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If MI5 sticks to outdated tactics, Emwazi wont be the last British security failure - The strategy of allowing known terrorists to remain free on the streets lets them carry out evil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 Greeces 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 Swedens 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):
"Canadas electronic spy agency collects millions of emails from Canadians and stores them for days to monthswhile 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 agencys 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 Commissions 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 EUs 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 Commissioners Office (ICO). Over 40 of the UKs 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 EUâ¬"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
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 Koreas 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 Koreas National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the runup to a meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul in 2010.... Greenpeace is one of the worlds 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 welcomingEurope. 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 parliaments 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 EUs 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 Maizières 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 ISCs most important and last remaining piece of work before the election. This is their detailed report on Edward Snowdens disclosures and their recommendations for overhauling the laws on digital surveillance."
France bans six nationals from travelling to Syria (Daily Sabah Europe, link)
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 Labours 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 governments white-washing body of choice - The ISC has completely missed the major scandals of the past decade: this oversightcommittee 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 EUs 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:
EU: Council of the European Union working towards its position on the:Data Protection Regulation:
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 migrants 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 Muiznieks: 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 worlds 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 companys core networks and Ki-generating systems."
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 Parliaments chief negotiator on the European Unions 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 peoples 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-petroleummovement as a growing and violent threat to Canadas security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper governments 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: Polands complicity in CIA torture programme confirmed as European Court rejects Warsaws 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 ARCOdata 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: Childrens 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 agencys 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 childrens 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 childrens 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 Europes 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 Europols 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 SWIFTagreement)."
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, Googles 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 EUs 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 jointdecisionreached 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 individuals entire genetic makeup. DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement investigations because each persons 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 weve 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 NYPDs 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 Europes 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
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? Thats 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. Theres 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 INQUESTs 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 Prosecutors 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 magazines 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 truthAmerica 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 EUs overseas embassies, which are to have new security attaches, from the EUs civilian and military crisis missions, and from the EUs 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 EUs 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 Europes 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 Europes 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)
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
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 were rushing toward isnt 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 MaiziÃ¨re, 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 worlds 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 Britains 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 UKs intelligence agencies. It said that the governments 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 todays decision, Privacy International and Bytes for All disagree with the tribunals earlier conclusion that the forced disclosure of a limited subset of rules governing intelligence-sharing and mass surveillance is sufficient to make GCHQs activities lawful as of December 2014. Both organisations will shortly lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights challenging the tribunals 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 Mays 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 Europes 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: Eurojusts 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 groups 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 judges 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 speechand 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 Committees Fourth Report of Session 201415 (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 worldbut 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 Mays Prevent bill is extremism in the name of security - The home secretarys 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 Mens 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, were 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? Strasbourgs reaction to the CJEUs 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 illiberalstate 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 OKane from Derry and also against the denial of medical treatment to Mr OKane."
French job ad specifying no Jews sparks complaints - Parisian companys 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 Unions 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 Mays 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 Skys Murnaghan programme. But theyve 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 whats 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 principleby 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 governments bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace."
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