EU-MEXICO PNR (Passenger Name Record) : European Commission to open negotiations on PNR agreement: Letter from Commissioner to Claude Moraes, Chair LIBE Committee (pdf)
See: Statewatch story filed on 8.3.15: European Commission in a pickle over PNR
- Mexico and Argentina about to implement PNR laws requiring "the transfer of passenger data from air carriers that operate in [their] countries"
- The Commission has only 2-3 weeks to sort this out: airlines face fines if they do not comply and would break EU law if they do
EU DEFENCE UNION: Yet another elite "Group of Personalities" set up: Bienkowska launches high-level defence research group (euractiv, link):
"Elzbieta Bienkowska , Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, launched a new high-level group to advise the EU on how it can support research on a future defence union."
Background: First EDA-Commission workshop on the preparatory action for CSDP-related research (European Defence Agency, link) and ASD: Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe: Position paper: (pdf): "ASD represents the Aeronautics, Space, Security and Defence industries in Europe. Based in Brussels, the organisations membership today comprises 15 major European aerospace and defence companies and 27 member associations in 20 countries" and also: EU: Commission proposes military research programme (Statewatch database)
See also: Arming Big Brother: the EU's Security Research Programme (Statewatch, pdf): "The story of the EU Security Research Programme is one of Big Brothermeets market fundamentalism. It was personified by the establishment in 2003 of a Group of Personalities(GoP) comprised of EU officials and Europes biggest arms and IT companies." And the ground-breaking report from Statewatch & TNI: NeoConOpticon: The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf)
UK government trying to prevent justice for rendition victims (Reprieve, link):
"The UK government is refusing to guarantee that it will not misuse the intercepted lawyer-client communications of two rendition victims in their legal cases again the British government. Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, from Pakistan, are bringing legal action against the British government for its complicity in their torture and rendition. The men were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British forces, before being rendered by the US to Bagram prison, Afghanistan. They endured a decade of secret US detention and torture in Bagram before their release last May without charge or trial....
Kat Craig, Mr Rahmatullah's lawyer and Legal Director at human rights organization Reprieve, said: "Not content with complicity in the torture, rendition and decade-long secret detention of Mr Rahmatullah and Mr Ali, the UK is now trying to prevent them from achieving justice. Why would any government otherwise refuse to implement safeguards, and which only serve to achieve a fair balance &SHY; and protect an age-old principle of our justice system? By preventing our clients from communicating privately with their legal team, and fairly and robustly seeking the justice they so sorely deserve, the UK government is holding itself above the law."
News in Brief (31.3.15)
"EU:-ECHR: Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice on access of EU to the ECHR One step ahead and two steps back (EASFJ, link)
"Fundamental rights in the EU: Where to next? (euobserver, link): "Despite progress made, there continues to be serious gaps in both the EU fundamental rights and equality legislation and its enforcement. This is all the more worrying in the current context of austerity, which is having a disproportionate impact on groups at risk of discrimination as well as adverse effects on equality policies."
"UK: Privacy, security and surveillance: tackling dilemmas and dangers in the digital realm (Wilton Park, link)
"UK: Probation officers face redundancy in plan to replace them with machines - Sodexo, UKs largest operator of privatised probation services, is to use cash-machine style kiosks for offenders to report in without seeing an officer (Guardian, link)
"Big Data poses questions about human role in society (euobserver, link)
"New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups (The Intercept, link): "Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasnt surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups."
"Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Czech Republic (link) and see: Report (pdf): " Particular attention was paid to the situation of juveniles, high-security and life-sentenced prisoners. For the first time in the Czech Republic, the delegation examined the treatment of and legal safeguards offered to persons held under the court-ordered measure of security detentionat Brno Prison. Further, the delegation visited a detention centre for foreigners as well as a psychiatric hospital where it examined the situation of involuntary patients. The report also deals with the issue of surgical castration of sex offenders which was the subject of consultations with representatives of the relevant national authorities."
CEUTA-MELILLA: Against a state of exception for human rights in Ceuta and Melilla (pdf):
"The 150 undersigned social associations have looked into the eyes of these migrants and seen their injuries, traumas and persecutions often, very often. This is why we wont look away and allow our shame for this illegal practice through which our name is being soiled to discourage us. We wont allow the existence in our country of zones of exception for human rights regardless of how hard they try to legalise them."
HUNGARY: Helsinki Committee: Refugees and migrants: Hungarian government plans to breach EU asylum law and to subject asylum-seekers to massive detention and immediate deportation (link) and see: Media information note (pdf, link):
"Hungarian Helsinki Committee aimed at providing background information and key facts about migration to *Hungary*, conditions for migrants in the country and recent developments in the government's migration policy. With 42,777 asylum claims registered last year, the number of asylum-seekers in Hungary saw a twentyfold increase from 2012 to 2014. The already problematic situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in the country risks to deteriorate following the *anti-migrant communication campaign* initiated by the Prime Minister last February.
Planned amendments to asylum and immigration laws are going, for example, in the direction of *systematic detention* of asylum-seekers and migrants irregularly entering the territory, *undermining the protection of their fundamental rights."
Do Facebook and the USA violate EU data protection law? The CJEU hearing in Schrems (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-EU: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union report: The Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU (pdf) and Evidence submitted (pdf) in respone to: Government Review (link): "Although the reports represent a significant and worthwhile body of work, the Review as a whole is diminished by the Governments failure to deliver its undertaking in 2012 to draw together the analysis contained in the Review."
See: Lords slams UKs splendid isolation on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link): "The House of Lords has called on the British government to abandon its legally unsustainableinterpretation of EU justice and home affairs law, and drop its unnecessarily confrontational strategy."
Statewatch Analysis: The EU's Maternity Leave Directive: The Council secretly rejects the EP's olive branch by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"The Council's refusal to accept the EP's olive branch and even start negotiations on a possible compromise (however unlikely that might be) is petty and vindictive"
UK: Student cleared of London terror charge after partially secret trial - Erol Incedal found not guilty of preparation of acts of terrorism after a retrial in which large parts of evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom (Guardian, link): ""A man who faced accusations that he was plotting to mount an Islamic State-inspired gun or bomb attack on the streets of London has been acquitted after a highly secretive Old Bailey trial. Erol Incedal, 27, was cleared of preparation of acts of terrorism after a four-week retrial in which large parts of the evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom." And see: "Old Bailey must lift secrecy around Erol Incedal case, say media lawyers - Anthony Hudson QC tells court that public can only understand acquittal over terrorist plot charge if press is allowed to report key evidence (link)
Also: Court case brought by the Guardian last year over secrecy in the case: "Open justice is both a fundamental principle of the common law and a means of ensuring public confidence in our legal system; exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts." (link to judgment)
Netanyahus Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents (The Intercept, link):
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His offices denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israels other allies.
Israels claim is not only incredible on its face. It is also squarely contradicted by top-secret NSA documents, which state that Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S."
News in Brief (30.3.15)
"Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO - Single currency area must become a "United States of Europe" in order to secure its future, says manager of world's largest bond fund (Telegraph, link)
"Calais mayor blames UK's approach to Europe for migrants gathering in town - Natacha Bouchart claims Britain refuses to take responsibility for problems caused by migrants in the French channel port (Guardian, link)
"EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal: what's at stake (EP News, link)
"Europol chief warns on computer encryption (BBC News, link)
"EU keeps Hamas on terror list, despite court ruling (euractiv, link)
"Dying for Justice: black and minority ethnic deaths in custody (Open Democracy, link): "509 suspicious deaths of people from BME, migrant and asylum seeker communities in state custody over 23 years. Five prosecutions. Not one single conviction. A chilling report from the Institute of Race Relations."
"IRELAND: Gardaí could be given access to PPS numbers of two million drivers (Irish News, link): "Other measures examined by the multi-agency group include the exchange of PPS numbers between private vehicle buyers and sellers.... Also being reviewed is the linking of car-owners' PPS numbers for each new vehicle registration. Social security numbers being used to block people with unpaid fines from selling or buying cars or from renewing a licence is also being assessed. PPS is short for Personal Public Service Number, "a unique reference that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland."" See also: Personal Public Service Number (Citizens Information, link)
"Albania to Disclose Data About Telephone Surveillance (freedominfo.org, link)
"Rise of urban warfare spurring wave of special equipment demands (Defence iQ, link)
"UK: Labour vows to ban indefinite detention of asylum and immigration applicants - Yvette Cooper says current system is inefficient and deeply scarring for detainees, and move would bring UK in line with most western countries (Guardian, link)
"Paris and Copenhagen attacks have 'put European values to the test (EP Parliament, link): ""The western response to terrorism, insisting on a narrow definition of 'European', 'British', or 'French' values, rather than human values, can lead to pigeonholing 'the other' as 'radical', painting two-dimensional images that only increase alienation, and can lead to abuse""
"PERU-EU: European Parliament approves elimination of Schengen Visa (Peru This Week, link)
"USA: FBI told its cyber surveillance programs have actually not gone far enough - In-house 9/11 Review Commission calls for further expansion of informant and cyber surveillance networks but largely ignores domestic intelligence gathering (Guardian, link) and see: The FBI used to recommend encryption. Now they want to ban it
"Bulgaria: Anti-torture experts speak out over persistent failuresin treatment of jailed and detained people (CoE, link) and see: European Committee
for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): Public statement concerning Bulgaria (pdf)
"Peter Greste calls for universal charter of media freedoms - Al-Jazeera journalist says the so-called war on terror is a kind of globalised McCarthyism that is being used by governments to limit the press (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: This a redraft of important clauses on data subjects' rights and remedies: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, 27 March 2015, pdf)
USA: REMOTE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS: Advisory Committee Approves Rules to Expand Police Hacking Authority (EPIC, link):
"according to a news report, a committee of the Federal Judicial Conference voted on Monday to approve changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Under the revised rule, judges could issue "remote access" warrants authorizing law enforcement to search computers remotely, even when the target is outside the jurisdiction of the court."
See also: FBIs Plan to Expand Hacking Power Advances Despite Privacy Fears - Google had warned that the rule change represents a monumentalconstitutional concern. (National journal, link) and UK: Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" (Statewatch)
Deaths of Europes unwanted and unnoticed migrants exposed (Institute of Race Relations, link): "The deaths over the last five years, in the detention and reception centres, the streets and the squats of Europe, are a product of the rightlessness and the lack of human dignity European governments accord to migrants and asylum seekers. They are also the tip of the iceberg; the true figures are unknown, as in many countries migrants deaths are not recorded or investigated. But of the deaths whose circumstances are known, the largest number, sixty, were suicides; 26 were caused by untreated illness or illness exacerbated by detention, while sixteen were caused by destitution.
"Liz Fekete, Director of the IRR, said, Some lives simply dont matter. These deaths reflect exactly the same indifference to human life that we see at the border &this suffering, these deaths need to be accounted for."
Full report: Unwanted, Unnoticed: an audit of 160-asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe (link to pdf)
UN: New U.N. investigator to probe digital spying (Reuters, link): "The United Nations top human rights body agreed on Thursday to appoint a special investigator to probe digital spying and violations of online privacy.
"Brazil and Germany spearheaded the resolution, which voiced deep concern over electronic surveillance and the interception of digital communications, as well as data collection by governments and private companies."
See also: Human Rights Council creates mandate of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy: Adopts Three Other Texts on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Right to Work, and the Effects of Terrorism on Human Rights (UN ,link) and Human rights, democracy and the rule of law (link)
See: UN Human Rights Council: The right to privacy in the digital age (pdf) and: UN Human Rights Council Appoints Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy (Electronic Frontier Foundation, link)
UK: CRIMINAL COURT TAX: Court charge of up to £1,200 for criminals revealed (BBC News, link): "Convicted criminals in England and Wales will have to pay up to £1,200 towards the cost of their court case under new rules, it has been revealed. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the Criminal Courts Charge would ensure criminals "pay their way"."
See: Ministry of Justice: Fact Sheet: Criminal Courts Charge (pdf): "The government considers that convicted adult offenders who use our criminal courts should pay towards the cost of running them."
See also the government's impact assessment (pdf) from last year which notes as a risk: "Changes in offender behaviour. This includes more defendants pleading guilty, not opting to be tried in the Crown Court, accepting cautions, or paying fixed penalty notices". The government's response to this problem does not really address the issue: ""We have considered whether there is a risk that an offender may feel that they have reduced choice in whether to plead guilty or go to trial as that may result in a higher criminal courts charge than otherwise , particularly if that offender has limited means. The policy will not impose a charge on anyone who is found not guilty. Additionally, if an offender is found guilty and charged, the rate at which they pay the charge can be adjusted according to their income. This should act as a mitigating factor by ensuring that offenders would not be expected to pay the charge at a rate which is beyond their means.""
UK: SPECIAL BRANCH SPIES ON MPs: Furious Labour MPs allegedly spied on by undercover cops demand to see files (Mirror, link): "Furious Labour MPs have demanded to see their secret Special Branch files after it emerged they were allegedly spied on by undercover cops.
