28 March 2012
Fresh from agreeing a Transatlantic government pay-off to end bribery and corruption investigations, it has emerged that BAE systems has been awarded a €2.3 million contract to develop a “Strategic crime and immigration information management system” (SCIIMS) for the European Union.
The contract has been awarded by the European Commission under the €1.4 billion EU Security Research Programme (ESRP), part of the ‘FP7‘ framework programme 2007-2013. The ESRP has been dominated by defence and IT contractors keen to diversify into the highly lucrative ‘Homeland Security’ market.
The EU contract tasks the SCIIMS consortium with developing:
“new capabilities improve the ability to search, mine, and fuse information from National, trans-national, private and other sources, to discover trends and patterns for increasing shared situational awareness and improving decision making, within a secure infrastructure to facilitate the combating of organized crime and in particular people trafficking to enhance the security of citizens”
Essentially an international police intelligence system for use by European and national agencies responsible for combating trafficking in human beings and organised crime (including EUROPOL and FRONTEX), SCIIMS represents the further outsourcing of EU policy to private contractors under the ESRP.
The stated objectives of the project are to develop “a secure information infrastructure in accordance with EU Crime and Immigration Agencies information needs” along with “tools to assist in decision making in order to predict, analyze and intervene with likely people trafficking and smuggling sources, events, and links to organized crime”.
The use of controversial information technologies such as data mining, profiling and predictive modelling are explicitly mandated by the EU contract, in spite of widespread concerns about their legality and effectiveness. Both the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights have recently called on governments to regulate and limit the use of these kind of technologies.
SCIIMS will mine “large data sets” in the hope of producing useful intelligence for state agencies. This could include EU databases such as the EUROPOL and Schengen Information Systems, as well as national police and immigration databases in the member states. Unless these practices are regulated by national or international law, they will almost certainly be unlawful. Yet there is no mention whatsoever of data protection within the EU-BAE contract.
The SCIIMS project is coordinated by BAE Systems’ Integrated Systems Technologies Ltd. UK. BAE’s partners in the SCIIMS consortium are:
Elsag Datamat S.P.A., Italy (a Finmeccanica company)
Indra Sistemas S.A., Spain
Denodo Technologies SL, Spain
Universidade da Coruna, Spain
Columba Global Systems Ltd. (Ireland)
The Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
For background on the European Security Research Agenda see: NeoConOpticon blog
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