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April 2015

UK: Special branch "political police" spied on Wapping leaders (Morning Star, link):

"Reports unearthed by SOLOMON HUGHES show “anti-violence” officers 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 Commissioner’s 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 community’s concern about the area’s 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)

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."

‘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 ‘Siva’s 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: 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"

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 country’s 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 UN’s human rights chief has attacked the Sun newspaper for publishing an article by columnist Katie Hopkins, branding her use of the word “cockroaches” to describe migrants as reminiscent of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.

In a scathing and extraordinary intervention, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, points out that the word “cockroaches” was 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 (25-25.4.15)

The internet’s 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 NSA’s 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: Don’t 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 EU’s 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 EU’s 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: Hasan’s 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 Union’s 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):

"EU’s 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

and:

- 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 Frontex’s 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 GMF’s 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” – SQUASH’s 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. It’s 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): "“We’ve 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. “We’ve 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 Britain’s 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 “share” just about any type of information, including personal information such as your computer’s 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 bloc’s 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: 13829-15, 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 Latvia’s 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-military” modelled 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 America’s 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 America’s 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 market’s ‘evidence file’ reveals Commission’s 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 Commission’s 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 Commission’s 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 protection” mechanism? (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 can’t 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 EU’s 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 Treaty’s 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 aren’t exactly dead yet – rather they are undead. Let’s 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 won’t mince words: this judgment is appalling. It’s sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasn’t intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. But the Court’s 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 conscious” violation 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 don’t 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 Commission’s 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 “relabel” existing 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 man’s 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 UK’s 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. It’s 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 UK’s 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 Police’s 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)

EU’s 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 Britain’s 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 Men’s 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 purpose” requirement (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 purpose” requirement 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 France’s 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 Prosecutor’s 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 Prosecutor’s Office (pdf) See story below

EU: Fundamental Rights and the European Public Prosecutor’s 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 EU’s influence on national affairs, particularly in such a sensitive area as criminal justice.

Supposing that in the near future the European Public Prosecutor’s 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 teenager’s 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 court’s 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 police’s 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 IPCC’s 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 IPCC’s 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 Europe’s 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 UK’s 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 period” for 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 Together” held 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" ­ over eight months after iit said it was "assessing their suitability for publication.... Commenting, Donald Campbell from Reprieve said: “It 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 country’s 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): "Germany’s 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 agency’s electronic spying... The DEA’s data dragnet was apparently shut down by attorney general Eric Holder in September 2013. But on Wednesday, following USA Today‘s 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 today’s 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 indicators” to 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 extremist” subject 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 Commissioner’s Office yesterday suggested providing evidence of your participation in protests, to show that your request is not simply based on unreasonable assumptions or guesswork.

That’s 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, it’s 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 Razak’s 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 Fighters” and 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 “terrorist” fighters... 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 Law” of 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 - Facebook’s 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 Greece’s 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 France’s 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 “concern” at the manner in which restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act, as it applies to bodies dealing with asylum and refugee issues, were “rushed” through 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 France’s international human rights commitments, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, which has already won approval of the National Assembly’s 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 it’s 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 UKIP’s 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 Facebook’s 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 London’s 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 Center’s Open Government Project, said the new safeguards were not “meaningful.” She called the data retention requirements “exceedingly vague” and 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."

Google’s misuse of private browsing data entitles individuals to damages – Court of Appeal (UK Human Rights Blog, link): Google Inc v Vidal-Hall and others [2015] 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: TSA’s 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 TSA’s 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):

"It’s 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 it’s 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, UK’s 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, wasn’t 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 detention” at 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)

March 2015

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 organisation’s 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 Brother” meets market fundamentalism. It was personified by the establishment in 2003 of a “Group of Personalities” (GoP) comprised of EU officials and Europe’s 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 ­ 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, UK’s 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, wasn’t 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 detention” at 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 won’t look away and allow our shame for this illegal practice through which our name is being soiled to discourage us. We won’t 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 Government’s failure to deliver its undertaking in 2012 to draw together the analysis contained in the Review."

See: Lords slams UK’s ‘splendid isolation’ on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link): "The House of Lords has called on the British government to abandon its “legally unsustainable” interpretation 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)

Netanyahu’s 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 office’s 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 Israel’s other allies.”

Israel’s 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 failures” in 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: FBI’s Plan to Expand Hacking Power Advances Despite Privacy Fears - Google had warned that the rule change represents a “monumental” constitutional 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 Europe’s ‘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 don’t 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 notice—in 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 EU’s 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 Internet’s 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 PP’s secret ledgers and moves to try ex-treasurers (El País, link)

UEFA’s 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 can’t believe it’s 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:

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: HMRC’s 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 CIA’s 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 whistleblower’s 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 police’s special branch. They include Labour’s 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, doesn’t 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 UK’s opt-in Protocol: implications of the Government’s approach (pdf) and See: House of Lords recommends to change the Governement’s strategy on the UK’s opt-in (EASFJ, link) and also: Lords slams UK’s ‘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 Majesty’s 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"

UPDATE: 24.3.15
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):

" Europe’s 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 State’s 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 People’s 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 world” but 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
- Cybercrime
- 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 scholar’s 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)

IRELAND’S 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 “Marco” Jacobs 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 Deny” defence... 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 Isn’t Just the NSA’s 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 country’s 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 centres” for 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 “European” asylum-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 investigation’s 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 world” but 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 it’s 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 Senate’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 Policeman’s Toy Shop: The UK Home Office’s 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 EU’s 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 Sweden’s 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 EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, becomes increasingly more important. It’s 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: Belgium’s 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 Britain’s 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): What’s in a name? The reality of First “Reception” at 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)

What’s 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: Don’t pass new anti-poverty law, commission tells Greece (Channel 4 News, link)

USA: A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It’s 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 peer’s 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 Council’s “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-washing” report on GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 by the Intelligence and Security Committee published on 12 March 2015 was preceded by a draft Code of Practice "Equipment Interference” to allow the UK intelligence and security agencies to “legally” access computers to gather and break encryption codes and allow “remote access” to “interfere” with any targeted computer anywhere in the world.

The deadline for comments on the Code is 20 March 2015 after which it will be “laid” before 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 “Prevent” scheme 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 haven’t 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 secretary’s 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 Bouffier’s evidence important for the family of Halit Yozgat, the NSU’s 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 “bulk” surveillance 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 Zealand’s 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 Surveillance” as 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 surveillance” as “bulk collection” in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal)." and UK Parliament Committee, Calling For Reform, Shows Its “Evidence” to Justify Mass Surveillance (The Intercept, link).

See also: The Guardian view on surveillance: parliament’s slumbering scrutineer: Editorial: The ISC is at last waking up to the facts revealed by Edward Snowden. But the committee still doesn’t 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 government’s 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)

Bulgaria’s 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 Opstelten’s 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, Britain’s 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 government’s 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 France’s National Front (France 24, link) and French Prime Minister Says He Is “Afraid” Of 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 chief’s 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 Spain’s 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):

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 Doesn’t 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 Hungary’s 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 Farage’s new friend in Europe: ‘When women say no, they don’t 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 phone’s 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 public’s weak awareness of the policy’s 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 Agency’s 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-generation” biometric 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 “dismayed” to 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 “Travellers” up 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 Women’s 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 military’s 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 agency’s 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 processing” and “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 what’s your name, sonny? The volunteer politely declined to give his name or answer the officer’s 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 “needles” than increasing the “haystack” of 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 Snowden’s 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 Schrems’s favour today, he adjourned the case pending a reference to the European court.

Live Q&A: After four years of war in Syria, what’s 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 President’s 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."

DATA SURVEILLANCE: Snowden GCSB revelations / Russel Norman says GCSB 'breaking the law' (The New Zealand Herald, link):

"EXCLUSIVE: GCSB collects phone calls, emails and internet data from NZ's closest and most vulnerable neighbours, secret papers reveal .New Zealand is "selling out" its close relations with the Pacific nations to be close with the United States, author Nicky Hager has said. Hager, in conjunction with the New Zealand Herald and the Intercept news site, revealed today how New Zealand's spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country's closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours."

And see: New Zealand Spies on Neighbors in Secret ‘Five Eyes’ Global Surveillance (The Intercept, link)

See also: XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet' • XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data • NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches • Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history • NSA's XKeyscore program – read one of the presentation (Guardian, link)

And see Full XKeyscore document (pdf)

UK: A critical response to 'The British Armed Forces: Learning Resource 2014' (ForcesWatch, link): See Report (link) and Video (produced by Quaker Peace & Social Witness (link): "This report explains why the British Armed Forces Learning Resource (published in September 2014 by the Prime Minister's Office) is a poor quality educational resource, and exposes the resource as a politically-driven attempt to promote recruitment into the armed forces and “military values” in schools."

EU: Council of the European Union: Member states hope to soften data protection in reform talks (euractiv, link): "A leaked EU document reveals that several governments are planning to weaken the security of customer data in negotiations over the common EU Data Protection Directive" See document: Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev-3-14, pdf) 30 pages with 90 Member State positions, pdf)

News in Brief (5.3.14)

Italy continues to carry the heavy burden of the rescue missions - Yet another migrant tragedy (New Europe, link)

Data breaches top police misconduct probe list (Police Oracle, link) and see: Numbers on police Disapproved Register published (College of Policing, link)

Danish intelligence to get more power than NSA (The Local, link): "As part of the government's new counter-terror measures, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service is given the ability to conduct surveillance on citizens abroad without a court order – something that not even the NSA or GCHQ can do"

UK: 300 staff working for peers and MPs have lobbying interests, analysis reveals - Almost one in five declare lobbying or outside interests – but just 11 will have to sign the new lobby register (Guardian, link)

Yarl's Wood: Undercover in the secretive immigration detention centre | Channel 4 News (link) plus Yarl's Wood protest: we're not animals, we just want respect and: Yarl's Wood: Second worker suspended after abuse allegations (BBC News, link).And see: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch).

EU: European Ombudsman: Letter to Claude Moraes MEP, Chair of the LIBE Committee, concerning the Opinion of the European Parliament's Legal Service concerning Europol and refusal of US authorities to give the Ombudsman access to a document concerning the TFTP Agreement (pdf)

Emily O'Reilly, the EU Ombudsman, says:

"In my decision, I therefore suggested that Parliament might wish to consider the various issues raised in this case. These include whether it is acceptable for arrangements to be agreed with a foreign government which have the consequence of undermining mechanisms established by or under the EU Treaties for the control of EU executive action....

I also understand that Parliament's Legal Service nevertheless takes the view that Europol was entitled to refuse to allow me to inspect the relevant document without the consent of the American authorities. I do not find this at all convincing. In my view, the Ombudsman's Statute clearly gives the Ombudsman the right to inspect documents like the one at issue in the Europol case....

It appears inconceivable to me that, in a union based on the rule of law, certain areas of the activity of the EU administration should be exempt from any external control whatsoever. If one were to accept the opinion put forward by the Parliament's Legal Service, which I do not, it would be a matter of real urgency to address the need to ensure that an agency such as Europol (or any other agency claiming it could not cooperate with the Ombudsman) is subject to external supervision." [emphasis added]

UK: A BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY: Civil liberties campaigners claim Supreme Court judgment gives Police ‘extraordinary discretion’ to compile database - Campaigners express disappointment after Supreme Court rule that collation of data on 91-year-old campaigner was lawful (link):

"The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), a national civil liberties organisation, has expressed great disappointment to a Supreme Court judgment handed down today which found that the Metropolitan Police’s ‘domestic extremist’ database was lawful....

Netpol, which monitors police conduct and challenges unfair and discriminatory policing, intervened in the case of peace campaigner John Catt which was heard by the Court in December last year. The Metropolitan Police had brought the Supreme Court challenge against a Court of Appeal ruling in March 2013, which found that the gathering and retaining information on Mr Catt was unlawful.

Mr Catt, who is 91 with no criminal history, was known for making sketches at anti-arms trade protests in Brighton called by the ‘Smash EDO’ campaign.

Speaking today, following the verdict Kevin Blowe, a coordinator for Netpol said: "This ruling allows the police extraordinary discretion to gather personal information of individuals for purposes that are never fully defined. “The Supreme Court has accepted that no further justification is apparently required other than investigating the ‘links between protest groups’ and their ‘organisation and leadership’. “This Judgment represents judicial approval for the mass surveillance of UK protest movements."

See: Court Press release (pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf)

And see: Supreme Court grants “judicial approval for the mass surveillance of UK protest movements” (Netpol, link): "In a press release issued by his solicitors Bhatt Murphy, John Catt has confirmed his intention to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights."

EU: Europol report: Exploring tomorrow's organised crime (6MB, pdf):

"A decline of traditional hierarchical criminal groups and networks will be accompanied by the expansion of a virtual criminal underground made up of individual criminal entrepreneurs, who come together on a project basis. These people will lend their knowledge, experience and expertise as part of a ‘crime-as-a-service’ business model. Such dynamics can already be seen in the realm of cybercrime, but in the future these will extend to the domain of ‘traditional’ organised crime, governing crime areas such as drugs trafficking, illegal immigration facilitation and counterfeiting of goods."

EU: Court of Justice of the European Union: Statistics concerning judicial activity in 2014: The institution brought 1 685 cases to a close: an increase in productivity of 36.9% in five years (Press Release, pdf)

News in Brief (4.3.15)

“Torture feeds terror,” Jagland warns Europe’s leaders (CoE, link): "As governments across Europe now grapple with the problem of radicalisation among prison inmates, state authorities must uphold the highest standards. “Torture in our cells will only feed terror on our streets. Treating people like animals is the surest way to help their humanity disappear. “For the sake of our shared values and collective security, we must guarantee basic human rights for anyone in state detention.”

and Britain can be at the heart of a torture-free Europe, by Thorbjørn Jagland For 25 years the Council of Europe has been fighting torture. As its head, I urge all our states to commit to erasing police and prison brutality (Guardian, link)

Greece to pass anti-austerity bill (euractiv, link)

Ten migrants die as boat capsizes but 941 rescued by Italian coastguards - Coastguard vessels and three cargo ships south of Sicily rescue 941 people in seven separate operations but 10 die as boat capsizes (Guardian, link)

Swedish report suggests fingerprint scans at border points (euobserver, link)

UK-GCHQ: British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany - Committee under pressure to censor disclosures about UK activity after Downing Street threatens to break off intelligence-sharing with Berlin (Guardian, link)

"the Bundestag’s inquiry into the NSA controversy is being jeopardised by Britain’s refusal to cooperate and its threats to break off all intelligence-sharing with Berlin should the committee reveal any UK secrets.... David Cameron had written to Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, refusing all requests for help in the inquiry and warning that Britain would cease supplying terrorism-related intelligence to the Germans unless Berlin yielded....

Information already available to the committee from German sources is said to reveal operational details of UK activities, encryption methods, codes and decoding techniques."

EU: Council of the European Union: VIS rollout, Combating Radicalisation, PRUM & JPO TENT-IT

VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM: VIS - time frame concerning the roll-out in the last regions - Approval of the final compromise (LIMITE doc no 5731-15, pdf) Detailed plan for implementation.

French delegation: Combating terrorism and radicalisation: further strengthening the protection of the citizens of the European Union (LIMITE doc no 5507-15, pdf) Detailed proposals

Implementation of the "Prüm Decisions" regarding fingerprints - Search capacities (EU doc no: 5019-rev-2-15, pdf): "Member States shall submit declarations to the General Secretariat of the Council in which they lay down their maximum search capacities per day for dactyloscopic data of identified persons and dactyloscopic data of persons not yet identified."

Italian Delegation: To: Law Enforcement Working Party: Final report on the JPO TENT-IT (LIMITE doc no: 5667-15. pdf): "The aim of the operation organised under the IT Presidency was to perform road traffic security controls on European and trans-European road networks for security purposes, through widespread activities including national and joint controls and checks of heavy vehicles (trucks and tractortrailers) carrying goods including hazardous and particularly hazardous goods, and of vehicles transporting people (coaches and buses)....12 Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands,
Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) participated"

Statewatch: EU proposed new Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies EU: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies

the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals from 2011 ongoing
full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council - Updated 3 March 2015

UK: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention

An inquiry conducted by MPs and Lords from the UK's three major political parties (Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative) has concluded that "a very radical shift in thinking" is required on immigration detention. The report makes four "key recommendations":

Between July and October 2014 the inquiry, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, received 182 submission of written evidence and held three oral evidence sessions. Members of the inquiry also visited detention centres and the Swedish Migration Board.

See: All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, 'The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom' (pdf), 3 March 2015

And also: Immigration centres: Act now to overhaul Britain's 'shocking' detention of migrants indefinitely and in appalling conditions, say MPs (The Independent, link) and MPs call for immigration detention cap (BBC News, link).

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Leading by Example: EDPS Strategy 2015-2019 (Press release, pdf) and Full-text: Strategy 2015-2019 (pdf):

"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “This is a crucial moment for data protection, a period of unprecedented change and political importance, not only in the EU but globally. Our aims and ambitions for the next five years build on our strengths, successes and lessons learned. Together with our legal and technological expertise, we are uniquely placed to assist the EU to find effective, practical and innovative solutions that will respect our fundamental rights in the new digital world. Our goal is for the EU to speak - in full cooperation with colleagues at national level - with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant.”

News in Brief (3.3.15)

Undercover cop joined construction union UCATT to spy on workers (Daily Mirror, link)

Australia’s attorney general bombarded with messages in metadata law protest (Washington Post, link): "The law in question would require communications providers to retain all metadata for phone and Internet users for two years. The bill, called the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014, has gained enough support to pass in parliament with some planned amendments.."

Mohammed Emwazi tapes: '9/11 was wrong' - Isis militant known as ‘Jihadi John’ gave interview to advocacy group Cage in 2009 in which he claimed that MI5 said they would keep ‘a close eye’ on him (Guardian, link)

Yarl's Wood: Undercover in the secretive immigration detention centre | Channel 4 News (link)

EU: Council of the European Union: eu-LISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice): To: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security

Priorities of the network of JHA Agencies in 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5946-15, pdf):

"Existing strategic, analytical and statistical reports, risk and threat assessments and situational awareness products will continue to be shared and a mapping of these analyses and reports should be carried out by the JHA Agencies to make better use of them. Furthermore, exchange of best practice and views related to the establishment and maintenance of operations involving personal data should be carried out among the JHA Agencies."

