played a central part. The new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), adopted in 2014, provides EUR 15.4 billion for the period 2014-20. Financial assistance is more focused than before; civil society organisations (CSOs) and local authorities are better and more closely involved in preparing, implementing and monitoring EU support."
Full report: European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014 (pdf) and for an overview: Commission publishes neighbourhood reports for 'test year 2014' (EurActiv, link)
The document notes that: "The terrible loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea during 2014 showed that coordinated policy formulation of the EU with its partner countries in the South and beyond is indispensable.
"As ENP partner countries are mostly transit countries for irregular migration, the EU includes the neighbours of neighbours in relevant discussions, e.g. authorities from West and Central Africa in the framework of the 'Rabat Process'. Similarly, a regional dialogue process was launched in November with countries along the East African migratory route ('Khartoum Process'). Most of the EUs southern partner countries lack a comprehensive, sustainable legal and administrative system to deal with this issue. Libya, in particular, was very vulnerable to flows of asylum-seekers, irregular migration and human trafficking following the deteriorating security situation and the conflict in the country. "
On this issue, see also: Plan to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states
A document was published at the beginning of March outlining the "clear need to review the assumptions on which the policy is based, as well as its scope, and how instruments should be used..." See: Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy (pdf)
News in brief (27.3.15)
EU-US: European court hearings expose lack of privacy safeguards for our data (Irish Times, link)
IRELAND: A New Irish Rebellion, This Time Against Water Fees (New York Times, link)
Noose around Internets TLS system tightens with 2 new decryption attacks (Ars Technica, link): "Exploits pluck passwords and other sensitive data out of encrypted data streams."
SPAIN: Judge ends inquiry into PPs secret ledgers and moves to try ex-treasurers (El País, link)
UEFAs Proposed Football Police Force Completely Flawed (Newsweek, link): "A key European supporters association and a number of football hooliganism experts have criticised calls from the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for a European sports police force to crack down on what he has warned is a rising tide of football hooliganism."
UK: Arms Trade On Trial film released (Arms Dealers on Trial, link): "In defiance of corporate pressure, the film Arms Trade On Trial has been released, which documents our attempts to hold arms dealers from the DSEi arms fair to account for the promotion of illegal torture weapons."
UK: Claims Met police covered up child abuse spark three more inquiries (Guardian, link)
UK: ECHO INVESTIGATES: Shock claims of detainee at Portland's Verne amid staff concerns over training (Dorset Echo, link): "THIS is the worst thing I have ever seen and I cant believe its going on in Britain those are the words of a detainee at The Verne Immigration Removal Centre."
UK: Prince Charles judgment puts government on warpath against the law (politics.co.uk, link): "David Cameron's bad misjudgement that it's "fair enough" for Prince Charles to enjoy private contact with ministers is leading to a bigger problem: the government is now on course to steal power away from the courts."
EU: Billions of euros for internal security and migration policy
22 EU Member States' plans for internal security and migration were approved by the European Commission yesterday, opening the door to billions of euros in funding from the EU's current seven year budget, which runs from 2014 until 2020. The new budgets follow the EU's previous internal security and migration budgets, which ran from 2007 until 2013 and paid for transnational databases and police operations, surveillance equipment, and detention centres, amongst other things.
European Commission press release: Investing in an open and secure Europe: ¬1.8 billion to fund Asylum, Migration, Integration and Security (pdf)
UK: Report on foreign fighters demands better communication between police, schools and parents; increased social media and travel controls
A new report from the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee on the "foreign fighters" phenomenon calls for:
- a "vast improvement" in "communication between the police, schools and parents";
- "social media companies" to suspend users' accounts when "they are given evidence that users of their services are seeking to promote violent extremism";
- "stricter controls" on people travelling to "destinations of concern (DOCs) such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Nigeria"; and for
- no-fly lists to "be strictly adhered to and shared internationally."
Full report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Counter-terrorism: foreign fighters (pdf)
News in brief (26.3.15)
EU: Frontex and eu-LISA Sign Cooperation Plan for 2015 (Frontex, link)
France: Patriot Act à la française: France to legalise unlawful surveillance (EDRi, link)
German industry admits it overstated the benefits of TTIP (Left Foot Forward, link)
In Germany, Data Retention refuses to die (EDRi, link)
IRELAND: Shannon Airport: Ireland's Gateway to Torture (Truthout, link)
UK: HMRCs use of powers against whistleblower indefensible, say MPs (Guardian, link)
UK: When anonymous hearsay can get you deported (IRR, link): "Operation Nexus allows for deportation on the basis of fundamentally unreliable and untestable material."
USA: Architect of CIAs drone campaign to leave post in watershed moment (Washington Post, link)
UK: SPECIAL BRANCH SPIES ON MPs: Pollice continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs - Ex-minister Peter Hain says whistleblowers disclosure of spying operations during 1990s raises questions about parliamentary sovereignty (Guardian, link):
"Police conducted spying operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s, covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.....Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan polices special branch. They include Labours current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw."
and See: Why were special branch watching me even when I was an MP? Peter Hain: Having active files on MPs who were seen as radical decades earlier is a fundamental threat to our democracy (pdf):
"these files were still active for at least 10 years while I was an MP certainly is and raises fundamental questions about parliamentary sovereignty. The same is true of my Labour MP colleagues Jack Straw, Harriet Harman, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, Dennis Skinner and Joan Ruddock, as well as former colleagues Tony Benn and Bernie Grant all of us named by Peter Francis, a former Special Demonstration Squad undercover police spy turned whistleblower."
See also: The Wilson Doctrine (pdf): "The convention that MPs communications should not be intercepted by police or security services is known as the Wilson Doctrine. It is named after the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who established the rule in 1966"
EU-PNR: Substantial reservations expressed in: Letter from the Article 29 data protection Working Party to Claude moraes, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) with detailed Appendix.
"First, the necessity of an EU PNR scheme still has to be justified. Precise argumentation and evidence are still lacking in that respect. Further restrictions should also be made to ensure that the data processing is proportionate to the purpose pursued, in particular considering that the report now includes intra-EU flights in the data processing...
the scope of the offences concerned should be further reduced and the retention period shortened and clearly justified....
the WP29 insists on the necessity to present as soon as possible a detailed evaluation of the efficiency of the PNR scheme. A sunset clause should also be inserted into the directive to assist in ensuring periodic review of the necessity of the system....
to reduce the list to the crimes for which the use of PNR data would effectively prove necessary for the police investigators and, in any case, to justify, for each category of crime currently listed, that the use of PNR data is necessary for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of these crimes....
at the very least, philosophical belief, trade union membership, health data and sex life should be added to the list of data on the basis of which no decision producing adverse legal effects, such as regarding preassessment of passengers, must be taken."
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: European Parliament Press release: Civil liberties MEPs make case for data protection during Washington visit (pdf):
"A delegation from the civil liberties committee visited Washington DC last week to find out the latest information on issues such as data protection and legislation on surveillance activities from their American counterparts. The MEPs also provided updates on the EU's data protection reform and on counter-terrorism initiatives, including the passenger name records (PNR) proposal"
See also:Close your Facebook account if you do not want to be spied on: EU-US data pact skewered in court hearing (euobserver, link) Extraordinary statement by Commission lawyer in Court of European Justice (CJEU):
"A lawyer for the European Commission told an EU judge on Tuesday (24 March) he should close his Facebook page if he wants to stop the US snooping on him, in what amounts to an admission that Safe Harbour, an EU-US data protection pact, doesnt work.
You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima told attorney-general Yves Bot at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."
EU-UK: House of Lords Select Committee: The UKs opt-in Protocol: implications of the Governments approach (pdf) and See: House of Lords recommends to change the Governements strategy on the UKs opt-in (EASFJ, link) and also: Lords slams UKs splendid isolation on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link)
UK: Stop and search: Police 'must record vehicle stops (BBC News, link) and Too little progress on stop and search, says police watchdog - Many officers lack understanding of impact on lives of young black people, says Her Majestys Inspectorate of Constabulary (Guardian, link)
See: Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary report: Stop and search powers 2: are the police using them effectively and fairly? March 2015 (pdf)
UK: The Monitoring Group: Press release on behalf of the Mark Duggan family: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Report into the killing of Mark Duggan: The Duggan family are no longer surprised by the endeavours of the IPCC in the case of Mark Duggan's killing by police. This report merely confirms their belief that the IPCC are 'unfit for purpose' (pdf)
See: Mark Duggan shooting: police watchdog clears officers of wrongdoing - IPCC calls for urgent improvement in accountability, including recording of radio communications during undercover firearms operations (Guardian, link)
And also: IPPC report: The fatal police shooting of Mr Mark Duggan on 4 August 2011 (4MB, pdf)
News in Brief (25.3.15)
"How Canada gets people tortured (CCPA, link)
"N IRELAND: State 'involved in mass murder on British soil, colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 80 deaths between 1972 and 1978' (Belfast Telegraph, link)
"USA: The DOJ Isn't Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation (Techdirt, link)
"SCOTLAND: Dungavel's refugee hunger strikers claim Home Office is misleading public over severity of protest (Herald Scotland, link)
"UK: Court of Appeal dismisses criminal legal aid challenge (Law Society Gazette, link): "he Court of Appeal today gave the go-ahead for the government's controversial legal aid reforms by dismissing an appeal by the Law Society and practitioner groups. It refused to extend an injunction suspending the tender process until Monday while the Law Society seeks to take its case to the Supreme Court. The injunction expires today."
"Hungary's Government Has Taken Control of the Constitutional Court (Liberties EU, link)
"UK: Harmondsworth: Detained asylum-seeker sews up mouth in protest at conditions (The Independent, link)
"EU: Platini warns of rising extremism in Europe (New Europe, link): "UEFA President Michel Platini has warned that nationalism and hooliganism are threatening European soccer. Rising extremism in European society is an "insidious trend (that) can also be observed in our stadiums," Platini told UEFA's annual meeting"
Smart borders? Operation AMBERLIGHT: "Overstaying" in the EU: a problem for internal security and the need for "harmonised" laws which are enforceable - like in JPO Mos Maiorum people will be "apprehended" and sanctioned
""Overstayers" to be checked at external borders in Joint Police Operation (JPO) in April
""Overstayers" refers to visitors, students and others on visas and undocumented migrants
"Member States to report on: "Further procedure in Member States, and sanctions imposed" - law enforcement agencies will "apprehend" and sanction people
The document says that: "No personal data will be collected within the activity" - the same claim was made by the Italian Council Presidency during: Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Council's explanation is "economical with the truth" which argued that was only a data collection operation when in fact nearly 20,000 people were "apprehended": The Mos Maiorum JPO: Final report (LIMITE doc no: 5474/15).