"Deputy party leader Harriet Harman, ex-Cabinet Minister Peter Hain and senior backbencher Jeremy Corbyn urged the Government to release the confidential documents detailing their activities.
A now-defunct unit of Met Police officers has been accused of threatening democracy by keeping and even updating records on their targets after they became MPs - including Jack Straw during his time as Home Secretary."
Parliament is about to go into recess before the general election in March, so it is unlikely that there will be many formal developments before the election of a new parliament. As Home Officer minister Mike Penning noted during the debate: "Lots of things are possible with noticein the next Parliament.". Penning also told Harriet Harman that he could not guarantee MPs would be able to see the full contents of the files kept on them: "Ultimately, there may be reasons for that. I was a counter-terrorism Minister in Northern Ireland, where there had to be redactions. I will make sure that as much as can be released is released." See: debate: Undercover Policing (Hansard, link)
Background: Pollice continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council position on Chapters II (Principles), VI (Independent Supervisory Authorities) and VII ("one-stop-shop")
"Delegations will find attached the texts of Chapters II (Annex I), VI and VII (one-stop-shop) (Annex II) as agreed in the partial general approach reached at the Council on 13 March 2015.": See: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapters II, VI and VII (7466-15, pdf)
From earlier this month: Statewatch Analysis: Second version: The Proposed Data Protection Regulation: What has the Council agreed so far? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex
EU: European Neighbourhood Policy evaluation for 2014 published
"In 2014 the EU maintained a high level of engagement with partners, in which the instruments offered by the ENP played a central part. The new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), adopted in 2014, provides EUR 15.4 billion for the period 2014-20. Financial assistance is more focused than before; civil society organisations (CSOs) and local authorities are better and more closely involved in preparing, implementing and monitoring EU support."
Full report: European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014 (pdf) and for an overview: Commission publishes neighbourhood reports for 'test year 2014' (EurActiv, link)
The document notes that: "The terrible loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea during 2014 showed that coordinated policy formulation of the EU with its partner countries in the South and beyond is indispensable.
"As ENP partner countries are mostly transit countries for irregular migration, the EU includes the neighbours of neighbours in relevant discussions, e.g. authorities from West and Central Africa in the framework of the 'Rabat Process'. Similarly, a regional dialogue process was launched in November with countries along the East African migratory route ('Khartoum Process'). Most of the EUs southern partner countries lack a comprehensive, sustainable legal and administrative system to deal with this issue. Libya, in particular, was very vulnerable to flows of asylum-seekers, irregular migration and human trafficking following the deteriorating security situation and the conflict in the country. "
On this issue, see also: Plan to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states
A document was published at the beginning of March outlining the "clear need to review the assumptions on which the policy is based, as well as its scope, and how instruments should be used..." See: Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy (pdf)
News in brief (27.3.15)
EU-US: European court hearings expose lack of privacy safeguards for our data (Irish Times, link)
IRELAND: A New Irish Rebellion, This Time Against Water Fees (New York Times, link)
Noose around Internets TLS system tightens with 2 new decryption attacks (Ars Technica, link): "Exploits pluck passwords and other sensitive data out of encrypted data streams."
SPAIN: Judge ends inquiry into PPs secret ledgers and moves to try ex-treasurers (El País, link)
UEFAs Proposed Football Police Force Completely Flawed (Newsweek, link): "A key European supporters association and a number of football hooliganism experts have criticised calls from the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for a European sports police force to crack down on what he has warned is a rising tide of football hooliganism."
UK: Arms Trade On Trial film released (Arms Dealers on Trial, link): "In defiance of corporate pressure, the film Arms Trade On Trial has been released, which documents our attempts to hold arms dealers from the DSEi arms fair to account for the promotion of illegal torture weapons."
UK: Claims Met police covered up child abuse spark three more inquiries (Guardian, link)
UK: ECHO INVESTIGATES: Shock claims of detainee at Portland's Verne amid staff concerns over training (Dorset Echo, link): "THIS is the worst thing I have ever seen and I cant believe its going on in Britain those are the words of a detainee at The Verne Immigration Removal Centre."
UK: Prince Charles judgment puts government on warpath against the law (politics.co.uk, link): "David Cameron's bad misjudgement that it's "fair enough" for Prince Charles to enjoy private contact with ministers is leading to a bigger problem: the government is now on course to steal power away from the courts."
22 EU Member States' plans for internal security and migration were approved by the European Commission yesterday, opening the door to billions of euros in funding from the EU's current seven year budget, which runs from 2014 until 2020. The new budgets follow the EU's previous internal security and migration budgets, which ran from 2007 until 2013 and paid for transnational databases and police operations, surveillance equipment, and detention centres, amongst other things.
European Commission press release: Investing in an open and secure Europe: ¬1.8 billion to fund Asylum, Migration, Integration and Security (pdf)
A new report from the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee on the "foreign fighters" phenomenon calls for:
Full report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Counter-terrorism: foreign fighters (pdf)
News in brief (26.3.15)
EU: Frontex and eu-LISA Sign Cooperation Plan for 2015 (Frontex, link)
France: Patriot Act à la française: France to legalise unlawful surveillance (EDRi, link)
German industry admits it overstated the benefits of TTIP (Left Foot Forward, link)
In Germany, Data Retention refuses to die (EDRi, link)
IRELAND: Shannon Airport: Ireland's Gateway to Torture (Truthout, link)
UK: HMRCs use of powers against whistleblower indefensible, say MPs (Guardian, link)
UK: When anonymous hearsay can get you deported (IRR, link): "Operation Nexus allows for deportation on the basis of fundamentally unreliable and untestable material."
USA: Architect of CIAs drone campaign to leave post in watershed moment (Washington Post, link)
UK: SPECIAL BRANCH SPIES ON MPs: Pollice continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs - Ex-minister Peter Hain says whistleblowers disclosure of spying operations during 1990s raises questions about parliamentary sovereignty (Guardian, link):
"Police conducted spying operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s, covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.....Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan polices special branch. They include Labours current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw."
"these files were still active for at least 10 years while I was an MP certainly is and raises fundamental questions about parliamentary sovereignty. The same is true of my Labour MP colleagues Jack Straw, Harriet Harman, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, Dennis Skinner and Joan Ruddock, as well as former colleagues Tony Benn and Bernie Grant all of us named by Peter Francis, a former Special Demonstration Squad undercover police spy turned whistleblower."
See also: The Wilson Doctrine (pdf): "The convention that MPs communications should not be intercepted by police or security services is known as the Wilson Doctrine. It is named after the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who established the rule in 1966"
EU-PNR: Substantial reservations expressed in: Letter from the Article 29 data protection Working Party to Claude moraes, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) (pdf) with detailed Appendix.
"First, the necessity of an EU PNR scheme still has to be justified. Precise argumentation and evidence are still lacking in that respect. Further restrictions should also be made to ensure that the data processing is proportionate to the purpose pursued, in particular considering that the report now includes intra-EU flights in the data processing...
the scope of the offences concerned should be further reduced and the retention period shortened and clearly justified....
the WP29 insists on the necessity to present as soon as possible a detailed evaluation of the efficiency of the PNR scheme. A sunset clause should also be inserted into the directive to assist in ensuring periodic review of the necessity of the system....
to reduce the list to the crimes for which the use of PNR data would effectively prove necessary for the police investigators and, in any case, to justify, for each category of crime currently listed, that the use of PNR data is necessary for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of these crimes....
at the very least, philosophical belief, trade union membership, health data and sex life should be added to the list of data on the basis of which no decision producing adverse legal effects, such as regarding preassessment of passengers, must be taken."
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: European Parliament Press release: Civil liberties MEPs make case for data protection during Washington visit (pdf):
"A delegation from the civil liberties committee visited Washington DC last week to find out the latest information on issues such as data protection and legislation on surveillance activities from their American counterparts. The MEPs also provided updates on the EU's data protection reform and on counter-terrorism initiatives, including the passenger name records (PNR) proposal"
See also:Close your Facebook account if you do not want to be spied on: EU-US data pact skewered in court hearing (euobserver, link) Extraordinary statement by Commission lawyer in Court of European Justice (CJEU):
"A lawyer for the European Commission told an EU judge on Tuesday (24 March) he should close his Facebook page if he wants to stop the US snooping on him, in what amounts to an admission that Safe Harbour, an EU-US data protection pact, doesnt work.
You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima told attorney-general Yves Bot at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."
EU-UK: House of Lords Select Committee: The UKs opt-in Protocol: implications of the Governments approach (pdf) and See: House of Lords recommends to change the Governements strategy on the UKs opt-in (EASFJ, link) and also: Lords slams UKs splendid isolation on EU justice opt-out (euractiv, link)
UK: Stop and search: Police 'must record vehicle stops (BBC News, link) and Too little progress on stop and search, says police watchdog - Many officers lack understanding of impact on lives of young black people, says Her Majestys Inspectorate of Constabulary (Guardian, link)
See: Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary report: Stop and search powers 2: are the police using them effectively and fairly? March 2015 (pdf)
UK: The Monitoring Group: Press release on behalf of the Mark Duggan family: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Report into the killing of Mark Duggan: The Duggan family are no longer surprised by the endeavours of the IPCC in the case of Mark Duggan's killing by police. This report merely confirms their belief that the IPCC are 'unfit for purpose' (pdf)
See: Mark Duggan shooting: police watchdog clears officers of wrongdoing - IPCC calls for urgent improvement in accountability, including recording of radio communications during undercover firearms operations (Guardian, link)
And also: IPPC report: The fatal police shooting of Mr Mark Duggan on 4 August 2011 (4MB, pdf)
News in Brief (25.3.15)
"How Canada gets people tortured (CCPA, link)
"N IRELAND: State 'involved in mass murder on British soil, colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 80 deaths between 1972 and 1978' (Belfast Telegraph, link)
"USA: The DOJ Isn't Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation (Techdirt, link)
"SCOTLAND: Dungavel's refugee hunger strikers claim Home Office is misleading public over severity of protest (Herald Scotland, link)
"UK: Court of Appeal dismisses criminal legal aid challenge (Law Society Gazette, link): "he Court of Appeal today gave the go-ahead for the government's controversial legal aid reforms by dismissing an appeal by the Law Society and practitioner groups. It refused to extend an injunction suspending the tender process until Monday while the Law Society seeks to take its case to the Supreme Court. The injunction expires today."
"Hungary's Government Has Taken Control of the Constitutional Court (Liberties EU, link)
"UK: Harmondsworth: Detained asylum-seeker sews up mouth in protest at conditions (The Independent, link)
"EU: Platini warns of rising extremism in Europe (New Europe, link): "UEFA President Michel Platini has warned that nationalism and hooliganism are threatening European soccer. Rising extremism in European society is an "insidious trend (that) can also be observed in our stadiums," Platini told UEFA's annual meeting"
Smart borders? Operation AMBERLIGHT: "Overstaying" in the EU: a problem for internal security and the need for "harmonised" laws which are enforceable - like in JPO Mos Maiorum people will be "apprehended" and sanctioned
""Overstayers" to be checked at external borders in Joint Police Operation (JPO) in April
""Overstayers" refers to visitors, students and others on visas and undocumented migrants
"Member States to report on: "Further procedure in Member States, and sanctions imposed" - law enforcement agencies will "apprehend" and sanction people
The document says that: "No personal data will be collected within the activity" - the same claim was made by the Italian Council Presidency during: Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Council's explanation is "economical with the truth" which argued that was only a data collection operation when in fact nearly 20,000 people were "apprehended": The Mos Maiorum JPO: Final report (LIMITE doc no: 5474/15).
"Overstayers" to be checked at external borders: Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5195-15, pdf) It is planned to take place in the period from 1-14 April 2015 or from 18 to 30 April 2015)
" Europes highest court will today examine a complaint that United States technology companies and their Dublin-based subsidiaries participate in a global data dragnet in breach of European Union law.
In a case with far-reaching consequences for EU-US relations, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will hear arguments arising from a complaint filed in Ireland last year with the High Court, demanding the States data-protection commissioner investigate whether Facebook was in breach of EU law for allegedly passing European user data to US intelligence services."
See also:: Europe v Facebook: the beginning of the end for NSA spying on EU citizens? (EU Law Analysis, link)
Blog: Lily, the tracking device and her fight against surveillance (Undercover Research, link):
"Recently a GPS tracking device was found under the car of an activist in Valencia. The activist was Lily, who is part of the group of women suing the Metropolitan Police; she was deceived into a two-year relationship with undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.....n this article we provide the bits so far not covered in the English speaking press, in a translation approved by Lily herself."
See: About Undercover Research link): "The Undercover Research Group comprises a small set of dedicated activist-investigators who individually and collectively have already been diligently researching the subject of state and corporate spying for a number of years....
Having worked on aspects of this topic individually for several years before joining forces, the core group is now committed to work extensively on this project for the coming two years. We cooperate with a larger group of around 20 people, drawn from a broad spectrum of politically progressive activism, such as CorporateWatch, Statewatch, Netpol in the UK, buro Jansen & Janssen in the Netherlands, and other activist researchers across Europe. This network of people contributes specific knowledge or skills, donating their time and expertise when they can."