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation

ONE STOP SHOP: 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) - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 286-rev-1-15, pdf) 59 pages with 126 Member State positions

Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev-3-14, pdf) 30 pages with 90 Member State positions and see: 17072-rev-3-add-1-14 (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union:

Decision to make public the TiSA negotiating directives (LIMITE doc no: 6575-15, pdf)

Trio proposals on the organisation of the Council preparatory bodies (follow-up to the informal joint meeting of the EU Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers (Rome, 27 November 2014)) (LIMITE doc no: 6589-15, pdf): "On 10 December 2014, the trio of Presidencies informed Coreper2 that they would work
jointly in order to address existing overlaps and improve the efficiency of the decision making processes of SCIFA, High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG), CATS and JAIEX, especially concerning the interaction between external and internal dimensions of migration."
See also: The future of SCIFA – Contribution to the evaluation by COREPER (LIMITE doc no: 12996-14, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Legal Aid

 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 = General approach (6603-15, pdf)

EU: European Ombudsman: Ombudsman calls on EU institutions to adopt whistleblowing rules (pdf):

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has found that seven out of the nine EU institutions questioned by her office have still to comply with a January 2014 obligation to introduce internal whistleblowing rules. While an inter-institutional committee is examining a common approach, she urges the committee to complete its work as quickly as possible.":

GERMANY: Sebastian Heiser: journalist accused of spying at German newspaper - IT technicians at the leftwing daily Taz say spying on colleagues had been going on since the beginning of 2014 (Guardian, link):

"The intrigues that have rocked the usually staid world of German newspapers began last month when a so-called “key-logger” stick – a USB-style contraption that hoovers up all the information on a computer, including passwords and everything else tapped into its keyboard – was discovered in a computer in the newspaper’s newsroom in central Berlin."

The Iraq war and EU asylum law: the CJEU’s answers are blowin’ in the wind (EU Law Analysis, link) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"There is a link to EU law here – as set out in yesterday’s Shepherd judgment of the CJEU. Unfortunately that judgment is highly problematic, not because the Court avoids the key issue of the war’s legality, but because of its unconvincing interpretation of some key issues concerning the status of deserters in EU asylum law."

See: The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf)

Revealed: How Britain benefits from torture (Independent on Sunday, link)

"According to a source close to the East Midlands bomb operation, the British officials “would have made sure they were not actually in the room” where the torture was allegedly taking place, but there was “no way” the intelligence that thwarted the bombing “wasn’t procured under duress”. “It is a fair inference to say he was being tortured. He wasn’t volunteering the information, that’s for sure,” the source said. “Of course we use intelligence from torture. We take it from wherever we can get it, but we are never, ever going to say ‘we don’t want that’. Or ask too many questions about where it has come from. It is the difference between intelligence and evidence.”

News in Brief (2.3.15)

UK: Jury return critical misadventure and narrative conclusion at inquest into death of Habib Ullah following police restraint (Inquest, link)

Expand migrant rescue in Europe’s south (New Europe, link): "In an exclusive interview with New Europe, Cécile Kyenge, an Italian MEP and former integration minister under Enrico Letta’s government, talks about immigration and terrorism."

Companies should prepare for the EU’s forthcoming Data Protection Regulation (euractiv, link)

Google to be inspected by Italian privacy regulator (Jdsupra, link)

The New Face of Italian Immigration Detention: A Retreat from the Criminalisation of Migrants (Border Criminologies, link)

Development of a Scottish Population Register/ID Card Scheme is subject to ICO criticism (Hawktalk, link): " there was a flourishing “Entitlement Card” in Scotland; readers in the rest of the UK who can walk down memory lane on this subject will remember that this name was specifically chosen by David Blunkett in 2002 in his White Paper “Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud”."

Prison riots squad called to almost 100 incidents, including hostage taking, in one year (Birmingham Mail, link)

UK: INQUEST Report: "Stolen lives and missed opportunities": The deaths of young adults and children in prisons (link) and see: Sixty five young adults and teenagers have died in prison in last four years, report finds (Independent, link)

News in Brief (1.3.15)

IATA to make security check at airports hassle-free (link to video)

White House releases draft Consumer Privacy Bill (Ralf Bendrath, link)

UK: On the blacklist: how did the UK’s top building firms get secret information on their workers? Five years after a blacklist was found that singled out construction site workers for being union activists, the full extent of undercover police surveillance and collusion is still not known, and myriad questions remain (Guardian, link)

UK: Far-right Pegida eclipsed by its opponents at first UK demo - ‘You’re not welcome here: get off our streets’ – Newcastle protestors’ message to anti-Islam marchers outnumbered by 3,000 to 400 (The Observer, link)

Spyware and malware availability sparks surge in internet stalking - Domestic violence experts warn malicious software is increasingly being used to compromise victims’ computers and phones (The Observer, link)


February 2015

UK: Police corruption, racism and spying conference on film (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "On Friday 5 and Saturday 6 February 2015, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group held the 'Police corruption, spying and racism' conference at Conway Hall, London. The video footage from many of the sessions are now available to view online via Vimeo and are embedded below."

Inside story of Edward Snowden: FILM: CITIZENFOUR (Channel 4 News, link): ""An eye-opening, Oscar-winning expose of the dangers of government surveillance. You will never again think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser or profile." Available to watch on the Channel 4 website for five more days."

EU-USA TRADE DEAL (TTIP): Transatlantic trade deal text leaked to BBC (BBC Scotland, link) and see: Document: European Union Trade in services and investment: Schedule of specific commitments and reservations (pdf)

News in Brief (27.2.15)

If MI5 sticks to outdated tactics, Emwazi won’t be the last British security failure - The strategy of allowing known terrorists to remain free on the streets lets them carry out evil deeds, recruit conspirators – and slip through the net (Guardian, link) by David Davis.

Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims (The Independent, link): "ive Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants. The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas. They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future."

USA: Presidential Memorandum: Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (White House, link)

GREECE: Golden Dawn and the “Dark Forces” - As it tries to subdue Greece’s oligarchs, Syriza also must rein in the police (Jacobin, link)

NATO's Secretary General underscored that the Alliace is adapting against all threats (New Europe, link)

The EU Stands By as Thousands of Migrants Drown in the Mediterranean (HRW, link)

UK: Inquiry into the use of Immigration Detention - The home of the Parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK, hosted by the APPG on Refugees and the APPG on Migration (link)

Julian Assange is taking his appeal to Sweden’s highest court in a final attempt to lift a 2010 arrest warrant against him (sbs, link) and see: Fair Trials intervenes over access to case file (Fair Trials, link): "Lawyers acting in the criminal prosecution against Julian Assange in Sweden have today submitted an independent opinion prepared by Fair Trials, highlighting the lack of clarity surrounding the provision of EU law at issue and the need for guidance from the Court of Justice of the EU." See: Opinion (link)

UK: Home Office: Immigration statistics, October to December 2014 (link) and see Press release (link)

Met backs down on refusal to police climate and women's marches - Scotland Yard reverses earlier decision not to police Time to Act and Million Women Rise marches, after criticism from campaigners and Boris Johnson (Guardian, link): "The Met had previously told organisers from the Campaign against Climate Change (CACC) and Million Women Rise (MWR) that they would have to hire a private firm to organise traffic management, road closures, barriers and stewards for two separate protests on 7 March. Protest groups said the move amounted to an assault on the right to protest.... The Met said the u-turn did not represent a change in policy and managing protests fell “beyond our policing responsibility”. Future marches will have to negotiate with the police in order to secure their services."

Dutch Joint Sigint Cyber Unit (JSCU), AIVD-MIVD partnership in practice (link)

Net neutrality activists score landmark victory in fight to govern the internet - FCC says ‘we listened and we learned’, and passes strict broadband rules that represent ‘a red-letter day for internet freedom’ (Gurdian, link) and And the Internet Goes Wild... FCC Vote Enshrines Net Neutrality Protections (Common Dreams, link)

UK: Institute of Race Relations: Fighting for the soul of the voluntary sector - Everyone should read a recent report by the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) on the ways in which neoliberal policies are destroying the purpose and politics of voluntary groups (IRR, link): "The cost of not facing up to this situation, and taking a stand, will, the report concludes, be very high indeed. Fight or Fright is not a passive critique of the sector but a call to arms."

Israel's Africa policies 'an exercise in cynicism' - South African intelligence accuse Israel of "fuelling insurrection", selling arms and "appropriating" African resources (Aljazeera, link):

"Secret documents obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit expose a deep disdain by South Africa's spies for their Israeli counterparts, with intelligence assessments accusing Israel of conducting "cynical" polices in Africa that include "fuelling insurrection", "appropriating diamonds" and even sabotaging Egypt's water supply."

See: Document 1 (36 MB, link) and Document 2 (60MB, link)

CSE monitors millions of Canadian emails to government: Critics question how long data is stored and what it's used for (CBC News, link):

"Canada’s electronic spy agency collects millions of emails from Canadians and stores them for “days to months” while trying to filter out malware and other attacks on government computer networks, CBC News has learned. A top-secret document written by Communications Security Establishment (CSE) analysts sheds new light on the scope of the agency’s domestic email collection as part of its mandate to protect government computers."

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press rlease, pdf): clarifies if USA soldier opposed to Iraq war can get asylum in EU:

"In August 2008, an American soldier, Andre Shepherd, sought asylum in Germany. He had left his unit, which had been stationed in Germany since April 2007, after receiving an order to return to Iraq. Mr Shepherd believed that he should no longer participate in a war he considered unlawful and in the war crimes that were, in his view, committed in Iraq.

See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

European Parliament Study: The Juncker Commission and new institutional and legitimacy set up What main issues and challenges? (pdf):

"The Juncker Commission’s legitimacy and effectiveness in is being assessed connection with on the one side its composition, its organisation and functioning, and on the other side with its capacity to enhance legitimacy in the exercise of the EU’s competences and enhance and its input efficiency."

EU: Frontex, poison or antidote to the tragedies in the Mediterranean? (Migreurop, link):

"As Malta receives millions of Euros to fund maritime border control operations in collaboration with Frontex, members of the FRONTEXIT campaign denounce the security obsession blinding Europe and leading to increasing numbers of deaths."

UK: Six years and still waiting: the legal implications of blacklisting (The Justice Gap, link):

"The construction industry blacklist has appeared regularly in the media since it was discovered in 2009 following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Over 40 of the UK’s largest contractors held a covert database of trade unionists who had complained about unpaid wages or safety on building sites through an organisation called The Consulting Association."

And see: “Every Man a Capitalist”: The long history of monitoring ‘unsuitable’ workers in the UK (Statewatch database)

Update III on detentions and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco (No Borders Morocco, link):

""As part of the so-called European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU and its member states fund surrounding countries to control their borders and effectively prevent migrants from reaching European territory. As an "Advanced Partner" in the ENP, Morocco is complicit in creating a buffer zone externalising the EU’s inhumane border regime to Northern Africa. To gain advanced status, Morocco signed a so-called "Mobility Partnership" including readmission negotiations, and receives "assistance in implementing the strategy to combat illegal migration" (EU/Morocco Action Plan, para 48) from the EU. The large-scale detention and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco show what this combat looks like in practice."

See: EU/Morocco Action Plan (pdf)

News in Brief (26.2.15)

Gemalto: NSA and GCHQ failed to massively steal the encryption keys (New Europe, link)

Austria passes 'Law on Islam' banning foreign money for Muslim groups (euractiv, link)

Parliament must act urgently against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism (Parliament magazine, link): "As recent events have led to a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Europe, new measures are required to address both of these forms of racism, writes Claire Fernandez."

Paying for torture: The CIA tortured suspected terrorists on Polish soil. The European Court of Human Rights is making Poland pay the damages (The Economist, link)

Al-Jazeera journalists arrested for allegedly flying drone over Paris - Three foreign nationals taken into custody after police spot drone flying in the Bois de Boulogne woods in western Paris (THe Guardian, link)

Amnesty International Report 2014/15: The State of the World's Human Rights (AI, link)

Death Boats to Greece (Part 1): Europe Or Die (Episode 2) (VICE, link)

EU's zombie data-grab plan climbs out of coffin - EU Parliament split over blanket data retention for air passengers (The Register, link)

Frontex budget: €17 million increase puts agency on "cruising speed"

The 2015 budget of EU border agency Frontex has been increased by 16%, from €97 million to €114 million, with the largest share of the extra funding going towards Joint Operations at Sea Borders. According to the agency's Work Programme for 2015, published in December 2014, the budget is on "cruising speed".

'Joint Operations and Pilot Projects at Sea Borders' receives the largest share of the €114 million budget, with €31 million or 27% of the total. In 2014, Joint Operations at Sea Borders was allocated €25 million. According to the Work Programme: "Strengthening the Member States' operational capacity to cover increased operational areas and implementation periods will enhance the tackling of irregular migration on routes identified by risk analysis."

GCHQ-NSA SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Civil Liberties MEPs restart discussions on surveillance programmes and go to Washington in March (Press release, pdf): ""The Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and rapporteur on the US NSA and EU member states' surveillance programmes, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), presented his working document on the follow-up of the inquiry on electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens on Tuesday 24 February."

See: Working document on on the Follow-up of the LIBE Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens (pdf) and Final: Report on the US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs (pdf): Rapporteur: Claude Moraes MEP

See also Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance: June 2013 - ongoing

Greek Authorities Start Evacuating Amygdaleza Migrant Detention Center (Greek Reporter, link)

"Greek authorities have started evacuating the Amygdaleza migrant detention center last Friday, saying they have released 100 migrants by Tuesday, while 980 remain in the premises. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis had pledged to close down the Amygdaleza facility within 100 days, citing inhumane living conditions, following the suicide of a Pakistani national."

UK: The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (pdf) received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015. The draft code of practice was presented to Parliament on 12 February 2015 for approval by Parliament. The Code of practice for officers exercising functions under Schedule 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in connection with seizing and retaining travel documents (pdf) will come into force on 13 February 2015.

"Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 coming into force: Code of practice for police and border officials on seizing travel documents: The code of practice is issued under paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015... It includes:

i. the procedure under which the Secretary of State may designate immigration officers and customs officials ("Border Force officers") to exercise functions under Schedule 1;
ii. the training to be undertaken by persons who are to exercise powers under Schedule 1;
iii. the exercise by police, and Border Force officers of their functions under Schedule 1;
iv. the information to be provided to a person subject to the exercise of powers under Schedule 1 and when and how that information should be
provided; and
v. the process of reviewing the decision to authorise retention of travel documents within 72 hours of taking the documents."

See also Statewatch Observatory: UK laws (Acts of Parliament): 1988 - ongoing

UK: Conference: Challenging state and corporate impunity: is accountability possible? (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (link): "the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool are hosting a third event to bring people together from a range of organisations to discuss how to hold state and corporate institutions to account." 19 June, 2015 9:00am to 5:00 pm. Location: 33 Finsbury Square London, EC2A 1AG: 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?
Stafford Scott (Tottenham Rights)
Will McMahon (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool) - Linking academic research to social movements.

Spy cables: Greenpeace head targeted by intelligence agencies before Seoul G20 - South Korea’s intelligence service requested information about South African activist Kumi Naidoo in runup to leaders’ meeting in 2010 (Guardian, link) and see Document (pdf):

"The head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, was targeted by intelligence agencies as a potential security threat ahead of a major international summit, leaked documents reveal.Information about Naidoo, a prominent human rights activist from South Africa, was requested from South African intelligence by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the runup to a meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul in 2010.... Greenpeace is one of the world’s best known environmental groups, combining lobbying with high-profile direct action protests. South Korean intelligence may have been concerned about possible disruption at the summit. Told this week of the approach, Naidoo described it as outrageous."

News in Brief (25.2.15)

British police investigated over attempts to recruit activists as spies - Two Cambridgeshire officers face misconduct allegations after approaches by covert unit that campaigners said left them stressed and paranoid, with some ending their political activities (Guardian, link); "The investigation was launched after four campaigners alleged that they felt intimidated by police officers who were trying to turn them into informers. It is examining allegations that coercive and at times repeated approaches by police caused the activists to give up their political campaigning, or left them stressed and paranoid."

European Parliament: Question to the European Commission: Subject: ‘Ghost ship’ Blue Sky M (link) from Ska Keller MEP: "When 900 refugees, most of them Syrian, were rescued from the alleged ‘ghost ship’ Blue Sky M at the end of December, after the ship had, it was thought, been abandoned by its crew and left adrift in the Mediterranean, Frontex claimed that people smuggling had plumbed new depths of cruelty.... Evidently this was completely untrue"

Paris landmarks targeted in French night drone mystery (BBC News, link) and Paris night drone mystery deepens (link): "Drones have appeared over landmarks in central Paris for the second night running and police are no nearer knowing who is operating them."

Virtual biometric frontier awaits travellers to EU (euobserver, link): "The EU commission says setting up a virtual frontier for all visiting non-EU nationals will help create a more “welcoming” Europe. Fingerprints and or full facial captures may await future visitors to the EU when the Brussels-executive proposes a revised version early next year of its controversial 2013 ‘smart borders’ package... One of the parliament’s lead negotiators on the file, Slovenian centre-left Tanja Fajon, said that the “indiscriminate mass collection of data without a specific just cause must be a concern for all of us”."  See also Study: Technical Study on Smart Borders – Cost Analysis (pdf)

Commission pushes for new guidelines against foreign fighters (euractiv, link); "German Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière, and First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, hope to boost security at entry points along the EU’s external borders, also subjecting EU citizens to more thorough checks.... the only legal path would be to completely reform the Schengen Borders Code, which would require the approval of the European Parliament. But in de Maizière’s opinion, there is not enough time for such a procedure."

The ISC: Rifkind's resignation won't give this watchdog more bite - A new intelligence and security committee chair is unlikely to change direction as it finalises its surveillance law report – Rifkind will still be an ISC member (Guardian, link): "Rifkind has been very careful to ensure that he retains a key role in influencing the outcome of the ISC’s most important and last remaining piece of work before the election. This is their detailed report on Edward Snowden’s disclosures and their recommendations for overhauling the laws on digital surveillance."

France bans six nationals from travelling to Syria (Daily Sabah Europe, link)

Facebook accused of breaking EU data protection rules (CBR, link): "Facebook has reportedly broken EU data protection rules despite updating its privacy policy, according to a report commissioned by the Belgian privacy commission."

Amnesty raps Finland on refugee, transgender rights (Yle Uutiset, link)

EU-PNR: European Parliament: Draft Report: on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (pdf) by Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope.

"Currently, of the 27 Member States of the European Union, only the United Kingdom has a fully fledged PNR system whilst 5 others (France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands) use it in limited ways or are testing its use." [emphasis added]

See Explanatory Note page 40-42. This includes:

"III. Inclusion of intra-EU flights: Your Rapporteur is convinced that the inclusion of intra-EU flights would bring clear added value to any EU PNR scheme...[this extends the Commission proposal and was put forward in the Council by the UK supported by other governments]

IV. Targeted v. 100% collection: The Rapporteur supports 100% coverage of flights for the obvious efficiency and security benefits. There is also evidence to suggest that criminals could avoid particular flights under a targeted system."