"Overstayers" to be checked at external borders: Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5195-15, pdf) It is planned to take place in the period from 1-14 April 2015 or from 18 to 30 April 2015)
CJEU: Facebook data privacy case opens in European court - European Court of Justice to hear arguments arising from High Court case here last year (Irish Times, link):
" Europes highest court will today examine a complaint that United States technology companies and their Dublin-based subsidiaries participate in a global data dragnet in breach of European Union law.
In a case with far-reaching consequences for EU-US relations, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will hear arguments arising from a complaint filed in Ireland last year with the High Court, demanding the States data-protection commissioner investigate whether Facebook was in breach of EU law for allegedly passing European user data to US intelligence services."
See also:: Europe v Facebook: the beginning of the end for NSA spying on EU citizens? (EU Law Analysis, link)
Blog: Lily, the tracking device and her fight against surveillance (Undercover Research, link):
"Recently a GPS tracking device was found under the car of an activist in Valencia. The activist was Lily, who is part of the group of women suing the Metropolitan Police; she was deceived into a two-year relationship with undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.....n this article we provide the bits so far not covered in the English speaking press, in a translation approved by Lily herself."
See: About Undercover Research link): "The Undercover Research Group comprises a small set of dedicated activist-investigators who individually and collectively have already been diligently researching the subject of state and corporate spying for a number of years....
Having worked on aspects of this topic individually for several years before joining forces, the core group is now committed to work extensively on this project for the coming two years. We cooperate with a larger group of around 20 people, drawn from a broad spectrum of politically progressive activism, such as CorporateWatch, Statewatch, Netpol in the UK, buro Jansen & Janssen in the Netherlands, and other activist researchers across Europe. This network of people contributes specific knowledge or skills, donating their time and expertise when they can."
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Dying for Justice (pdf link):
"509 people from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated.....the wronged will not rest the families movement, in particular, will not go away. Their cry goes up from the streets: there must be an end to dying for justice."
ECHR: Human Rights Implementation: Our Shared Responsibility (EJIL Talk, link) and see: Supervision of execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (238 pages, pdf) and also: High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights Brighton Declaration (pdf)
USA: Leaked Document Reveals Upcoming Biometric Experiments at US Customs (Motherboard, link)L "The facial recognition pilot program launched last week by US Customs and Border Protection, which civil liberties advocates say could lead to new potentially privacy-invading programs, is just the first of three biometric experiments that the feds are getting ready to launch."
The US has tried to use biometrics to track all people entering and leaving the country before, and failed. The EU is now attempting to do the same with its 'Smart Borders' project: Some of the failings of the US project are considered in this report for the EP
News in Brief (24.3.15)
"CoE: Czech Republic: Concern over Roma school separation (link) and see More Information (link)
"GERMANY-BULGARIA: German courts refuse to extradite prisoners to Bulgaria (euractiv, link): "German courts have declined to hand over inmates to Bulgaria due to concerns over dire prison conditions in the European Union's poorest country"
"TURKEY: Fact-finding visit to Turkey on countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges (CoE Parliamentary Assembly, link)
"UK: Blacklisting and the role of social media and vetting agencies (private and govt) (UndercoverInfo, link)
"IRELAND: Reports of Racism Quarterly (ENAR Ireland, link)
"ITALY: Report of visits in the Palaspedini stadium of Catania and the CIE-CARA of Caltanissetta (Open Access Now, link)
"UK: How to stop prison privatisation (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link)
"UK: The coalition years: Criminal justice in the United Kingdom: 2010 to 2015 (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, pdf link)
"EU trade secrets bill prompts concern (euobserver, link): ""MEPs are trying to walk a fine line between business interests and civil liberties in a new bill on trade secrets." See: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (pdf)
"UK: MPs urge review of benefit sanctions regime (Public Finance, link) and see: House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee: Benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review (pdf) and also Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system (Centre for Crime and Justice, link) plus Benefit sanctions: the 10 trivial breaches and administrative errors (Guardian, link)
"UK: Afzal Amin Resigns As Tory Candidate Amid Extraordinary EDL Claims (Huff Post, link)
"Spain's ruling party ran secret fund for 18 years, investigating judge finds - National court clears way for trial of former Peoples party treasurer Luis Barcenas over claims of corruption that have also engulfed PM Mariano Rajoy (Guardian, link)
UK: National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) have today submitted to the Home Office a damning critique of the proposed Code of Practice which would allow remote access to any computer anywhere in the world: Submission:: NUJ and CIJ joint response to the interception of communications and equipment interference: draft codes of practice (pdf)
"The NUJ and CIJ are concerned about the implications for press freedom if the UK intelligence and security agencies are permitted to access journalist's computers remotely and break encryption codes (both inside and outside the UK)..
The adoption of the new surveillance powers in the draft codes enables the authorities to access computers remotely. The NUJ and CIJ believe these powers should be the subject of primary legislation and should not be introduced via secondary legislation in a code of practice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which itself is not limited to terrorism and serious crime but covers all crimes....
Accessing computers or other devises allows the intelligence services to obtain vast amounts of information. It would mean the authorities would have control over targeted devices and access to any information stored including encrypted data and communications. This information could include documents, emails, diaries, contacts, photographs, internet messaging chat logs, and the location records on mobile equipment. It would also mean having powers to access anything typed into a device, including login details/passwords, internet browsing histories, other materials and communications. Draft documents and deleted files could also be accessed. In addition, the microphone, webcam and GPS-based locator technology could be turned on and items stored could be altered or deleted."
See proposed: Equipment Interference Code of Practice (pdf) and also: New Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" Statewatch) and: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the worldbut the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis, May 2014)
UK: Home Office to blacklist extremists to protect public sector - Theresa May says new extremism analysis unit is compiling list of legal but unacceptable individuals and groups to prevent another Trojan horse scandal (Guardian, link):
"A Home Office blacklist of extremist individuals and organisations with whom the government and public sector should not engage is being drawn up, Theresa May has revealed. The list of legal but unacceptable organisations is being compiled by a new Home Office extremism analysis unit,"
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: Standing Committee on operation cooperation on internal security (COSI) Subject: Interim SOCTA 2015: An update on Serious and Organised Crime in the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7271-15,pdf)
The "recommended priorities" are (p.31):
- Counterfeit and sub-standard goods with an impact on public health and safety
- Facilitation of illegal immigration
- Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) Fraud
- Money laundering
- Organised burglaries and thefts
- Synthetic drugs production and new psychoactive substances (NPS)
- Trafficking in human beings
The only addition compared to the recommendations in the SOCTA 2013 is "organised burglaries and thefts", of which Member States "have reported a significant and sustained increase". According to Europol "The OCGs involved operate professionally and use their mobility as a counter-measure to avoid law enforcement detection".
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates: Calais (pdf):
"The French and UK Governments should ensure that the migrants in Calais have access to advice on asylum, and understand that a successful claim is a legal path to secure rights in the EU. Every effort must be made to ensure someone who is fleeing war or persecution, who could apply for asylum either in France or the UK, does not decline the opportunity through a lack of information, or the provision of misinformation by fellow migrants, traffickers or others"
ECHR: Strasbourg upholds sacked scholars right to criticise management (THE, link): European Court of Human Rights rules in favour of a whistleblowing Latvian academic:
"University staff must be free to criticise senior management and expose wrongdoing without fear of dismissal or disciplinary action, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. In a major ruling that confirms the right to freedom of expression at work, the Strasbourg court found that a professor at a Latvian university had been unfairly sacked after he spoke out against alleged nepotism, plagiarism, corruption and mismanagement in his department."
Full-text of Judgment (pdf)
News in Brief (23.3.15)
"EU: EU counter-terrorism coordinator: Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation(EP Press release, pdf)
"SWITZERLAND: US officials can violate the Swiss laws without consequences, whistleblower said - Snowden: US spies "comfortable" in Switzerland (New Europe, link)
"FRANCE-UK: Immigration exit checks will 'limit tourism and trade', say transport operators Eurotunnel (Independent, link)
"IRELANDS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD: ESC rights not incorporated into domestic law (Irish Examiner, link)
"CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Access to justice is still all too often a luxury (link) And see: Draft report (pdf)
"FRANCE: Council of Europe rights chief 'worried' by French bill - Europe's rights body has criticized French anti-terror efforts. The government wants to give intelligence services legal backing to vacuum up metadata in the hope of preventing an imminent terror attack. (DW, link): ""Limiting human rights to fight against terrorism is a serious mistake and an inefficient measure that can even help the terrorists' cause," Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks said." and see: French surveillance bill would legalize data monitoring (New Europe, link)
"EU Tightens Borders With Construction of Croatia's 'Schengen Wall' (Sputnik, link)
"Solidarity Against Spycops (South Wales Anarchists, link): "It has been over five years since we learned that Mark MarcoJacobs was not just another anarchist in the south Wales activist scene, but was actually an undercover police officer.... police lawyers have attempted to obstruct justice, giving a Neither Confirm Nor Denydefence... On Wednesday 25th March we will be in the Royal Courts of Justice in London attempting to strike out this non-defence."
"Sex worker to launch legal challenge against NI prostitution ban - Laura Lee says new legislation that criminalises the payment of sex among consenting adults is a breach of European human rights law (Guardian, link): "Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults. The region is the only part of the UK where people can be convicted of paying for sex. The law, which was championed by Democratic Unionist peer and Stormont assembly member Lord Morrow, comes into effect on 1 June."
"Hacking BIOS Chips Isnt Just the NSAs Domain Anymore (WIRED, link)
"UK: Blacklisting: The next chapter is waiting to be written (NUJ, link)
"UK: Did gun crime conspiracy spark the 2011 inferno? Rioting. Bloodshed. A complete breakdown of the rule of law. But now a shocking new fact about a police operation before the riot poses a disturbing question (Daily Mail, link)
"UK: Lift restrictions on civil servants contact with the media (FDA, link): "In January 2015 the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, proposed changes to the Civil Service Management Code and Civil Service Code relating to contact with the media, including a requirement that civil servants obtain Ministerial authorisation before any contact with the media."