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Dying for Justice (pdf link):
"509 people from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated.....the wronged will not rest the families movement, in particular, will not go away. Their cry goes up from the streets: there must be an end to dying for justice."
ECHR: Human Rights Implementation: Our Shared Responsibility (EJIL Talk, link) and see: Supervision of execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (238 pages, pdf) and also: High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights Brighton Declaration (pdf)
USA: Leaked Document Reveals Upcoming Biometric Experiments at US Customs (Motherboard, link)L "The facial recognition pilot program launched last week by US Customs and Border Protection, which civil liberties advocates say could lead to new potentially privacy-invading programs, is just the first of three biometric experiments that the feds are getting ready to launch."
The US has tried to use biometrics to track all people entering and leaving the country before, and failed. The EU is now attempting to do the same with its 'Smart Borders' project: Some of the failings of the US project are considered in this report for the EP
News in Brief (24.3.15)
"CoE: Czech Republic: Concern over Roma school separation (link) and see More Information (link)
"GERMANY-BULGARIA: German courts refuse to extradite prisoners to Bulgaria (euractiv, link): "German courts have declined to hand over inmates to Bulgaria due to concerns over dire prison conditions in the European Union's poorest country"
"TURKEY: Fact-finding visit to Turkey on countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges (CoE Parliamentary Assembly, link)
"UK: Blacklisting and the role of social media and vetting agencies (private and govt) (UndercoverInfo, link)
"IRELAND: Reports of Racism Quarterly (ENAR Ireland, link)
"ITALY: Report of visits in the Palaspedini stadium of Catania and the CIE-CARA of Caltanissetta (Open Access Now, link)
"UK: How to stop prison privatisation (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link)
"UK: The coalition years: Criminal justice in the United Kingdom: 2010 to 2015 (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, pdf link)
"EU trade secrets bill prompts concern (euobserver, link): ""MEPs are trying to walk a fine line between business interests and civil liberties in a new bill on trade secrets." See: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (pdf)
"UK: MPs urge review of benefit sanctions regime (Public Finance, link) and see: House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee: Benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review (pdf) and also Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system (Centre for Crime and Justice, link) plus Benefit sanctions: the 10 trivial breaches and administrative errors (Guardian, link)
"UK: Afzal Amin Resigns As Tory Candidate Amid Extraordinary EDL Claims (Huff Post, link)
"Spain's ruling party ran secret fund for 18 years, investigating judge finds - National court clears way for trial of former Peoples party treasurer Luis Barcenas over claims of corruption that have also engulfed PM Mariano Rajoy (Guardian, link)
UK: National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) have today submitted to the Home Office a damning critique of the proposed Code of Practice which would allow remote access to any computer anywhere in the world: Submission:: NUJ and CIJ joint response to the interception of communications and equipment interference: draft codes of practice (pdf)
"The NUJ and CIJ are concerned about the implications for press freedom if the UK intelligence and security agencies are permitted to access journalist's computers remotely and break encryption codes (both inside and outside the UK)..
The adoption of the new surveillance powers in the draft codes enables the authorities to access computers remotely. The NUJ and CIJ believe these powers should be the subject of primary legislation and should not be introduced via secondary legislation in a code of practice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which itself is not limited to terrorism and serious crime but covers all crimes....
Accessing computers or other devises allows the intelligence services to obtain vast amounts of information. It would mean the authorities would have control over targeted devices and access to any information stored including encrypted data and communications. This information could include documents, emails, diaries, contacts, photographs, internet messaging chat logs, and the location records on mobile equipment. It would also mean having powers to access anything typed into a device, including login details/passwords, internet browsing histories, other materials and communications. Draft documents and deleted files could also be accessed. In addition, the microphone, webcam and GPS-based locator technology could be turned on and items stored could be altered or deleted."
See proposed: Equipment Interference Code of Practice (pdf) and also: New Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" Statewatch) and: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the worldbut the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis, May 2014)
UK: Home Office to blacklist extremists to protect public sector - Theresa May says new extremism analysis unit is compiling list of legal but unacceptable individuals and groups to prevent another Trojan horse scandal (Guardian, link):
"A Home Office blacklist of extremist individuals and organisations with whom the government and public sector should not engage is being drawn up, Theresa May has revealed. The list of legal but unacceptable organisations is being compiled by a new Home Office extremism analysis unit,"
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: Standing Committee on operation cooperation on internal security (COSI) Subject: Interim SOCTA 2015: An update on Serious and Organised Crime in the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7271-15,pdf)
The "recommended priorities" are (p.31):
- Counterfeit and sub-standard goods with an impact on public health and safety
- Facilitation of illegal immigration
- Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) Fraud
- Money laundering
- Organised burglaries and thefts
- Synthetic drugs production and new psychoactive substances (NPS)
- Trafficking in human beings
The only addition compared to the recommendations in the SOCTA 2013 is "organised burglaries and thefts", of which Member States "have reported a significant and sustained increase". According to Europol "The OCGs involved operate professionally and use their mobility as a counter-measure to avoid law enforcement detection".
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates: Calais (pdf):
"The French and UK Governments should ensure that the migrants in Calais have access to advice on asylum, and understand that a successful claim is a legal path to secure rights in the EU. Every effort must be made to ensure someone who is fleeing war or persecution, who could apply for asylum either in France or the UK, does not decline the opportunity through a lack of information, or the provision of misinformation by fellow migrants, traffickers or others"
ECHR: Strasbourg upholds sacked scholars right to criticise management (THE, link): European Court of Human Rights rules in favour of a whistleblowing Latvian academic:
"University staff must be free to criticise senior management and expose wrongdoing without fear of dismissal or disciplinary action, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. In a major ruling that confirms the right to freedom of expression at work, the Strasbourg court found that a professor at a Latvian university had been unfairly sacked after he spoke out against alleged nepotism, plagiarism, corruption and mismanagement in his department."
Full-text of Judgment (pdf)
News in Brief (23.3.15)
"EU: EU counter-terrorism coordinator: Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation(EP Press release, pdf)
"SWITZERLAND: US officials can violate the Swiss laws without consequences, whistleblower said - Snowden: US spies "comfortable" in Switzerland (New Europe, link)
"FRANCE-UK: Immigration exit checks will 'limit tourism and trade', say transport operators Eurotunnel (Independent, link)
"IRELANDS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD: ESC rights not incorporated into domestic law (Irish Examiner, link)
"FRANCE: Council of Europe rights chief 'worried' by French bill - Europe's rights body has criticized French anti-terror efforts. The government wants to give intelligence services legal backing to vacuum up metadata in the hope of preventing an imminent terror attack. (DW, link): ""Limiting human rights to fight against terrorism is a serious mistake and an inefficient measure that can even help the terrorists' cause," Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks said." and see: French surveillance bill would legalize data monitoring (New Europe, link)
"EU Tightens Borders With Construction of Croatia's 'Schengen Wall' (Sputnik, link)
"Solidarity Against Spycops (South Wales Anarchists, link): "It has been over five years since we learned that Mark MarcoJacobs was not just another anarchist in the south Wales activist scene, but was actually an undercover police officer.... police lawyers have attempted to obstruct justice, giving a Neither Confirm Nor Denydefence... On Wednesday 25th March we will be in the Royal Courts of Justice in London attempting to strike out this non-defence."
"Sex worker to launch legal challenge against NI prostitution ban - Laura Lee says new legislation that criminalises the payment of sex among consenting adults is a breach of European human rights law (Guardian, link): "Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults. The region is the only part of the UK where people can be convicted of paying for sex. The law, which was championed by Democratic Unionist peer and Stormont assembly member Lord Morrow, comes into effect on 1 June."
"Hacking BIOS Chips Isnt Just the NSAs Domain Anymore (WIRED, link)
"UK: Blacklisting: The next chapter is waiting to be written (NUJ, link)
"UK: Did gun crime conspiracy spark the 2011 inferno? Rioting. Bloodshed. A complete breakdown of the rule of law. But now a shocking new fact about a police operation before the riot poses a disturbing question (Daily Mail, link)
"UK: Lift restrictions on civil servants contact with the media (FDA, link): "In January 2015 the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, proposed changes to the Civil Service Management Code and Civil Service Code relating to contact with the media, including a requirement that civil servants obtain Ministerial authorisation before any contact with the media."
"UK: Drone used to fly contraband into prison in bungled smuggling attempt (Evening Standard, link)
Thousands mark UN anti-racism day worldwide (Press TV, link)
"New Zealand: How spy agency homed in on Groser's rivals (New Zealand Herald) by Nicky Hager, Ryan Gallagher: "GCSB used United States XKeyscore surveillance system to intercept emails mentioning other candidates for WTO job and paid close attention to Indonesian contender: A top secret document reveals New Zealand's surveillance agency spied on candidates vying to be the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a job sought by National Government minister Tim Groser.The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) programmed an internet surveillance system so it would intercept emails about the candidates from Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, Jordan and Costa Rica in the period leading up to the May 2013 appointment. Mr Groser missed the selection." And see: New Zealand Spied on WTO Director Candidates (THe Intercept, link)
"UK: Prison conditions are worse than Strangeways 25 years ago says Lord Woolf (Mirror, link): "England's former top judge is calling for a review into the country's prison service as the three main parties use the issue like a "politcal football""
"Video: Migrant Prisons of Libya: Europe or Die (Full Length) (VICE News, link): "As Libya descends further into civil war and lawlessness, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to journey to the countrys coast in search of smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe."
EU: MEDITERREAN PLAN TO SET UP "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to North African states
See: Non Paper on Possible Involvement of Third Countries in Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue from the Italian delegation (Confidential Note discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 12 March 2015, pdf)
The proposal involves the "direct involvement of reliable third countries", namely Egypt and Tunisia, as "Libya is unable to patrol their coasts" and to "take them [the migrants] to their own ports [ie: to Egypt and Tunisia]" where "competent authorities" will carry out "international protection procedures, provide assistance to vulnerable people and return irregular migrants to their country of origin".
See: EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link)
and Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications - European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link): "The interior ministries have also been discussing plans to establish and finance refugee camps or reception centresfor migrants in North Africa and the Middle East to try to keep them from coming to Europe as well as out of the hands of the traffickers, and to set up Europeanasylum-processing offices outside the EU in the same region."
No convictions over 500 black and Asian deaths in custody - Research by Institute of Race Relations accuses state institutions of ongoing prejudice and culpable lack of care (The Observer, link) The report will be published on Monday: IRR (link)
UK: SNOWDEN: Surveillance of Guardian journalists: UK Police Deem Snowden Leak Investigation a State Secret (The Intercept, link):
"British police claim a criminal investigation they launched into journalists who have reported on leaked documents from Edward Snowden has to be kept a secret due to a possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity.....
the Met, says everything about the investigations existence is a secret and too dangerous to disclose. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from this reporter, the force has repeatedly refused to release any information about the status of the investigation, how many officers are working on it, or how much taxpayer money has been spent on it. The Met wrote in its response:
"to confirm or deny whether we hold any information concerning any current or previous investigations into the alleged actions of Edward Snowden could potentially be misused proving detrimental to national security.""
UK: GCHQ: UK government claims power for broad, suspicionless hacking of computers and phones (PI, link)
"The British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the broad power to hack into personal phones, computers, and communications networks, and claims they are legally justified to hack anyone, anywhere in the world, even if the target is not a threat to national security nor suspected of any crime....Buried deep within the document, Government lawyers claim that while the intelligence services require authorisation to hack into the computer and mobile phones of intelligence targets, GCHQ is equally permitted to break into computers anywhere in the world even if they are not connected to a crime or a threat to national security."
See:GCHQ Tribunal document: Investigatory Powers Tribunal - Government's Open Response: News Article - 18 Mar 2015 (link)
This evidence confirms: New Code of Practice: "Equipment Interference" to give the intelligence and security agencies direct access to computers to by-pass encryption and to use "remote access" to "obtain information.. in pursuit of intelligence requirements" or to "remove or modify software" Statewatch) and: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the worldbut the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis, May 2014)
News in Brief, 21.3.15)
"UK: Theresa May drops rules on ordering universities to ban extremist speakers - Home secretary also now likely to shelve publication of official counter-extremism strategy until after the general election (Guardian, link)
WHISTLEBLOWERS: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Calls for Snowden to return home and be allowed a public interest defence:
"The Assembly calls on... the United States of America to allow Mr. Snowden to return without fear of criminal prosecution under conditions that would not allow him to raise the public interest defence.".
"Council of Europe member states and the EU should enact whistleblower protection laws also covering employees of national security or intelligence services and of private firms working in this field, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights concluded today...
he Committee also stressed the need to grant asylum, if possible under national law, to whistleblowers threatened by retaliation in their home countries provided their disclosures qualify for protection under the principles advocated by the Assembly."
