EU-BIOMETRIC BORDER CHECKS: Commission wants two systems to track travellers entering the EU by Judith Crosbie (European Voice, link) "The European Commission will propose in February two new systems for tracking and monitoring people entering the EU. One system will require airline passengers to register online before flying to Europe while the other system will use biometrics to track people entering and leaving the Union through air, land and sea borders."
Last November the Commission put forward a proposal for a EU-PNR scheme whereby airlines compile and pass over details of passengers to national security agencies to check against watch-lists (See Statewatch's Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)) It is now proposed that in addition all passengers wanting to fly into the EU (both visitors and citizens) will have to get permission to travel. The story above also says that the Commission is intending to propose a third measure to take biometrics (fingerprints) of everyone entering and leaving the EU by air, land and sea.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Let us be clear about the effect of these three proposals. Everyone - citizens and visitors - travelling in and out of the EU is going placed under surveillance, have to get permission to enter and checked against national watch-lists whose scope is unknown, with data transferred to unspecified agencies in the EU and outsdie and records of movements held for years."
UK-NO2ID: National Identity Scheme: Options Analysis Outcomes (pdf) This document, annotated by NO2ID - http://www.no2id.net , relates to the previously-leaked "NIS Delivery Strategy - Aligning strategy and delivery" Annotated.
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK (pdf): "the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights says the Government has done “nowhere near enough” to use the Human Rights Act to improve the delivery of public services and has allowed a catalogue of myths to build up around the true purpose and use of the Act in the UK."
UK: Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2006–2007 (pdf) With lots of *** censored content. See: MPs' anger over withheld spy documents (Guardian, link)
Update: EU: Seven EU governments propose mutual recognition of offences and convictions where the person is not present at their trial: Slovenia, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, UK and Germany: Full-text of proposal (pdf) Explanatory report (pdf) To: "establish common rules for the recognition and (or) execution of judicial decisions in one Member State (executing Member State) issued by another Member State (issuing Member State) following proceedings where the person was not personally present"
UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner (for nine months, April-December 2006, pdf). As usual this is singularly useless. The Commissioner tells us that he is responsible for overseeing the work of MI5, MI6 (SIS) and GCHQ and their use of surveillance, property warrants and informers but provides not even the overall figures for "warrants and authorisations issued to the agencies" because this would "assist those hostile to the UK"
EU: Summary of the public seminar on Data protection on the Internet (Google-DoubleClick and other case studies) of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, held in Brussels on 21 January 2007 (pdf)
UK: "SUS" LAW TO RETURN: Stop and search back in London (Evening Standard, link) Under current laws, put in place after the Brixton and other uprisings nation-wide in 1981, police have to have "reasonable suspicion" to stop and search a person. The government is to propose that in "designated areas" in a number of cities people can be stopped and searched simply on "suspicion" alone. See Background:
Stop and search figures released by the Justice Ministry for 2005-6 (England an Wales):
"Overall, Black people were nearly 7 times more likely to be searched than White people (this ratio is higher than the 2004/5 ratio of 6 times)."
Asian people were 2.1 times as likely as White people to be stopped and searched, compared to 1.8 times in the previous year. People in the ‘Other’ ethnic group were 1.7 times more likely to be stopped than White people in 2005/6, compared with 1.6 times in 2004/52.
In 2005/6 there were 878,153 stop and searches of persons recorded by the police under section 1 of PACE and other legislation (Table 4.1). Of these, 135,262 (15%) were of Black people, 69,274 (8%) of Asian people and 14,101 (2%) of people of ‘Other’ ethnic origin. Under PACE: Only 12% resulted in an arrest (no figures of given of those subsequently charged or convicted)
Background: Statewatch analysis: UK: Stop & search: Ethnic injustice continues unabated
REPRIEVE: The “Journey of death” - Over 700 prisoners illegally rendered to Guantanamo with the help of Portugal (pdf) "Reprieve can now conclusively show that the Portuguese territory and airspace has been used to transfer over 700 prisoners to torture and illegal imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay."
Interview with the Wife of Abou Elkassim Britel (Cageprisoners, link) See also: Italy: Renditions: Britel announces hunger strike
Renditions: Italy / Morocco: Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case
UK: Statewatch Observatory: Telephone-tapping and access to communications data (1937-2006) - updated 29 January 2008 - with the publication of the Interception of Communications Commissioner's report for 1 April 2006 to 31 December 2006 (pdf). This report contains two sets of figures which are of interest:
a) Rise in telephone tapping: The number of warrants issued for the interception of communications (eg phone-tapping etc). The figures in the latest report are for only nine months of 2006, however, when adjusted to give an annual figure these show that the total adjusted figures for the previous period give a total of 5,723 (ie: warrants issued plus the modifications) and the new adjusted figure shows a rise to an annual figure of 6,597.
b) Requests for access to communication data by law enforcement agencies remains very high: The number of requests for access to communications data (ie: traffic data) under RIPA Part I Chapter II from service providers: in the nine months covered by the latest reports a total of 253,557 requests were made. As noted in the Commissioner's report for 2005-6 (p17): "A large number of the Law Enforcement Agencies, who are the principal users of communications data, have acquired fully automated systems [of access]" The total number of requests in this 15 month period in 2005-6 were: 439,054.