"UK: Drone used to fly contraband into prison in bungled smuggling attempt (Evening Standard, link)
Thousands mark UN anti-racism day worldwide (Press TV, link)
"New Zealand: How spy agency homed in on Groser's rivals (New Zealand Herald) by Nicky Hager, Ryan Gallagher: "GCSB used United States XKeyscore surveillance system to intercept emails mentioning other candidates for WTO job and paid close attention to Indonesian contender: A top secret document reveals New Zealand's surveillance agency spied on candidates vying to be the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a job sought by National Government minister Tim Groser.The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) programmed an internet surveillance system so it would intercept emails about the candidates from Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, Jordan and Costa Rica in the period leading up to the May 2013 appointment. Mr Groser missed the selection." And see: New Zealand Spied on WTO Director Candidates (THe Intercept, link)
"UK: Prison conditions are worse than Strangeways 25 years ago says Lord Woolf (Mirror, link): "England's former top judge is calling for a review into the country's prison service as the three main parties use the issue like a "politcal football""
"Video: Migrant Prisons of Libya: Europe or Die (Full Length) (VICE News, link): "As Libya descends further into civil war and lawlessness, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to journey to the countrys coast in search of smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe."
EU: MEDITERREAN PLAN TO SET UP "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states
See: Non Paper on Possible Involvement of Third Countries in Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue from the Italian delegation (Confidential Note discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 12 March 2015, pdf)
The proposal involves the "direct involvement of reliable third countries", namely Egypt and Tunisia, as "Libya is unable to patrol their coasts" and to "take them [the migrants] to their own ports [ie: to Egypt and Tunisia]" where "competent authorities" will carry out "international protection procedures, provide assistance to vulnerable people and return irregular migrants to their country of origin".
See: EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link)
and Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications - European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link): "The interior ministries have also been discussing plans to establish and finance refugee camps or reception centresfor migrants in North Africa and the Middle East to try to keep them from coming to Europe as well as out of the hands of the traffickers, and to set up Europeanasylum-processing offices outside the EU in the same region."
No convictions over 500 black and Asian deaths in custody - Research by Institute of Race Relations accuses state institutions of ongoing prejudice and culpable lack of care (The Observer, link) The report will be published on Monday: IRR (link)
UK: SNOWDEN: Surveillance of Guardian journalists: UK Police Deem Snowden Leak Investigation a State Secret (The Intercept, link):
"British police claim a criminal investigation they launched into journalists who have reported on leaked documents from Edward Snowden has to be kept a secret due to a possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity.....
the Met, says everything about the investigations existence is a secret and too dangerous to disclose. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from this reporter, the force has repeatedly refused to release any information about the status of the investigation, how many officers are working on it, or how much taxpayer money has been spent on it. The Met wrote in its response:
"to confirm or deny whether we hold any information concerning any current or previous investigations into the alleged actions of Edward Snowden could potentially be misused proving detrimental to national security.""
See Full-text of the Met's refusal to respond to FOI request (pdf)
UK: GCHQ: UK government claims power for broad, suspicionless hacking of computers and phones (PI, link)
"The British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the broad power to hack into personal phones, computers, and communications networks, and claims they are legally justified to hack anyone, anywhere in the world, even if the target is not a threat to national security nor suspected of any crime....Buried deep within the document, Government lawyers claim that while the intelligence services require authorisation to hack into the computer and mobile phones of intelligence targets, GCHQ is equally permitted to break into computers anywhere in the world even if they are not connected to a crime or a threat to national security."
See:GCHQ Tribunal document: Investigatory Powers Tribunal - Government's Open Response: News Article - 18 Mar 2015 (link)
This evidence confirms: New Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" Statewatch) and: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the worldbut the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis, May 2014)
News in Brief, 21.3.15)
"UK: Theresa May drops rules on ordering universities to ban extremist speakers - Home secretary also now likely to shelve publication of official counter-extremism strategy until after the general election (Guardian, link)
"Snowden at SXSW: Be very concerned about the trickle down of NSA surveillance to local police (Privacysos, link)
WHISTLEBLOWERS: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Calls for Snowden to return home and be allowed a public interest defence:
"The Assembly calls on... the United States of America to allow Mr. Snowden to return without fear of criminal prosecution under conditions that would not allow him to raise the public interest defence.".
"Council of Europe member states and the EU should enact whistleblower protection laws also covering employees of national security or intelligence services and of private firms working in this field, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights concluded today...
he Committee also stressed the need to grant asylum, if possible under national law, to whistleblowers threatened by retaliation in their home countries provided their disclosures qualify for protection under the principles advocated by the Assembly."
See Report adopted: Improving the Protection of Whistleblowers (pdf) and Call for protection of whistleblowers in national security-related fields (link):
And see: US Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says (The Intercept, link): "German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,Gabriel said".
UK: "BLACKLISTING" CASE: This may be the law, but its not justice blacklisted worker loses court case on technicality (Union Solidarity International, link):
"Dave Smith, an engineer and UCATT safety rep, was forced to leave the construction industry after he was placed on the Consulting Association blacklist for complaining about unpaid wages and raising concerns about safety issues such as asbestos and overflowing toilets on building sites under the control of different Carillion Group companies in the 1990s. But yesterday he lost his test case in the Court of Appeal after judges ruled he was not protected by UK employment law because was on site via an employment agency and not directly by the company that blacklisted him.
He said: What is the point of employment law or the Human Rights Act? Even with mountains of documentary evidence and an admission from the company that they blacklisted me because I was a trade union member who had raised safety concerns, I still cannot win. This might be the law, but it is not justice."
See: Full-text of the Court of Appeal ruling (pdf) and see: No hope of justice for blacklist victim as court rules agency builders not protected by law (Mirror, link)
UK: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: House of Commons, Written Answer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review the use of detention for immigration purposes? (link) Answer: "There are no plans to review the use of detention overall but on 9 February the Home Secretary announced that Stephen Shaw, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, is to lead an independent review of the policies and procedures relating to the welfare of immigration detainees."
See: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch) and Immigration detention: resistance and rebellion
With protests and hunger strikes now taking place inside eight of the UK's Detention Centres, is this the beginning of the end for detention? (Red Pepper, link)
EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link):
"The EU is considering plans to outsource its patrols of the Mediterranean to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia in order to try to reduce the high numbers of desperate illegal migrants risking their lives to reach European shores.
Under the proposals tabled confidentially by the Italian government, the EU would cut deals with North African countries to fund and train their navies in search-and-rescue missions for the tens of thousands of people being trafficked from Libya to Italy. Once rescued, the migrants would be taken to the ports of the country saving them or sent back to their countries of origin."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Police Bail (pdf) - Stop shaming suspects and holding them in indefinite limbo, say MPs: Police bail, or pre-charge bail, is a tool that allows the police to continue an investigation without detaining the suspect in custody:
Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said: A reform of police bail is long overdue. The police only need to have reasonable suspicion that an offence has taken place to arrest someone. It is unacceptable that, even with little evidence, people can be kept on bail for months on end and then suddenly be told that no further action will be taken against them without providing any information as to why."
and see: Suspects should stay anonymous until charged, MPs say (Guardian, link)
UK-Iraq abuse inquiry refuses to consider CIA torture report (Reprieve, link): ""The body tasked with investigating British abuses in Iraq has said it
will not request as evidence the US Senateâ¬"s report on CIA torture, in the case of two Pakistani men tortured and rendered by the UK and the US." And see:Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) (GOV.uk, link) and also: The Iraq Historic Allegations Team Quarterly update (link)
UK: The Secret Policemans Toy Shop: The UK Home Offices Security and Policing Exhibition is a trove of Orwellian goodies (Sky News, link)
And see: Home Office exhibition ensures police, security and military firms are kept away from prying eyes (Statewatch database) The " Security & Policing Exhibition, a high-profile event aimed at "police, law enforcement and security professionals who are tasked with security, civil protection and National Resilience," and has a "strict visitors criteria" which "enables exhibitors to display products which would be too sensitive to show in a more open environment."
News in Brief (20.3.15)
"UK: Police forces say BBC FOI request is 'vexatious' (BBC News, link): "Forty police forces across the country have dismissed as "vexatious" a BBC freedom of information (FOI) application about police monitoring of journalists' communications."
"EU-USA: Brussels makes overture on data flow agreement in TTIP (euractive, link): "Negotiations on the free flow of data could be considered as part the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but only after an agreement is reached on the EUs data protection regulation, EU officials said yesterday (19 March)"
"Saudi Arabia to stop visas for Swedish citizens amid human rights row - Kingdom also to refuse to renew visas in retaliation for critical remarks by Swedens foreign minister Margot Wallstrom (Guardian, link):
"EU counter-terrorism coordinator: Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation(EP, link): "With the threat of terrorism growing every day, the task of Gilles de Kerchove, the EUs counter-terrorism coordinator, becomes increasingly more important. Its his job to coordinate the Council's work in combating terrorism, keep an eye on all the instruments available to the EU and make policy recommendations. We talked to him about how terrorism should be fought and the role the European Parliament could play."
"International Day Against Racism: education has a key role to combat prejudices (CoE Parliamentary Assembly, link)
"Amazon doesn't want you to know how many data demands it gets (ZDNet, link): "Amazon remains the only US internet giant in the Fortune 500 that has not yet released a report detailing how many demands for data it receives from the US government."
"UK: Watching you watching Bentham: The PanoptiCam (UCL News, link): " This month sees the launch of PanoptiCam, an online camera that
streams the live view from Jeremy Bentham's auto-icon in the South Cloisters."
"EU: PICUM: Protecting undocumented children: Promising policies and practices from governments (link)
"BELGIUM: Belgiums Foreign Minister Thought It Was A Good Idea To Wear Blackface (BuzzFeed News, link)
"IRELAND: Refugees face problems getting rented accommodation in Limerick (LImerick Post, link)
"UK: Strangeways riot: The first 24 hours as it happened (Manchester Evening News, link): "fascinating documents obtained by the M.E.N offer a gripping account of the first 24 hours of the Strangeways Prison riot. Twenty-five years on since Britains bloodiest jail rebellion, we reveal an almost minute-by-minute account of the unfolding chaos."
UK: A Reminder: the Police Are Responsible for Young Brits Not Trusting the Police (VICE, link). See also: Stop and Search in your area (Stopwatch, link) and the Most recent official statistics here (HO, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Handbook on trafficking in human beings - indicators for investigating police forces, (LIMITE doc no: 14630-rev-2-15, pdf): The term "search and rescue" is not referred to. It includes the use of "Special Investigative tools":
"investigations into human trafficking envisage the use of investigative techniques and tools to combat organised crime and serious crimes, as well as special operations and undercover activities. The latter, however, are not adopted in Malta, Slovakia and Sweden....