See Report adopted: Improving the Protection of Whistleblowers (pdf) and Call for protection of whistleblowers in national security-related fields (link):
And see: US Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says (The Intercept, link): "German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,Gabriel said".
UK: "BLACKLISTING" CASE: This may be the law, but its not justice blacklisted worker loses court case on technicality (Union Solidarity International, link):
"Dave Smith, an engineer and UCATT safety rep, was forced to leave the construction industry after he was placed on the Consulting Association blacklist for complaining about unpaid wages and raising concerns about safety issues such as asbestos and overflowing toilets on building sites under the control of different Carillion Group companies in the 1990s. But yesterday he lost his test case in the Court of Appeal after judges ruled he was not protected by UK employment law because was on site via an employment agency and not directly by the company that blacklisted him.
He said: What is the point of employment law or the Human Rights Act? Even with mountains of documentary evidence and an admission from the company that they blacklisted me because I was a trade union member who had raised safety concerns, I still cannot win. This might be the law, but it is not justice."
See: Full-text of the Court of Appeal ruling (pdf) and see: No hope of justice for blacklist victim as court rules agency builders not protected by law (Mirror, link)
UK: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: House of Commons, Written Answer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review the use of detention for immigration purposes? (link) Answer: "There are no plans to review the use of detention overall but on 9 February the Home Secretary announced that Stephen Shaw, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, is to lead an independent review of the policies and procedures relating to the welfare of immigration detainees."
See: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch) and Immigration detention: resistance and rebellion
With protests and hunger strikes now taking place inside eight of the UK's Detention Centres, is this the beginning of the end for detention? (Red Pepper, link)
EU considering plan to outsource Mediterranean migrant patrols to Africa Exclusive: Under Italian proposals the EU would cut deals with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to fund them in rescue missions (Guardian, link):
"The EU is considering plans to outsource its patrols of the Mediterranean to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia in order to try to reduce the high numbers of desperate illegal migrants risking their lives to reach European shores.
Under the proposals tabled confidentially by the Italian government, the EU would cut deals with North African countries to fund and train their navies in search-and-rescue missions for the tens of thousands of people being trafficked from Libya to Italy. Once rescued, the migrants would be taken to the ports of the country saving them or sent back to their countries of origin."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Police Bail (pdf) - Stop shaming suspects and holding them in indefinite limbo, say MPs: Police bail, or pre-charge bail, is a tool that allows the police to continue an investigation without detaining the suspect in custody:
Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said: A reform of police bail is long overdue. The police only need to have reasonable suspicion that an offence has taken place to arrest someone. It is unacceptable that, even with little evidence, people can be kept on bail for months on end and then suddenly be told that no further action will be taken against them without providing any information as to why."
and see: Suspects should stay anonymous until charged, MPs say (Guardian, link)
UK-Iraq abuse inquiry refuses to consider CIA torture report (Reprieve, link): ""The body tasked with investigating British abuses in Iraq has said it
will not request as evidence the US Senateâ¬"s report on CIA torture, in the case of two Pakistani men tortured and rendered by the UK and the US." And see:Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) (GOV.uk, link) and also: The Iraq Historic Allegations Team Quarterly update (link)
And see: Home Office exhibition ensures police, security and military firms are kept away from prying eyes (Statewatch database) The " Security & Policing Exhibition, a high-profile event aimed at "police, law enforcement and security professionals who are tasked with security, civil protection and National Resilience," and has a "strict visitors criteria" which "enables exhibitors to display products which would be too sensitive to show in a more open environment."
News in Brief (20.3.15)
"UK: Police forces say BBC FOI request is 'vexatious' (BBC News, link): "Forty police forces across the country have dismissed as "vexatious" a BBC freedom of information (FOI) application about police monitoring of journalists' communications."
"EU-USA: Brussels makes overture on data flow agreement in TTIP (euractive, link): "Negotiations on the free flow of data could be considered as part the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but only after an agreement is reached on the EUs data protection regulation, EU officials said yesterday (19 March)"
"Saudi Arabia to stop visas for Swedish citizens amid human rights row - Kingdom also to refuse to renew visas in retaliation for critical remarks by Swedens foreign minister Margot Wallstrom (Guardian, link):
"EU counter-terrorism coordinator: Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation(EP, link): "With the threat of terrorism growing every day, the task of Gilles de Kerchove, the EUs counter-terrorism coordinator, becomes increasingly more important. Its his job to coordinate the Council's work in combating terrorism, keep an eye on all the instruments available to the EU and make policy recommendations. We talked to him about how terrorism should be fought and the role the European Parliament could play."
"International Day Against Racism: education has a key role to combat prejudices (CoE Parliamentary Assembly, link)
"Amazon doesn't want you to know how many data demands it gets (ZDNet, link): "Amazon remains the only US internet giant in the Fortune 500 that has not yet released a report detailing how many demands for data it receives from the US government."
"UK: Watching you watching Bentham: The PanoptiCam (UCL News, link): " This month sees the launch of PanoptiCam, an online camera that
streams the live view from Jeremy Bentham's auto-icon in the South Cloisters."
"BELGIUM: Belgiums Foreign Minister Thought It Was A Good Idea To Wear Blackface (BuzzFeed News, link)
"IRELAND: Refugees face problems getting rented accommodation in Limerick (LImerick Post, link)
"UK: Strangeways riot: The first 24 hours as it happened (Manchester Evening News, link): "fascinating documents obtained by the M.E.N offer a gripping account of the first 24 hours of the Strangeways Prison riot. Twenty-five years on since Britains bloodiest jail rebellion, we reveal an almost minute-by-minute account of the unfolding chaos."
UK: A Reminder: the Police Are Responsible for Young Brits Not Trusting the Police (VICE, link). See also: Stop and Search in your area (Stopwatch, link) and the Most recent official statistics here (HO, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Handbook on trafficking in human beings - indicators for investigating police forces, (LIMITE doc no: 14630-rev-2-15, pdf): The term "search and rescue" is not referred to. It includes the use of "Special Investigative tools":
"investigations into human trafficking envisage the use of investigative techniques and tools to combat organised crime and serious crimes, as well as special operations and undercover activities. The latter, however, are not adopted in Malta, Slovakia and Sweden....
Not all Member States use wire-tapping and communication interception. According to the results of the questionnaire, they are not used in Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Malta, while Cyprus reports the strict conditions that must be met to apply these investigative tools, which are not commonly used.... Only Slovakia, Spain and Germany stressed the presence of "joint investigative teams" [emphasis added]
Background: Europol: Joint operational team launched to combat irregular migration in the Mediterranean (pdf) announcing the launch of Joint Operational Teams (JOT) Mare.Intelligence Centre
The JOT Mare intelligence Centre will work Frontex agency and with the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). It monitors third-country ports and targeted ships. Thirteen member states: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom - are taking part in JOT Mare.
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): While the European Parliament is discussing the proposal to introduce EU-PNR the European Commission Internal Security Fund is supporting the development of national systems: See: Internal Security Fund Police Police (2014-2020): Law Enforcement Information Exchange (pdf) Funding:
"cross-border information exchange and cross border information exchange and data sharing between Passenger Information Units...
More specifically, in the area of Passenger Name Record (PNR) , the Commission provides co-funding to 14 Member States that set up PNR systems on the basis of national legislation as part of the programme on the "Prevention of and Fight against Crime" (ISEC). It seeks to foster the processing of PNR data in a coherent way while applying strict conditions and effective safeguards to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."
And see: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database)
EU-PNR: The new law has yet to be agreed but training (as well as funding, see above) is underway: CEPOL Work Programme 2015 (pdf)
"CEPOL [European Police College] delivers training to senior and middle management law enforcement personnel as well as experts dealing with crime combating and prevention and police trainers in this field." The work programme includes training on a vast number of topics including "the processing of PNR data with assessment criteria in order to identify persons who may be involved in a terrorist offence or serious transnational crime" (p.67).
Three "justifications" are provided for the training: a 2007 Commission proposal for an EU-PNR system; the agreement between the EU and the USA on the transfer of PNR data from the EU to the USA (but not vice-versa); and the Commission's 2011 proposal for an EU PNR system - which is yet to be agreed by the Council and the Parliament. The "learning outcomes" include:
- "use and update assessment [i.e. profiling] criteria for the automated processing of passenger name record (PNR) data"
- "create pre-defined, targeted, specific, proportionate and fact-based assessment critiera [i.e. profiles] that are founded on experience and criminal intelligence"
- "analyse data in order to identify persons who may be involved in a terrorist offence or serious transnational crime and who may require further examination"
- "ensure that the assessment criteria are not based on sensitive data" race/ethnic origin; religious, philosophical or political beliefs; health; sex life
- comparing training methods
- "reduce the vulnerabilities of the air freight process"
- "contribute to write a 'best practices guidelines' to lead an EU
- 'Airport security and counter terrorism in civil aviation - Train the trainers' project."
The training course will run for 3 days with 28 participants (one for each Member State) and cost 31,080 euros".
News in Brief (19.3.15)
"UK: New Home Office rules puts justice even further out of reach for people seeking asylum (Refugee Action, link): "As of the 30 March, anyone who needs to submit new evidence that could help their case will be forced to travel to Liverpool to do so. Previously, people seeking safety could do this at their local immigration centre."
"EU: Not Adding Up: The Fading Promise of Europe's Dublin System (Migration Policy Institute, link) See: Report (link)
"Danes to vote on ending EU opt-outs (New Europe, link)
"UK: Immigration detention: resistance and rebellion - With protests and hunger strikes now taking place inside eight of the UK's Detention Centres, is this the beginning of the end for detention? (Red Pepper, link)
"Belgium axes prison sentences under a year (Expatica, link): "Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens has revealed details of his new Justice Plan, under which all jail sentences under one year will disappear from the Belgian penal code"
"EU exit would make 2m Britons abroad illegal immigrants overnight Grieve: Former attorney general tears into Eurosceptics ahead of Tory manifesto launch, saying UK departure from EU would create more problems than it solves (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: PURPOSE LIMITATION WOULD BE "MEANINGLESS AND VOID": Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Press release on Chapter II of the draft regulation for the March JHA Council (pdf):
"The Working Party is very much concerned about the proposed provisions on further processing, especially in the context of Big Data. In fact, according to the Council, it will be possible for a data controller to further process data even if the purpose is incompatible with the original one as long as the controller has an overriding interest in this processing.
This new possibility offered to the data controller opens serious concerns in the data protection community. The Working Party considers that this situation would render one of the fundamental principles of the data protection framework, the purpose limitation principle, meaningless and void. The principle is enshrined in Article 8(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU."
EU: Study for Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament: Ensuring utmost transparency -- Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (pdf): tackles the question of the use of open standards and free software in the European Parliament:
GERMANY: German activists riot at austerity protest in Frankfurt - Police cars set alight in anti-austerity protest at new European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, officials say. (Aljazeera, link): "German demonstrators have clashed with police at an anti-austerity protests during the inauguration ceremony for the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt." See also: "City of Frankfurt denies freedom of association" (Statewatch database)
GREECE: European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Whats in a name? The reality of First Receptionat Evros: AIDA fact-finding visit to Greece (pdf) and see: Press summary (link): "The ECRE delegation visited Evros between 1 and 5 December 2014. The visit was organised in close collaboration with the Greek Council for Refugees and as part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project"
"The conditions in the Fylakio Detention Centre are extremely bad, in particular as migrants may be detained for prolonged periods of time up to 18 months. The dormitories in Fylakio Detention Centre are large cells, behind bars, containing between 50 to 60 bunk beds, access to the courtyard of the detention centre is limited to 3 hours a day, weather permitting. The ECRE delegation found the place to be cold and damp. There is no doctor present in the detention centre and detainees
only receive paracetamol, irrespective of any medical complaint they have.
Although women with small children and babies are regularly detained there, including at the time of the ECRE visit, the detention centre neither provides baby food nor baby milk. Access to free legal assistance is very limited as there is only one lawyer, deployed by the Greek Council for Refugees, which is clearly insufficient to meet the needs of the persons wishing to challenge either their detention or a negative decision relating to their asylum application."
UK justice minister 'complacent' over 38% rise in prison deaths, say MPs - Chris Grayling has played down link between prison staff cuts and increase in self-inflicted death and violence since 2012, finds Commons inquiry (Guardian, link) and see Justice Committee report: Prisons: planning and policies (pdf)
EU: European Parliament Study: The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States of the EU Comparative analysis (218 pages, pdf):
"this study presents a synthesis of studies conducted in seven Member States regarding the impact of financial and economic crises, and austerity measures imposed in response thereto, on fundamental rights of individuals. The Member States studied are: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal"
UK: Terrorism prevention and investigation measures in 2013: 2nd report of the Independent Reviewer on the Operation of the Terrorism and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (pdf) by David Anderson QC Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
EU: Is the EU coming to save legal aid, or to bury it? An assessment of negotiations on the proposed Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "For many people facing criminal charges, legal aid is essential if they wish to defend themselves effectively. The EU is planning to adopt legislation on this issue in the near future. But will it actually make a significant contribution to ensuring suspects rights in this area?
