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The International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, is building a vast data-processing platform called INSIGHT that is ultimately supposed to provide police forces around the globe with “predictive analytics” generated from Interpol’s internal data, information received from its member states, “external” sources such as commercial databases, and “visual, video, audio recognition, facial and bio-data matching.” The US State Department has so far committed more than $12 million for the project.
Secret "trilogue" negotiations on the EU's proposed Artificial Intelligence Act are ongoing, and next week MEPs and EU member state representatives will start discussing bans and prohibitions. The week after, decisions are expected on whether to classify the use of AI for migration and security purposes as "high risk" or not. A statement directed at decision-makers and signed by 115 associations and individuals, including Statewatch, calls for strict limits and controls in the AI Act "to prevent harm, protect people from rights violations and provide legal boundaries for authorities to use AI within the confines of the rule of law."
A new guide aims to improve the ability of activists and campaigners to request data held on them by Europol, the EU’s policing agency, and to increase public and political scrutiny of European police forces gathering data on individuals’ political activities.
Joint statement signed by Statewatch and more than 80 other organisations: Following the arrival of a record number of people on the move in Lampedusa, civil society expresses its deep concern at the security response of European states, the crisis of reception, and reaffirms its solidarity with people on the move arriving in Europe.
Over 80 organisations, including Statewatch, are calling on EU member states to block the proposed Child Sexual Abuse Regulation, which would fatally undermine encryption and thus the safety and privacy of all internet users. In the UK, the government has recently conceded that similar clauses in the Online Safety Bill will not be enforced until it is technologically possible to do so - which is likely to be never.
Almost 120 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, are calling on MEPs to close a massive loophole in the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act introduced under pressure from big tech lobbyists. Without changes, the law will allow developers of AI systems to decide whether or not the systems they produce should be considered "high-risk" or not - an obvious invitation for them to decide that they are not, in order to avoid the extra safeguards that the Act should impose.
EU-promoted migration control policies have caused discontent in Niger, and it has been suggested they may have contributed to the unpopularity of toppled president Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted in a military coup in July. After the coup, the European Commission halted its support for security and migration projects in the country. However, its willingness to cooperate with institutions and actors that violate human rights elsewhere raises the question: for how long?
UK citizens who have retained post-Brexit rights as legal residents of EU member states have “encountered problems when transiting Schengen States on their way to the [member state] where they reside,” according to the European Commission – including “being wrongfully detained whilst transiting through the Schengen area.”
Book review: In ‘The Suspect’, Rizwaan Sabir offers an intimate first person account of the experience of being accused of involvement in terrorism. He was arrested in May 2008 for possessing a document deemed useful for committing terrorist acts, as part of his academic research into Al Qaida at Nottingham University.
The Cypriot anti-racist organisation KISA has denounced a racist "pogrom" against Syrian refugees in Chloraka, in which various far-right groups attacked adults, children and property. The "well-organised and coordinated attack" grew from "the fertile ground created by the state migration and asylum policies, which are based on systemic racism and discrimination, in flagrant violation of human rights as well as EU and international law," says a press release from KISA. The police, meanwhile, are accused of having "tolerated and apathetically at first watched the violent attacks and other offences," until they eventually made "three arrests, two of which were of Syrian refugees according to media reports, victimising once again the victims of the attacks."
A joint statement signed by 56 organisations, including Statewatch, calls for European states to stop obstructing and hindering civil search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea.
The EU and USA are discussing a proposed “Enhanced Border Security Partnership” which would involve “continuous and systematic” transfers of biometric data in both directions, but the Commission has refused to release documents that would provide further information to the public.
On 26 July the Council Presidency circulated what it intended to be the Council's negotiating mandate on the proposed Regulation addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum. Agreement within the Council on the text remains elusive, but it is being made public here, alongside previous versions of the text and compilations of comments from member states on various issues raised by the proposal.
The EU should use policies on the diaspora population to step up pressure on third countries to cooperate with migration control, the Spanish Council Presidency has suggested, by “embedding discussions on diaspora relations in bilateral relations on migration with partner countries.”
Rights groups have hit back at the European Commission’s commitment to radically increase border spending in spite of multiple human rights scandals on Europe’s borders; and contrasted it to the lack of new support and finance for climate action following last month’s record heatwave.
In June the European Commission proposed amendments to the EU’s budget for the 2021-27 period, arguing that existing finances are at “the point of exhaustion”. The changes sought by the Commission would increase the budget for “migration and external challenges” by €15 billion.
Law enforcement officials are meeting today and tomorrow in Logroño, Spain, to discuss "access to electronic communications and digital data as a premise for law enforcement." The Spanish Council Presidency published a discussion paper prior to the meeting, but a document obtained by Statewatch offers far more information on current plans.
None of the decisions adopted by the policing agency's management board since the entry into force of the revamped Europol Regulation last summer were made public, in breach of Europol's own transparency commitments, until Statewatch filed an access to documents request.
A statement signed by representatives of almost 300 organisations from across the UK, including Statewatch: "We all deserve to live safe from harm. But this senselessly cruel Act will have a devastating impact on people’s lives. It turns our country’s back on people seeking safety, blocking them from protection, support, and justice at a time they need it most."
Secret negotiations between the Council of the EU, European Parliament and European Commission on the Artificial Intelligence Act have begun, more than two years after the legislation was proposed. A statement signed by more than 150 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, calls for fundamental rights to be put at the centre of the talks.
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