The figures in the Daily Telegraph story (link) have confused telephone tapping warrants with a separate power for law enforcement agencies etc to request access to traffic data from service providers.
BULGARIA: Immigration Detention in International Law and Practice (In search of solutions to the challenges faced in Bulgaria)
Valeria Ilareva by Valeria IIareva (pdf)
EURO-MEDITERRANEAN HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK Report: Freedom of Association in the Euro-Mediterranean region (5MB, pdf)
UK-EU: Home Affairs Select Committee Report: Bulgarian and Romanian Accession to the EU: Twelve months on (pdf)
EU: "FUTURES GROUP": Report of the High Level Advisory Group on the future of EU Home Affairs Policies as discussed at the Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Slovenia on 24-25 January 2008. This is an Interim Report - with a final report in July 2008 - intended to succeed the Tampere (1999-2004) and Hague programmes (2005-2009).
EU-USA: STATE OF RATIFICATIONS OF AGREEMENTS: Status of ratification of EU-US Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and mutual legal assistance and of bilateral instruments (EU doc no: 5916/3/07 Rev 3, pdf) Full background and documentation is on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU
EU:DATA PROTECTION: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Latest draft as at 11 December 2007, pdf)
EU: Informal Meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council: Slovenia 24-25 January 2008: Conclusion of informal council meeting of justice and home affairs ministers: to strengthen legal safety and fundamental rights in an area of freedom, security and justice (link)
EU Interior Ministers discuss the Second-generation Schengen Information System and the Use of Passenger Name Record for Law Enforcement Purposes (link): "there was agreement that SIS II must be operational by September 2009 at the latest." Over "lunch" the Ministers also discuss the EU-PNR scheme and referred to the Draft Framework Decision on data protection in police matters which is still being discussed - a highly disputed measure which offer little protection to individual rights, see: Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU and Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
EU-UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report on: EU-PNR proposal (pdf)
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Concern about Deployment of Tasers (pdf)
CCTV camera microphones to be axed (Sunday Telegraph, link)
European Ombudsman: NGOs can help EU institutions do their job better (pdf)
"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has underlined the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in pointing out possible instances of maladministration in the EU institutions. Over the past ten years, the Ombudsman's office has received almost 1 000 complaints from NGOs and associations. They included alleged maladministration concerning environmental projects, late payment for EU contracts, and lack of transparency in the EU institutions. Among the NGOs that complained were Statewatch, Corporate Europe Observatory, and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)."
CoE-TERRORIST LISTS: PACE demands review of UN and EU blacklisting procedures for terrorist suspects, which ‘violate human rights’ (press release, link). See below for Marty report and recommendations.
EU-JHA: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Slovenia (links):
- Informal Meeting of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs, 24 -26 January at Brdo
- Joint SCIFA & CATS Seminar
ECJ-TERRORIST LISTS: Another excellent Opinion by the Advocate-General who finds that the Court of First Instance was wrong to say that it could not rule on a person/group placed on the UN list and the EU list. The Opinion now goes to the Court of Justice: Al Barakaat International Foundation v Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities (Full-text of Opinion, pdf)
EU-JHA: Council Presidency:
- Slovenian Presidency programme
- Priority tasks of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of Justice and Home Affairs. Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament Brussels, 22 January 2008
- Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia, in Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, 22 January 2008
UK: Informed choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom An independent report by David Gee. Research and publication funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (Executive Summary, pdf)
UK-EU: Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the Lisbon Treaty (full-text, pdf) It says:
"We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the Government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied."
EU-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: MEPs’ quick-deal concerns (European Voice, link) "MEPs are concerned that the increasing trend for reaching quick deals with the Council of Ministers is detrimental to the Parliament’s" Under the co-decision procedure (between the parliament and the Council) 80% of measures have been agreed at 1st reading including 19 out of 23 measures going before the Civil Liberties Committee. Full-text of the EP's Working Party report on Parliamentary Reform on Co-decision and Conciliation pdf)
Background: - Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit by Tony Bunyan (first published in Statewatch bulletin November-December 2006). 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. This is particularly the case on border controls, asylum and immigration measures.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"It is to be hope that the European Parliament follows this advice and resists pressure from the Council to decide new laws in closed meetings. To reverse present practice the parliament needs to insist on a revision of the 2007 Joint Declaration which presumes that secret trilogues and first reading agreements are the norm.
Crucially the documents and drafts which are circulated for the trilogue meetings must be made public as they are produced or else any reforms will be meaningless. Democratic procedures mean that people know what is being discussed and have a chance to intervene before a measure is agreed. The Working Party is silent on this issue."