Taken together all passengers on flights in and out of the EU and on all flights between EU countries would be placed under surveillance.

For Background see: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise" and Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): 2011 ongoing

EU: European Commission: Commission Decision of 30.10.2014 requesting an opinion of the Court of Justice pursuant to article 218(11)TFEU on the competence of the Union to sign and conclude a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore (COM 8218-14, pdf)

The European Commission has asked the EU Court of Justice how competence over international trade issues is divided between the EU and its Member States as regards the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore. This case will have an impact upon the EU/Canada trade agreement which was recently agreed (CETA), the EU/US agreement under negotiation (TTIP) and other planned treaties besides.

EU: Council of the European Union: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EIXM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 6131-15, pdf). See also: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EXIM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation (pdf)

Concludes that there is a great variation in Member States' use of SIENNA - Europol's channel for EU information exchange - which is not connected in most Member States to its case management system and "Due to low prioritisation in several Member States, the implementation of the Prüm Decisions is still not as advanced as it should be" and

"One obstacle ....(is) the rules for entering data in the Europol Information System (EIS), the limited user community and the fact that EIS data is normally not easily accessible on a larger scale in operational police work. This also leads to a vicious circle where the volumes of data in EIS are too small for Member States to invest in resources and solutions to increase their use of it."

EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Joint Declaration on a Mobility Partnership between the Republic of Belarus and the European Union and its participating Member States (LIMITE doc no 6114-15, pdf):

"To enhance Signatories' efforts to fight further irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, to strengthen the implementation of the integrated border management, including through further improvement of border surveillance, border management capacities and cross-border cooperation, according to Integrated Border Management (IBM), which, among others, include the enhancement of international, interservice and intra-service cooperation; to strengthen the security of travel documents, identity documents and residence permits, anti-corruption measures at the borders and to fully cooperate on return and readmission....

To enhance the security of identity documents as well as to facilitate the authentication of citizens through development and introduction of the necessary for this purpose fingerprints searching systems as well as of the multifunctional electronic identification cards" [emphasis added]

UK: Two ex-Foreign Secretaries in trouble: Sir Malcolm Rifkind resigns as ISC chairman and will step down as MP - Tory MP will resign from Commons at May election after quitting as head of parliamentary security committee, over cash-for-access claims (Guardian, link)

Malcolm Rifkind clings to chairmanship of Commons intelligence committee - Conservative MP at centre of new cash for access allegations insists he has done nothing wrong, echoing stance of Labour’s Jack Straw (Guardian, link): "Both Rifkind and Straw have referred themselves to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, but no inquiry will be complete before the election. .... Labour members of the ISC are likely to remain loyal to Rifkind, but the senior Labour backbencher Tom Watson said: “If the chair of the intelligence committee no longer has the confidence of the prime minister, then he should not continue as chairman."

Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary when the CIA rendition scandal broke see: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006: On the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)

GREECE: ECRI report on Greece: (fifth monitoring cycle) Published on 24 February 2015 (pdf): "There has been a strong increase in the levels of incitement to racial hatred, in particular in the context of public discourse, including from representatives of political parties. Hatred is usually directed against immigrants, but also against Roma, Jews and Muslims. This situation is not adequately addressed and there is widespread impunity for acts of hate speech and insufficient official condemnation."

EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Joint survey by European regulators on website cookie usage finds improvement in information but cookies still being set without consent. (Press release, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: EU-USA: SWIFT: Legal Service Opinion (2009): Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations between the European Union and the United States of America for an international agreement to make available to the United States Treasury Department financial messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism and terrorist financing (doc. 11009/09 RESTREINT JAI 397 USA 43 RELEX 574 DATAPROTECT 42) - Legal basis (pdf) "RESTRICTED" document now Declassified.

European Parliament: Background documents for Interparliamentary Committee Meeting: "Smart Borders Package: European challenges, national experiences, the way ahead" (pdf)

International State Crime Initiative and Transnational Institute: "Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation" (link) by Louise Boon-Kuo, Ben Hayes, Vicki Sentas, Gavin Sullivan:

"“Building peace in permanent war”, the title chosen for this ground-breaking report, perfectly illustrates the paradox of terrorist listing and its pernicious impact on contemporary armed conflicts. Intra-state conflicts are asymmetrical in nature, with internationally-legitimised state actors opposing non-state armed groups (NSAGs) – often labelled or legally proscribed as ‘terrorist organisations’. National and international blacklisting regimes were allegedly introduced as legal instruments to prevent violent extremists from carrying out terrorist attacks and incentivise a behavioural change towards de-radicalisation. Instead, such regimes have been found to exacerbate conflicts by encouraging state repression of unarmed dissidents and thus fuelling radicalism."

News in Brief (24.2.15)

UK: The rise of an intelligence lobby threatens the rights of lawyers, journalists – and all of us (link) by Paul Lashmar

UK: Intelligence and Security Committee looking for new Chair: See: The Intelligence and Security Committee: the government’s white-washing body of choice - The ISC has completely missed the major scandals of the past decade: this “oversight” committee only hears about the activity of those it oversees via the newspapers. (New Statesman, link)

Here Comes the ACTA Attack - Again: Don't think they'll ever give up (Computerworld, link)

Polizei und Justiz in Bund und Ländern überlegen Abwehrmaßnahmen gegen privat genutzte Drohnen (netzpolitik.org, link) [Police and justice in the federal and state defensive measures against private use drones]

Dutch Defense Cyber Strategy — Revised February 2015 (Matthijs R. Koot's notebook, link)

European police neglecting right-wing extremism

An online platform set up so that Europe's police forces can exchange information on right-wing extremism is "not being used much", says a recent report by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). This is despite the rise to prominence of far-right parties and movements across Europe - in Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.

Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosts a 'Europol Platform for Experts' on right-wing extremism which is supposed to be used by police officers to "to share knowledge, best practices and non-personal data on crime." The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's Report, published at the end of November 2014 and covering the period from December 2012 to mid-October 2014, says: "The EPE facilitates contact and exchange of best practice between Member States' experts. The platform meets as required. For the time being it is not being used much by Member States and Europol."

Europol failed to provide any further details on the use of the platform - for example, how many meetings it has held and how many messages have been exchanged through it - despite repeated requests from Statewatch.

News in Brief (23.2.15)

Flying somewhere? The EU wants to add you to a giant database of passenger details (the journal.ie)

EU rights chief warns against ethnic profiling (euobserver, link)

Finland legislates gay and lesbian marriage (New Europe, link)

Is the EU’s ‘big data’ effective in fighting terror? (euronews, link)

Call for Amicus Briefs in Case Against Hungary's Data Retention Law (Liberties.eu, link)

‘Unity’ is main answer to terrorists and extremists, European Socialists agree in eight-point plan (Malta Today, link) and see Declaration: United against fear (pdf)

Frontex reconoce que el salvamento de inmigrantes no es su objetivo tras otra tragedia en Lampedusa (eldiario.es, link) (Frontex admits that saving immigrants is not their goal after another tragedy in Lampedusa): "After the death of nearly 300 people last Wednesday in several shipwrecks near Lampedusa, NGOs once again warned that Europe is not doing enough to save lives in the Mediterranean. Speaking to eldiario.es, deputy director of Frontex, Gil Arias, has proved them right: the aim of Frontex is to "prevent clandestine entry" he says, because it "does not have a mandate for maritime rescue". Following the replacement of the Italian operation 'Mare Nostrum' by the Frontex-led Joint Operation 'Triton', there is nothing remaining with search and rescue as an objective."

UK: Family of Alan Turing to demand government pardon 49,000 other men - Campaigners to bring petition to Downing Street, demanding all men convicted under gross indecency law for their homosexuality are pardoned (Guardian, link)

Security fears prompt US scrutiny of EU visa waivers (euobserver, link)

EU: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (and the CJEU) TO BE EXEMPT FROM HAVING TO DEPOSIT DOCUMENTS IN EU ARCHIVES - WHY?:

See: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC/Euratom) No 354/83, as regards the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions
at the European University Institute in Florence Adoption
(13 February, pdf): The Council to adopt is position stating:

"The Commission proposal will make it obligatory for all EU institutions to deposit their paper historical archives at the European University Institute in Florence. The purpose of the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the EUI is to provide access to these archives from a single location, to promote their consultation and to stimulate research into the history of European integration and the European institutions."

However, the same document say the adoption is to be based on document no: 6867/13 (pdf) which will apply to all EU institutions except that:

"the specific nature of the activities of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Central Bank (ECB) justifies their exclusion from the obligation set out in this Regulation to deposit their historical archives at the EUI. The CJEU and the ECB may deposit their historical archives at the EUI on a voluntary basis." [emphasis added]

NB: "the historical archives of the Union are preserved and are made available to the public wherever possible after the expiry of a period of 30 years"

It also seems odd, in the light of the changes made in the Lisbon Treaty Article 15.1 which extends the Regulation on public access to EU documents to all EU agencies and bodies too that this proposed Regulation does not appear to cover them as well.

EU: Council of the European Union:

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 (LIMITE doc no: 5952-15, pdf) Includes Multi-column document: Commission proposal, Council position, EP Orientation Vote and "compromise" position.

LEGAL AID: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 = Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 6177-15,pdf) Council developing its position before entering "trilogue" discussion s with European Parliament. With Member States' positions

VISA CODE: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) - State of play after the first examination of the articles and suggested way to move forward (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union working towards its position on the:Data Protection Regulation:

Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev2-14pdf) with 84 Footnotes including Member States' positions.

The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no:5627-rev1-15, pdf) with 137 Footnotes including Member States' positions.

German Delegation proposals: Consent (LIMITE doc no: 14703-rev3-14, pdf) and Right to be forgotten: dispute settlement (LIMITE doc no: 6031-15, pdf)

CYPRUS: Racist attack and violence against migrant by the police (KISA, link)

"KISA publicly denounces a new incident of racist violence, inhuman and humiliating treatment against a migrant by members of the police. More specifically, according to a Cypriot citizen that witnessed the incident, two policemen called a migrant walking in front of them to stop and when the migrant turned towards them one of the two policemen hit him so hard on the face that the migrant fell to the ground. Then the policemen handcuffed and arrested him without any resistance or action from the migrant’s side."

Brussels: ODYESSEUS Network: 2015 Summer School: EUROPEAN UNION LAW and POLICY on IMMIGRATION and ASYLUM, 29 June – 10 July 2015 at the UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES: "The aim of the Summer School is to provide its participants with an comprehensive understanding of the immigration and asylum policy of the European Union from a legal point of view. The programme is organised by the “Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe”, founded with the financial support of the Odysseus Programme of the European Commission and coordinated by the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles."

News in Brief (22.2.15)

European Parliament: PNR: Passenger Name Record - New measures to tackle crime and terrorism (link)

US travellers set for EU biometric dragnet (euobserver, link)

Lampedusa tragedy: An SOS the EU can no longer ignore (euobserver, link)

Nils Muižnieks: Racism, discrimination and hate speech “are on the rise” in France (CoE, link)

Poland to pay €230,000 to secret CIA prison inmates (New Europe, link): "After a damning verdict from the European Court of Human Rights, Poland has said it will compensate two persons, who were suspected of involvement in terrorism. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were held at a CIA secret prison that Poland agreed to host from 2002-2003"

NSA-GCHQ: The Great SIM Heist - How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle (The Intercept, link)

"AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data."

The article notes that "the intelligence agencies accessed the email and Facebook accounts of engineers and other employees of major telecom corporations and SIM card manufacturers in an effort to secretly obtain information that could give them access to millions of encryption keys... In effect, GCHQ clandestinely cyberstalked Gemalto employees, scouring their emails in an effort to find people who may have had access to the company’s core networks and Ki-generating systems."

Documents (pdfs):

See also: Google opposes plan to let FBI hack any computer in the world (The Telegraph, link)

And: European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft (The Intercept, link): "The European Parliament’s chief negotiator on the European Union’s data protection law, Jan Philipp Albrecht, said the hack was “obviously based on some illegal activities." “Member states like the U.K. are frankly not respecting the [law of the] Netherlands and partner states,” Albrecht told the Wall Street Journal."

EU: New information on undercover policing networks obtained by German parliamentary deputies

New information on the 2014 activities of European police cooperation groups and networks has been published by the German government, in response to questions from Die Linke parliamentary deputies. The answers include information on the work of Europe's secretive undercover policing coordination networks. However, the government claims - as it has done in the past - that many of the questions cannot be answered publicly, due to the need for confidentiality.

The questions concern a number of groups and networks, including:

UK blatantly obstructing EU free movement rights with red tape (Free Movement, link): "The UK is now blatantly obstructing EU free movement rights. As of 30 January 2015, a new Form EEA(FM) has been introduced for family members of EU nationals and of British citizens exercising Surinder Singh free movement rights. It is 129 pages long. The old version, called the EEA2, was 37 pages long. By comparison, the paper versions of forms for non EEA [European Economic Area] nationals applying as family members under UK domestic immigration rules are a grand total of 35 pages, and that includes all the interminable detail required for Appendix FM applications (VAF4A and VAF4A Appendix 2)."

See the 129-page form: EEA (FM) Version 01/2015: Application for a registration certificate or residence card as the family member of a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national (pdf)

Serbia: Asylum seekers and migrants left in cold (Medecins Sans Frontieres, link): "Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe are being left stranded in forests and abandoned buildings in Serbia in harsh winter temperatures without sufficient food or shelter, according to international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF teams are providing them with essential relief items and urgently needed medical care. At the same time, MSF is calling on the Serbian authorities and European Union member states to provide the asylum seekers with aid and protection."

See also the MSF photo collection: Gallery: Transit denied: stranded in cold Serbia (link). One response to the increasing number of migrants and refugees attempting to reach central and northern Europe via Hungary has simply been to try to stop them. See: Serbia Border Crisis: Germany Sends Police To Stem Kosovo Refugees Seeking Asylum In European Union (International Business Times)

GUANTANAMO: Australian David Hicks 'relieved' after terror conviction quashed (BBC News, link): "Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has expressed relief after a US court quashed his terrorism conviction. The Australian pleaded guilty at the base in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism. But a US court struck the conviction down on Wednesday, saying the charge was not a war crime and so should not have been heard at a military court."

See also: The collapse of Guantanamo's military commissions (Al Jazeera, link): "The news that the US Court of Military Commission Review has dismissed the conviction against David Hicks, the first prisoner convicted in Guantanamo's much-criticised military commission trial system, calls the future of the entire system into doubt."

And: Bad lieutenant: American police brutality, exported from Chicago to Guantánamo; How Chicago police condemned the innocent: a trail of coerced confessions (The Guardian, link)

UK: Monitoring the police: Latest news from Netpol (link)

The February 2015 newsletter of the Network for Police Monitoring looks at police attempts to set 'pay-to-protest' conditions; the use of anti-social behaviour dispersal powers beyond limits set by the law; police monitoring in Manchester and more. See also: The Network for Monitoring Monitoring (link) and Met police 'pay to protest' proposal rejected by campaigners (The Guardian, link)

UK: Revealed: Police arrests on Twitter and Facebook (politics.co.uk, link): "Over 355 people have been charged or cautioned for messages on social media, many of them for causing 'offence', new research has revealed.

"A report by Big Brother Watch found 6,329 people had been charged or cautioned under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and the Malicious Communications Act 1988, both pieces of legislation which precede the emergence of Facebook or Twitter."

See report: Careless Whispers: How speech is policed by outdated communications legislation (Big Brother Watch, pdf)

Spain: Leaked memo warns staff to keep an eye on gay people (Pink News, link): "A leaked memo that was shared to Madrid metro staff urged them to be vigilant went checking gay people’s tickets." See also: Madrid Metro suspends employee who ordered surveillance of gay passengers (El País, link)

News in Brief (20.2.15)

British Army soldier 'travels to join fight against Isis' (The Independent, link)

Dispatches: The Human Rights Case for Encryption (Human Rights Watch, link)

GERMANY: Fighting mass migration with fast-track asylum procedures (Deutsche Welle, link)

Making the invisible visible: An artist brings the surveillance state out of the shadows (IFEX, link)

UK: Campsfield House immigration centre expansion decision delayed (BBC News, link)

UK: Racism in the Premier League: The number of arrests for racist chanting per club over the last 13 seasons (The Independent, link)

UK: Skewed narratives and civil resistance against the arms trade in the UK (International State Crime Initiative, link)

USA: Businesses don't live in fear of animal rights activists. Why charge them as terrorists? (The Guardian, link)

USA: The Bleak Science Bankrolled by the Pentagon (Motherboard, link)

Western Balkans continue co-operation against terrorism, extremism (SETimes.com, link)

USA: Quibbling over torture: perspectives on "enhanced interrogation techniques"

"Much of the controversy over the recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) Detention and Interrogation (D&I) Program (SSCI Study) has focused on the CIA's use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) on certain detainees. Background information on what, when, why and how EITs were used (and what restrictions currently apply) provides context for this examination of current perspectives on the use of EITs by U.S. government agencies. The Appendix provides a non-exhaustive list of ten EITs approved for use by the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) in January 2003, with brief guidelines on their use."

SWEDEN: Authorities waiting for EU PNR Directive to upgrade passenger surveillance systems

Police seeking information on airline passengers in Sweden have to receive it by fax or collect it from airlines in person, but are apparently waiting for EU legislation on PNR before setting up digital databases.

UK: Government concedes polices on lawyer-client snooping were unlawful (Reprieve, link): "The UK Government has today conceded that its policies governing the ability of intelligence agencies to spy on lawyer-client communications were unlawful, in response to a case brought by two victims of an MI6-orchestrated ‘rendition’ operation."

See also: After Brit spies 'snoop' on families' lawyers, UK govt admits: We flouted human rights laws (The Register, link)

CANADA: ‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say (The Global and Mail, link): "The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation."