News in Brief (18.3.15)
"LONDON: Why we are occupying: We have have occupied the Vera Anstey Suite, the central meeting room of the university administration, to demand a change to the current university system (Facebook link) "LSE is the epitome of the neoliberal university. Universities are increasingly implementing the privatised, profit-driven, and bureaucratic business model of higher education, which locks students into huge debts and turns the university into a degree-factory and students into consumers."
"Britain needs independent scrutiny of intelligence, says former head of MI6 - Sir Richard Dearlove makes case for oversight of security services by citizens groups, NGOs and people with understanding of technology (Gurdian, link)
"Whats Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name (The Intercept, link)
"German politicians admit Greece has case for wartime reparations - Social Democrats and Greens break ranks with Merkel as relations between Berlin and Athens deteriorate over Greek attempts to renegotiate bailout terms (Guardian, link)
"DENMARK: Danes seek 'flexible' opt-in on EU justice and home affairs (euractiv, link)
"UK: Hillsborough disaster: commander admits his inaction led to 96 deaths - David Duckenfield agrees that if supporters had been prevented from going down tunnel into central pens, people would not have been killed (Guardian, link)
"More than 100 Germans fighting for separatists in eastern Ukraine (DW, link) and see: Why Germans are joining the fight in eastern Ukraine (DW, link)
"Hungary's far-right narrows gap on ruling Fidesz - pollster (Yahoo News, link)
Europol: responses to questions on right-wing extremism
Europol's press office has finally responded to questions from Statewatch on the agency's work relating to right-wing extremism in Europe. The questions were submitted to the agency in January for an article that was published last month. The answers were provided nearly two months later and are reproduced here.
EU Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents:Data Protection Regulation, EPPO & Ombudsman letter
- General Data Protection Regulation: Chapters III-VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7084-15, 63 pages, pdf):includes 168 Footnotes with Member States' positions. Chapter III: Rights of Data Subject and Chapter VIII covers: Remedies, Liability and Sanctions
- EPPO: Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Presidency draft text on Articles 7-12 in the Regulation (LIMITE doc no DS 1169-15, pdf). This document is not only a LIMITE one which means it is not accessible to the public, it is also a "DS document" and therefore is not listed in the Council public register of documents.
CoE: FOREIGN FIGHTERS: Council of Europe: Committee on foreign terrorist fighters and related issues: (COD-CTE) Draft Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (pdf) and Letter from DG Home Commissioner to the Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee: (pdf): "I would like to inform you that the Commission has the intention to submit the recommendations to the Council for a Council decision in order to authorise the opening of negotiations on an Additional Protocol supplementing the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism pursuant to Article 218 TFEU."
UK Overlapping 'Trojan Horse' inquiries criticised by MPs (BBC News, link): "The chairman of the education committee, Graham Stuart, said that apart from one incident in one school "no evidence of extremism or radicalisation was found by any of the inquiries in any of the schools involved". See: House of Commons Education Committee report: Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair (pdf)
EU DATA RETENTION: Is the EU heading for a piecemeal response to the CJEU's judgment that the Data Retention Directive is "unlawful?: Germany moves closer towards bill on data retention (euractiv, link): :"A compromise is possible, said Wolfgang Bosbach, the chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee (Christian Democratic Union) on Monday (16 March). As we are no longer bound to the requirements of an EU Directive, we have our own scope of design,Bosbach told the Passauer Neue Presse."
Last week, following the Justice and Home Affairs Council the Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos explicitly ruled out a new European directive on data protection, more specifically telecommunications data: There'll be no new directive, stated Avramopoulos. (Agence Europe)
News in Brief (17.3.15)
"GREECE: Dont pass new anti-poverty law, commission tells Greece (Channel 4 News, link)
"USA: A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! Its Secret (New York times, link)
"UK tied visa system 'turning domestic workers into modern-day slaves':- Kafala-style rule means foreign staff must leave if they change employer - Charity says 400 employees have approached it for help after being abused - Government fighting peers attempt to overturn controversial measure (Guardian, link), see also: Justice for migrant domestic workers: Kalayann (link)
"FRANCE: French government orders website block - The French authorities have used new powers to block five websites, which they claim condone terrorism, without a court order.Internet service providers have 24 hours to comply. he chairman of European Internet Service Provider OVH tweeted that his firm had not been given any warning. (BBC News, link)
"Greece could be shut out of Schengen over migration threat: Dutch prime minister (DutchMews.nl, link)
"SCOTLAND: Human rights legal challenge threat to Scotland's plans for "through the back door" identity database (Herald Scotland, link) and see: Say no to a Scottish national ID system (link)
Statewatch: Viewpoint: Is it time to go back to the typewriter, carbon paper and Tippex? (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
"The white-washingreport on GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 by the Intelligence and Security Committee published on 12 March 2015 was preceded by a draft Code of Practice "Equipment Interferenceto allow the UK intelligence and security agencies to legallyaccess computers to gather and break encryption codes and allow remote accessto interferewith any targeted computer anywhere in the world.
The deadline for comments on the Code is 20 March 2015 after which it will be laidbefore parliament and usually be adopted without debate."
Political philosophy now illegal in the UK (Crooked Timber, link):
"he British government has just produced the guidance for its Preventscheme for education, which aims to stop young people from being drawn into extremism. The elite at Oxford and Cambridge have been granted a specific exemption, allowing them to hear dangerous ideas that might corrupt the ordinary youth, and universities havent been given specific guidance on what they may teach. Colleges of further education, on the other hand, have been told that All relevant curriculum areas will need to be engaged, with a single contact point for delivery of Prevent-related activity.This so that students are not exposed to arguments that involve: active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual tolerance of different faiths and beliefs." [emphasis added]
See: HMG Prevent duty guidance (pdf)
also: Oxford and Cambridge Unions avoid terror ban on extremist speakers - Lobbying by Tory peers has helped the two historic student societies escape from the home secretarys crackdown on extremism in higher education (Guardian, link) and see: Final version of Prevent guidance published (Going further and higher, link)
German justice: from Jeremiah Duggan to Halit Yozgat (IRR News Service, link):
"In the latest twist at the NSU trial, the state premier of Hesse has been asked to take the witness stand. Why is Volker Bouffiers evidence important for the family of Halit Yozgat, the NSUs ninth victim, as well as to the family of Jeremiah Duggan?
The trial of Beate Zschäpe and four co-defendants in the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU, a German neo-Nazi cell which murdered at least ten people, mostly men of Turkish origin, between 2000 and 2007) has been ongoing at the Munich Higher Regional Court since May 2013."
News in Brief (16.3.15)
"EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: This isn't the one-stop EU data protection you're looking for - A twisting, tangled solution for a pretty simple problem (The Register, link)
"EU set for further discussions on establishing asylum centres abroad (euobserver, link) and Italian Interior Ministry statement (link)
"UK Oversight Committee Blesses Bulk Surveillance (HRW, link): "A much-anticipated government report officially acknowledges what Edward Snowden revealed to the world many months ago: the UK has been intercepting communications en masse. But rather than condemn the widespread snooping, the report endorses the so-called bulksurveillance practices."
"UK-EU: Donald Tusk: Cameron's call to reopen EU treaties is 'mission impossible' - European Council president promises help to UK prime minister to renegotiate terms of EU membership (Guardian, link)
"UK: Nick Clegg blocks terror laws banning extremists from universities - Laws to ban extremist speakers have been blocked by the Liberal Democrats for fears of "eroding" free speech after one of the worst Cabinet rows of the Coalition (Sunday Telegraph, link)
"UK: Mark Jenner confirmed as 100% SDS undercover cop by whistleblower (Police Spies Out of Lives, link)
New Zealand Used NSA System to Target Officials, Anti-Corruption Campaigner (The intercept, link): "New Zealands eavesdropping agency used an Internet mass surveillance system to target government officials and an anti-corruption campaigner on a neighboring Pacific island, according to a top-secret document... the Internet spy system XKEYSCORE to intercept documents authored by the closest aides and confidants of the prime minister on the tiny Solomon Islands. The agency also entered keywords into the system so that it would intercept documents containing references to the Solomons leading anti-corruption activist, who is known for publishing government leaks on his website.... None of the individuals named on the list appear to have any association with terrorism."
And see: Revealed: The names NZ targeted using NSA's XKeyscore system (New Zealand Herald, link) and Document (pdf)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New Statewatch Analysis: Second version: The Proposed Data Protection Regulation: What has the Council agreed so far? (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, Twitter: @StevePeers: 150 pages with 293 Member State postions:
"the EU Council (which consists of Member States justice ministers) has been adopting its position on the proposed Regulation in several pieces. It has not yet adopted even part of its position on the proposed Regulation.
For the benefit of those interested in the details of these developments, the following analysis presents a consolidated text of the five pieces of the proposed Regulation which the Council has agreed to date, including the two parts just agreed in March 2015. This also includes the parts of the preamble which have already been agreed. I have left intact the footnotes appearing in the agreed texts, which set out Member States comments".
EU: Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, Brussels, 12-13 March 2014:Final Press release for 12-13 March 2014 (pdf)
UK: Police 'spying' whistleblower admits to MPs that he infiltrated six trade unions (Mirror, link): "The revelation by former Special Demonstration Squad officer Peter Francis has piled further pressure on Home Secretary Theresa May to widen inquiry into undercover policing" and: Ex-spy copper admits union infiltrations (Morning Star, link):
"In a statement read out by Labour MP John McDonnell at the launch of the new book Blacklisted, Mr Francis said he wished to unreservedly apologise to all the union members I personally spied upon and reported back on whilst deployed undercover in the SDS.
He said that members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unison and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as well as the National Union of Students (NUS) had been targeted."
See also: Home Secretary announces statutory inquiry into undercover policing (Home Office, link) AND: Tayor Review: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf)
UK: SURVEILLANCE: The Orwellian Re-Branding of Mass Surveillanceas Merely Bulk Collection(The Intercept, link) by Glen Greenwald: "the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand mass surveillanceas bulk collectionin order to make it less menacing (and less illegal)." and UK Parliament Committee, Calling For Reform, Shows Its Evidenceto Justify Mass Surveillance (The Intercept, link).
See also: The Guardian view on surveillance: parliaments slumbering scrutineer: Editorial: The ISC is at last waking up to the facts revealed by Edward Snowden. But the committee still doesnt get it on privacy (Guardian, link): "atrocities thus make the case for better-organised and perhaps better-resourced trailing of particular targets, but certainly not the collating of more data on everyone else. The great difficulty of the agencies appears to be holding on to all the needles they pull out of haystacks, yet the lazy instinct is to demand ever more hay."
The Intelligence and Security Committee's long-awaited report on the surveillance powers of the security agencies has recommended a new law "governing the intelligence and security Agencies." Privacy International has responded to the report by pointing out: "no amount of technical and legal jargon can obscure the fact that this is a parliamentary committee, in a democratic country, telling its citizens that they are living in a surveillance state and that all is well."
See: Report: Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament: Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework (pdf) and and see: ISC report acknowleges failings but paves way for snooper's charter (Guardian, link)
Two European Commissioners have written to the European Parliament to try to justify, on the basis of the Court of Justice's ruling on data retention, the proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive that would require the mandatory surveillance by law enforcement agencies of all air travel within the EU.
See: Letter from Frans Timmermans and Dimitris Avramopoulos (pdf) and also: EU PNR proposal is 'neither proportionate nor appropriate' (The Parliament, link)
UK: Undercover policing: Judge to lead public inquiry (Channel 4 News, link): "Home Secretary Theresa May establishes a judge-led inquiry into past and present undercover policing in England and Wales, with powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. The inquiry will consider the deployment of undercover police officers by the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) and by other forces in England and Wales."
See also: Home Secretary announces statutory inquiry into undercover policing (Home Office, link) AND: Tayor Review: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf): "the Home Office knew that: Between 1969 and 1989, it was providing a separate and secret budget to meet the costs of accomodation as well as transport costs for covert officers; Operations and officers deployed by SDS were extremely covert; Groups and organisations were deliberately targeted, monitored and infilitrated to gather intelligence. Over the years, a small number of Home Office officials were aware of some specific groups; In the period from 1990 to 2008 after direct fuding stopped, only two references were identified to indicate any Home Office links to the SDS."
UK: MPs lambast civil legal aid reforms (Law Gazette, link): "The governments civil legal aid cuts were badly researched and implemented, and have impeded access to justice, an influential committee of MPs reports today." And: A third of domestic abuse victims 'cannot get legal aid' (BBC News, link)
Report: House of Commons Justice Committee: Impact of changes to civil legal aid under Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (pdf)
EU: When super-regulators fight: the one-stop shop in the proposed Data Protection Regulation (EU Law Analysis, link): "the EU vests its hopes for the effective enforcement of data protection law upon national data protection authorities (DPAs): the superheroes of the data protection world. They have considerable powers under the current data protection Directive, and the proposed Regulation would also give them more powers. But what if they disagree with each other?"