Not all Member States use wire-tapping and communication interception. According to the results of the questionnaire, they are not used in Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Malta, while Cyprus reports the strict conditions that must be met to apply these investigative tools, which are not commonly used.... Only Slovakia, Spain and Germany stressed the presence of "joint investigative teams" [emphasis added]
Background: Europol: Joint operational team launched to combat irregular migration in the Mediterranean (pdf) announcing the launch of Joint Operational Teams (JOT) Mare.Intelligence Centre
The JOT Mare intelligence Centre will work Frontex agency and with the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). It monitors third-country ports and targeted ships. Thirteen member states: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom - are taking part in JOT Mare.
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): While the European Parliament is discussing the proposal to introduce EU-PNR the European Commission Internal Security Fund is supporting the development of national systems: See: Internal Security Fund Police Police (2014-2020): Law Enforcement Information Exchange (pdf) Funding:
"cross-border information exchange and cross border information exchange and data sharing between Passenger Information Units...
More specifically, in the area of Passenger Name Record (PNR) , the Commission provides co-funding to 14 Member States that set up PNR systems on the basis of national legislation as part of the programme on the "Prevention of and Fight against Crime" (ISEC). It seeks to foster the processing of PNR data in a coherent way while applying strict conditions and effective safeguards to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."
And see: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database)
EU-PNR: The new law has yet to be agreed but training (as well as funding, see above) is underway: CEPOL Work Programme 2015 (pdf)
"CEPOL [European Police College] delivers training to senior and middle management law enforcement personnel as well as experts dealing with crime combating and prevention and police trainers in this field." The work programme includes training on a vast number of topics including "the processing of PNR data with assessment criteria in order to identify persons who may be involved in a terrorist offence or serious transnational crime" (p.67).
Three "justifications" are provided for the training: a 2007 Commission proposal for an EU-PNR system; the agreement between the EU and the USA on the transfer of PNR data from the EU to the USA (but not vice-versa); and the Commission's 2011 proposal for an EU PNR system - which is yet to be agreed by the Council and the Parliament. The "learning outcomes" include:
- "use and update assessment [i.e. profiling] criteria for the automated processing of passenger name record (PNR) data"
- "create pre-defined, targeted, specific, proportionate and fact-based assessment critiera [i.e. profiles] that are founded on experience and criminal intelligence"
- "analyse data in order to identify persons who may be involved in a terrorist offence or serious transnational crime and who may require further examination"
- "ensure that the assessment criteria are not based on sensitive data" race/ethnic origin; religious, philosophical or political beliefs; health; sex life
- comparing training methods
- "reduce the vulnerabilities of the air freight process"
- "contribute to write a 'best practices guidelines' to lead an EU
- 'Airport security and counter terrorism in civil aviation - Train the trainers' project."
The training course will run for 3 days with 28 participants (one for each Member State) and cost 31,080 euros".
UK: New Legal Aid Manifesto prioritises vulnerable groups in society - children, disabled people and victims of domestic violence (LAPG, link) and see: Manifesto for Legal Aid (pdf)
News in Brief (19.3.15)
"UK: New Home Office rules puts justice even further out of reach for people seeking asylum (Refugee Action, link): "As of the 30 March, anyone who needs to submit new evidence that could help their case will be forced to travel to Liverpool to do so. Previously, people seeking safety could do this at their local immigration centre."
"EU: Not Adding Up: The Fading Promise of Europe's Dublin System (Migration Policy Institute, link) See: Report (link)
"Danes to vote on ending EU opt-outs (New Europe, link)
"UK: Immigration detention: resistance and rebellion - With protests and hunger strikes now taking place inside eight of the UK's Detention Centres, is this the beginning of the end for detention? (Red Pepper, link)
"Belgium axes prison sentences under a year (Expatica, link): "Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens has revealed details of his new Justice Plan, under which all jail sentences under one year will disappear from the Belgian penal code"
"EU exit would make 2m Britons abroad illegal immigrants overnight Grieve: Former attorney general tears into Eurosceptics ahead of Tory manifesto launch, saying UK departure from EU would create more problems than it solves (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: PURPOSE LIMITATION WOULD BE "MEANINGLESS AND VOID": Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Press release on Chapter II of the draft regulation for the March JHA Council (pdf):
"The Working Party is very much concerned about the proposed provisions on further processing, especially in the context of Big Data. In fact, according to the Council, it will be possible for a data controller to further process data even if the purpose is incompatible with the original one as long as the controller has an overriding interest in this processing.
This new possibility offered to the data controller opens serious concerns in the data protection community. The Working Party considers that this situation would render one of the fundamental principles of the data protection framework, the purpose limitation principle, meaningless and void. The principle is enshrined in Article 8(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU."
EU: Study for Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament: Ensuring utmost transparency -- Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (pdf): tackles the question of the use of open standards and free software in the European Parliament:
GERMANY: German activists riot at austerity protest in Frankfurt - Police cars set alight in anti-austerity protest at new European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, officials say. (Aljazeera, link): "German demonstrators have clashed with police at an anti-austerity protests during the inauguration ceremony for the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt." See also: "City of Frankfurt denies freedom of association" (Statewatch database)
GREECE: European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Whats in a name? The reality of First Receptionat Evros: AIDA fact-finding visit to Greece (pdf) and see: Press summary (link): "The ECRE delegation visited Evros between 1 and 5 December 2014. The visit was organised in close collaboration with the Greek Council for Refugees and as part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project"
"The conditions in the Fylakio Detention Centre are extremely bad, in particular as migrants may be detained for prolonged periods of time up to 18 months. The dormitories in Fylakio Detention Centre are large cells, behind bars, containing between 50 to 60 bunk beds, access to the courtyard of the detention centre is limited to 3 hours a day, weather permitting. The ECRE delegation found the place to be cold and damp. There is no doctor present in the detention centre and detainees
only receive paracetamol, irrespective of any medical complaint they have.
Although women with small children and babies are regularly detained there, including at the time of the ECRE visit, the detention centre neither provides baby food nor baby milk. Access to free legal assistance is very limited as there is only one lawyer, deployed by the Greek Council for Refugees, which is clearly insufficient to meet the needs of the persons wishing to challenge either their detention or a negative decision relating to their asylum application."
UK justice minister 'complacent' over 38% rise in prison deaths, say MPs - Chris Grayling has played down link between prison staff cuts and increase in self-inflicted death and violence since 2012, finds Commons inquiry (Guardian, link) and see Justice Committee report: Prisons: planning and policies (pdf)
EU: European Parliament Study: The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States of the EU Comparative analysis (218 pages, pdf):
"this study presents a synthesis of studies conducted in seven Member States regarding the impact of financial and economic crises, and austerity measures imposed in response thereto, on fundamental rights of individuals. The Member States studied are: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal"
See: Country Studies: Cyprus (link), Belgium (link), Ireland (link), Greece (link) Italy (link), Spain (link) and Portugal (link)
UK: Terrorism prevention and investigation measures in 2013: 2nd report of the Independent Reviewer on the Operation of the Terrorism and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (pdf) by David Anderson QC Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
EU: Is the EU coming to save legal aid, or to bury it? An assessment of negotiations on the proposed Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "For many people facing criminal charges, legal aid is essential if they wish to defend themselves effectively. The EU is planning to adopt legislation on this issue in the near future. But will it actually make a significant contribution to ensuring suspects rights in this area?
News in Brief (18.3.15)
"LONDON: Why we are occupying: We have have occupied the Vera Anstey Suite, the central meeting room of the university administration, to demand a change to the current university system (Facebook link) "LSE is the epitome of the neoliberal university. Universities are increasingly implementing the privatised, profit-driven, and bureaucratic business model of higher education, which locks students into huge debts and turns the university into a degree-factory and students into consumers."
"10 spy programmes with silly codenames used by GCHQ and NSA (AI, link)
"Britain needs independent scrutiny of intelligence, says former head of MI6 - Sir Richard Dearlove makes case for oversight of security services by citizens groups, NGOs and people with understanding of technology (Gurdian, link)
"Whats Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name (The Intercept, link)
"German politicians admit Greece has case for wartime reparations - Social Democrats and Greens break ranks with Merkel as relations between Berlin and Athens deteriorate over Greek attempts to renegotiate bailout terms (Guardian, link)
"DENMARK: Danes seek 'flexible' opt-in on EU justice and home affairs (euractiv, link)
"UK: Hillsborough disaster: commander admits his inaction led to 96 deaths - David Duckenfield agrees that if supporters had been prevented from going down tunnel into central pens, people would not have been killed (Guardian, link)
"More than 100 Germans fighting for separatists in eastern Ukraine (DW, link) and see: Why Germans are joining the fight in eastern Ukraine (DW, link)
"Hungary's far-right narrows gap on ruling Fidesz - pollster (Yahoo News, link)
Europol: responses to questions on right-wing extremism
Europol's press office has finally responded to questions from Statewatch on the agency's work relating to right-wing extremism in Europe. The questions were submitted to the agency in January for an article that was published last month. The answers were provided nearly two months later and are reproduced here.
EU Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents:Data Protection Regulation, EPPO & Ombudsman letter
- General Data Protection Regulation: Chapters III-VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7084-15, 63 pages, pdf):includes 168 Footnotes with Member States' positions. Chapter III: Rights of Data Subject and Chapter VIII covers: Remedies, Liability and Sanctions
- EPPO: Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Presidency draft text on Articles 7-12 in the Regulation (LIMITE doc no DS 1169-15, pdf). This document is not only a LIMITE one which means it is not accessible to the public, it is also a "DS document" and therefore is not listed in the Council public register of documents.
CoE: FOREIGN FIGHTERS: Council of Europe: Committee on foreign terrorist fighters and related issues: (COD-CTE) Draft Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (pdf) and Letter from DG Home Commissioner to the Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee: (pdf): "I would like to inform you that the Commission has the intention to submit the recommendations to the Council for a Council decision in order to authorise the opening of negotiations on an Additional Protocol supplementing the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism pursuant to Article 218 TFEU."