The leaked report: Criminal Threats to the Canadian Petroleum Industry (pdf)

And see: 9 weirdest things about this RCMP intelligence report on the "anti-petroleum movement" (Press Progress, link)

News in Brief (19.2.15)

EU: Nick Griffin helps launch new European far-right party (Searchlight, link)

FRANCE: 'We're racist': Chelsea fans block black man from train (Channel 4 News, link)

NORWAY: Norwegian Muslims will form a human shield around an Oslo synagogue (The Washington Post, link)

UK: Six arrested as police help in evictions from London estate (The Guardian, link)

European court confirms Poland's complicity in CIA rendition (euobserver, link):

"A European Court of Human Rights ruling that Poland allowed a secret CIA jail on its soil became final on Tuesday (17 February) after the court rejected an appeal request. The Strasbourg court last July found the Polish government had colluded with the CIA to establish the secret detention facility at the Stare Kiejkuty military base. The court said Poland had failed to launch a proper investigation into human rights violations on two individuals who had been tortured at the CIA prison camp in 2002 and 2003." and see: Poland’s complicity in CIA torture programme confirmed as European Court rejects Warsaw’s appeal (BIJ, link)

And: Parliament to resume investigations into CIA led operations in EU countries (pdf) See also Statewatch Observatory on EU-CIA Rendition and detention and ECHR Press Release (pdf)

UK-GCHQ:Thousands sign petition to discover if GCHQ spied on them - Privacy International campaign comes after tribunal rules that sharing between US and UK of intercepted communications was unlawful (Guardikan, link)

Sign up: Did GCHQ illegally spy on you? (link) and see Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance

INCREASING RESILIENCE IN SURVEILLANCE SOCIETIES (IRISS): Recommendations to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on access rights, in the context of the European data protection reform (pdf):

"The right of access to personal data is a central feature of European data protection law. It is, arguably, the most important of the so-called “ARCO” data protection rights (access, rectification, cancellation, opposition) because, if one cannot discover what is held about oneself, it is not possible to exercise the remainder of these rights. Furthermore, the right of access to personal data is essential to uncovering illegal and illegitimate surveillance practices.".

News in Brief (18.2.15)

Lampedusa migrant centre conditions 'desperate' after rescues (BBC News, link)

'Guantanamo of the East': Ukraine Locks Up Refugees at EU's Behest (Spiegel Online, link)

France pushes for security spending to be recognised as development aid (euractiv, link)

Importance of data privacy and transparency in the UK highlighed by Investigatory Powers Tribunal decision (bn blog, link)

Danish agents were warned about gunman Omar El-Hussein (BBC News, link)

EU: UNICEF report: Children’s rights in return policy and practice in Europe (pdf): "A discussion paper on the return of unaccompanied and separated children to institutional reception or family"

European Parliament: PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: Draft reports: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) and Legal Affairs Committee (pdf). See: Commission proposal (pdf)

NETHERLANDS: DATA RETENTION: Dutch DPA opinion about post-ECJ data retention bill: “disproportionate infringement of private life” (link):

""The Dutch DPA notes the government holds on to a general data retention obligation. The Dutch DPA therefore concludes the infringement of the private life of virtually all Dutch citizens is too big and disproportionate.

It furthermore finds that 3 other preconditions have not been met that remain important, even if the data retention obligation were to be restricted. These are:

1. the need to inform people that their data have been accessed after a criminal investigation has been finalised;
2. transparency on the use of retained data, for example through the release of statistics on the number of times data have been accessed;
3. the need to introduce exemptions for those bound by a duty of professional confidentiality."

See also: Dutch DPA says government's data retention plans still illegal - Watchdog wants legislation canned (The Register, link)

UK: National Crime Agency must claw back more criminal assets, MPs say: Commons home affairs select committee says the £22.5m NCA recovered in first year is dwarfed by agency’s ‘half a billion pound’ budget (Guardian, link) and see: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Evaluating the new architecture of policing: the College of Policing and the National Crime Agency (pdf)

News in Brief (17.1.15)

Update from the ongoing deportations of migrants from the externalized border of the European Union (beating the borders (link): ""On Tuesday, 10th of February, the Moroccan authorities launched a large-scale operation to arrest and deport hundreds of migrants. They tormed the Gurugu mountain, destroying and burning the camp, and arresting around a thousand people who were than brought into a makeshift camp."

Spain And Portugal Strengthen Exchange Of Information On Jihadis, Radicalization (Eurasia Review, link)

One year on: where are the far-right forces of Ukraine? (Channel 4 News, link)

Italy voices cautious approach to chaos in Libya (euobserver, link)

Real Media Gathering 2015 (link) a series of events and actions to campaign against media distortion and for independent grassroots journalism.

CANADA: Troubled times ahead with new anti-terror legislation (rabble.ca, link)

The Frontex Failure (link): "I wanted to stop the deaths at sea. So I and a group of professionals founded MOAS. Last year MOAS rescued 3,000 migrants in distress. Men, women and children forced by humanitarian or economic reasons cross the deadliest border in the world: the Mediterranean Sea. We are getting ready to head out in May and we need your help to get funded. No one deserves to die at sea."

EU: "FORCED RETURNS": Frontex quarterly report (FRAN: Frontex Risk Analysis Network): statistics on irregular migration (2MB, pdf) shows there were 74,262 "forced returns" in the last recorded year (p61).

EU: CJEU: Advocate General (AG) Sharpston: Opinion: 12 February 2015, Case C.554/13 (pdf): The AG says that if an undocumented person is suspected of a criminal offence then the authorities do not need to wait for the legal process to be completed in order to deport the person

CoE: Survey on European prisons - The economic crisis hampers improvement of conditions in European prisons (link) and see: Penal statustics (pdf) and Executive Summary (pdf)

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them (pdf): "FRA research has highlighted the risk that domestic EU Member State legislation on the facilitation of entry and stay may lead to the punishment of those who provide humanitarian assistance..."

News in Brief (16.2.15)

NHS database: Shallow response from MSPs shows heads in sand over Scottish ID Database (Open Rights Scotland, link)

French calls to rewrite Schengen code fall on deaf ears (euractiv, link)

Swiss immigration law to deepen impasse with EU (euobserver, link)

How data privacy is turning into an Orwellian maze (betanews, link)

Euro ministers trade data for data protection – yes, your passenger records Lawmakers still worried about legality of blanket retention (The Register, link)

Delivering pizza, making films ... now safety fears grow over use of drones: As companies scramble to discover new uses for small unmanned aircraft, critics fear changes to laws will ignore privacy issues (The Observer, link) and Amazon dismayed by proposed FAA rules on commercial use of drones: Federal agency would ban use of commercial drones out of operators’ sight: Amazon will ‘deploy where we have regulatory support we need’ (Guardian, link)

MI5 accused of covering up sexual abuse at boys’ home - Court case to address alleged cover-up of British state involvement at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland (Guardian, link): "MI5 is facing allegations it was complicit in the sexual abuse of children, the high court in Northern Ireland will hear on Tuesday. Victims of the abuse are taking legal action to force a full independent inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to testify and the security service to hand over documents. The case, in Belfast, is the first in court over the alleged cover-up of British state involvement at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s."

Europe shocked by Copenhagen terror attack (euobserver, link)

Revealed: indefinite detention of asylum seeker is based on conviction secured by torture: Exclusive: Sayed Abdellatif faces a lifetime of indefinite detention in Australia because of an adverse Asio assessment relying on evidence from an Egyptian court which documents show was obtained by torture (Guardian, link)

EU: A Death Sentence for Migrants (New York Times, link) and AI Petition: Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders! (link)

Poverty spurs mass migration from Kosovo (euractiv, link)

Macedonian opposition releases new wiretaps exposing the government (euractiv, link)

Anti-euro party AfD enters state parliament in Hamburg (euobserver, link)

Spy agencies fund climate research in hunt for weather weapon, scientist fears - US expert Alan Robock raises concern over who would control climate-altering technologies if research is paid for by intelligence agencies (Guardian, link): "The use of the weather as a weapon was banned in 1978 under the Environmental Modification Convention (Enmod)."

A lost opportunity for improving access to justice in environmental matters: the CJEU on the invocability of the Aarhus Convention (EU Law Analysis, link)

High price paid by asylum seekers on reaching Europe’s affluent nations - Institute of Race Relations questions commitment to human rights after analysis of people who died in detention (Guardian, link): "Analysis by the London-based Institute of Race Relations thinktank found that the highest numbers of deaths of asylum seekers and migrants were in some of the most affluent countries, with the UK having the third largest death toll, during a period mostly governed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition."

GREECE: Joint statement by Amnesty International and Greek Council for Refugees: New government's announcement of ending the policy of indefinite detention a step in the right direction (pdf):

"The Greek Council for Refugees and Amnesty International welcome the announcement by Giannis Panousis, the Deputy Minister for Public Order that the authorities will cease to detain third country nationals held under return orders indefinitely. The Deputy Minister for Public Order made the announcement two days ago in his first policy speech before the Greek Parliament."

EU: European Parliament: Draft report on ‘Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (pdf): The Draft Report prepared by Rapporteur Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL) calls for coherence of the EU's internal policies on ICT and its external actions. ICTs in all policies should advance human rights.

EU: The European Union and State Secrets: a fully evolving institutional framework…in the wrong direction (2) (ASFJ, link):

"In a passionate intervention before the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) on January 8 the European Ombudsman has denounced the fact that: “For the first time in its twenty year history, the European Ombudsman was denied its right under Statute to inspect an EU institution document, even under the guarantee of full confidentiality, as part of an inquiry… This power to inspect documents is fundamental to the democratic scrutiny role of the Ombudsman and acts as a guarantor of certain fundamental rights to the EU citizen.”

The case concerned Europol’s refusal to give access to a Joint Surpervisory Body (JSB) report on the implementation of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement (known as “SWIFT” agreement)."

See: Ombudsman's speech: Europol-TFTP (pdf)

A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE: Google boss warns of 'forgotten century' with email and photos at risk - Digital material including key historical documents could be lost forever because programs to view them will become defunct, says Vint Cerf (Guardian, link)

"Piles of digitised material – from blogs, tweets, pictures and videos, to official documents such as court rulings and emails – may be lost forever because the programs needed to view them will become defunct, Google’s vice-president has warned....

The warning highlights an irony at the heart of modern technology, where music, photos, letters and other documents are digitised in the hope of ensuring their long-term survival. But while researchers are making progress in storing digital files for centuries, the programs and hardware needed to make sense of the files are continually falling out of use."

EU leaders want tighter border controls (euobserver, link):

"Tighter border control checks on travel and ID documents of EU nationals leaving or entering the EU are also on the cards as leaders called for the European commission to revise the so-called Schengen border code....

The EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, at a European Parliament civil liberties committee in late January, told MEPs to "never let a serious crisis go to waste”.... But civil liberty defenders warn of a power grab by governments and law authorities for the sake of creating a perception of greater security. The point was driven by one EU-funded study that found that out of the 88 legally binding rules in the EU counter-terrorism portfolio, 50 had yet or are not fully transposed into national law as of 2013."

European Parliament: Study: Cross-border parental child abduction in the European Union (4.5 MB, 415 pages, pdf): "a “jointdecision” reached through the active cooperation of specialised national courts within the EU is proposed. This involves special judicial training – with language and intercultural skills – for international family disputes."

USA: CRS report: DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, and Grants (pdf): "Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the fundamental building block for an individual’s entire genetic makeup. DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement investigations because each person’s DNA is different from that of every other individual (except for identical twins). DNA can be extracted from a number of sources, such as hair, bone, teeth, saliva, and blood."

MACEDONIA: Mass Surveillance Endangers Freedom of Expression in Macedonia (pdf)

Counter-terrorism policy and re-analysing extremism (IRR, link):

"edited transcript of a talk given by Arun Kundnani, author of ‘The Muslims are coming: Islamophobia, extremism and the domestic war on terror’, in January 2015, shortly after the Paris killings....The situation we find ourselves in is not entirely new.

Most of what we’ve seen over the last few days is familiar from the Rushdie affair, from the moment after 9/11, the moment after 7/7, the moment after the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2006. Now with the attack on Charlie Hebdo, we see narratives emerging that, in their essentials, are exactly the same: the clash of values, the idea that on ‘their side’ is extremism and violence and on ‘our side’ is liberalism and modernity. So, once again, we are trying to find a place to stand between these two camps of militarised identity politics and the question for us, as anti-racists,"

Statewatch Analysis: Bringing the Panopticon Home: the UK joins the Schengen Information System (Word file): by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"Over two hundred years ago, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham devised the concept of the 'Panopticon': a prison designed so that a jailer could in principle watch any prisoner at any time. His theory was that the mere possibility of constant surveillance would induce good behaviour in prison inmates. In recent years, his idea for a panopticon has become a form of shorthand for describing developments of mass surveillance and social control."

EU: MEPs break deadlock on airline passenger bill (euobserver, link). The European Parliament voted for a Resolution on anti-terrorism (pdf) with the following Amendment (pdf) which, contrary to the headline, shows there is still a very long way to go, in particular the amendment::

"urges the Commission to set out the consequences of the ECJ judgment on the Data Retention Directive and its possible impact on the EU PNR Directive; encourages the Council to make progress on the Data Protection package so that trilogues on both – EU PNR Directive and Data Protection Package – could take
place in parallel
.
" [emphasis added]

And see: Press release: Passenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say (pdf)

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Lampedusa: another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means (link):

"“I am appalled by the news of over 300 migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. This is another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means. These deaths, which follow those of 29 migrants who died of hypothermia, put into question the decision to end the full-scale search-and-rescue mission Mare Nostrum in 2014,” said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).... It is a question of life or death and all European states must stand in solidarity with countries of origins, Southern Mediterranean countries, and all those who are forced to flee conflict and persecution,” Ms Brasseur declared."

The International State Crime Initiative and the Transnational Institute invites you to the launch of the report: Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation (pdf): Tuesday, 24 February 2015, 5:45pm for 6pm launch start, GO Jones Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS London, United Kingdom

News in brief (12.2.15)

Ruling on UK intelligence services opens way for litigation re decades of snooping (UnderCoverInfo, link)

London mayor impressed with NYPD’s surveillance methods (Daily News, link)

Charlie Hebdo sellers should not be asked for readers' details, says top officer - Counter-extremism chief Sir Peter Fahy says action was only taken to establish any concerns and admits it appeared ‘over-zealous and unnecessary’ (Guardian, link)

Hundreds of migrants feared dead in Mediterranean this week - Drowning of over 300 migrants this week raises concerns over Europe’s reduced coastguard rescue operations (Guardian, link)

MEPs call on member states to admit CIA torture role - The resolution comes in response to a US Senate report (European Vocie, link)

Blighty quietly signs deal to read giant EU border control database -Huge pile of personal data was just too tempting to turn down (The Register, link): "Despite refusing to sign up to the Schengen Area – an area of free movement within the EU which is not subject to passport controls, so named after the Schengen Agreement which created it – the UK wants access to the EU's Schengen database of more than 250,000 alerts for criminals and missing people. The database includes information on 37,000 European Arrest Warrants and 60,000 missing children and vulnerable adults. Warnings from other countries will automatically appear on Blighty's Police National Computer and on border watch lists."

Report: Annual European prison statistics (CoE, link)

EU ‘burying heads in the sand’ as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy (AI, link) and Watch - Up to 300 migrants die in tragedy off Lampedusa; Amnesty International hits out (Independent.mt, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says as many as 300 people are now unaccounted-for in the latest tragedy among migrants crossing the frigid Mediterranean.

The spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Carlotta Sami, says survivors have confirmed the existence of a fourth rubber boat that left Libya on Sunday. In a statement, the UNHCR says that means some 300 people are missing. Earlier, the agency cited survivors as saying 203 people had died in the crossing."

Strage di migranti a Lampedusa, i testimoni: oltre trecento morti. "Costretti a partire sotto la minaccia delle armi" (Massacre of migrants in Lampedusa, witnesses: three hundred dead. "Forced to leave under the threat of arms") (R.it, link):

"Found two other rafts on which there were only nine refugees: the other occupants may have been swept away by the waves. The survivors say they were forced to embark by the smugglers with weapons in hand. The bodies will arrive in Porto Empedocle. UNHCR: the victims are 232. Then one of the survivors said: was fourth boat with a hundred other people. Gentiloni: Triton's mission "is not enough" [translation]

European Parliament: Plenary session Press release: Passenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say (pdf) :

"To protect the EU against terrorist attacks and yet safeguard citizens’ rights, MEPs advocate de-radicalisation programmes, stepping up checks at Schengen area external borders, and better information exchange among EU member states, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They urge member states to make faster progress
on the Data Protection Package, so that talks could proceed in parallel with those on an EU Passenger Name Record proposal and thus deliver a full set of EU data
protection rules.

The joint resolution was approved by 532 votes to 136, with 36 abstentions."

Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism (The Intercept, link):

"Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only and obtained by The Intercept...

Arun Kundnani, a professor at New York University, said that enlisting communities in the way the administration suggests in the guide, “leads a range of non-policing professionals to cast particular suspicion on Muslim populations and profile them for behaviors that have no real connection to criminality.”

Kundnani also questioned the science behind the rating system. “There’s no evidence to support the idea that terrorism can be substantively correlated with such factors to do with family, identity, and emotional well-being,” he said."

LInk to Document (link)

EU: Council of the European Union: Regulation on Data Protection: One-Stop-Shop:

UK: British delegation: To: Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) Subject: 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) - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no 5572-15, pdf): "We thank Ireland, the French and German delegations and the Presidency for the papers they have submitted. We have studied these and appreciate their constructiveness, outlining possible qualitative and quantitative filters that seek to prevent an EDPB being overloaded by cases."

Irish Delegation (LIMITE doc no 5545-15, pdf)
Austrian delegation (LIMITE doc no: 5571-15, pdf)
General Data Protection Regulation - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 5315-15, pdf) From German and French delegations

EU: Council of the European Union: New Directive on the "Free movement" of personal data between 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 (LIMITE doc no 15391-14,145 pages, pdf) With 615 Member State positions

EU: Council of the European Union: Judicial response to terrorism = State of play and next steps (LIMITE doc no: 5917-15, pdf)

UK: INQUEST: Deaths in Mental Health Detention: An investigation framework fit for purpose? (pdf):

"On Wednesday 11 February, in parliament, INQUEST launches a ground breaking evidence based report Deaths in Mental Health Detention: An investigation framework fit for purpose? The report is based on INQUEST’s work with families of those who have died in mental health settings and related policy work. It identifies three key themes: 1. The number of deaths and issues relating to their reporting and monitoring. 2. The lack of an independent system of pre-inquest investigation as compared to other deaths in detention. 3. The lack of a robust mechanism for ensuring post-death accountability and learning."

European Parliament: Draft Opinions: Committee on Constitutional Affairs for the Committee on International Trade on Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (pdf): "to create a mandatory transparency register to be used by all European institutions in order to have a full overview on the lobbying activities associated with the TTIP negotiations."

- Committee on Legal Affairs for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the proposal for a Council regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (pdf)

- Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan’ (2014/2151(INI)) Committee on Legal Affairs (pdf)

News in Brief (11.2.15)

UK: Hundreds set to gather today for funeral of tragic scooter teen Henry Hicks (Islington Gazette, link): "Henry, of Liverpool Road, Islington, was on a black Vespa scooter when it hit a parked car on Wheelwright Street, near the junction of Roman Way, and went into the path of an oncoming Saab. He was being followed by a police car, believed to have had its blue light flashing, and the four officers in the car have been served with gross misconduct notices by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)." and see: Henry Hicks death: Four police officers hit with gross misconduct notice (link)

Police from several UK forces seek details of Charlie Hebdo readers - Newsagents in three counties questioned about sales of the French magazine’s special issue (Guardian, link): "Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to monitor sales of a special edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine following the Paris attacks, the Guardian has learned. Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine...