And see: Statewatch Analysis: Basic data protection principles in the proposed Data Protection Regulation: back to the future? by Steve Peers, Professof Law, University of Essex (pdf)
UK: Home Office withdraws plan to expand Campsfield House immigration centre (Oxford Mail, link) and see: Campaign to Close Campsfield: Press release: Government agents formally withdraw planning application (pdf): "Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said: 'This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.'"
UK: Inflicting suffering on those in need is now at the heart of our benefits system (The Guardian, link): "The ideology of a small state or the belief that benefits build dependency are crass, irrelevant details to what at its core is simply a decision about how to treat a human being. This is particularly damning when one person has all the power and the other is forced through economic necessity to take whatever humiliation or pain they are given. To do that to someone let alone hundreds of thousands is no accident. It is a conscious decision, that has been made over and over again by this government."
See also: Discipline and discontent: coalition government extends "slave labour" welfare policy (Statewatch Journal, March 2013)
News in Brief (13.3.15)
Bulgarias Constitutional Court scraps data retention provisions (Sofia Scope, link)
EU explores new migration 'zone' in north Africa (euobserver, link)
German justice: from Jeremiah Duggan to Halit Yozgat (Institute of Race Relations, link): "In the latest twist at the NSU trial, the state premier of Hesse has been asked to take the witness stand."
Swedish Supreme Court Approves Assange's Appeal Hearing (Telesur, link)
UK: Silhan Ozcelik: Disgusting trial for young woman who tried to fight against Isis (Independent, link): "A teenager has appeared in court after allegedly trying to join Kurdish fighters battling Isis in Syria, in the first prosecution of its kind in Britain."
NETHERLANDS: Dutch court scraps telecommunications data retention law (PC World, link): "The Dutch data retention law requiring telecommunications operators and ISPs to store customer metadata for police investigations was scrapped by the District Court of the Hague on Wednesday." And: Data retention law struck down for now (Bits of Freedom, link): "What will happen on the long term is unclear. That is up to Parliament and Opsteltens successor. As the law has already been struck down, it seems self-evident that the law in its entirety should be revoked. The political party GroenLinks has already submitted a proposal along these lines to Parliament. But one thing is clear: this is not a done deal."
Full-text of the judgement (in Dutch): Privacy First and others v Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Freedom and Justice (pdf)
USA: NSA sued by Wikimedia, rights groups over mass surveillance (Reuters, link): "The U.S. National Security Agency was sued on Tuesday by Wikimedia and other groups challenging one of its mass surveillance programs that they said violates Americans' privacy and makes individuals worldwide less likely to share sensitive information.
"The lawsuit filed in federal court in Maryland, where the spy agency is based, said the NSA is violating U.S. constitutional protections and the law by tapping into high-capacity cables, switches and routers that move Internet traffic through the United States."
See also: The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back. (American Civil Liberties Union, link) and: Court document: Wikimedia and others v NSA (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Terrorism, migration, data protection and legal aid
"Home affairs ministers will exchange their views on the implementation of measures regarding the fight against terrorism" - reinforcing border controls, enhancing internet monitoring and content control, increasing cooperation on firearms trafficking and "stepping up information sharing, including through Europol and Eurojust." Also on the home affairs agenda are migratory pressures and the Greek Road Map on Asylum for 2015. Justice ministers will discuss the data protection regulation, legal aid for suspects in European Arrest Warrant proceedings, Eurojust, the acceptance of public documents and the European Public Prosecutor's Office.
See: Background note (pdf)
SPAIN: Woman suing police over relationship with undercover spy finds tracking device in her car - reports (The Guardian, link): "One of the women who is suing the police after discovering that her former boyfriend was an undercover police officer has found a tracking device in her car, it has been reported... it was discovered while she was at a conference - the Circumvention Tech Festival - that was held in Spain to discuss surveillance and censorship."
UK: Police chief: 'Put CCTV in every home' (The Telegraph, link): "CCTV cameras should be installed by homeowners and businesses to help detectives solve crimes in the age of austerity, Britains most senior policeman has said." The UK already has the highest number of CCTV cameras per capita in the world. See: No CCTV: Campaigning against camera surveillance in the UK and beyond (link)
UK: 17 March: Parliamentary debate on Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo Bay
See: End Shaker's Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo (Amnesty International USA, link): "Shaker AamerAs of February 14, 2015, former UK resident Shaker Aamer has been held at Guantanamo without charge for over 13 years. Indefinite detention is a human rights violation: the US must either charge Aamer with a crime or release him." And: Lobby Your MP to Attend the Full Parliamentary Debate for Shaker Aamer (Save Shaker Aamer, link)
UK: Protests and Hunger Strikes Are Breaking Out at Immigration Detention Centers in the UK (Vice News, link): "Protests are spreading throughout the UK's immigration removal centers, with hunger strikes and yard occupations breaking out across at least six UK detention centers.
"Migrants and asylum seekers are protesting the conditions in which they are held, following a damning Parliamentary report last week, which called for limits of the length of time people can be detained, better conditions and an end to incarcerating pregnant and vulnerable people who have committed no crime."
See also: Coach blockade to stop mass deportation to Afghanistan (Anti-Raids Network, link) and Put Immigration Detention on trial - STOP the expansion of Campsfield (Public Hearing) (heyevent, link)
Some context: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch News Online)
UK: BLACKLISTING: New book launched today at the House of Commons
See: Blacklisted: the book - Official trailer (Reel News, link), New book puts spotlight on role of covert police in human rights controversy (The Guardian, link) and Every Man a Capitalist: The long history of monitoring unsuitable workers in the UK by Trevor Hemmings (Statewatch Journal, August 2013)
UK: Uninvestigated Northern Ireland killings 'tarnish UK's reputation' (The Guardian, link): "The governments failure to carry out adequate investigations into killings more than 20 years ago involving the security forces in Northern Ireland has been condemned by a parliamentary watchdog."
Parliamentary report: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Human Rights Judgments (pdf) and see: The apparatus of impunity? Human rights violations and the Northern Ireland conflict: a narrative of official limitations on post-Agreement investigative mechanisms (Committee on the Administration of Justice, pdf)
News in Brief (11.3.15)
EU: Thomas Piketty on the Euro Zone: 'We Have Created a Monster' (Spiegel Online, link)
Germany mulls 'Islamist checks' on army applicants (Deutsche Welle, link)
SERBIA: Serbia: After threats, B92 postpones airing of investigative programme (Media Freedom, link)
UK: Could Ministry of Justice & Grayling be prosecuted for manslaughter over prison suicides? (OpenDemocracy, link)
UK: Theresa May withholds decision over use of water cannon by Met police (The Guardian, link)
UK: Foreign secretary hits out at 'apologists' for terror (Channel 4 News, link): "Philip Hammond praises the "brilliance" of spies, amid suggestions Mohammed Emwazi - aka "Jihadi John" - may have been radicalised after attempted recruitment by MI5." A response: Families and public deserve answers, not the blame game (CAGE, link), see also: Anti-terror strategy is seen as intrusive and secretive by many Muslims (The Guardian, link)
And: Full-text of Philip Hammond's speech (pdf). As Channel 4 News notes, Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, "is responsible for MI6 and the UK's surveillance headquarters GCHQ," but not MI5 - the internal security agency - which reportedly attempted to recruit Mohammed Emwazi.
The European Commission has published its justice "scoreboard" for 2015, "which gives an overview of the quality, independence and efficiency of the justice systems of the Member States." The Commission's press release highlights a number of "key findings" but neglects to mention the decline in the perceived independence of Member States' judicial systems. The data for 2013-14 show that in 11 of the EU's 28 Member States, the perceived independence of the judiciary declined compared to 2010-12.
EU: EP refers alleged French National Front financial irregularities to OLAF (pdf): "President Martin Schulz on Monday informed the European fraud-fighting office OLAF of possible financial irregularities by the French party Front National. The possible irregularities concern salaries paid from the EU budget to assistants to Members of the European Parliament." See also: EU sounds alarm over possible fraud at Frances National Front (France 24, link) and French Prime Minister Says He Is AfraidOf National Front (Vice News, link)
UK extradition procedures may breach human rights, say peers (The Guardian, link): "UK extradition procedures may breach human rights and those facing removal should encounter fewer obstacles in obtaining legal aid, according to a House of Lords report." See: House of Lords Select Committee on Extradition Law: Extradition: UK Law and Practice (pdf), Evidence (992 pages, 6MB, pdf) and UK cannot be confident its extradition regime is protecting human rights, says Lords (parliament.uk, link)
U.K. Parliament says banning Tor is unacceptable and impossible (The Daily Dot, link): "Just months after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to ban encryption and online anonymity, the country's parliament today released a briefing saying that the such an act is neither acceptable nor technically feasible."
It is not the UK Parliament but rather the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) which has prompted the above article. Whether UK politicians attempt to introduce legislation or policy to hinder or try to ban the use of encryption or anonymity systems remain to be seen. See: POSTNOTE: The darknet and online anonymity (pdf), and a note from the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (pdf) which suggests finding ways for state authorities to get around the use of encryption by companies and individuals.
News in Brief (11.3.14)
EU: Cannabis policy reform in Europe: Bottom up rather than top down (Transnational Institute, link): "While in the Americas cannabis policy reform is taking off, Europe seems to be lagging behind. At the level of national governments denial of the changing policy landscape and inertia to act upon calls for change reigns. At the local level, however, disenchantment with the current cannabis regime gives rise to new idea."
EU: Germany Ready to Continue Romania, Bulgaria's Schengen Accession Talks (Novinite, link)
EU: Up to a million Libyans ready to cross into Europe, says FRONTEX (New Europe, link)
SPAIN: 18 detenidos por delitos contra las instituciones del Estado por protestar contra los desahucios (18 detained for crimes against the state after protestesting against evictions) (Diagonal, link)
SPAIN: Police chiefs business activities probed (El País, link): "A Spanish police inspector who has been involved in several high-profile political and legal inquiries is also a successful entrepreneur, holding a stake in 12 businesses with combined capital of ¬16 million, according to an analysis carried out by EL PAÍS of information available at Spains Business Registry... the Interior Ministry has announced it will launch an investigation into Villarejo to determine whether his police work and his business activities are compatible."
UK: Harmondsworth detainees launch hunger strike (Channel 4 News, link): "Detainees inside Britain's largest immigration removal centre say they have launched a hunger strike after a weekend of protests against conditions inside the complex."
UK: Hillsborough inquests: David Duckenfield 'not best man for the job' (BBC News, link)
UK: Latvia complains to UK parliament over forced adoptions (The Guardian, link)
The European Commission and Member States are discussing, in secret, a set of "best practices for Member States to follow in order to ensure that their obligations under the Eurodac Regulation are fulfilled". The guidelines ultimately address "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women". The aim is to "uphold the integrity of the Dublin Regulation" - the legal basis for Europe's asylum system, which many consider to be fundamentally flawed.
And: Press release (pdf)
Statewatch Analysis: Basic data protection principles in the proposed Data Protection Regulation: back to the future? by Steve Peers, Professof Law, University of Essex (pdf)
"This report... constitutes a significant pooling of knowledge on the law and practice on detention decision-making and alternatives to detention in 6 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom). In addition, it includes legal research on the scope of Member States obligations to implement alternatives to immigration detention under international, European (i.e. Council of Europe) and EU law."
Snowden Archive (Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, link): "This Archive is a complete collection of all documents that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked in June 2013 to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, and subsequently were published by news media, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Mundo and The Intercept... The Archive also contains some documents that the U.S. Government has published which are helpful in understanding the leaked documents."
See also: Statewatch Observatory on data surveillance, containing month-by-month coverage of the scandal as it has unfolded.
EU: European and national parliamentarians divided on the EU Smart Borders Package? (European Area of Freedom Security & Justice, link): "On February 23 the LIBE Committee has organized a interparliamentary meeting focused on the Smart Borders Package... The meeting served as a forum for the exchange of views between European and national parliamentarians, as well as the Commission and European agency representatives, in an aim to debate the possible future alternatives at technological and legal level of the smart border package."
NORTHERN IRELAND: The apparatus of impunity? Human rights violations and the Northern Ireland conflict: a narrative of official limitations on post-Agreement investigative mechanisms (Committee on the Administration of Justice, pdf): "To date there has been no overarching legacy commission or transitional justice mechanism to deal with the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict. Instead a number of criminal justice system mechanisms examine unresolved conflict-related deaths. Such mechanisms were largely prompted by a series of Article 2 ECHR 'right to life' judgments in the European Court of Human Rights against the UK... Serious limitations have however become apparent in relation to these mechanisms which have militated against their capacity to provide accountability for human rights violations. Elements of the package have been shown not to have the necessary independence, effectiveness or impartiality to investigate state actors. Even those mechanisms which have been independent have faced limitations on their powers, delay or obstruction in undertaking their work."