SCANNING IRISES: The soul stealers: Our beautiful, unique irises are to be relegated to the dystopian realm of state security by Simon Ings (Guardian, link)
EU-FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT AGENCY (FRA): ALDE disappointed with lack of ambition of EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (pdf) The is precluded from looking into police and internal security matters in the EU member states and "Key areas are excluded from its remit - homophobia, anti-gypsism, violation of privacy and the erosion of civil liberties in the fight against terrorism are of very real concern in a number of Member States."
ECJ-TERRORIST LISTS: Excellent Opinion by the Advocate-General who finds that in the Kadi case the Court of First Instance was wrong to say that it could not rule on a person placed on the UN list and the EU list. The Opinion now goes to the Court of Justice: Press release: Advocate General Poiares Maduro suggest that the Court annul the Council Regulation freezing the funds of Mr Kadi (pdf) Full-text of Opinion (pdf(
UK-USA: 1948 UKUSA agreement and ECHELON states behind "Server in the Sky" project: Press coverage reporting that the FBI is seeking to set up a global alliance to target suspected terrorists and criminals has not so far noted the historical origins of "Server in the Sky" project to collect and exchange personal biometrics and data. The group behind the initiative is the "International Information Consortium" comprised of the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The same five states started intelligence gathering in the Cold War era under the 1948 UKUSA agreement which set up a global monitoring system led by the NSA (USA) and Government Communications HQ in the UK (GCHQ).
And the very same five states set up the ECHELON surveillance system in the 1980s which extended communications gathering on a huge scale from military objectives to political and economic targets by trawling the ether for keywords, phrases and groups.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The USA and the UK have been running global surveillance systems since the start of the Cold War through the NSA and GCHQ and their scope was extended by the ECHELON system in the 1980s. For nearly 60 years, since 1948, these hidden systems have been beyond democratic control and now we see this alliance extending its tentacles to cover not just suspected terrorists but criminals as well. Its activities are likely to be as unaccountable as ever, by-passing standards of privacy and data protection."
- European Parliament: Echelon report (pdf)
- Appraisal of technologies of political control (for the EP STOA Committee, pdf)
- European Union and the FBI launch global surveillance system: A Statewatch report, 10 February 1997
- News report: FBI wants instant access to British identity data - Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints (Guardian, link)
CANADA: Court decides that the USA is not a "safe third country: In a 124-page decision Mr. Justice Michael Phelan ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement, which came into effect on Dec. 29, 2004 and regulated refugee movement between Canada and the U.S., violates refugee rights and that the United States did not meet the conditions required to be considered a "Safe Country" under the terms of the Agreement. Full text of judgment (pdf)
UK: Prisoners 'to be chipped like dogs' (Independent, link)
UK: Parliament Square Peace Campaign: supporters of Brian Haw and the right to protest: Briefing paper on SOCPA and see: Website
UK: Liberty's "Charge or release" campaign against extension of detention period (link)
EU: European Commission: Co-Decision Procedure: Guide to Internal Procedures (Introduction in French, text in English, pdf) Detailed description of the co-decision process.
EU: Justice and Home Affairs: External relations programme for Slovenian Council Presidency (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Draft agenda items for February, April and June: Draft JHA agendas (pdf)
European Parliament Hearing, 21 January 2008: Data protection on the Internet: (Google-Doubleclick and other case studies) (pdf)
EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: "Against the outrageous Directive!", full-text of speech given by Yasha Maccanico (Statewatch) at the hearing with NGOs organised by the GUE group, European Parliament, Strasbourg on 12 December 2007 (pdf)
UK: Official secrets prosecution collapses (Bindmans, link)
Poland: Infringements of the right to fair trial and personal freedom Key case on the infringement of presumption of innocence and the abuse of pre-trial detention pending in the European Court of Human Rights
UK: Parliamentary Committee slams government data security: Protection of private data (Full-text of report by Justice Committee, pdf) Tougher data laws needed say MPs (BBC News, link). This follows the loss of 25 million personal records.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Current data protection laws are utterly worthless. The right to privacy and the protection of personal data will only become meaningful if all public and private bodies have a legal obligation to inform every person on whom they hold data each time data is transferred and to provide an annual statement of how it has been used. This should include: details of data held, every instance of exactly who it has been passed to and when and for what purpose, whether in the UK, the EU or outside."
EU: Fingerprinting children - VIS (Visa Information System): This document shows the latest position of the Council of the European Union (27 governments): See: EU doc no: 16598/07 (pdf) There would be limited use of the fingerprints of children aged 6-12:
"Fingerprints given by children aged between 6-12 at the time of collection may only be used for verification purposes"
"Verification" means that only "on-to-one" checks can be carried out to confirm that the child is the same as that recorded in the travel document. But Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria and Estonia want childrens' fingerprints to be checked "one-to-many", that is against the whole database.
The European Parliament wants the age from which children can be fingerprinted to be set at 12 years old and more, the EU governments want it to be 6 years old. The standard set for visas is likely also to apply to resident third country nationals and all EU citizens too.
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