Migrants rescued by Italian coast guard die of hypothermia (France 24, link) and see: Video: The deadly Mediterranean migrant routes (France24, link)

UK: Clegg urges May to pass law protecting journalistic sources from police - Deputy prime minister calls for legislation to be passed before election ensuring judicial warrant is needed to access reporters’ phone and email data (Guardian, link)

ECHR: Court: Poland and Belgium want new Grand Chamber hearings on key terror judgements (link): "Next week, judges will consider requests from Poland and Belgium for new Grand Chamber hearings into court judgments concerning terrorism and secret rendition."

EU: European Commission:State of Play: Readmission and "facilitation": International agreements in the process of negotiation DG HOME – European Commission (pdf)

USA: National Security Strategy, February 2015 (pdf)

"Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security interests must begin with an undeniable truth—America must lead. Strong and sustained American leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples. The question is never whether America should lead, but how we lead....

We will protect our investment in foundational capabilities like the nuclear deterrent, and we will grow our investment in crucial capabilities like cyber; space; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance....We have not and will not collect signals intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent or to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies."

EU's Intelligence Centre (INTCEN): Overseas embassies to have new intelligence "security attaches": No new mandate for EU intelligence centre (euobserver, link): "the bulk of its work is based on classified briefs which it receives from around 10 member states’ national intelligence agencies. It also collates information from the EU’s overseas embassies, which are to have new security attaches, from the EU’s civilian and military crisis missions, and from the EU’s joint police and border control agencies - Europol and Frontex. It hoovers up open source information from the internet."

The European External Action Service is responsible for running 139 EU Delegations and Offices operating around the world.

See: Statewatch Analysis: Secrecy reigns at the EU’s Intelligence Analysis Centre (pdf)

European Parliament: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program:: Legal opinion on the European Ombudsman's access to documents concerning Europol's activities under the TFTP Agreement (pdf)

News in Brief (10.2.15)

We'll ask GCHQ to DELETE records of 'MILLIONS' of people – Privacy International - 'Illegal' spying tribunal ruling fallout (The Register, link)

Macedonia opposition leader says PM ordered 'massive wire-tapping' (euractiv, link)

HUNGARY: The baby that divided a nation (BBC News, link): "As 2015 began, a boy was born in Hungary - the country's first baby of the year. But his family who are Roma, or Gypsy as they prefer to be known, found themselves at the centre of a national debate about racism."

Lampedusa, 29 migranti morti assiderati. “Siamo tornati a prima di Mare Nostrum” (Lampedusa, 29 migrants frozen to death. "We came before Mare Nostrum") (link)

Detention for asylum seekers could be reduced to nine months (Malta Today, link): "The maximum detention period for asylum seekers is expected to be reduced from a mandatory 12 months to nine months, according to plans by the government to amend the Immigration Act. The amendments are in response to demands by the Council of Europe’s committee of ministers, calling upon Malta to adhere to rulings by the European Court of Human Rights after three migrants successfully challenged their prolonged detention."

PM: Malta ‘will not oppose checks on travellers’ (Times of Malta, link): "Systematic checks on travellers at airports and seaports should not be ruled out in order to enhance European security, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat."

EU: Parliament resists pressure on passenger data ahead of EU summit (euractiv, link): "Green and Liberal MEPs are resisting the proposal for a pan-European Passenger Name Records (PNR) database in the face of mounting political pressure before a summit this week in which heads of state will press them to adopt the measure urgent"

German Data Protection Commissioners Take Action Against EU Data Transfers To US Under 'Safe Harbor' Program (Techdirt, link)

Why Violence Is Flaring at Europe’s Border Crossings (OSF, link)

UK: Should ALL British police officers be armed with Tasers? Officers vote tomorrow to decide (Mirror, link) and Police Federation votes for Tasers for uniformed officers - Critics say issuing stun guns to every frontline officer to counter terror threat would change face of British policing (Guardian, link)

UK: Thousands of armed police dispatched to routine incidents (The Independent, link)

International Crime and Policing Conference 2015 - Home Office conference explores thinking on cutting crime in a changing world. (HO, link) and Speech: Home Secretary at the International Crime & Policing Conference (link)

1995 – 2015: Thousands of deaths off the coast of Mayotte. The ‘Balladur visa’ kills! (Migreurop, link)

Samsung rejects concern over 'Orwellian' privacy policy - Smart TV voice recognition software could transmit ‘personal or other sensitive information’ to a third party, Samsung’s policy warns (Guardian, link)

Joan Burton protest: Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy released (BBC News, link): "An Irish member of parliament who was arrested over an anti-water charges protest that trapped the deputy prime minister in her car has been released."

Spain: New counter-terrorism proposals would infringe basic human rights (AI, link): "The proposed definition of terrorism includes so many crimes that it is rendered virtually meaningless. The parliament should reject any proposals that would violate basic rights."

Joint call: No to the wall of shame in Calais! (Migreurop, link): "Is France going to have its very own Ceuta and Melilla in Calais, 12 years after the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp? The growing number of migrants who have been in the Calais area for a few months is leading our rulers to take a dangerous step that contravenes migrant freedom and respect for their rights." and in French (link)

Mission plage pour EUBAM Libya (Bruxelles2, link): EUBAM operation turns into an expensive holiday camp?: An article by Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Highlights that the expensive EUBAM mission to Libya to improve border controls in the north African country is ineffective due to the security situation which forced its personnel to retreat to Tunisia and Malta last July. Gros-Verheyde notes that 26m euros were allocated for the mission's first year of operation (ending in May 2015), and that around 12m euros would be made available for subsequent years (between 12m and 14m euros) in spite of lower numbers of staff involved. The mission is supposedly continuing from abroad, to keep contacts with its counterparts with a view to returning to Libya when it will be possible through "telework"

He cites EU diplomats as ironically referring to the mission as "the beach in Tunis". The mission's goals are to improve border controls at its northern (sea), western and southern borders, with fighting terrorism and crime listed as further purposes. The article also notes the considerable funds allocated to this mission in relation to the overall budget for PESC (external and security policy) which is 16 m euros and that OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office) has opened an investigation into the
EUBAM mission.

We stand with Shaker Aamer (link):

"We Stand With Shaker is a new campaign calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, a legal British resident, with a British wife and four British children, who is still held at Guantánamo, even though he has twice been approved for release by the US authorities -- under President Bush in 2007 and under President Obama in 2009. In addition, the British government has been calling for his return since 2007."

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Council of the European Union: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government - Draft statement of the Members of the European Council (LIMITE doc no 6010-15,, 6 February 2015, pdf): including:

"adequate measures to be taken to detect and remove internet content promoting terrorism or extremism, including through greater cooperation between public authorities and the private sector at EU level, working with Europol to establish internet referral capabilities"

and Draft Council Conclusions on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no 5897-15, 6 February 2015, pdf): including: "Exploring the possibility of creating a Round of
Eminent Persons from Europe and the Muslim world, to encourage more intellectual exchanges and promote wider thematic dialogues on the roots and ramifications of terrorism and radicalisation on our societies."
and "Reinforcing, within the existing parameters, the role of EU INTCEN [Inteligence Centre] as the hub for strategic intelligence assessment at EU level, including on counter-terrorism."

UK: New Code of Pactice: "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"

- the code applies to "any interference (whether remotely or otherwise)"
- to "locate and examine, remove, modify or substitute equipment hardware or software"
- to "enable and facilitate surveillance activity by means of the equipment"
(p5)

In language strikingly similar to GCHQ;'s 4Ds (p2, pdf) "Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive" the Home Office Security Minister said on 6 February 2015 the purpose was to: “identify, track and disrupt the most sophisticated targets”. See: Codes of practice under Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Equipment Interference Code of Practice (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"The adoption of such sweeping new surveillance powers should be the subject of primary legislation and not sneaked through in a Code of Practice under RIPA 2000 - which is not limited to terrorism and serious crime but covers all crime. They would allow the intelligence and security agencies to access any computer or smartphone not just to carry out surveillance but also to alter and/or change the content."

See on law enforcement agencies use of "remote access" Statewatch analysis: EU agrees rules for remote computer access by police forces – but fails, as usual, to mention – the security and intelligence agencies (pdf) and EU: Welcome to the new world of the interception of telecommunications (Statewatch database)

News in Brief (9.2.15)

Videosurveillance and privacy in a transatlantic perspective (ASFJ, link): "According to the words of Simson Garfinkel, it might then be concluded that: "The future we’re rushing toward isn’t one in which our every move is watched and recorded by some all-knowing Big Brother. It is instead a future of a hundred kid brothers who constantly watch and interrupt our daily lives. Orwell thought the Communist system represented the ultimate threat to individual liberty. Over the next fifty years, we will see new kinds of threats to privacy that find their roots not in Communism but in capitalism, the free market, advanced technology and the unbridled exchange of electronic information."

No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer - British politicians keep trying to sneak the Snoopers’ Charter into law – even when it is obvious that the last thing you need when looking for a needle in a haystack is more hay (Guardian, link)

Germany approves Bill to establish collective action for enforcement of consumer/data protection rights (Privacy, Law & Business, link)

Immigration clandestine : les exigences de Paris et de Berlin - Dans une lettre que "Le Point" s'est procurée, Bernard Cazeneuve et son homologue allemand demandent à Bruxelles de prendre ses responsabilités.(Le Point.fr, link): ""Paris and Berlin intend to take the reins of the European migration
policy. In a joint letter to the Commissioner of Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the French and German interior ministers, Bernard Cazeneuve and Thomas de Maizière, have demanded the installation of a device to monitor the movements of "suspects boats near the Turkish and Cypriot coasts." At the heart of the project is the formation of a round-the-clock Frontex team. The objective: to improve the response speed of the States when one of these boats is located."

USA: Border Infrastructure: Photographing the US-Mexico Border (Border Criminologies, link)

UK: How to reverse surge in religious hate crime? (BBC News, link) and Punish hate crime on social media with internet asbos, say MPs (Guardian, link)

UK: Climate change marchers told to hire private security firm - Campaign Against Climate Change says Britons now have to ‘pay to protest’ after police refuse to close roads along route (The Observer, link)

Why ‘I Am Not Charlie’ (link) by Gus John, an associate professor of education and honorary fellow of the Institute of Education, University of London.

HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions - Data in massive cache of leaked secret bank account files lift lid on questionable practices at subsidiary of one of world’s biggest financial institutions (Guardian, link)

The Guardian view on GCHQ: snooping beyond the law: Editorial: Intelligence swapping with the Americans had been breaking the law for years. Without Edward Snowden, it still would be (link) and: GCHQ: 7+ years of spying on lawyers/clients heralds mistrials claims (undercoverinfo, link)

See also: GCHQ: IPT Ruling on Interception (link)

USA: Feds had a hand in PRISM, too (The Register, link) and see: Department of Justice report on FBI (2.5 MB, podf)

GCHQ: UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ - Regulations governing access to intercepted information obtained by NSA breached human rights laws, according to Investigatory Powers Tribunal (Guardian, link):

"The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.... The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established in 2000 that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UK’s intelligence agencies. It said that the government’s regulations were illegal because the public were unaware of safeguards that were in place. Details of those safeguards were only revealed during the legal challenge at the IPT."

See: IPT Judgment (pdf) and IPT Order (pdf)

and see: ‘Enemy within’ GCHQ monitoring declared unlawful; and their sister organisations? (undercoverinfo, link) and: GCHQ-NSA intelligence sharing unlawful, says UK surveillance tribunal (Privacy International, link): "While we welcome today’s decision, Privacy International and Bytes for All disagree with the tribunal’s earlier conclusion that the forced disclosure of a limited subset of rules governing intelligence-sharing and mass surveillance is sufficient to make GCHQ’s activities lawful as of December 2014. Both organisations will shortly lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights challenging the tribunal’s December 2014 decision."

EU: European Parliament: Request for a legal opinion on the European Ombudsman's access to documents concerning Europol's activities under the TFTP Agreement (pdf)

UK-GERMANY: Britain 'threatens to stop sharing intelligence' with Germany - British intelligence officials have threatened to stop sharing information if Germany presses ahead with a parliamentary inquiry into British and American spying, a German news magazine claims (Daily Telegraph, link)

See: German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal (Wikipedia, link)

UK: Detention of mentally ill people in police cells needs to end, say MPs - ‘These people are not criminals,’ says home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz of the more than 6,000 detained last year (Guardian, link).

See Home Affairs Select Committee report: Policing and mental health (pdf)

News in Brief (6.2.15)

UK: Culture secretary Sajid Javid: journalism is not terrorism - The Conservative MP signalled the government will amend the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act before May’s election (Guardian, link) Comment: This still leaves open the question of the surveillance of communications between lawyers and their clients, doctors and other professionals' guarantee of privacy

Why Violence Is Flaring at Europe’s Border Crossings (OSF, link)

UK: As we celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carta, an ambivalent attitude towards justice will cost us all (Justice Alliance, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Interpol: interoperabilty with MSs, JHA-Relex Outcomes and Overstayers in the EU

LEAs accessing multiple databases: Interpol project on interoperability - A practical development for enhanced police cooperation within EU Member States (LIMITE doc no: 10094-14, pdf):

"The current development aims at striving towards one search or one input being valid for several systems and thus saving time for the police operator as well as increasing the police efficiency (also in order to carefully allocate human and financial resources). Those developments which need be taken into consideration for pilot projects and can serve as a starting point include the following:

- UMF2 (driven by Europol where INTERPOL is involved)
- Siena (developed by Europol) ¡V Extension in EU countries;
- IXP (information exchange platform) ¡V concept developed by Europol;
-.link users worldwide by INTERPOL

JHA-RELEX: Summary of conclusions of the meeting of the JHA-RELEX Working Party (JAIEX) on 3 June 2014 (LIMITE doc no: 11006-14, pdf)

Overstayers in the EU: methodology of gathering statistics; preventive measures; penalties (LIMITE dco no: 5194-15, pdf): The Council Presidency is looking at the harmoinsation of laws on dealing with people who overstay their visitors permint and who may enter the EU through one Member State and exit through another "without an appropriate sanction" . In 2013 there:

"were 344,888 detections of illegal stay in the EU....The overstayers detected in the EU are third-country nationals who have exceeded the authorised period of stay, most of them being short-stay visa holders"

EU: EUROJUST: Foreign Fighters: Eurojust’s Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response: Updated Report (pdf)

How the government makes you into a terrorist without ever arresting you (CAGE, link): By Asim Qureshi:

"In this piece, Asim Qureshi Research Director at CAGE takes us through how a routine stop under Schedule 7 and its specially engineered questions, can lead to oppressive civil orders leaving the individual having been declared guilty without judicial oversight, left to prove their innocence. Further, concerns about the implementation of the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill which seeks to arbitrarily impose orders under the elusive idea of “extremism”.

EU: PNR & DATA PROTECTION: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: [Press Release] Statement on the EU PNR system (CNIL, link): "The members of the Article 29 Working Party discussed this issue at their plenary meeting of 3 and 4th February on the basis of the analysis contained in the group’s previous opinions..... The Article 29 Working Party recalls that it is not in principle either in favour of or opposed to PNR data collection schemes. However, such an interference with the fundamental rights would be permissible only if its necessity was to be demonstrated and the principle of proportionality respected.

UK: Police will need judge’s permission to access journalists’ phone and email records - David Cameron accepts recommendation for judicial oversight of police use of anti-terror powers to snoop on reporters (Guardian, link):

"Sir Anthony May, the interception of communications commissioner, said police forces “did not give due consideration to freedom of speech” and Home Office guidelines do not sufficiently protect journalistic sources."

See: Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office: IOCCO inquiry into the use of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to identify journalistic sources (pdf)

This decision still leaves open the question of the surveillance of communications between lawyers and their clients, doctors and other professionals' guarantee of privacy:

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

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

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

New research resources available on undercover policing

The Undercover Research Group (URG) has launched a new website, with the aim of "enhancing public understanding of political policing and undercover surveillance". The pages have been published to coincide with Domestic Extremist Awareness Day, launched by the UK-based Network for Police Monitoring

UK: Police under scrutiny after seeking to obtain names of people who wanted to attend university debate - Special Branch concerned about public meeting at university to debate fracking, new documents show (Guardian, link) FOI requests lead to more information on the Special Branch's role:

"Kent Police emailed the university to say :”Kent Police Special Branch are charged with assisting in the maintenance of public order, and to that end, senior management have tasked me to liaise with Christ Church in relation to specific security questions.”

NETHERLANDS: FORCED RETURNS: CoE: CPT report: Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit to the Netherlands carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 16 to 18 October 2013 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

See: Press release: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on forced return flight from the Netherlands (link)

UK: House of Commons Justice Committee: Joint Enterprise: Joint enterprise: follow-up: Government Response to the Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2014–15 (pdf) response to: Joint enterprise: follow-up (pdf)

European Parliament: Fair trials for children: MEPs amend rules to establish strong EU-wide standards (Press release, pdf)

"Draft EU rules to ensure that children suspected or accused of a crime are assisted by a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings in any EU country were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs also made sure that children will be individually assessed by qualified staff, can be heard and state their views in a trial and are kept separate from adult inmates, even, in some cases, after they are 18 years old."

News in Brief (5.2.15)

UK: Domestic Extremist Awareness Day 2015 (Netpol, link) and Political Secret Police Units (Bristling Badger, link)

Greece Vows to End Anti-Immigrant Police Operation (HRW, link)

EU's asylum system dysfunctional, members must share responsibility - UNHCR (Reuters, link)

Germany set to pass ‘one of the harshest’ anti-terror laws in Europe (euractiv, link): "The Merkel government approved a new law meant to mitigate radical Islamist attacks, by making it a criminal offence to travel abroad to receive military training. Civil rights advocates are furious."

New law to make it easier to monitor foreigners (Slovak Spectator, link): "The changes should be part of the new law on secret services which the Interior Ministry will introduce in the near future. The parliament should discuss it at its March session and, if passed, the new rules should become effective as of June 1. “It relates especially to monitoring of security interesting people who do not have permanent residency in Slovakia,” Ivan Netík, Interior Ministry spokesman, told The Slovak Spectator."

UK: The realities of outsourcing: court interpreters mean miscarriages of justice (Open Democracy, link)

Spanish Court Criminalizes Linking to Copyright Infringing Materials and Reverses Consolidated Case Law (CIS, link): "As we reported a few days ago, the recent Spanish copyright reform granted enhanced powers to the Spanish Copyright Commission to target websites providing links to infringing works in a purposeful and massive way."