News in Brief (10.3.15)
EU: Trapped In Bulgaria: Europe Or Die (Episode 3) (Vice News, link)
FRANCE: Environmentalists lose bitter battle over controversial dam (France 24, link)
FRANCE-EU: Paris caught meddling in TTIP arbitration debate (EurActiv, link)
GREECE: Extreme Right Golden Dawn Trial to Begin on April 20 (Greek Reporter, link)
ITALY: Bologna nightclub denies black people ban (The Local, link)
SOUTH AFRICA: Apartheid spook sold secrets (IOL News, link)
UK-USA: UK man arrested on suspicion of US Department of Defense hacking (Ars Technica, link)
Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has called for an EU army in order "to improve the bloc's standing on the world stage, and to send a message to Moscow."
"An army like this would help us to better coordinate our foreign and defense policies, and to collectively take on Europe's responsibilities in the world," Juncker told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. "Europe's image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don't seem to be taken entirely seriously."
Tri-nation patrols at railway stations (The Budapest Times, link): "Joint patrols by Hungarian, Austrian and German police have begun to identify illegal immigrants at major railway stations, a head of department of Hungarys riot police said this week. Balázs Petho said two Austrian and two German officers had started working with their Hungarian counterparts, checking on stations from which trains to Western Europe depart. According to figures from the national police, 231 illegal immigrants were detained in the past one day."
This is the second known instance of "tri-national" police patrols directed at migrants. In October last year, Germany, Italy and Austria began a similar initiative aimed at people attempting to leave Italy. See: Germany, Austria and Italy launch "trilateral controls" to deal with "the increasing numbers of refugees" (Statewatch News Online, November 2014)
Documents on the EU's current counter-terrorism initatives (including border controls and monitoring the internet for "terrorist and extremist" content); enhancing the use of the European DNA data exchange network; the use of EU Classified Information; draft Council conclusions on cybersecurity; and the positions of the EU institutions on the proposed Directive on network and information security.
UK: The shocking truth about police corruption in Britain (The Spectator, link): "The police appear to be retreating into a bunker of secrecy and paranoia where all news must be managed and freedom of information is considered a threat. On its website alongside some vacuous rubbish about declaring total war on crime the Met claims to be committed to carrying out its duties with humility and transparency.
"Could anything be further from the truth? With its constant leak inquiries, harassment of whistleblowers and journalists, and scandalous misuse of terror legislation to tap the phone records and emails of ordinary citizens, the Met is probably more authoritarian and opaque than at any time in modern history. This culture comes directly from the top."
UK: Lynette White: Review into collapse of corruption trial (BBC News, link): "The collapse of the UK's biggest police corruption trial, which followed the wrongful conviction of three men for the murder of a Cardiff prostitute in 1988 will be led by a top barrister, the Home Secretary has announced."
Eight police officers were subsequently arrested but the case collapsed in 2011. On the new investigation, see: Home Secretary announces investigation into collapsed police trial (Home Office, link) and for background: Wales: Police arrested over "Cardiff Three" murder conspiracy (Statewatch Bulletin, March-April 2006)
POLAND: Libertarian maverick Korwin-Mikke raises signatures for presidential campaign (Radio Poland, link): "Libertarian politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke, currently an MEP, has filed over 200,000 signatures to the State Electoral Commission to formally register as a presidential candidate."
Korwin-Mikke's "maverick" views were widely publicised towards the end of last year. He considers women inferior to men, thinks that "there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust", and "would like to abolish not just the European Union but democracy altogether, replacing it with an absolute monarchy, which he considers the gold standard for government." See: Nigel Farages new friend in Europe: When women say no, they dont always mean it (The Guardian link)
UK: An Assessment of the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (Border Criminologies, link): "The report has taken six months to produce. Coming in at just under 80 pages, it synthesises testimonies from three public hearings and a selection of written submissions. It also draws on committee members visits to some detention sites in the UK and a trip to Sweden. Expert advice at the hearings was provided by a selection of NGOs, medics, civil servants, current and former detainees, although not, inexplicably, by academic researchers. So, what does the report actually say?" See also: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch News Online) and the Report (pdf)
News in Brief (9.3.15)
AUSTRALIA: Criminalising those who fight against IS (The Saturday Paper, link)
CANADA: A man was arrested for refusing to give his phones passcode to border agents (Business Insider, link)
CROATIA: Minister: Croatia ready for evaluation of compliance with Schengen regime (dalje.com, link)
IRELAND: Time to take another look at bringing cameras into court (The Irish Times, link): "Courts Service says no law bans cameras from courtrooms, it is simply a practice that has grown through the years"
NETHERLANDS: In Amsterdam, a revolt against the neoliberal university (ROAR Magazine, link)
NETHERLANDS: Police staff suspended over inquiry into ¬500 million squad cars contract (The Amsterdam Herald, link)
UK: PETITION: Stop intimidating and shaming lawyers (change.org, link): "We pledge our support to any lawyer vindicating the rule of law in the name of truth, justice and accountability.We condemn attacks on Phil Shiner and anyone else whose legal work is focused on ensuring state accountability."
EU: Council of the European Union: Use of the VIS with a view to handling asylum cases (LIMITE doc no 6747-15, pdf):
"SE [Sweden] raised a point on the link between Schengen visas issued by Member States and the flows of asylum seekers. SE expressed concerns over the use of Schengen visas in order to access EU territory in view of lodging applications for international protection. SE noted the link between the identification of asylum seekers in the VIS database and implications for the Dublin system, and deplored the lack of harmonization between MS in the application of the Visa Code, which may result in costly procedures for other MS where asylum seekers end up applying for protection."
And: Council Directive on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries - Revised Presidency compromise (LIMITE doc no 6065-15, pdf) The Council developing its position.
European Commission and the High Resprentative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: JOINT CONSULTATION PAPER Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy (pdf)
"One of the most often repeated criticisms of the ENP is a lacking sense of ownership with partners, across their societies, and the general publics weak awareness of the policys aims and impact. It is clear that substantial efforts are needed in the context of the ENP review to improve both the ownership of this policy by partner countries and to improve communication of its objectives and results both within the EU and in the partner countries."
EU: Council of the European Union: Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, The Hague, Netherlands - Draft lines to take (LIMITE doc no: 6181-15, pdf) and EnviCrimeNet - Intelligence Project on Environmental Crime - Preliminary Report on Environmental Crime in Europe (LIMITE doc no: 16438-14, pdf)
News in Brief (8.3.15)
Tory cuts will increase risk of terror attacks police chief - Sir Hugh Orde, outgoing president of Acpo, fears policing system is nearing a tipping point if resources continue to be reduced (The Observer, link)
Computer security - The law and unintended consequences (The Economist, link)
Documents Shine Light on Shadowy New Zealand Surveillance Base (The Intercept) and Snowden files: Inside Waihopai's domes (Sunday Star - Times, link)
US government still hunting WikiLeaks as Obama targets whistleblowers - The Department of Justice and the FBI are pursuing a multi-subject long-term investigation of the open-information website, court documents reveal (Guardian, link)
European Commission in a pickle over PNR
- Mexico and Argentina about to implement PNR laws requiring "the transfer of passenger data from air carriers that operate in [their] countries"
- The Commission has only 2-3 weeks to sort this out: airlines face fines if they do not comply and would break EU law if they do
A Council of the European Union document, dated 5 March 2015, shows that the EU is facing a crisis over third country demands for PNR [Passenger Name Record] data on flights from the EU to Mexico and Argentina. The document from the Spanish delegation: Information by the Commission on the PNR legislation adopted by Mexico and the Republic of Argentina requesting the transfer of PNR data from the EU (pdf) says that Mexico adopted PNR legislation in 2012 and has postponed implementation three times and that: "the present moratorium will expire on the 1st April and carriers will face financial sanctions of up to 30,000 dollars per flight if they do not comply and transfer the required passenger data..."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "It should come as no surprise to the EU that having put three PNR agreements in place that other countries now want the same. What is surprising is that with just two to three weeks to go until Mexico and Argentina implement their national laws the Commission is being ask to take "urgent" action. They have known about the Mexican law since 2102 and that of Argentina in September last year.
Reaching agreement on new PNR deals, which meet EU data protection standards, is on past evidence going to take years especially for countries whose democratic standards and privacy laws may be questionable."
UK: House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee: Current and future uses of biometric data and technologies (pdf):
"In its broadest sense, biometrics is the measurement and analysis of a biological characteristic (fingerprints, iris patterns, retinas, face or hand geometry) or a behavioural characteristic (voice, gait or signature).....
Three future trends in the application of biometrics were identified during the inquiry: the growth of unsupervised biometric systems, accessed via mobile devices, which verify identity; the proliferation of second-generationbiometric technologies that can authenticate individuals covertly; and the linking of biometric data with other types of big data as part of efforts to profile individuals....
In the absence of a biometrics strategy, there has been a worrying lack of Government oversight and regulation of aspects of this field. We were particularly concerned to hear that the police are uploading photographs taken in custody, including images of people not subsequently charged with, or convicted of, a crime, to the Police National Database and applying facial recognition software."
See also: MPs 'dismayed' that police continue to compile database of faces - Commons science and technology committee says practice of uploading custody photographs appears to flout high court ruling from 2012 (Guardian, link): " the Commons Science and Technology Committee said it was dismayedto learn that more than 12m photographs had been entered into the Police National Database without proper testing or oversight. It also noted that current practice appeared to flout a high court ruling from 2012 that said the contemporary policy of retaining custody photographs was unlawful. "
Measures by the EU law enforcement agency Europol relating to foreign fighters Bundestag printed paper 18/3910 (pdf) Questions by Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko and others and the Left Party parliamentary group and answers from the Federal government, including Focal Point Travellers", Focal Point CtW, "Clean IT", Community Policing and prevention of radicalisation & terrorism" (CoPPRa) and Working Group DUMAS established by Europol which pursues the aim of supporting the EU Member States in combatting the phenomenon of foreign fighters".
"Italy has overall leadership of the working group. Co-drivers" have lead responsibility for the respective sub-working groups (SWG): Five SWG were established: "Alert List(headed by Austria), "Outreach(headed by Spain and Hungary), "Best Practices(headed by Great Britain and France), "Facilitators(headed by Spain and Great Britain), "Indicators" (headed by Germany and Luxembourg)."
And: "According to the latest information from Europol a total of 536 contributions on 2835 persons had been transmitted to the Focal Point Travellersup until 31 January 2015."
EU-UK: European Commission: Report on equality between women and men 2014 (pdf): Professor Steve Peers observed: 'At this rate of change, it would take another 70 years to achieve gender equality' and see: Violence against women: Can EU law play a bigger role in combatting it (EU Law Analysis, link)
And see: International Womens Day 2015: The shameful statistics that show why it is still important (The Independent, link)
News in Brief (7.3.15)
We're All Spies Now: CIA Director Announces Major Restructuring (The Intercept, link): "The director of the CIA announced this week a major overhaul of the agencys organizational structure ending the traditional separation between spies and analysts, while also creating a new division to handle cyberwarfare."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Chapter II: PRINCIPLES and the One Stop Shop
CHAPTER II: PRINCIPLES: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17072-rev4-14, dated 4 March 2015, pdf):
"The Presidency is of the opinion that the text set out in the Annex is the best possible compromise taking into account the various positions of delegations." 30 pages with 77 Footnotes with Member State positions.
CHAPTER II PRINCIPLES: AUSTRIA DELEGATION: Comments and Proposals regarding Chapter II, in particular with a view to the issues of legitimate interest, further processingand processing for statistical purposes(LIMITE doc no: 6741-15, 3 March 2015, pdf)
The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 6286-rev2-15, dated 4 March 2015, pdf) With 86 Footnotes and Member State reservations.
UK: So, why did the Met Police come sniffing round our banner-making workshop? (Friends of the Earth, link):
"Friends of the Earth has been hosting workshops to make placards and props for the climate demonstration this Saturday. We held one yesterday and volunteers from the Campaign Against Climate Change, who are organising the march, came along to paint banners. But yesterday some unexpected visitors also showed up: two officers from the Metropolitan Police.... Oh, we were just passing by, and wondered what you were up to, said one of the officers, rather unconvincingly....
Slightly taken aback by this sudden intrusion onto private property, the volunteer explained that they were making banners for the climate march this Saturday. Oh yes? responded the officer, and proceeded to start asking questions: Were they continuing to use this space to make banners for the whole week? Who owned the space? Were they all coming on the demonstration? How many people were expected on the march, did they think? Oh, and whats your name, sonny? The volunteer politely declined to give his name or answer the officers probing questions."
News in Brief (6.3.15)
European and national parliamentarians divided on the EU Smart Borders Package(February 23)? (EASFJ, link): "it was not self evident that the registration of third country nationals entering/staying on the EU territory will necessarily have significant ramifications to reducing security threats within Europe as most of the terrorists attacks have been done by either European citizens or third country nationals that were already present within the EU area so that a presence and cooperation between police forces would had been much more effective in finding the needlesthan increasing the haystackof ordinary citizens personal data."