UK Overlapping 'Trojan Horse' inquiries criticised by MPs (BBC News, link): "The chairman of the education committee, Graham Stuart, said that apart from one incident in one school "no evidence of extremism or radicalisation was found by any of the inquiries in any of the schools involved". See: House of Commons Education Committee report: Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair (pdf)
EU DATA RETENTION: Is the EU heading for a piecemeal response to the CJEU's judgment that the Data Retention Directive is "unlawful?: Germany moves closer towards bill on data retention (euractiv, link): :"A compromise is possible, said Wolfgang Bosbach, the chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee (Christian Democratic Union) on Monday (16 March). As we are no longer bound to the requirements of an EU Directive, we have our own scope of design,Bosbach told the Passauer Neue Presse."
Last week, following the Justice and Home Affairs Council the Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos explicitly ruled out a new European directive on data protection, more specifically telecommunications data: There'll be no new directive, stated Avramopoulos. (Agence Europe)
News in Brief (17.3.15)
"GREECE: Dont pass new anti-poverty law, commission tells Greece (Channel 4 News, link)
"USA: A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! Its Secret (New York times, link)
"ECRE: Using the Charter of Fundamental Rights to improve reception and detention standards (link)
"UK tied visa system 'turning domestic workers into modern-day slaves':- Kafala-style rule means foreign staff must leave if they change employer - Charity says 400 employees have approached it for help after being abused - Government fighting peers attempt to overturn controversial measure (Guardian, link), see also: Justice for migrant domestic workers: Kalayann (link)
"FRANCE: French government orders website block - The French authorities have used new powers to block five websites, which they claim condone terrorism, without a court order.Internet service providers have 24 hours to comply. he chairman of European Internet Service Provider OVH tweeted that his firm had not been given any warning. (BBC News, link)
"Greece could be shut out of Schengen over migration threat: Dutch prime minister (DutchMews.nl, link)
"EU: Legal aid in criminal proceedings : will the European Parliament improve the Councils general approach? (EASFJ, link)
"SCOTLAND: Human rights legal challenge threat to Scotland's plans for "through the back door" identity database (Herald Scotland, link) and see: Say no to a Scottish national ID system (link)
"UNHCR unveils far-reaching proposals for European action in the Mediterranean Sea (link) and Action Plan (link)
Statewatch: Viewpoint: Is it time to go back to the typewriter, carbon paper and Tippex? (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
"The white-washingreport on GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 by the Intelligence and Security Committee published on 12 March 2015 was preceded by a draft Code of Practice "Equipment Interferenceto allow the UK intelligence and security agencies to legallyaccess computers to gather and break encryption codes and allow remote accessto interferewith any targeted computer anywhere in the world.
The deadline for comments on the Code is 20 March 2015 after which it will be laidbefore parliament and usually be adopted without debate."
Political philosophy now illegal in the UK (Crooked Timber, link):
"he British government has just produced the guidance for its Preventscheme for education, which aims to stop young people from being drawn into extremism. The elite at Oxford and Cambridge have been granted a specific exemption, allowing them to hear dangerous ideas that might corrupt the ordinary youth, and universities havent been given specific guidance on what they may teach. Colleges of further education, on the other hand, have been told that All relevant curriculum areas will need to be engaged, with a single contact point for delivery of Prevent-related activity.This so that students are not exposed to arguments that involve: active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual tolerance of different faiths and beliefs." [emphasis added]
See: HMG Prevent duty guidance (pdf)
also: Oxford and Cambridge Unions avoid terror ban on extremist speakers - Lobbying by Tory peers has helped the two historic student societies escape from the home secretarys crackdown on extremism in higher education (Guardian, link) and see: Final version of Prevent guidance published (Going further and higher, link)
German justice: from Jeremiah Duggan to Halit Yozgat (IRR News Service, link):
"In the latest twist at the NSU trial, the state premier of Hesse has been asked to take the witness stand. Why is Volker Bouffiers evidence important for the family of Halit Yozgat, the NSUs ninth victim, as well as to the family of Jeremiah Duggan?
The trial of Beate Zschäpe and four co-defendants in the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU, a German neo-Nazi cell which murdered at least ten people, mostly men of Turkish origin, between 2000 and 2007) has been ongoing at the Munich Higher Regional Court since May 2013."
News in Brief (16.3.15)
"EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: This isn't the one-stop EU data protection you're looking for - A twisting, tangled solution for a pretty simple problem (The Register, link)
"EU set for further discussions on establishing asylum centres abroad (euobserver, link) and Italian Interior Ministry statement (link)
"UK Oversight Committee Blesses Bulk Surveillance (HRW, link): "A much-anticipated government report officially acknowledges what Edward Snowden revealed to the world many months ago: the UK has been intercepting communications en masse. But rather than condemn the widespread snooping, the report endorses the so-called bulksurveillance practices."
"UK-EU: Donald Tusk: Cameron's call to reopen EU treaties is 'mission impossible' - European Council president promises help to UK prime minister to renegotiate terms of EU membership (Guardian, link)
"UK: Nick Clegg blocks terror laws banning extremists from universities - Laws to ban extremist speakers have been blocked by the Liberal Democrats for fears of "eroding" free speech after one of the worst Cabinet rows of the Coalition (Sunday Telegraph, link)
"UK parliamentary committee justifies mass spying on e-communications (WSWS, link)
"UK: Mark Jenner confirmed as 100% SDS undercover cop by whistleblower (Police Spies Out of Lives, link)
New Zealand Used NSA System to Target Officials, Anti-Corruption Campaigner (The intercept, link): "New Zealands eavesdropping agency used an Internet mass surveillance system to target government officials and an anti-corruption campaigner on a neighboring Pacific island, according to a top-secret document... the Internet spy system XKEYSCORE to intercept documents authored by the closest aides and confidants of the prime minister on the tiny Solomon Islands. The agency also entered keywords into the system so that it would intercept documents containing references to the Solomons leading anti-corruption activist, who is known for publishing government leaks on his website.... None of the individuals named on the list appear to have any association with terrorism."
And see: Revealed: The names NZ targeted using NSA's XKeyscore system (New Zealand Herald, link) and Document (pdf)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New Statewatch Analysis: Second version: The Proposed Data Protection Regulation: What has the Council agreed so far? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, Twitter: @StevePeers: 150 pages with 293 Member State postions:
"the EU Council (which consists of Member States justice ministers) has been adopting its position on the proposed Regulation in several pieces. It has not yet adopted even part of its position on the proposed Regulation.
For the benefit of those interested in the details of these developments, the following analysis presents a consolidated text of the five pieces of the proposed Regulation which the Council has agreed to date, including the two parts just agreed in March 2015. This also includes the parts of the preamble which have already been agreed. I have left intact the footnotes appearing in the agreed texts, which set out Member States comments".
EU: Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, Brussels, 12-13 March 2014:Final Press release for 12-13 March 2014 (pdf)
Main "B" points Agenda (pdf), "A" Points Agenda: legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points: non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Background note (pdf)
UK: Police 'spying' whistleblower admits to MPs that he infiltrated six trade unions (Mirror, link): "The revelation by former Special Demonstration Squad officer Peter Francis has piled further pressure on Home Secretary Theresa May to widen inquiry into undercover policing" and: Ex-spy copper admits union infiltrations (Morning Star, link):
"In a statement read out by Labour MP John McDonnell at the launch of the new book Blacklisted, Mr Francis said he wished to unreservedly apologise to all the union members I personally spied upon and reported back on whilst deployed undercover in the SDS.
He said that members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unison and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as well as the National Union of Students (NUS) had been targeted."
See also: Home Secretary announces statutory inquiry into undercover policing (Home Office, link) AND: Tayor Review: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf)
UK: SURVEILLANCE: The Orwellian Re-Branding of Mass Surveillanceas Merely Bulk Collection(The Intercept, link) by Glen Greenwald: "the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand mass surveillanceas bulk collectionin order to make it less menacing (and less illegal)." and UK Parliament Committee, Calling For Reform, Shows Its Evidenceto Justify Mass Surveillance (The Intercept, link).
See also: The Guardian view on surveillance: parliaments slumbering scrutineer: Editorial: The ISC is at last waking up to the facts revealed by Edward Snowden. But the committee still doesnt get it on privacy (Guardian, link): "atrocities thus make the case for better-organised and perhaps better-resourced trailing of particular targets, but certainly not the collating of more data on everyone else. The great difficulty of the agencies appears to be holding on to all the needles they pull out of haystacks, yet the lazy instinct is to demand ever more hay."
UK: GCHQ/MI5/MI6: Parliamentary report recommends new law for security agencies - but will that stop the surveillance state?
The Intelligence and Security Committee's long-awaited report on the surveillance powers of the security agencies has recommended a new law "governing the intelligence and security Agencies." Privacy International has responded to the report by pointing out: "no amount of technical and legal jargon can obscure the fact that this is a parliamentary committee, in a democratic country, telling its citizens that they are living in a surveillance state and that all is well."
See: Report: Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament: Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework (pdf) and and see: ISC report acknowleges failings but paves way for snooper's charter (Guardian, link)
Also: Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner: 2014 (pdf)
EU: Travel surveillance and passenger profiling: Commission letter to European Parliament tries to justify PNR Directive
Two European Commissioners have written to the European Parliament to try to justify, on the basis of the Court of Justice's ruling on data retention, the proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive that would require the mandatory surveillance by law enforcement agencies of all air travel within the EU.
See: Letter from Frans Timmermans and Dimitris Avramopoulos (pdf) and also: EU PNR proposal is 'neither proportionate nor appropriate' (The Parliament, link)
UK: Undercover policing: Judge to lead public inquiry (Channel 4 News, link): "Home Secretary Theresa May establishes a judge-led inquiry into past and present undercover policing in England and Wales, with powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. The inquiry will consider the deployment of undercover police officers by the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) and by other forces in England and Wales."
See also: Home Secretary announces statutory inquiry into undercover policing (Home Office, link) AND: Tayor Review: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf): "the Home Office knew that: Between 1969 and 1989, it was providing a separate and secret budget to meet the costs of accomodation as well as transport costs for covert officers; Operations and officers deployed by SDS were extremely covert; Groups and organisations were deliberately targeted, monitored and infilitrated to gather intelligence. Over the years, a small number of Home Office officials were aware of some specific groups; In the period from 1990 to 2008 after direct fuding stopped, only two references were identified to indicate any Home Office links to the SDS."