USA-NSA-FBI:SPYING ON THE REST OF THE WORLD: New rules on surveillance of "non-US persons": NSA: (U) USSID: Supplemental Procedures for the collection, processing, retention and dissemination of Signals Intelligence information and data containing personal information of Non-United States Persons (pdf) and the FBI (pdf) The NSA conducts surveillance and the CIA and FBI use the products.

Although the FBI does not conduct "signals intelligence activities" it does handle "signals intelligence information in.. finished intelligence products" and "The FBI will disseminate personal information of non-US persons collected pursuant to Section 702 of FISA" (Foreign Intelligence and Security Act). There are lots of very general caveats such as the information will only be used if: "the information is relevant to an intelligence requirement or an authorized law enforcement activity"

See also: White House New Data Spying Policy (Cryptome, link): "Statement by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco: Update on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reform and Issuance of PPD-28."

Background: Statewatch analysis: GCHQ is authorised to “spy on the world” but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is “lawful” (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Dublin III & children, Handbook on THB and VIS extension countries

DUBLIN III: Unaccompanied children: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 as regards determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection of unaccompanied minors with no family member, sibling or relative legally present in a Member State (LIMITE doc no: 5108-15, pdf) Council Presidency suggested changes and with 22 Footnotes giving Member State positions.

As above: Preparation for the first informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 5587-15, pdf): Council working on its negotiating position

Handbook on trafficking in human beings - indicators for investigating police forces (LIMITE doc no: 14630-rev1-14, pdf): "The procedures for the identification of potential trafficking victims, which were created in the field by a synergistic blend of police intelligence - some acquired through international cooperation - and information supplied by the NGOs which provide assistance to victims, are therefore fundamental in identifying possible trafficking victims."

VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM to be extended to include Ukraine and Russia: VIS - time frame concerning the roll-out in the last regions - Approval of the final compromise (LIMITE doc no: 5731-15, pdf):

"The VIS will be launched on 23 June 2015, for region 17 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine). The notification by Member States is no longer necessary as all Member States have already notified their technical readiness... The VIS will be launched on 14 September 2015, for region 18 (Russia). Pursuant to Article 48(3) of the VIS Regulation, the Member States who have not done so yet should transmit their notification of readiness at the latest by 1 March 2015...In December 2014, eu-LISA concluded that the VIS Biometric Machine System (VIS/BMS) would be able to support the VIS roll-out for region 17 and beyond," [emphasis added]

UK-EU: OPT-IN: Council of the European Union: Council implementing Decision on the putting into effect of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on data protection and on the provisional putting into effect of parts of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on the Schengen Information System for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (5481-15, pdf): The UK is about to participate partly in the Schengen Information System (draft decision to be adopted soon). No surprise, UK opts into police cooperation aspects of SIS II:

"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) of Decision 2007/533/JHA, as well as supplementary information and additional data, within the meaning of Article 3(1)(b) and (c) thereof, connected with those alerts, may be made available to the United Kingdom in accordance with that Decision." [emphasis added]:

News in Brief (4.2.15)

Why the EU should abolish corporate income tax (euobserver, link) By former Commissioner/Commission Vice-President Slim Kallas

Theresa May’s Prevent bill is extremism in the name of security - The home secretary’s counter-terrorism and security bill is a Hobbesian contract meant to frighten us into surrendering our freedoms (Guardian, link)

Trafficking in Human Beings: the EU legislates but the Member States keep dragging their feet… (ASFJ, link)

Ending the exploitation of seasonal workers: EU law picks the low-hanging fruit (EU Law Analysis, link)

Marine Le Pen is a fascist & not welcome here’: Protests over Oxford Union invite (RT, link)

Conservative EU lawmakers mount censure motion against 'extremist' Greek cabinet (euractiv, link)

Under Suspicious Circumstances, FBI Places Brother of No-Fly Litigant on Most Wanted Terrorist List (Intercept, link)

The Deserving Detainee? (Unlocking Detention, Blog, link): "This International Migrants’ Day post was written for Unlocking Detention by Melanie Griffiths. Melanie is an ESRC Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Bristol. Her project, entitled Detention, Deportability and the Family: Migrant Men’s Negotiations of the Right to Respect for Family Life, is on the family lives and Article 8 rights of men at risk of deportation."

After Neoliberalism? Soundings Kilburn Manifesto Conference (Soundings, link): "Although the neoliberal economic settlement is unravelling, its political underpinning remains largely unchallenged. The analyses in our manifesto call into question the foundational assumptions of the neoliberal order, and argue for radical alternatives that are capable of challenging the system as a whole."

Merkel to press Hungary's Orban over Ukraine, racism (Expatica.de, link)

EU: European Commission: Detailed: Annexes: ANNEXES to the Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (codification) (COM 8-2015, ANNEXES, pdf). Including "Standard form for refusal of entry at the border" which says on page 13:

"X is considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of one of more of the Member States of the EU."

See also the Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)

And see: New measure implementing SIS II: Very detailed, from Commission SIRENE Manual ANNEX to the COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (53 pages, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government - Draft statement of the Members of the European Council (LIMITE, 5853-15, 2 February 2015, pdf):

"Europeans have reacted with deep sorrow and strong unity to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. These attacks targeted the fundamental values and human rights that are at the heart of the European Union - solidarity, freedom, including freedom of expression, pluralism, democracy, tolerance and human dignity. All citizens have the right to live free from fear whatever their beliefs. We will safeguard our common values and protect all from violence based on ethnic or religious motivations such as xenophobia, anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim intolerance and racism.

This also means fighting the enemies of these values."

European Parliament Study: Trends in differentiation of EU Law and lessons for the future (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex: "This analysis examines the development of differentiated integration connected to the EU legal order, and raises questions for the future."

No, we’re not all Charlie Hebdo, nor should we be (Open Democracy, link) by Ben Hayes: "I respect your right to show solidarity with the victims of this horrible crime by reposting those drawings, but only if you respect my right not to do so because I happen to find them bigoted and incendiary."

EU: PROBATION Framework Decision: Only 16 MS implemented EU law on probation & parole by Dec 2011 deadline: Is it time to sue the others? See: Implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions with a view to the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions (pdf)

European Parliament events suspended after security crackdown - MEPs will not be able to host events for external visitors until the security threat level is downgraded. (European Voice, link)

UK: POLICE EXPLOIT LAW TO COLLECT 18 MILLION FACIAL IMAGES: Innocent people' on police photos database (BBC News, link):

"Police forces in England and Wales have uploaded up to 18 million "mugshots" to a facial recognition database - despite a court ruling it could be unlawful. They include photos of people never charged, or others cleared of an offence, and were uploaded without Home Office approval, Newsnight has learned...

Biometrics Commissioner Alastair MacGregor QC said he was concerned about the implications of the system for privacy and civil liberties. Speaking in his first interview, he told Newsnight that police forces had begun setting up a searchable database of police mugshots last year, without telling either him or the Home Office. Almost every police force in England and Wales had now supplied photographs, he said....

Mr MacGregor said he also had concerns about the reliability of facial recognition technology. "If the facial recognition software throws up a false match, one of the consequences of that could easily send an investigation off into the completely wrong direction,"" [emphasis added]

"Facial images" are a biometric along with DNA and fingerprints. See Office of Biometrics Commissioner (link) and 1st Annual Report (pdf)

Background: EU-UK: Major victory in the European Court of Human Rights: ECHR finds that the UK practice of keeping the fingerprints and DNA of people not convicted of an offence is a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR Convention (Statewatch database)

European Ombudsman: Commission "revolving doors" Response to the Ombudsman's Recommendations (pdf):

"The Ombudsman welcomes the progress made by the Commission in the important area of avoiding conflicts of interest and increasing transparency. Our inquiry will be kept open until the Commission publishes the information on senior EU officials leaving the institution, as required this year by the new Staff Regulations. We expect the Commission to publish the maximum details in line with our recommendations. The Ombudsman encourages the Commission to publish this information regularly, and not just annually."

Ombudsman Press Release: "Revolving doors": Ombudsman will step up supervision of senior EU officials (link) and Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry based on complaints 2077/2012/TN and 1853/2013/TN against the European Commission (link)

News in Brief (3.2.15)

'Snoopers' charter' revival dropped by peers (BBC News, link)

ECHR: Netherlands and Belgium: Court rulings on psychiatric detention for public safety (link)

EU: Will the empire strike back? Strasbourg’s reaction to the CJEU’s accession opinion (ASFJ, link)

Big Idea 3: Internet spying threatens people and the environment (FOE, link)

Commission faces maladministration probe over TTIP secrecy (euractiv, link): "EXCLUSIVE: The European Commission is facing a likely maladministration investigation after refusing five non-governmental organisations (NGOs) access to secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) documents."

Merkel clashes with Orban on meaning of 'democracy' (euobserver, link): "The chancellor was referring to a speech by Orban last year in which he said he was building an “illiberal” state in Hungary, and cited Russian and Turkey as examples. But Orban replied that "not all democracies have to be liberal" adding: “Those who say that democracy is necessarily liberal are trying to put one school of thought above others and we cannot grant that."

FRANCE: Three French soldiers attacked in Nice - Extent of injuries unclear and suspect detained after attack by man with knife (Guardian, link)

UK: 53 asylum seekers in immigration detention have been locked up for a year or more, Gov reveals (link)

N IRELAND: Madden & Finucane challenge refusal of access to Republican remand prisoner held in Rose House seaparated wing (Pat Finucance Centre, link): "Ciaran Shiels, of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, confirmed that his firm had initiated an emergency legal challenge against the refusal of the NI Prison Service to allow him access to his client Republican Prisoner Christy O’Kane from Derry and also against the denial of medical treatment to Mr O’Kane."

French job ad specifying ‘no Jews’ sparks complaints - Parisian company’s online advert for graphic designer stated candidates must be motivated, rigorous and ‘if possible, not Jewish’ (Guardian, link)

The Truth behind TTIP (Some of US): "The video shows how big business will be able to call the shots in Brussels, via a new chapter in TTIP misleadingly called “regulatory cooperation”. Regulatory Cooperation is bad news for consumers, workers and the environment. It means that corporations can co-write our regulation. The European Commission seems intent to open the doors to massive influence by big business."

USA: The Senate might try to pass SOPA before the year is over! (Watchdog.net, link)

UK 'Vexatious', 'annoying' and 'disruptive' Press Gazette barred by Met from asking more RIPA questions (Press Gazette, link)

The illusion of transparency in the EU: defence industry influence in Brussels (Open Democracy, link): "The goals and interests of the European Union and the defence industry are increasingly converging. Why?"

EU: SYSTEMATIC SCHENGEN CHECKS & RISK PROFILING: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting: Riga: Joint Statement following the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 and 30 January (pdf):

"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"

See: Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)

European Parliament: STOA Study: Ten technologies which could change our lives: Potential impacts and policy implications (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Speech of Commissioner Jourova: Informal JHA council in Riga (30 January 2015, pdf) and DG Home Commissioner (migration, police cooperation. immigration and asylum, internal security and security research) Speech of Commissioner Avramopoulos: Discussions on fighting terrorism at the informal JHA council in Riga (pdf)

European Parliament: Press release: MEPs give their views on measures to tackle terrorism (pdf):"Anti-terrorism measures, including the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal, the role of EU police agency Europol, improving information exchange, preventing radicalisation and the upcoming European Agenda on Security, were addressed in a debate with home affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday. A resolution is to be put to a vote at the 9-12 February plenary session, ahead of the 12 February European Council dedicated to anti-terrorism measures."

EU: European Parliament: Draft Report: on the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2013, and the European Union’s policy on the matter (dated 28.11.14, pdf)

News In Brief (2.2.15)

CIA Torture Sites in Poland: Thirty Million Dollars for Torture Victims (verfassungsblog.de, link)

EU should take action on Pegida racism (euobserver, link)

Albania, Italy cooperate in fight against terrorism (New Europe, link): "Albania and Italy formed a joint terrorism task force to train police and exchange information. The two countries are also creating an anti-terrorism database."

UK: Lord Butler criticises Theresa May’s plan to ban extremist speakers at universities - Former head of civil service says the government is going too far in trying to limit free speech in its counter-terrorism and security bill (Guardian, link): “Universities have got a duty of care to their students to stop them breaking the law,” he told Sky’s Murnaghan programme. “But they’ve also got a legal obligation to encourage free speech within the law … universities are dealing with young adults. The whole point of university is that they should have a good deal of freedom to hear different opinions and make up their own minds on what’s right or wrong."

UK: Front-Line Police 'All Need Tasers' To Deal With Lee-Rigby Style Attacks, Claims Federation Chief (Huffinton Post, link): "All front-line police officers should be armed with a Taser because of the heightened security threat, the head of the Police Federation has said, but human rights charity Amnesty International says its ridiculous to think that Tasers will deter terrorists. Steve White, chairman of the body which represents front-line officers, said acts of terrorism could be carried out anywhere and police needed to be protected."

Challenges pending in Germany to EU/US Safe Harbour (article in DE) (Heise.de):

European Commission: Speech of Commissioner Jourova: Informal JHA council in Riga (pdf): "Our agency EUROJUST needs to work at its full potential and therefore be in a position to fully exchange information with EUROPOL and be associated to EUROPOL's Focal Points dealing with terrorism."

Dispatches: A Human Rights Agenda for New Greek Government (HRW, link)

USA: Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value (The Intercept, link): "The presidential advisory board on privacy that recommended a slew of domestic surveillance reforms in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations reported today that many of its suggestions have been agreed to “in principle” by the Obama administration, but in practice, very little has changed. Most notably, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board called attention to the obvious fact that one full year after it concluded that the government’s bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace."

January 2015

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Is readmission linked to development? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

"In recent years, the EU has been negotiating Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with a number of Asian countries. These agreements replace the previous development policy agreements which the EU had with the countries concerned. Compared to the previous agreements, the PCAs include go into greater
detail about the EU's cooperation with the countries concerned, including the addition of further topics for cooperation."

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia 29-30 January: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf) including: "strengthening Europol's role in the monitoring and analysis of social media communication on the internet."

Europol to become the EU's "thought police"? See: Chief constable warns against ‘drift towards police state’ Greater Manchester’s Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the police’s job to define what counts as extremism (Guardian, link): "The battle against extremism could lead to a “drift towards a police state” in which officers are turned into “thought police”, one of Britain’s most senior chief constables has warned."

See also:Counter Terrorism Coordinator: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf)

Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says (VICE, link):

"Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News. The island was used as a "transit location" for the US government's "nefarious activities" post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff.

There was no permanent detention facility such as the CIA facility in Poland, he told VICE News in a wide-ranging interview. His intelligence sources indicated to him that the island was however home to "a transit site where people were temporarily housed, let us say, and interrogated from time to time."

EU-USA: Semi-transprency on TTIP as Brussels hide behind Washington (Wobbing.eu, link): "Some more light is shed on negotiations for a EU-US trade and investment agreement. Good, but not good enough the EU-Ombudsman says."

SWEDEN: Office plants computer chips under workers’ skin instead of ID cards (The Independent, link):

"A new Swedish office block is implanting the workers inside of it with computer chips under their skin, rather than issuing them with ID cards. The small radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are pushed under the skin in the hand, and can then be used to open doors or use the photocopier.

The chips have been offered to the 400 people that have signed up to the Epicenter hi-tech office block in Sweden.... Those behind the chips hope that they will eventually become common enough to be used to pay for sandwiches in the canteen, or even replace passwords and PINs to get into computers. They can also be programmed to hold contact information and communicate with smartphone apps."

EU: Police cooperation: another angle on the surveillance debate (Open Democracy, link): "Meet Bahar Kimyongür, a political activist arrested, detained, and released in three European countries on an unsubstantiated charge. His case shows citizens are disarmed when they are reduced to a name in a database."

EU: Money-laundering: European Parliament press releases: Money laundering: company owner lists to fight tax crime and terrorist financing (pdf):

"The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest",
such as journalists, under a Parliament/Council deal endorsed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees on Tuesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to help to fight money laundering, tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved."

EU: Ombudsman: How to make the Commission's expert groups more balanced and transparent (pdf): "The Ombudsman calls on the Commission to establish a legally binding framework for all expert groups, including a definition of what balanced representation in different groups should look like. She also recommends measures to reduce potential conflict of interest situations and to publish more information about the work of the groups. The Commission should reply to her proposals by 30 April 2015."

EU: JUSTICIA Network statement: Joint Statement on Legal Aid (pdf): "The future directive on the right to legal aid must be seen as inter-connected and aligned with the directive on access to a lawyer. Legal advice and representation is rendered meaningless unless the accused person has the means to privately engage a lawyer or is supported through legal aid."

 CoE: CPT report: Report to the Bulgarian Government on the visit to Bulgaria carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf):

"The Committee notes that the vast majority of its long-standing recommendations, some of them dating back to the very first periodic visit to Bulgaria in 1995, remain unimplemented, for example as regards ill-treatment (both in the police and prison context), inter-prisoner violence, prison overcrowding, material conditions of detention in investigation detention facilities (IDF) and prisons, prison health care, staffing levels, as well as discipline, segregation and contact with the outside world. The CPT is of the view that urgent and effective action must now be taken to address all these concerns."

Institute of Race Relations (IRR): ‘Apologists for terrorism’: dissent and the limits of free expression (link): "Freedom of thought, expression and inquiry is under renewed threat from governments which, paradoxically, claim to be fighting to preserve freedom of expression in Europe."

News in Brief (30.1.15)

Recent news on deaths in custody (IRR news, link)

Rights and Safety for Refugees! Hamburg Kundgebungn in Memory of Khaled (The VOICE, link)

Court condemns police crackdown on Ökotárs headquarters (Politics.hu, link)

UK broke law in fewer than 1% of European human rights cases in 2014 - Statistics published as Britain gears up for election that will feature Tory threats to withdraw from the European convention on human rights (Guardian, link)

How GCHQ prepares for interception of phone calls from satellite links (Techdirt, link): "Most of the Snowden-revelations are about spying on the internet, but NSA and GCHQ are also conducting the more traditional collection of telephone communications that go through satellite links." See also: GCHQ Bude (Wikipedia, link)

Spying Program Leaked by Snowden Is Tied to Campaign in Many Countries (New York Times, link): "A program used by U.S. and British spies to record computer keystrokes was part of sophisticated hacking operations in more than a dozen countries, security experts said on Tuesday, after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reportedly leaked the source code for the program."

UK: Heavy opposition set to defeat key part of Theresa May’s terrorism bill - Peers, academics and senior Tories reject idea of placing legal duty on universities to prevent students from being drawn into extremism (Guardian, link)

An Artist’s Pioneering Masks Shield Us from Future Surveillance (GOOD, link)

Privacy: With a Few Bits of Data, Researchers Identify ‘Anonymous’ People (New York Times, link): "Even when real names and other personal information are stripped from big data sets, it is often possible to use just a few pieces of the information to identify a specific person, according to a study to be published Friday in the journal Science"

UK: Met Riot Police Could Get Firearms Training (Yahoo Ireland, link):"The Metropolitan Police is considering training public order officers to use firearms to create a "reserve capability" to cope with terrorist attacks."