UK: MPs lambast civil legal aid reforms (Law Gazette, link): "The governments civil legal aid cuts were badly researched and implemented, and have impeded access to justice, an influential committee of MPs reports today." And: A third of domestic abuse victims 'cannot get legal aid' (BBC News, link)
Report: House of Commons Justice Committee: Impact of changes to civil legal aid under Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (pdf)
EU: When super-regulators fight: the one-stop shop in the proposed Data Protection Regulation (EU Law Analysis, link): "the EU vests its hopes for the effective enforcement of data protection law upon national data protection authorities (DPAs): the superheroes of the data protection world. They have considerable powers under the current data protection Directive, and the proposed Regulation would also give them more powers. But what if they disagree with each other?"
And see: Statewatch Analysis: Basic data protection principles in the proposed Data Protection Regulation: back to the future? by Steve Peers, Professof Law, University of Essex (pdf)
UK: Home Office withdraws plan to expand Campsfield House immigration centre (Oxford Mail, link) and see: Campaign to Close Campsfield: Press release: Government agents formally withdraw planning application (pdf): "Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said: 'This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.'"
UK: Inflicting suffering on those in need is now at the heart of our benefits system (The Guardian, link): "The ideology of a small state or the belief that benefits build dependency are crass, irrelevant details to what at its core is simply a decision about how to treat a human being. This is particularly damning when one person has all the power and the other is forced through economic necessity to take whatever humiliation or pain they are given. To do that to someone let alone hundreds of thousands is no accident. It is a conscious decision, that has been made over and over again by this government."
See also: Discipline and discontent: coalition government extends "slave labour" welfare policy (Statewatch Journal, March 2013)
News in Brief (13.3.15)
Bulgarias Constitutional Court scraps data retention provisions (Sofia Scope, link)
EU explores new migration 'zone' in north Africa (euobserver, link)
German justice: from Jeremiah Duggan to Halit Yozgat (Institute of Race Relations, link): "In the latest twist at the NSU trial, the state premier of Hesse has been asked to take the witness stand."
Greek bailout crisis: Athens threatens to seize German assets 'as compensation for Nazi war crimes' (The Independent, link)
Swedish Supreme Court Approves Assange's Appeal Hearing (Telesur, link)
UK: Silhan Ozcelik: Disgusting trial for young woman who tried to fight against Isis (Independent, link): "A teenager has appeared in court after allegedly trying to join Kurdish fighters battling Isis in Syria, in the first prosecution of its kind in Britain."
NETHERLANDS: Dutch court scraps telecommunications data retention law (PC World, link): "The Dutch data retention law requiring telecommunications operators and ISPs to store customer metadata for police investigations was scrapped by the District Court of the Hague on Wednesday." And: Data retention law struck down for now (Bits of Freedom, link): "What will happen on the long term is unclear. That is up to Parliament and Opsteltens successor. As the law has already been struck down, it seems self-evident that the law in its entirety should be revoked. The political party GroenLinks has already submitted a proposal along these lines to Parliament. But one thing is clear: this is not a done deal."
Full-text of the judgement (in Dutch): Privacy First and others v Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Freedom and Justice (pdf)
USA: NSA sued by Wikimedia, rights groups over mass surveillance (Reuters, link): "The U.S. National Security Agency was sued on Tuesday by Wikimedia and other groups challenging one of its mass surveillance programs that they said violates Americans' privacy and makes individuals worldwide less likely to share sensitive information.
"The lawsuit filed in federal court in Maryland, where the spy agency is based, said the NSA is violating U.S. constitutional protections and the law by tapping into high-capacity cables, switches and routers that move Internet traffic through the United States."
See also: The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back. (American Civil Liberties Union, link) and: Court document: Wikimedia and others v NSA (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Terrorism, migration, data protection and legal aid
"Home affairs ministers will exchange their views on the implementation of measures regarding the fight against terrorism" - reinforcing border controls, enhancing internet monitoring and content control, increasing cooperation on firearms trafficking and "stepping up information sharing, including through Europol and Eurojust." Also on the home affairs agenda are migratory pressures and the Greek Road Map on Asylum for 2015. Justice ministers will discuss the data protection regulation, legal aid for suspects in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, Eurojust, the acceptance of public documents and the European Public Prosecutor's Office.
See: Background note (pdf)
SPAIN: Woman suing police over relationship with undercover spy finds tracking device in her car - reports (The Guardian, link): "One of the women who is suing the police after discovering that her former boyfriend was an undercover police officer has found a tracking device in her car, it has been reported... it was discovered while she was at a conference - the Circumvention Tech Festival - that was held in Spain to discuss surveillance and censorship."
The original story (in German): Der Track des Lebens (taz.de, link) and see the campaign group: Police Spies Out of Lives
UK: Police chief: 'Put CCTV in every home' (The Telegraph, link): "CCTV cameras should be installed by homeowners and businesses to help detectives solve crimes in the age of austerity, Britains most senior policeman has said." The UK already has the highest number of CCTV cameras per capita in the world. See: No CCTV: Campaigning against camera surveillance in the UK and beyond (link)
UK: 17 March: Parliamentary debate on Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay
See: End Shaker's Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo (Amnesty International USA, link): "Shaker AamerAs of February 14, 2015, former UK resident Shaker Aamer has been held at Guantanamo without charge for over 13 years. Indefinite detention is a human rights violation: the US must either charge Aamer with a crime or release him." And: Lobby Your MP to Attend the Full Parliamentary Debate for Shaker Aamer (Save Shaker Aamer, link)
UK: Protests and Hunger Strikes Are Breaking Out at Immigration Detention Centers in the UK (Vice News, link): "Protests are spreading throughout the UK's immigration removal centers, with hunger strikes and yard occupations breaking out across at least six UK detention centers.
"Migrants and asylum seekers are protesting the conditions in which they are held, following a damning Parliamentary report last week, which called for limits of the length of time people can be detained, better conditions and an end to incarcerating pregnant and vulnerable people who have committed no crime."
See also: Coach blockade to stop mass deportation to Afghanistan (Anti-Raids Network, link) and Put Immigration Detention on trial - STOP the expansion of Campsfield (Public Hearing) (heyevent, link)
Some context: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch News Online)
UK: BLACKLISTING: New book launched today at the House of Commons
See: Blacklisted: the book - Official trailer (Reel News, link), New book puts spotlight on role of covert police in human rights controversy (The Guardian, link) and Every Man a Capitalist: The long history of monitoring unsuitable workers in the UK by Trevor Hemmings (Statewatch Journal, August 2013)
UK: Uninvestigated Northern Ireland killings 'tarnish UK's reputation' (The Guardian, link): "The governments failure to carry out adequate investigations into killings more than 20 years ago involving the security forces in Northern Ireland has been condemned by a parliamentary watchdog."
Parliamentary report: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Human Rights Judgments (pdf) and see: The apparatus of impunity? Human rights violations and the Northern Ireland conflict: a narrative of official limitations on post-Agreement investigative mechanisms (Committee on the Administration of Justice, pdf)
News in Brief (11.3.15)
EU: Thomas Piketty on the Euro Zone: 'We Have Created a Monster' (Spiegel Online, link)
Germany mulls 'Islamist checks' on army applicants (Deutsche Welle, link)
SERBIA: Serbia: After threats, B92 postpones airing of investigative programme (Media Freedom, link)
UK: Could Ministry of Justice & Grayling be prosecuted for manslaughter over prison suicides? (OpenDemocracy, link)
UK: Theresa May withholds decision over use of water cannon by Met police (The Guardian, link)
UK: Foreign secretary hits out at 'apologists' for terror (Channel 4 News, link): "Philip Hammond praises the "brilliance" of spies, amid suggestions Mohammed Emwazi - aka "Jihadi John" - may have been radicalised after attempted recruitment by MI5." A response: Families and public deserve answers, not the blame game (CAGE, link), see also: Anti-terror strategy is seen as intrusive and secretive by many Muslims (The Guardian, link)
And: Full-text of Philip Hammond's speech (pdf). As Channel 4 News notes, Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, "is responsible for MI6 and the UK's surveillance headquarters GCHQ," but not MI5 - the internal security agency - which reportedly attempted to recruit Mohammed Emwazi.
EU: The Commission's 2015 justice "scoreboard" - glossing over the cracks?
The European Commission has published its justice "scoreboard" for 2015, "which gives an overview of the quality, independence and efficiency of the justice systems of the Member States." The Commission's press release highlights a number of "key findings" but neglects to mention the decline in the perceived independence of Member States' judicial systems. The data for 2013-14 show that in 11 of the EU's 28 Member States, the perceived independence of the judiciary declined compared to 2010-12.
EU: EP refers alleged French National Front financial irregularities to OLAF (pdf): "President Martin Schulz on Monday informed the European fraud-fighting office OLAF of possible financial irregularities by the French party Front National. The possible irregularities concern salaries paid from the EU budget to assistants to Members of the European Parliament." See also: EU sounds alarm over possible fraud at Frances National Front (France 24, link) and French Prime Minister Says He Is AfraidOf National Front (Vice News, link)
UK extradition procedures may breach human rights, say peers (The Guardian, link): "UK extradition procedures may breach human rights and those facing removal should encounter fewer obstacles in obtaining legal aid, according to a House of Lords report." See: House of Lords Select Committee on Extradition Law: Extradition: UK Law and Practice (pdf), Evidence (992 pages, 6MB, pdf) and UK cannot be confident its extradition regime is protecting human rights, says Lords (parliament.uk, link)
U.K. Parliament says banning Tor is unacceptable and impossible (The Daily Dot, link): "Just months after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to ban encryption and online anonymity, the country's parliament today released a briefing saying that the such an act is neither acceptable nor technically feasible."
It is not the UK Parliament but rather the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) which has prompted the above article. Whether UK politicians attempt to introduce legislation or policy to hinder or try to ban the use of encryption or anonymity systems remain to be seen. See: POSTNOTE: The darknet and online anonymity (pdf), and a note from the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (pdf) which suggests finding ways for state authorities to get around the use of encryption by companies and individuals.
News in Brief (11.3.14)
EU: Cannabis policy reform in Europe: Bottom up rather than top down (Transnational Institute, link): "While in the Americas cannabis policy reform is taking off, Europe seems to be lagging behind. At the level of national governments denial of the changing policy landscape and inertia to act upon calls for change reigns. At the local level, however, disenchantment with the current cannabis regime gives rise to new idea."
EU: Germany Ready to Continue Romania, Bulgaria's Schengen Accession Talks (Novinite, link)
EU: Joint NGO Statement on the draft Brussels Declaration on the Implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, our shared responsibility(pdf)
EU: Up to a million Libyans ready to cross into Europe, says FRONTEX (New Europe, link)
HUNGARY: New legislation in Hungary permitting segregation in schools: question from Péter Niedermüller MEP and Commission's answer (links)
SPAIN: 18 detenidos por delitos contra las instituciones del Estado por protestar contra los desahucios (18 detained for crimes against the state after protestesting against evictions) (Diagonal, link)
SPAIN: Police chiefs business activities probed (El País, link): "A Spanish police inspector who has been involved in several high-profile political and legal inquiries is also a successful entrepreneur, holding a stake in 12 businesses with combined capital of ¬16 million, according to an analysis carried out by EL PAÍS of information available at Spains Business Registry... the Interior Ministry has announced it will launch an investigation into Villarejo to determine whether his police work and his business activities are compatible."
UK: Harmondsworth detainees launch hunger strike (Channel 4 News, link): "Detainees inside Britain's largest immigration removal centre say they have launched a hunger strike after a weekend of protests against conditions inside the complex."
UK: Hillsborough inquests: David Duckenfield 'not best man for the job' (BBC News, link)
UK: Latvia complains to UK parliament over forced adoptions (The Guardian, link)
EU: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers
The European Commission and Member States are discussing, in secret, a set of "best practices for Member States to follow in order to ensure that their obligations under the Eurodac Regulation are fulfilled". The guidelines ultimately address "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women". The aim is to "uphold the integrity of the Dublin Regulation" - the legal basis for Europe's asylum system, which many consider to be fundamentally flawed.
And: Press release (pdf)
Statewatch Analysis: Basic data protection principles in the proposed Data Protection Regulation: back to the future? by Steve Peers, Professof Law, University of Essex (pdf)
EU: New report on alternatives to immigration detention
"This report... constitutes a significant pooling of knowledge on the law and practice on detention decision-making and alternatives to detention in 6 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom). In addition, it includes legal research on the scope of Member States obligations to implement alternatives to immigration detention under international, European (i.e. Council of Europe) and EU law."
Snowden Archive (Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, link): "This Archive is a complete collection of all documents that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked in June 2013 to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, and subsequently were published by news media, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Mundo and The Intercept... The Archive also contains some documents that the U.S. Government has published which are helpful in understanding the leaked documents."
See also: Statewatch Observatory on data surveillance, containing month-by-month coverage of the scandal as it has unfolded.
EU: European and national parliamentarians divided on the EU Smart Borders Package? (European Area of Freedom Security & Justice, link): "On February 23 the LIBE Committee has organized a interparliamentary meeting focused on the Smart Borders Package... The meeting served as a forum for the exchange of views between European and national parliamentarians, as well as the Commission and European agency representatives, in an aim to debate the possible future alternatives at technological and legal level of the smart border package."
See also: videos of meetings on 23 February and 24 February (links) and speakers' contributions (pdfs):
- Rob Rozenburg, European Commission: Presentation on the Commission's Technical Study on Smart Borders
- Evelian Brouwer, Associate Professor, VU University Amsterdam: Smart Borders and Law Enforcement Access: Legitimacy, Effectiveness and Proportionality
- Vesa Blomqvist, Finnish Border Guard: SMART BORDERS - land borders perspective
NORTHERN IRELAND: The apparatus of impunity? Human rights violations and the Northern Ireland conflict: a narrative of official limitations on post-Agreement investigative mechanisms (Committee on the Administration of Justice, pdf): "To date there has been no overarching legacy commission or transitional justice mechanism to deal with the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict. Instead a number of criminal justice system mechanisms examine unresolved conflict-related deaths. Such mechanisms were largely prompted by a series of Article 2 ECHR 'right to life' judgments in the European Court of Human Rights against the UK... Serious limitations have however become apparent in relation to these mechanisms which have militated against their capacity to provide accountability for human rights violations. Elements of the package have been shown not to have the necessary independence, effectiveness or impartiality to investigate state actors. Even those mechanisms which have been independent have faced limitations on their powers, delay or obstruction in undertaking their work."
News in Brief (10.3.15)
EU: Trapped In Bulgaria: Europe Or Die (Episode 3) (Vice News, link)
FRANCE: Environmentalists lose bitter battle over controversial dam (France 24, link)
FRANCE-EU: Paris caught meddling in TTIP arbitration debate (EurActiv, link)
GREECE: Extreme Right Golden Dawn Trial to Begin on April 20 (Greek Reporter, link)
ITALY: Bologna nightclub denies black people ban (The Local, link)
SOUTH AFRICA: Apartheid spook sold secrets (IOL News, link)
Chomsky on Snowden & Why NSA Surveillance Doesnt Stop Terror While the U.S. Drone War Creates It (Democracy Now!, link)
UK-USA: UK man arrested on suspicion of US Department of Defense hacking (Ars Technica, link)
EU: Commission President calls for a European army
Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has called for an EU army in order "to improve the bloc's standing on the world stage, and to send a message to Moscow."
"An army like this would help us to better coordinate our foreign and defense policies, and to collectively take on Europe's responsibilities in the world," Juncker told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. "Europe's image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don't seem to be taken entirely seriously."
Tri-nation patrols at railway stations (The Budapest Times, link): "Joint patrols by Hungarian, Austrian and German police have begun to identify illegal immigrants at major railway stations, a head of department of Hungarys riot police said this week. Balázs Petho said two Austrian and two German officers had started working with their Hungarian counterparts, checking on stations from which trains to Western Europe depart. According to figures from the national police, 231 illegal immigrants were detained in the past one day."
This is the second known instance of "tri-national" police patrols directed at migrants. In October last year, Germany, Italy and Austria began a similar initiative aimed at people attempting to leave Italy. See: Germany, Austria and Italy launch "trilateral controls" to deal with "the increasing numbers of refugees" (Statewatch News Online, November 2014)
EU: Document digest: Terrorism post-Riga, DNA ONE, EU Classified Information, cybersecurity and Directive on network and information security
Documents on the EU's current counter-terrorism initatives (including border controls and monitoring the internet for "terrorist and extremist" content); enhancing the use of the European DNA data exchange network; the use of EU Classified Information; draft Council conclusions on cybersecurity; and the positions of the EU institutions on the proposed Directive on network and information security.
UK: The shocking truth about police corruption in Britain (The Spectator, link): "The police appear to be retreating into a bunker of secrecy and paranoia where all news must be managed and freedom of information is considered a threat. On its website alongside some vacuous rubbish about declaring total war on crime the Met claims to be committed to carrying out its duties with humility and transparency.
"Could anything be further from the truth? With its constant leak inquiries, harassment of whistleblowers and journalists, and scandalous misuse of terror legislation to tap the phone records and emails of ordinary citizens, the Met is probably more authoritarian and opaque than at any time in modern history. This culture comes directly from the top."
See HMIC: Integrity matters: An inspection of the arrangements to ensure integrity and to provide the capability to tackle corruption in policing (pdf)
UK: Lynette White: Review into collapse of corruption trial (BBC News, link): "The collapse of the UK's biggest police corruption trial, which followed the wrongful conviction of three men for the murder of a Cardiff prostitute in 1988 will be led by a top barrister, the Home Secretary has announced."
Eight police officers were subsequently arrested but the case collapsed in 2011. On the new investigation, see: Home Secretary announces investigation into collapsed police trial (Home Office, link) and for background: Wales: Police arrested over "Cardiff Three" murder conspiracy (Statewatch Bulletin, March-April 2006)
POLAND: Libertarian maverick Korwin-Mikke raises signatures for presidential campaign (Radio Poland, link): "Libertarian politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke, currently an MEP, has filed over 200,000 signatures to the State Electoral Commission to formally register as a presidential candidate."
Korwin-Mikke's "maverick" views were widely publicised towards the end of last year. He considers women inferior to men, thinks that "there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust", and "would like to abolish not just the European Union but democracy altogether, replacing it with an absolute monarchy, which he considers the gold standard for government." See: Nigel Farages new friend in Europe: When women say no, they dont always mean it (The Guardian link)
UK: An Assessment of the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (Border Criminologies, link): "The report has taken six months to produce. Coming in at just under 80 pages, it synthesises testimonies from three public hearings and a selection of written submissions. It also draws on committee members visits to some detention sites in the UK and a trip to Sweden. Expert advice at the hearings was provided by a selection of NGOs, medics, civil servants, current and former detainees, although not, inexplicably, by academic researchers. So, what does the report actually say?" See also: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch News Online) and the Report (pdf)
News in Brief (9.3.15)
AUSTRALIA: Criminalising those who fight against IS (The Saturday Paper, link)
CANADA: A man was arrested for refusing to give his phones passcode to border agents (Business Insider, link)
Commission faces EU court over aid to Britain's Hinkley Point nuclear plant (EurActiv, link)
CROATIA: Minister: Croatia ready for evaluation of compliance with Schengen regime (dalje.com, link)
IRELAND: Time to take another look at bringing cameras into court (The Irish Times, link): "Courts Service says no law bans cameras from courtrooms, it is simply a practice that has grown through the years"
NETHERLANDS: In Amsterdam, a revolt against the neoliberal university (ROAR Magazine, link)
NETHERLANDS: Police staff suspended over inquiry into ¬500 million squad cars contract (The Amsterdam Herald, link)
UK: PETITION: Stop intimidating and shaming lawyers (change.org, link): "We pledge our support to any lawyer vindicating the rule of law in the name of truth, justice and accountability.We condemn attacks on Phil Shiner and anyone else whose legal work is focused on ensuring state accountability."
EU: Council of the European Union: Use of the VIS with a view to handling asylum cases (LIMITE doc no 6747-15, pdf):
"SE [Sweden] raised a point on the link between Schengen visas issued by Member States and the flows of asylum seekers. SE expressed concerns over the use of Schengen visas in order to access EU territory in view of lodging applications for international protection. SE noted the link between the identification of asylum seekers in the VIS database and implications for the Dublin system, and deplored the lack of harmonization between MS in the application of the Visa Code, which may result in costly procedures for other MS where asylum seekers end up applying for protection."
And: Council Directive on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries - Revised Presidency compromise (LIMITE doc no 6065-15, pdf) The Council developing its position.
European Commission and the High Resprentative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: JOINT CONSULTATION PAPER Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy (pdf)
"One of the most often repeated criticisms of the ENP is a lacking sense of ownership with partners, across their societies, and the general publics weak awareness of the policys aims and impact. It is clear that substantial efforts are needed in the context of the ENP review to improve both the ownership of this policy by partner countries and to improve communication of its objectives and results both within the EU and in the partner countries."