Michael Hayden: “We Kill People Based on Metadata” (Just Security, link)

Facebook and Twitter are terrorist "accomplices" if they fail to remove extremist content, says French president (Daily Mirror, link)

Mediterranean: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal: Papers from 'C4' defence and security conferences

The 'C4 Coloquim' is an "annual academic collaboration" that that discusses papers from the military studies academies of France (CHEM), Spain (CESEDEN), Italy (CASD) and Portugal (IDN) on the theme of "mutual trust and stability" in the Mediterannean, described as "the ultimate objective of the C4."

2012's theme was "The consequences of the Arab spring", with papers covering:

News in Brief (29.1.15)

French police question 8-year-old over terror comment (France24, link): "Reports that French police questioned an 8-year-old after he allegedly made comments in school in praise of terrorists have highlighted fears that the authorities may be going too far in their crackdown on hate speech."

MI5 says rendition of Libyan opposition leaders strengthened al-Qaida (Guardian, link)

EU air passenger database about to take flight, but critics want it grounded (PC World, link): "The new plan calls for a database with personal flight data such as travel dates, itineraries, ticket information and baggage information, according to a document published by Statewatch on Wednesday and described as a leaked and legitimate EC document....Critics say such a database could violate fundamental human rights, but the Commission argues that it would help law enforcement with the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offenses and serious transnational crime.

Brussels Calling on Communication Firms to Provide Encryption Keys (EU Bulletin, link): "In a document that was leaked by the UK-based civil liberties group Statewatch, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, says that the EU Commission ought to introduce rules that would require the companies to help national governments collect data on possible suspects."

UK: Children mistakenly detained at Campsfield & Dover detention centres last month (Home Office, link)

Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones (Intercept, link): "British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden." See: BADASS Angry Birds document (link)

EU data czar seeks global voice amidst tension with US (euractiv, link)

Spaniards face sanctions if found to be drunk in charge of a pair of legs - Pedestrians to be breathalysed, and even be subject to speed limits, in proposed effort to make pavements safer (Guardian, link): "The proposal also sets out a speed limit for pavements, limiting the pace to “not surpassing that of a normal stride”

EU anti-democrats throw their toys out the pram (euobserver, link) by Leigh Phillip

EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise"

A leaked European Commission note (pdf) sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) voted against the proposed PNR Directive in April 2013, but EU officials and national politicians have repeatedly demanded agreement on the legislation.

These calls reached a crescendo following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, with politicians and officials claiming the attacks made clear the necessity of an EU PNR system. As Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, said to the LIBE committee yesterday (27 January) during a session on counter-terrorism: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme for 2015 (138 pages, pdf) and EUROPOL: Work Programme for 2015 (65 pages, pdf)

Storming Spain's Razor-Wire Fence: Europe Or Die (VICE News, link): "Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers. VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out."

See: Watch: :"The Human Cost of War in the Central African Republic" (link), Read: "Asylum Seekers in Australia Could Soon Be Headed to Cambodia" (link) and Read "Guards Break Barricades and Jail Dozens as Refugees Continue Mass Hunger Strike Against Australia" (link)

And see: Spanish official lauds Morocco’s exemplary immigration policy (Morocco World News, link): ""Ybanez noted that Morocco has adopted a new policy which takes account of the new challenges of immigration regarding the respect of human rights of immigrants and refugees, and the need to promote regional cooperation to counter this phenomenon."

EU: Money-laundering and terrorism: Draft "compromise" between the Council and the European Parliament: Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (pdf)

Does not seem to take into account criticisms made by the Meijers Committee regarding the potential the text provides for discrimination: Note Meijers Committee on the proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (COM(2013) 45 final) (pdf)

SURVEILLANCE: Experts Unmask 'Regin' Trojan as NSA Tool (Spiegel Online): "Just weeks ago, SPIEGEL published the source code of an NSA malware program known internally as QWERTY. Now, experts have found that it is none other than the notorious trojan Regin, used in dozens of cyber attacks around the world."

CANADA: SURVEILLANCE: Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads (The Intercept, link):

"Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION..."

See also: LEVITATION documemt (pdf): "We see about 15 million FFU [Free file upload sites] events a day... What do we need? A list of suspect documents - A list of FFU URLs referring to these documents - A list of IPs downblaoding these URLs."

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Press release): The EU as a beacon of respect for data protection and privacy (pdf):

"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said, "It is high time that we in Europe think about our response to rapid change and challenges, including threats to our security. That response will have ramifications for us and for the next generation that is growing up online today. We must not forget that we cannot have security without privacy so that we preserve the rights and freedoms that Europe holds dear. Our solutions for security must also treat individuals with dignity and respect - and not suspicion or surveillance. The goal for my mandate is for the EU to speak with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant." [emphasis in original]

EU: NIS: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - State of play and work ahead (LIMITE doc no: 5257-15, 145 pages, pdf): Multi-column document showing the Commission proposal, and the Council and European Parliament positions.

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation:

General Data Protection Regulation - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 5315-15, pdf) From German and French delegations

Pseudonymisation (LIMITE doc no: 14705-rev1-14, pdf) German delegation: "The German delegation proposes taking the idea of pseudonymisation of data another step further, in order to encourage the use of pseudonymisation and make it more attractive to controllers while further improving the protection of data subjects."

UK: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill: STOP THE CTS BILL (link) and Petition (link)

News in Brief (28.1.15)

EU officials consider pooling air passenger data after Paris attacks - ID checks could be reintroduced within Schengen zone as European governments race to tighten security measures (Guardian. link) Move long covered by NGOs, based on a UK government proposal to all track travel within EU..

Police officers could be charged for 'calling alleged domestic violence victim 'f*****g slag' and 'b***h' (Independent, link)

The missing link: Direct effect CETA/TTIP and investor-state dispute settlement (ASFJ, link): "International treaties have rarely received more attention than the proposed free trade deals between the EU and the US and Canada. This entails that many law students and practitioners are confronted with a theme that does not feature prominently in legal education."

UK: Call To Trial Gunfire Detectors At ‘Soft Targets’ In London (Londonist, link): ""Gunfire detection systems should be installed at hospitals, museums,
train stations and shopping centres to improve armed police response times to terror attacks, a leading City Hall Conservative says."

UK: Two more journalists emerge as police spying targets, Press Gazette says: 'We've been misled by Met' (Press Gazette, link)

Denmark: Call to Reject Bill Increasing Refugees’ Vulnerability (Euromedrights, link)

EUROPOL: Report on the annual accounts of the European Police Office for the financial year 2013 together with the Office's replies (16471-14, pdf) including on page 14:

"The EIS contained 245,142 (186,896 last year) records at the end of 2013 with an increasing proportion of person records (the most important and valuable variety of records from a law enforcement point of view)." [emphasis added]

EU: Holocaust denial and hate crime: Can the EU and its Member States do more? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The European Commission has chosen today, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to release its first report on Member States' implementation of the EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law....The Commission cannot be criticised for holding off on bringing infringement proceedings, since it cannot do so until the end of this year. After that point, this legislation will be another EU measure which the Commission ought to enforce vigorously by means of infringement proceedings if it is, as it claims, committed to ensuring the full implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice."

See also: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (pdf)

European Parliament Studies: The European Council and the Council: perspectives on new dynamics in EU governance (pdf): "The study identifies the institutional dynamics associated with the new intergovernmentalism and traces the consequences for institutional design and inter-institutional relations". and Looking ahead: pathways of future constitutional evolution of the EU (pdf)

EU Transparency Register: ALTER-EU: New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver (link) and Link to Report: "This new research, published by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), shows how the voluntary approach to EU lobby transparency regulation fails to provide citizens with an accurate picture of the lobby scene in Brussels. Some of the main groups that are actively lobbying the EU institutions have still not registered in the EU's Transparency Register. These include:

• Financial lobbyists such as Standard & Poors, City of London Corporation and Credit Suisse;
• Law firms such as Covington & Burling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer;
• Major corporations such as Electrabel, Anglo American and Generral Motors."

News in Brief (27.1.15)

Terrorists and serious criminals beware ! Your travel data can tell everything about you (ASFJ, link): "After the last terrorist attacks the President of The European Council, the EU interior ministers, the EU anti-terrorism coordinator, the European Commission, some national parliaments and even the press have raised their voice against the European Parliament who is blocking since years a legislative measure on the access by law enforcement authorities to the passenger name record (PNR)which are managed by the airlines when you make a flight reservation."

UK: Family of man left in vegetative state hit out at IPCC over police brutality allegations - Family of Julian Cole speak out after 21-year-old left with broken neck after arrest by six officers in 2013 (Guardian, link)

President of the European Council Donald Tusk congratulates Alexis Tsipras on his appointment as Prime Minister of Greece On behalf of the European Union I wish to congratulate Alexis Tsipras on his appointment today as Prime Minister of Greece. The European Union has stood by Greece from the first day of the crisis and is committed to continue to support the country in its efforts to put its economy on a sustainable path. I look forward to working closely together with the new Prime Minister of Greece, and I look forward to welcoming him at the informal meeting of EU Heads of State or Government in Brussels on 12 February".(Council of the European Union Press Release)

Greece turns left: What next? (euobserver, link): "Across Greece people will tell you the country is a litmus test for the rest of the continent, that where Greece goes Europe will follow."

Peer defends attempt to introduce snooper’s charter - Lord King tells House of Lords that current legislation is not sufficient to meet threat and it is parliament’s duty to update it (Guardian, link)

Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones (The Intercept, link)

French mayor ‘evicts’ first black Marianne statue (France24, link): ""The small town of Frémainville is one of the few in France where a black-skinned Marianne statue adorns city hall. But the city's new mayor is replacing the minority Marianne, claiming she does not represent the French republic."

Aesthetics of Migration - Street Art in the Mediterranean Border Zones (Ibraaz, link): ""Beyond the distant images of washed-up bodies on the shore or a
packed craft stranded at sea is the everyday theatre of migrant detentions and expulsions from the towns bordering the Mediterranean."

Liverpool win asylum seekers reprieve in last port of call row with Government (Liverpool Echo, link): ""Liverpool Council has won a temporary reprieve from becoming the last port of call for asylum seekers hoping to remain the in the UK."

Looking to MLATs: A step towards transparency for intelligence sharing agreements (PI, link)

Prevent and anti-extremism education (Open Democracy, link)

UK: Far-right ‘Christian Patrols’ back in Whitechapel targeting Muslims (Docklands & East London Advertiser, link)

European Parliament: Counter Terrorism: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Agenda for meeting on 27 January 2015 (pdf). See also Working Documents:

Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third-country nationals crossing the EU Member States' external borders (pdf): "The rapporteur believes that granting access to security forces would make the EES more useful and effective, which would, in turn, help to improve the management of the Schengen Area." See Commission: Proposal (link)

Registered Travellers Programme (pdf): ""The original Commission proposals provided that a set of 36 data items would be retained per traveller. The study suggests that, in fact, 26 data items would be sufficient for the RTP (and the EES). No access for law enforcement was foreseen in the original RTP proposal and the
study does not find reasons to propose it...

"Following the different opinions on the Smart Borders Package, namely from the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Meijers Committee, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, commenting on a wide range of issues including the proportionality and practical feasibility of the proposals, the compatibility of the Smart Borders Package with basic data protection principles has not been sufficiently demonstrated."

"Regrettably, the study failed to prove adequately why such systems should be built in the first place, and completely disregarded the Parliament's request to assess and address other options which might achieve the objectives set." See Commission: Proposal (link)

EU: Mass surveillance: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and ‘endangers human rights (Press release, link) and Report (pdf): It calls for

• "the collection of personal data without consent only following “a court order granted on the basis of reasonable suspicion”
• “credible, effective protection” for whistle-blowers exposing unlawful surveillance
• better judicial and parliamentary control of intelligence services
• an “intelligence codex” defining mutual obligations that secret services could opt into
• an inquiry into member states’ use of mass surveillance using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights"

See also: Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report - Europe’s top rights body says scale of NSA spying is ‘stunning’ and suggests UK powers may be at odds with rights convention (Guardian, link)

USA: SURVEILLANCE: More Cowbells: new NSA leaks reveal extent of spying tactics (ROARMAG, link): "New leaks from the NSA archive, seen exclusively by ROAR, reveal that even the Internet’s most basic architecture - the DNS database - is compromised." and MoreCowBell Nouvelles révélations sur les pratiques de la NSAE (Le Monde fr, link)

And see: NSA documents (pdf)

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

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

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

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

EU: Schengen Code: Proposal for on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (codification) (20.1.15, COM 8, pdf) and Annex (pdf)

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

News in Brief, 26.1.15)

Catharsis or catastrophe: what next for Greece and the Eurozone? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The better course for the EU is to take this opportunity to re-engage with the millions of EU citizens who are affected or angered by austerity, and re-orient the EU towards ending that austerity, instead of generating more of it. Although this is more easily said than done, it should never be forgotten that the initial rationale for the EU was not austerity, but economic growth which raised living standards for the population as a whole. So in voting for a party which promised the latter, Greeks have reaffirmed, not rejected, the Union’s traditional raison d’etre, reminding it that the Union cannot maintain its social or political legitimacy if it becomes no more than a mechanism for enforcing austerity."

Is Europe Overlooking the Far-Right 'Foreign Fighter' Issue in Ukraine? (Huffington Post, link): "Are extremist Islamist fighters the only foreign fighters Europe should be worrying about? The answer is no. The possibility of returning far-right fighters from Ukraine is a threat currently being overlooked. The conflict in Ukraine has provided an environment where the formation of foreign right-wing paramilitary groups can occur without any opposition. Both pro-Russian and Ukrainian Nationalists have operational paramilitary groups that hold right-wing extremist views, ties to neo-Nazism and welcome foreigners as fighters."

WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government (Guardian, link): - Search giant gave FBI emails and digital data belonging to three staffers - WikiLeaks told last month of warrants which were served in March 2012.

EU: A Tale of Two States: Rule of Law in the Age of Terrorism (ASFJ, link): "As a reaction to the recent terrorist attacks in France, several EU member states as well as the EU itself have announced significant anti-terrorism measures".

EU flight data bill set for possible overhaul (euobserver, link)

Le PNR européen à la croisée des chemins : protection des données et lutte contre le terrorisme (ASFJ, link)

News in brief (25.1.15)

EU: Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility (youthforum.org, link): "The European Youth Forum is extremely
disappointed to see that the European Council has taken a backward step from the aim of a better visa regime in its recently published position on the proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and of residence for third-country nationals. The Council's position limits mobility to certain groups and could mean that delays and barriers to moving into and within Europe will remain."

Internet filters block websites of sex abuse charities - ‘Blunt tool’ approach is leading parents into false sense of security, insist campaigners (The Observer, link): "campaigners say that it is misleading to suggest these filters are just about blocking pornography, and that they block a range of content, such as drugs, sex, alcohol, tobacco and anorexia. The Metropolitan police are currently producing a list of websites for the filtering services which they regard as terror-related. A website discussing the legalisation of cannabis found itself blocked, as did several small wine dealers, said Pam Cowburn of the transparency campaign Open Rights Group. Last year research by the group found that 54 registered charities had their websites blocked by one or another of the filters. Several were offering support and services to young people escaping abuse or alcohol dependency. One such charity, Alcohol Support, based in Aberdeen, called it a “big brother” approach."

MegaChat Encrypted Service Launched (Fillhipo, link): "Kim Dotcom, the Internet entrepreneur, has just announced the release of an encrypted chat service, called MegaChat. The service is to compete with the widely used and Microsoft-owned, Skype...This news has come after it has emerged that the EU counter-terrorism coordinator wants all companies to be required by law to hand over encryption keys when asked for them...Gilles de Kerchove said, in a document leaked by the civil liberties group Statewatch,that encryption “increasingly makes lawful interception by the relevant national authorities technically difficult or even impossible"

Leaked doc: Europe's justice chiefs forming plans to cosy up to ISPs - Yeah, and bring back PNR! (The Register, link)

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

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

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

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

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

News in brief (24.01.15)

GERMANY: PEGIDA founder Bachmann quits after Hitler mustache photo (Deutsche Welle, link)

France-USA: Microsoft complied with Charlie Hebdo probe, turning over data in 45 minutes (Ars Technica, link)

Serbia and Finland ink police cooperation agreement (b92, link)

European Arms Fueling Central African Republic War, Study Finds (Bloomberg, link): "Guns and ammunition made in Europe, Iran and China are being smuggled into the Central African Republic, fueling conflict that’s witnessed some of the world’s worst human-rights abuses, according to a report by Conflict Armament Research. "

UK: The end of the CCTV era? (BBC News Magazine, link): "Twenty years ago the government backed a major expansion of the CCTV network - now funds are being cut and cameras shut off. Is the UK's CCTV boom over, asks Rachel Argyle. "

France begins jailing people for ironic comments (Electronic Intifada, link): "It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the massive rallies in defense of “free expression,” following the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony."

Moroccan man in France killed at home in front of wife in 'horrible Islamophobic attack' (The Independent, link)

Muslim-owned shops in Birmingham attacked with 'guns and hammers' (i100, link)POLAND: Maverick MEP Korwin-Mikke launches new party (Radio Poland, link): "Janusz Korwin-Mikke, the recently ousted leader of fringe party the Congress of the New Right, has registered a new party, the abbreviated name of which is KORWiN." See: Polish far-right MEP blasted for use of 'racist' language (The Parliament, link)

GERMANY: Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder (The Local, link): "Police in Dresden have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his flatmate, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, on Monday January 12th."

UK: Met policeman cleared after kicking mother tending to her child in hospital (The Guardian, link): "A police officer who kicked and hit a mother as she sat by the hospital bed of her sick child, leaving her with more than 40 injuries, has been cleared of actual bodily harm."

UK: Saudi King Abdullah: Britain mourns a tyrant (The Independent, link): "The Government face demands to reassess Britain’s relationship with the Saudi Arabian regime amid fury over the reverential tributes paid to King Abdullah following his death."

GREECE: ECHR Condemns Greece for Inhumane Migrant Treatment (Greek Reporter, link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in brief (23.01.15)

GERMANY: PEGIDA founder Bachmann quits after Hitler mustache photo (Deutsche Welle, link)

France-USA: Microsoft complied with Charlie Hebdo probe, turning over data in 45 minutes (Ars Technica, link)

Serbia and Finland ink police cooperation agreement (b92, link)

European Arms Fueling Central African Republic War, Study Finds (Bloomberg, link): "Guns and ammunition made in Europe, Iran and China are being smuggled into the Central African Republic, fueling conflict that’s witnessed some of the world’s worst human-rights abuses, according to a report by Conflict Armament Research. "

UK: The end of the CCTV era? (BBC News Magazine, link): "Twenty years ago the government backed a major expansion of the CCTV network - now funds are being cut and cameras shut off. Is the UK's CCTV boom over, asks Rachel Argyle. "

France begins jailing people for ironic comments (Electronic Intifada, link): "It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the massive rallies in defense of “free expression,” following the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony."