EU: Council of the European Union: Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, The Hague, Netherlands - Draft lines to take (LIMITE doc no: 6181-15, pdf) and EnviCrimeNet - Intelligence Project on Environmental Crime - Preliminary Report on Environmental Crime in Europe (LIMITE doc no: 16438-14, pdf)
News in Brief (8.3.15)
Tory cuts will increase risk of terror attacks police chief - Sir Hugh Orde, outgoing president of Acpo, fears policing system is nearing a tipping point if resources continue to be reduced (The Observer, link)
Extremism in Britain: Now the crackdown is launched - Ministers are planning a raft of new measures to help stem the tide of Islamic extremism and radicalisation (Sunday Telegraph, link)
Computer security - The law and unintended consequences (The Economist, link)
USA: Unclassified Version of March 6, 2015 Message to the Workforce from CIA Director John Brennan: Our Agencys Blueprint for the Future (CIA, link)
Documents Shine Light on Shadowy New Zealand Surveillance Base (The Intercept) and Snowden files: Inside Waihopai's domes (Sunday Star - Times, link)
US government still hunting WikiLeaks as Obama targets whistleblowers - The Department of Justice and the FBI are pursuing a multi-subject long-term investigation of the open-information website, court documents reveal (Guardian, link)
European Commission in a pickle over PNR
- Mexico and Argentina about to implement PNR laws requiring "the transfer of passenger data from air carriers that operate in [their] countries"
- The Commission has only 2-3 weeks to sort this out: airlines face fines if they do not comply and would break EU law if they do
A Council of the European Union document, dated 5 March 2015, shows that the EU is facing a crisis over third country demands for PNR [Passenger Name Record] data on flights from the EU to Mexico and Argentina. The document from the Spanish delegation: Information by the Commission on the PNR legislation adopted by Mexico and the Republic of Argentina requesting the transfer of PNR data from the EU (pdf) says that Mexico adopted PNR legislation in 2012 and has postponed implementation three times and that: "the present moratorium will expire on the 1st April and carriers will face financial sanctions of up to 30,000 dollars per flight if they do not comply and transfer the required passenger data..."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "It should come as no surprise to the EU that having put three PNR agreements in place that other countries now want the same. What is surprising is that with just two to three weeks to go until Mexico and Argentina implement their national laws the Commission is being ask to take "urgent" action. They have known about the Mexican law since 2102 and that of Argentina in September last year.
Reaching agreement on new PNR deals, which meet EU data protection standards, is on past evidence going to take years especially for countries whose democratic standards and privacy laws may be questionable."
UK: House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee: Current and future uses of biometric data and technologies (pdf):
"In its broadest sense, biometrics is the measurement and analysis of a biological characteristic (fingerprints, iris patterns, retinas, face or hand geometry) or a behavioural characteristic (voice, gait or signature).....
Three future trends in the application of biometrics were identified during the inquiry: the growth of unsupervised biometric systems, accessed via mobile devices, which verify identity; the proliferation of second-generationbiometric technologies that can authenticate individuals covertly; and the linking of biometric data with other types of big data as part of efforts to profile individuals....
In the absence of a biometrics strategy, there has been a worrying lack of Government oversight and regulation of aspects of this field. We were particularly concerned to hear that the police are uploading photographs taken in custody, including images of people not subsequently charged with, or convicted of, a crime, to the Police National Database and applying facial recognition software."
See also: MPs 'dismayed' that police continue to compile database of faces - Commons science and technology committee says practice of uploading custody photographs appears to flout high court ruling from 2012 (Guardian, link): " the Commons Science and Technology Committee said it was dismayedto learn that more than 12m photographs had been entered into the Police National Database without proper testing or oversight. It also noted that current practice appeared to flout a high court ruling from 2012 that said the contemporary policy of retaining custody photographs was unlawful. "
Measures by the EU law enforcement agency Europol relating to foreign fighters Bundestag printed paper 18/3910 (pdf) Questions by Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko and others and the Left Party parliamentary group and answers from the Federal government, including Focal Point Travellers", Focal Point CtW, "Clean IT", Community Policing and prevention of radicalisation & terrorism" (CoPPRa) and Working Group DUMAS established by Europol which pursues the aim of supporting the EU Member States in combatting the phenomenon of foreign fighters".
"Italy has overall leadership of the working group. Co-drivers" have lead responsibility for the respective sub-working groups (SWG): Five SWG were established: "Alert List(headed by Austria), "Outreach(headed by Spain and Hungary), "Best Practices(headed by Great Britain and France), "Facilitators(headed by Spain and Great Britain), "Indicators" (headed by Germany and Luxembourg)."
And: "According to the latest information from Europol a total of 536 contributions on 2835 persons had been transmitted to the Focal Point Travellersup until 31 January 2015."
EU-UK: European Commission: Report on equality between women and men 2014 (pdf): Professor Steve Peers observed: 'At this rate of change, it would take another 70 years to achieve gender equality' and see: Violence against women: Can EU law play a bigger role in combatting it (EU Law Analysis, link)
And see: International Womens Day 2015: The shameful statistics that show why it is still important (The Independent, link)
News in Brief (7.3.15)
Germany double-dealing over data legislation, say negotiators - Officials accused of allying with industry in secret while championing privacy in public (Irish Times, link)
American Drone Operators Are Quitting in Record Numbers - An internal Air Force memo reveals that the US militarys drone wars are in major trouble.(The Nation, link)
Beyond Borderline: Refugee and Migrant Exclusion in Europe (ECCHR, link)
We're All Spies Now: CIA Director Announces Major Restructuring (The Intercept, link): "The director of the CIA announced this week a major overhaul of the agencys organizational structure ending the traditional separation between spies and analysts, while also creating a new division to handle cyberwarfare."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Chapter II: PRINCIPLES and the One Stop Shop
CHAPTER II: PRINCIPLES: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17072-rev4-14, dated 4 March 2015, pdf):
"The Presidency is of the opinion that the text set out in the Annex is the best possible compromise taking into account the various positions of delegations." 30 pages with 77 Footnotes with Member State positions.
CHAPTER II PRINCIPLES: AUSTRIA DELEGATION: Comments and Proposals regarding Chapter II, in particular with a view to the issues of legitimate interest, further processingand processing for statistical purposes(LIMITE doc no: 6741-15, 3 March 2015, pdf)
The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 6286-rev2-15, dated 4 March 2015, pdf) With 86 Footnotes and Member State reservations.
UK: So, why did the Met Police come sniffing round our banner-making workshop? (Friends of the Earth, link):
"Friends of the Earth has been hosting workshops to make placards and props for the climate demonstration this Saturday. We held one yesterday and volunteers from the Campaign Against Climate Change, who are organising the march, came along to paint banners. But yesterday some unexpected visitors also showed up: two officers from the Metropolitan Police.... Oh, we were just passing by, and wondered what you were up to, said one of the officers, rather unconvincingly....
Slightly taken aback by this sudden intrusion onto private property, the volunteer explained that they were making banners for the climate march this Saturday. Oh yes? responded the officer, and proceeded to start asking questions: Were they continuing to use this space to make banners for the whole week? Who owned the space? Were they all coming on the demonstration? How many people were expected on the march, did they think? Oh, and whats your name, sonny? The volunteer politely declined to give his name or answer the officers probing questions."
News in Brief (6.3.15)
European and national parliamentarians divided on the EU Smart Borders Package(February 23)? (EASFJ, link): "it was not self evident that the registration of third country nationals entering/staying on the EU territory will necessarily have significant ramifications to reducing security threats within Europe as most of the terrorists attacks have been done by either European citizens or third country nationals that were already present within the EU area so that a presence and cooperation between police forces would had been much more effective in finding the needlesthan increasing the haystackof ordinary citizens personal data."
High Court refers Facebook privacy case to Europe - Privacy campaigner took case following claims social network passed information to NSA (Irish Times, link): "The High Court has referred questions raised by a case taken by an Austrian privacy activist over the alleged mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services to the European Court of Justice. Privacy campaigner Max Schrems had argued that the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, wrongly refused to investigate whistleblower Edward Snowdens claims that Dublin-based Facebook International had passed on its EU users data to the US National Security Agency as part of its Prism surveillance programme. While the judge did not find in Mr Schremss favour today, he adjourned the case pending a reference to the European court.
Live Q&A: After four years of war in Syria, whats the plan for refugees? Nine million people have fled conflict in Syria. Join us on 12 March 1-3pm to discuss a more permanent solution than refugee camps and host communities (Guardian, link)
Member States must enforce human rights amid rising tide of extremism UN rights chief (UN link)
USA: The Presidents Weak Privacy Proposal (New York Times, link): "The bill his administration recently offered will do little to help individuals while giving companies great leeway in determining how they collect, use and share personal data.."
New book puts spotlight on role of covert police in human rights controversy - A new book that examines evidence of clandestine police collusion in the blacklisting of workers is launched next week in Parliament (Guardian, link)
ICC studying CIA torture report 'very, very closely': The ICC is taking a close look at the report and will determine next steps, especially incidents in Afghanistan where the court has jurisdiction (Middle East Eye, link)
Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications - European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link)
EU-UK: CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES: House of Lords Select Committee on the EU Report:: Civilian Use of Drones in the EU (pdf) and Evidence (422 pages, pdf)
See: Drone owners register called for by House of Lords (BBC News, link): "The recommendation was made by the House of Lords EU Committee, which has been looking into what rules are needed to safeguard the use of unmanned aircraft. It suggests the database would initially include businesses and other professional users, and then later expand to encompass consumers."
EU Commissioner: Avramopoulos: We cooperate with dictatorial regimes to fight migration (euractiv, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted yesterday (4 March) that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."
and: EU defends working with dictatorships to stop migrants (The Daily Star, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted Wednesday that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."
And see: Commission statement: Commission makes progress on a European Agenda on Migration (pdf): "First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said; "In May we will present a new migration agenda with an improved governance to strengthen our asylum system, set a sound course on legal migration, act more vigorously against irregular migration and ensure more secure borders." (and "Factsheet", pdf) and see: European Migration Network Conference 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Europe (link)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, notes: "This Commission announcement makes no mention of the EU's humanitarian responsibility for search and rescue, emphasising instead the need for "legal migration" which is based on bringing in skilled labour from the South to maintain the EU standards of living."