Moroccan man in France killed at home in front of wife in 'horrible Islamophobic attack' (The Independent, link)

Muslim-owned shops in Birmingham attacked with 'guns and hammers' (i100, link)

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

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

News in Brief (22.1.15)

EU anti-terrorism chief: Communications should be accessible to security services (euractiv, link): "De Kerchove said he expected governments to adopt an EU approach that would build on improving cooperation under systems already available, such as for Europe's passport-free Schengen travel zone, and on existing institutions such as Europol and Interpol. The need for new legislation was limited, he said." [emphasis added]

UK: The day I found out I'm a 'Domestic Extremist' - When the police must use intrusive powers they should be focused on those individuals who pose a threat of serious harm and carry out serious criminal acts, writes Jenny Jones (Daily Telegraph, link)

UK: Strip-searched girl’s family sues Merseyside police (Guardian, link)

Austria's €290m plan to fight terror (The Local, link): "'The whole package is mainly designed for the furnishing of special forces and less on the prevention of terrorism' said Gert-Rena Polli,former head of the Federal Agency for State Protection and Counter Terrorism."

CALAIS: France: Migrants, Asylum Seekers Abused and Destitute (HRW, link) and see: Migrants describe police brutality in French city of Calais (France24, link)

Romania: The Big Brother Law 2 is unconstitutional (NineOclock, link): "The Constitutional Court (CCR) judges decided yesterday, with a majority of votes, that Romania’s cybernetic security law, nicknamed the Big Brother Law 2, was unconstitutional “in its entirety”."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (21.1.15)

Reaction to publication of: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf):

De Maizière will Verschlüsselung knacken - Der Kampf um Verschlüsselung wird härter: Sicherheitsbehörden in ganz Europa fordern einen Zugang zu verschlüsselten Daten. Deutschland will dabei offenbar mitspielen (Cracking encryption - The battle for encryption is harder: security authorities across Europe require access to encrypted data. Germany wants to play too obviously) (Zeit Online, link)

EU-Parlament will erneut über Fluggastdaten diskutieren (EU Parliament will discuss again on Passenger Name (Der Tag, link): " the civil rights organization Statewatch [published] a report of anti-terrorism co-ordinator of the EU"

Griff in die “Werkzeugkiste repressiver Regime wie China oder Bahrain” (SPREEZEITUNG.de, link): "The interior and justice policy spokesman for the Greens in the European Parliament, Jan Philipp Albrecht, has expressed shock over the demands of the EU anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove."

Wegen Snowden: EU-Beauftragter will IT-Anbieter zu Hintertüren für verschlüsselte Kommunikation verpflichten (MM News, link): "Snowden: EU commissioner wants to commit to a back door for encrypted communication IT vendors"

BMI: Behörden müssen Verschlüsselung knacken können (Futurezone, link): "BMI: authorities must be able to crack encryption"

De Kerchove navrhl vznik protiteroristického strediska u Europolu (Blesk.cz, link): "Establishing a European counter-terrorism center within Europol is proposed by CTC European Union Gilles de Kerchove. The option is part of the documentation for the meeting interior and justice ministers of EU countries next week in Riga. The document is now available online published NGO Statewatch"

and

EU: From bad to worse? On the Commission and the Council’s rule of law initiatives (EU Law Analysis, link): "To conclude, the Commission and the Council’s initiatives may leave one deeply disappointed considering the serious nature of the internal challenges faced on the rule of law front. When comparing the two initiatives, one may however argue that the Commission’s is much less half-hearted and, thus, at least less counter-productive, than the Council’s, which does not simply represent the triumph of empty rhetoric over genuine action but also unfortunately undermines the future legitimacy of any Commission attempt to trigger its new pre-Article 7 procedure."

For five years Greece has been like a patient slowly bleeding’ - The sick man of Europe is dying and Sunday’s elections may be the tipping point (Guardian, link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (20.1.15)

Charlie Hebdo attack spurs EU anti-terror 'projects' (BBC News, link)

EU considers 'security agents' to counter terrorism (euractiv, link): "European Union foreign ministers on Monday discussed setting up a new network of European security agents abroad, as they sought a united response to the threat from militant Islamists following the attacks in Paris on 7 January."

EU To counter terror, Europe's police reconsider their arms (New Europe, link)

Europe to Legislate Level Tech Playing Field, Says European MP Reding (WSJ Digits, link): "We have the impression that our American friends, every time they do not want to apply the laws, they bring up national security. It has nothing to do with national security. They would like to have this national security exemption all over the place. We would like to have the rule of law all over the place, she said"

Fortress mentality on EU migration creates xenophobia, warns Italian PM - Matteo Renzi says defensive attitude in debate about freedom of movement opens the door to right-wing nationalism (Guardian, link)

BBC Democracy Day: Europe 'faces political earthquakes' (BBC News, link)

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

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

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

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

FRANCE: Surveillance of SMS, phones and Internet

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (19.1.15)

EU ministers to discuss terrorism amid tightened security (euobserver, link)

EU: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the decision to appeal the Judgment regarding Hamas (EAS, link)

European Parliament: Draft Report :on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2014/2256(INI)) Committee on Legal Affairs Rapporteur: Julia Reda (link) and see: Julia Reda (link)

42% of French people say cartoons that upset Muslims shouldn’t be published - Survey, in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack, also finds 68% feel citizens should be forbidden from returning to France after fighting with Islamist groups abroad (Guardian, link)

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (18,1,15)

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: MI5 and MI6 are losing ground to terrorists (Sunday Telegraph, link)

Mass surveillance not effective for finding terrorists (New Scientist, link)

UK: Wrongly convicted men launch new case against the Justice Secretary (Independent on Sunday, link)

Greek elections: Syriza’s young radicals plot a political earthquake for Europe (Observer, link)

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

See Statewatch Observatory on: Rendition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (17.1.15)

Man the Euro lifeboats – but not the Greeks (Channel 4 News, link):"There are credible reports that the European Central Bank’s long awaited programme of quantitative easing will be announced on Thursday – but with a sting in the tail. The ECB will, according to the Financial Times, force national central banks in the Eurozone to assume all the risk inherent in the project, and probably exclude Greece."

Mike Marqusee 1953-2015: The movement has lost a unique and inspiring campaigner for justice. (IRR News Service, link): "A campaigner who never flagged, a writer who never missed the meaning of an experience, his loss is immeasurable".

GERMANY:Nach Spontandemonstration: Erstmals massenhafte Beschlagnahme von Mobiltelefonen in Leipzig (After spontaneous demonstration: first mass confiscation of mobile phones in Leipzig) (link)

Guantanamo: America's Battle Lab (link): ""GTMO operated as a Battle Lab, a world where experimentation on the defenseless served to generate data with which to counsel and train interrogators at military facilities across the globe. These bases utilized the insight granted by intelligence officers from GTMO, most notably Bagram and Abu Ghraib." See also: Did Gitmo "Suicides" Cover Up Murder? U.S. Sgt. Speaks Out on Deaths & Prison’s Secret CIA Site (Democracy Now!, link)

UK: Islington Against Police Spies: "Sack Bob Lambert! Former Police Spy: Join us to demand the removal of Bob Lambert from London Metropolitan University. Picket London Met Friday January 30th 12.00 – 2.00pm LMU Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB"

Germany's Merkel urges new EU law on data tracking (BBC News, link)

EU governments accused of 'Bermuda Triangle' approach to law-making (Parliament magazine, link)

Belgium on high alert after deadly anti-terror raid (BBC News, link)

Spain and "pushbacks" (ECRE, link)

Soldiers to guard Belgian Jewish sites as Europol warns of further attacks - Protection stepped up across Europe – with UK police on highest alert level ever – in wake of series of terrorist incidents (Guardian, link)

Je Suis Raif Badawi (Mat Carr's Infernal Machine, link): "If this punishment were to go ahead as planned and Badawi’s body were able to stand it, this ritual would be repeated for 19 more weeks. What was Badawi’s offence? He created the website Free Saudi Liberals, on which he posted things like this: .‘Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone … Secularism … is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world.’'"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (16.1.1`5)

Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data (Guardian, link): "Newly uncovered Snowden document contrasts with British PM’s vow to crack down on encrypted messaging after Paris attacks "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (15.1.15)

The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings - Reframing the CIA’s interrogation techniques as a violation of scientific and medical ethics may be the best way to achieve accountability (The Nation, link)

The EU's giant and secretive deregulation blitz (Open Democracy, link): "It is not just TTIP, across the board the EU is bowing to business pressure to do away with 'burdensome' regulation - regulation that tends to save lives, protect consumers and ensure standards."

Over 50 anti-Muslim incidents registered in France after Charlie Hebdo shooting (RT, link)

Irish terror laws to counter jihadist threat (Irish Examiner, link): It's worth noting that the laws being passed are intended to implement the EU's 2008 Framework Decision amending the 2002 Framework Decision on combating terrorism - Ireland was supposed to implement these measures by 9 December 2010 (see Article 3)

• UK: A war on democracy: How statutory instruments replaced acts of parliament (Politics.co.uk, link): ""On present trends, the next parliament will pass 4,000 or more statutory instrument a year. They will, in aggregate, have a significant effect on how we conduct our daily lives. Some of this legislation will be debated. Much of it will not. The elephant in the room is the fact that this shift towards statutory instruments will itself take place without any debate."

• EU: Charlie Hebdo attack renews calls for EU spy agency - Europe rethinks intelligence options (New Europe, link)

Nazi camp row over German asylum homes (BBC News, link): "Refugee organisations have criticised plans to house asylum seekers in a former outpost of a Nazi concentration camp in western Germany."

Theresa May says 'lives at risk' without data surveillance (BBC News, link) and see: Commons Statement: Home Secretary Theresa May on the threat we face from terrorism in the UK (link)

Shaker Aamer's daughter: What we want most is Dad home (BBC News, link): "the daughter of the last British resident held in Guantanamo Bay talks exclusively to Newsbeat about her frustration that her dad hasn't come home despite being cleared for release twice. Johina Aamer, 17, last saw her father when she was four years old."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (14.1.15)

Racial discrimination & collateral damage – Coleman revisited (EU Law Analysis, link)

UK: Proposals to expand Central NHS Register creates a national population register and significant data protection/privacy risks (Hawktalk, link)

USA: Role of FBI informant in eco-terrorism case probed after documents hint at entrapment - In the case of Eric McDavid, alleged to be ring-leader of eco-terrorist cell, ‘game-changing’ documents seen exclusively by the Guardian show informant may have entrapped him (Guardian, link)

As a Muslim, I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of the free speech fundamentalists (New Statesman, link): "The response to the inexcusable murder of Charlie Hebdo’s staff has proved that many liberals are guilty of double standards when it comes to giving offence."

Up to 5,000 Europeans joined jihad, Europol chief says (euobserver, link): "The two attackers in Paris were on a US no-fly list, yet were able to carry out their attack, prompting one MP to ask Wainwright Tuesday whether it is possible to follow every suspect ever flagged. “It is exceptionally difficult, given the scale of the problem … for the security authorities to monitor all potential threats. That's the very painful reality that the attacks in Paris have shown,” said Wainwright."

Paris killings cement Danish referendum on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link)

• UK: Cameron wants new 'comprehensive' communications surveillance laws (Outlaw, link)

• UK: BBC accused of treating staff like 'the enemy' as new figures show increase in email monitoring to investigate leaks (Press Gazette, link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draft Code of Practice: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice Pursuant to section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Draft for public consultation, 9 December 2014 (55 pages, pdf): "3.73  However the degree of interference with privacy may be higher where the communications data being sought relates to a person who is a member of a profession that handles privileged or otherwise confidential information (such as a medical doctor, lawyer, journalist, Member of Parliament, or minister of religion). It may also be possible to infer an issue of sensitivity from the fact someone has regular contact with, for example, a lawyer or journalist 3.74  Such situations do not preclude an application being made.." [emphasis added, p31]

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (13.1.15)

Dutch government sued over data retention law (PC World, link)

EU and US Ministers discuss fight against terror, strengthening of external borders (EJP, link)

Back to border controls in fight against terrorism (Euro Weekly News, link) and EU hasn't moved on Schengen changes: PM (The Local, link): "European leaders have yet to decide whether to restore border controls within the Schengen zone, Spain's prime minister said Monday, after Madrid made a push for the visa-free treaty to be modified in the wake of France's terror attacks."

Germany’s debate over data retention flares following Paris attacks (euractiv, link): "n the wake of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, calls for more intensive data surveillance to fight terror are gaining strength. But in France, data retention was neither able to prevent nor illuminate the attacks."

Wikileaks publishes CIA reports on travel ID checks (Papers please, link): These reports were published in December but Edward Hasbrouck has been
through them and makes some interesting points on the sometimes-illegal use of PNR/API data by European state agencies. See:
CIA Advice for US Government Operatives Infiltrating Schengen (pdf) and CIA Assessment on Surviving Secondary Screening at Airports While Maintaining Cover WikiLeaks release: December 21, 2014 (link)

Dogs, water and coffins: an untold story of British torture in Iraq (Open Democracy, link) and Court judgment (link)

• Germany-Greece:
Documents indicate bribe paid for tanks deal (ekathimerini, link): "German company Rheinmetall has admitted to paying a 127-million-euro bribe to Greek officials to secure the sale of 353 Leopard 2 battle tanks in a deal that was completed in 2009, according legal documents seen by Kathimerini and German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (12.1.15)

EU catches up, takes steps to control export of intrusion spyware, IP monitoring (Reporters without Borders, link) and see: The Review of export control policy: ensuring security and competitiveness in a changing world (European Commission, pdf)

• EU-PNR: Debate intensifies on stuck EU counter-terrorism bill (euobserver, link)

Spanish Judge Allows Criminal Complaint Against Satirist Facu Díaz For PP ETA Corruption Sketch (The Spain Report, link)

• UK: An insult to all the children who die in custody (Guardian, link): "Alex Kelly and the other 32 children who have died since 1990 deserve more than the state’s weasel words and a silence that shames the media"

Orban uses Paris march to demonise immigrants (euobserver, link)

French monitored Kouachi brothers but lost interest, despite red flags (CNN International, link)

De la surveillance de masse à la paranoïa généralisée (Le Monde Blog, link)

• European Parliament: Draft Opinion: TTIP (pdf)

Change Greece – Change Europe – Change4all (link)

If Europe is to overcome Islamist terror, it needs to fight for the values it holds dear - Paul Mason (Guardian, link)

• Spain: At least 16 lawyers of Basque political prisoners arrested in a Spanish police operation this morning. Three of them have been arrested in Madrid as they were on their way to Spanish Special Court for the first day of a new mass trial against 35 pro-independence activists.(link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (9.1.15)

• UK: MI5 chief seeks new powers after Paris magazine attack (Guardian ,link)

Four hostages killed in bloody end to Paris sieges (Channel 4 News, link): " Three gunmen and four hostages have been killed as police storm two sieges in the Paris area. The hostages died at a kosher supermarket in the east of the French capital."

Syrian refugees told to decide as camp shuts down (Cyprus Mail, link): "THE Syrian refugees who were rescued off the coast of Cyprus in September and are temporarily housed at the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre, need to urgently make arrangements for their stay in the country, since the camp will close down in a few days, the Interior ministry announced yesterday."

Austria Detention Profile (Global Detention Project, link); "In early 2014, Austria opened its first specialized immigration detention facility. The development comes after more than two decades of criticism from national and international observers, who have pressed the country not to detain migrants and asylum seekers in prisons and other criminal facilities. The opening, however, was accompanied by controversy because of the decision to outsource security and other services at the facility to a heavily criticized private prison firm, G4S."

Recent curtailments of “freedom of expression” in Ireland (oireachtasretort, link)

Germany's right-wing populists join hands with anti-Islamist Pegida (euractiv, link)

No EU data protection deal 'before end of year' (Parliament magazine, link): "Rapporteur on the EU data protection regulation says parliament and council are 'heading in two different directions".

EU-US trade negotiations must be more transparent, as concerns are raised about clash with data protection rules (Out-Law, link)

• UK: A worrying new anti-terror law is sneaking through Parliament – Angela Patrick (UK Human Rights blog, link)

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

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

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

News in Brief (8.1.15)

If Europe is against US's Irish email grab, it must pipe up now - European Commission still silent despite Ireland's plea (The Register, link) and Irish government intervenes in Microsoft data access case (link)

• UK: Racism probe police officers 'avoid sack', FOI request reveals (BBC News, link)

Danish government wants more data retention and plans to re-introduce session logging (It pol, link)

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

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

News in Brief (7.1.14)

Luxembourg drivers to be fined for offences abroad (link)

Demand Booming for ‘Smart’ Surveillance Cameras Among General Public (IFSECGlobal, link): "More than 11 million consumer and DIY network cameras will be shipped worldwide in 2015, according to IHS."

UK public must wake up to risks of CCTV, says surveillance commissioner (Guardian, link)

• EU Ombudsman: "Further steps to increase TTIP transparency necessary" (link), see also: Full Decision (link)

Security is not a crime (riseup.net, link): "On Tuesday December 16th, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centers were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, and Madrid. Books, leaflets, computers were seized and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiencia Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid."

Greece: New anti-discrimination report set for February launch (Coe Human Rights, link): "The February analysis from the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) will be the fifth Council of Europe examination of the country’s efforts to strengthen social cohesion and fight xenophobia, anti-semitism and bigotry."

• UK: Police forced to disclose more details of “ghoulish and heartless” spy tactic - Police have conceded some ground over the secrecy surrounding the theft of the identities of dead children by their undercover officers (Guardian, link)

• EU: Now online - EU negotiating texts in TTIP (DG Trade, link)

• UK: The 30-year rule documents they don’t want you to see (Guardian, link): "A sweeping escape clause to the release of UK government papers means files on nuclear tests, GCHQ and the Falklands remain hidden."

Counter-protests dwarf German anti-Islam rallies (euobserver, link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News in Brief (5.1.15)

British government lobbies to 'water down' consent requirements in EU data protection regulation (Computing, link)

EU to set up expert group to fight jihadist propaganda (euobserver, link)

EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2014 – Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)

USA-NSA: Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security (Speigel Online, link): "US and British intelligence agencies undertake every effort imaginable to crack all types of encrypted Internet communication. The cloud, it seems, is full of holes. The good news: New Snowden documents show that some forms of encryption still cause problems for the NSA."

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

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

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

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

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


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