High Court refers Facebook privacy case to Europe - Privacy campaigner took case following claims social network passed information to NSA (Irish Times, link): "The High Court has referred questions raised by a case taken by an Austrian privacy activist over the alleged mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services to the European Court of Justice. Privacy campaigner Max Schrems had argued that the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, wrongly refused to investigate whistleblower Edward Snowdens claims that Dublin-based Facebook International had passed on its EU users data to the US National Security Agency as part of its Prism surveillance programme. While the judge did not find in Mr Schremss favour today, he adjourned the case pending a reference to the European court.
Live Q&A: After four years of war in Syria, whats the plan for refugees? Nine million people have fled conflict in Syria. Join us on 12 March 1-3pm to discuss a more permanent solution than refugee camps and host communities (Guardian, link)
USA: The Presidents Weak Privacy Proposal (New York Times, link): "The bill his administration recently offered will do little to help individuals while giving companies great leeway in determining how they collect, use and share personal data.."
New book puts spotlight on role of covert police in human rights controversy - A new book that examines evidence of clandestine police collusion in the blacklisting of workers is launched next week in Parliament (Guardian, link)
ICC studying CIA torture report 'very, very closely': The ICC is taking a close look at the report and will determine next steps, especially incidents in Afghanistan where the court has jurisdiction (Middle East Eye, link)
Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications - European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe (Guardian, link)
See: Drone owners register called for by House of Lords (BBC News, link): "The recommendation was made by the House of Lords EU Committee, which has been looking into what rules are needed to safeguard the use of unmanned aircraft. It suggests the database would initially include businesses and other professional users, and then later expand to encompass consumers."
EU Commissioner: Avramopoulos: We cooperate with dictatorial regimes to fight migration (euractiv, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted yesterday (4 March) that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."
and: EU defends working with dictatorships to stop migrants (The Daily Star, link): "The EU's migration chief insisted Wednesday that the bloc must work with dictatorships in order to fight smugglers who traffic migrants to Europe, often using dangerous sea routes across the Mediterranean."
And see: Commission statement: Commission makes progress on a European Agenda on Migration (pdf): "First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said; "In May we will present a new migration agenda with an improved governance to strengthen our asylum system, set a sound course on legal migration, act more vigorously against irregular migration and ensure more secure borders." (and "Factsheet", pdf) and see: European Migration Network Conference 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Europe (link)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, notes: "This Commission announcement makes no mention of the EU's humanitarian responsibility for search and rescue, emphasising instead the need for "legal migration" which is based on bringing in skilled labour from the South to maintain the EU standards of living."
DATA SURVEILLANCE: Snowden GCSB revelations / Russel Norman says GCSB 'breaking the law' (The New Zealand Herald, link):
"EXCLUSIVE: GCSB collects phone calls, emails and internet data from NZ's closest and most vulnerable neighbours, secret papers reveal .New Zealand is "selling out" its close relations with the Pacific nations to be close with the United States, author Nicky Hager has said. Hager, in conjunction with the New Zealand Herald and the Intercept news site, revealed today how New Zealand's spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country's closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours."
And see: New Zealand Spies on Neighbors in Secret Five Eyes Global Surveillance (The Intercept, link)
See also: XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet' "XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data "NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches "Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history "NSA's XKeyscore program read one of the presentation (Guardian, link)
And see Full XKeyscore document (pdf)
UK: A critical response to 'The British Armed Forces: Learning Resource 2014' (ForcesWatch, link): See Report (link) and Video (produced by Quaker Peace & Social Witness (link): "This report explains why the British Armed Forces Learning Resource (published in September 2014 by the Prime Minister's Office) is a poor quality educational resource, and exposes the resource as a politically-driven attempt to promote recruitment into the armed forces and military valuesin schools."
EU: Council of the European Union: Member states hope to soften data protection in reform talks (euractiv, link): "A leaked EU document reveals that several governments are planning to weaken the security of customer data in negotiations over the common EU Data Protection Directive" See document: Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev-3-14, pdf) 30 pages with 90 Member State positions, pdf)
News in Brief (5.3.14)
Danish intelligence to get more power than NSA (The Local, link): "As part of the government's new counter-terror measures, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service is given the ability to conduct surveillance on citizens abroad without a court order something that not even the NSA or GCHQ can do"
UK: 300 staff working for peers and MPs have lobbying interests, analysis reveals - Almost one in five declare lobbying or outside interests but just 11 will have to sign the new lobby register (Guardian, link)
Yarl's Wood: Undercover in the secretive immigration detention centre | Channel 4 News (link) plus Yarl's Wood protest: we're not animals, we just want respect and: Yarl's Wood: Second worker suspended after abuse allegations (BBC News, link).And see: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention (Statewatch).
EU: European Ombudsman: Letter to Claude Moraes MEP, Chair of the LIBE Committee, concerning the Opinion of the European Parliament's Legal Service concerning Europol and refusal of US authorities to give the Ombudsman access to a document concerning the TFTP Agreement (pdf)
Emily O'Reilly, the EU Ombudsman, says:
"In my decision, I therefore suggested that Parliament might wish to consider the various issues raised in this case. These include whether it is acceptable for arrangements to be agreed with a foreign government which have the consequence of undermining mechanisms established by or under the EU Treaties for the control of EU executive action....
I also understand that Parliament's Legal Service nevertheless takes the view that Europol was entitled to refuse to allow me to inspect the relevant document without the consent of the American authorities. I do not find this at all convincing. In my view, the Ombudsman's Statute clearly gives the Ombudsman the right to inspect documents like the one at issue in the Europol case....
It appears inconceivable to me that, in a union based on the rule of law, certain areas of the activity of the EU administration should be exempt from any external control whatsoever. If one were to accept the opinion put forward by the Parliament's Legal Service, which I do not, it would be a matter of real urgency to address the need to ensure that an agency such as Europol (or any other agency claiming it could not cooperate with the Ombudsman) is subject to external supervision." [emphasis added]
UK: A BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY: Civil liberties campaigners claim Supreme Court judgment gives Police extraordinary discretion to compile database - Campaigners express disappointment after Supreme Court rule that collation of data on 91-year-old campaigner was lawful (link):
"The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), a national civil liberties organisation, has expressed great disappointment to a Supreme Court judgment handed down today which found that the Metropolitan Polices domestic extremist database was lawful....
Netpol, which monitors police conduct and challenges unfair and discriminatory policing, intervened in the case of peace campaigner John Catt which was heard by the Court in December last year. The Metropolitan Police had brought the Supreme Court challenge against a Court of Appeal ruling in March 2013, which found that the gathering and retaining information on Mr Catt was unlawful.
Mr Catt, who is 91 with no criminal history, was known for making sketches at anti-arms trade protests in Brighton called by the Smash EDO campaign.
Speaking today, following the verdict Kevin Blowe, a coordinator for Netpol said: "This ruling allows the police extraordinary discretion to gather personal information of individuals for purposes that are never fully defined. The Supreme Court has accepted that no further justification is apparently required other than investigating the links between protest groups and their organisation and leadership. This Judgment represents judicial approval for the mass surveillance of UK protest movements."
And see: Supreme Court grants judicial approval for the mass surveillance of UK protest movements(Netpol, link): "In a press release issued by his solicitors Bhatt Murphy, John Catt has confirmed his intention to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights."
EU: Europol report: Exploring tomorrow's organised crime (6MB, pdf):
"A decline of traditional hierarchical criminal groups and networks will be accompanied by the expansion of a virtual criminal underground made up of individual criminal entrepreneurs, who come together on a project basis. These people will lend their knowledge, experience and expertise as part of a crime-as-a-service business model. Such dynamics can already be seen in the realm of cybercrime, but in the future these will extend to the domain of traditional organised crime, governing crime areas such as drugs trafficking, illegal immigration facilitation and counterfeiting of goods."
EU: Court of Justice of the European Union: Statistics concerning judicial activity in 2014: The institution brought 1 685 cases to a close: an increase in productivity of 36.9% in five years (Press Release, pdf)
News in Brief (4.3.15)
Torture feeds terror, Jagland warns Europes leaders (CoE, link): "As governments across Europe now grapple with the problem of radicalisation among prison inmates, state authorities must uphold the highest standards. Torture in our cells will only feed terror on our streets. Treating people like animals is the surest way to help their humanity disappear. For the sake of our shared values and collective security, we must guarantee basic human rights for anyone in state detention." And: Britain can be at the heart of a torture-free Europe, by Thorbjørn Jagland For 25 years the Council of Europe has been fighting torture. As its head, I urge all our states to commit to erasing police and prison brutality (Guardian, link)
Greece to pass anti-austerity bill (euractiv, link)
Ten migrants die as boat capsizes but 941 rescued by Italian coastguards - Coastguard vessels and three cargo ships south of Sicily rescue 941 people in seven separate operations but 10 die as boat capsizes (Guardian, link)
Swedish report suggests fingerprint scans at border points (euobserver, link)
UK-GCHQ: British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany - Committee under pressure to censor disclosures about UK activity after Downing Street threatens to break off intelligence-sharing with Berlin (Guardian, link)
"the Bundestags inquiry into the NSA controversy is being jeopardised by Britains refusal to cooperate and its threats to break off all intelligence-sharing with Berlin should the committee reveal any UK secrets.... David Cameron had written to Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkels chief of staff, refusing all requests for help in the inquiry and warning that Britain would cease supplying terrorism-related intelligence to the Germans unless Berlin yielded....
Information already available to the committee from German sources is said to reveal operational details of UK activities, encryption methods, codes and decoding techniques."
EU: Council of the European Union: VIS rollout, Combating Radicalisation, PRUM & JPO TENT-IT
VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM: VIS - time frame concerning the roll-out in the last regions - Approval of the final compromise (LIMITE doc no 5731-15, pdf) Detailed plan for implementation.
French delegation: Combating terrorism and radicalisation: further strengthening the protection of the citizens of the European Union (LIMITE doc no 5507-15, pdf) Detailed proposals
Implementation of the "Prüm Decisions" regarding fingerprints - Search capacities (EU doc no: 5019-rev-2-15, pdf): "Member States shall submit declarations to the General Secretariat of the Council in which they lay down their maximum search capacities per day for dactyloscopic data of identified persons and dactyloscopic data of persons not yet identified."
Italian Delegation: To: Law Enforcement Working Party: Final report on the JPO TENT-IT (LIMITE doc no: 5667-15. pdf): "The aim of the operation organised under the IT Presidency was to perform road traffic security controls on European and trans-European road networks for security purposes, through widespread activities including national and joint controls and checks of heavy vehicles (trucks and tractortrailers) carrying goods including hazardous and particularly hazardous goods, and of vehicles transporting people (coaches and buses)....12 Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands,
Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) participated"
Statewatch: EU proposed new Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies EU: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies
"the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals from 2011 ongoing
"full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council - Updated 3 March 2015
UK: Parliamentarians call for "very radical shift in thinking" on immigration detention
An inquiry conducted by MPs and Lords from the UK's three major political parties (Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative) has concluded that "a very radical shift in thinking" is required on immigration detention. The report makes four "key recommendations":
Between July and October 2014 the inquiry, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, received 182 submission of written evidence and held three oral evidence sessions. Members of the inquiry also visited detention centres and the Swedish Migration Board.
See: All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, 'The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom' (pdf), 3 March 2015
And also: Immigration centres: Act now to overhaul Britain's 'shocking' detention of migrants indefinitely and in appalling conditions, say MPs (The Independent, link) and MPs call for immigration detention cap (BBC News, link).
"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: This is a crucial moment for data protection, a period of unprecedented change and political importance, not only in the EU but globally. Our aims and ambitions for the next five years build on our strengths, successes and lessons learned. Together with our legal and technological expertise, we are uniquely placed to assist the EU to find effective, practical and innovative solutions that will respect our fundamental rights in the new digital world. Our goal is for the EU to speak - in full cooperation with colleagues at national level - with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant.
News in Brief (3.3.15)
Undercover cop joined construction union UCATT to spy on workers (Daily Mirror, link)
Australias attorney general bombarded with messages in metadata law protest (Washington Post, link): "The law in question would require communications providers to retain all metadata for phone and Internet users for two years. The bill, called the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014, has gained enough support to pass in parliament with some planned amendments.."
Mohammed Emwazi tapes: '9/11 was wrong' - Isis militant known as Jihadi John gave interview to advocacy group Cage in 2009 in which he claimed that MI5 said they would keep a close eye on him (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: eu-LISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice): To: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security
Priorities of the network of JHA Agencies in 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 5946-15, pdf):
"Existing strategic, analytical and statistical reports, risk and threat assessments and situational awareness products will continue to be shared and a mapping of these analyses and reports should be carried out by the JHA Agencies to make better use of them. Furthermore, exchange of best practice and views related to the establishment and maintenance of operations involving personal data should be carried out among the JHA Agencies."
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation
ONE STOP SHOP: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 286-rev-1-15, pdf) 59 pages with 126 Member State positions
EU: Council of the European Union:
Decision to make public the TiSA negotiating directives (LIMITE doc no: 6575-15, pdf)
Trio proposals on the organisation of the Council preparatory bodies (follow-up to the informal joint meeting of the EU Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers (Rome, 27 November 2014)) (LIMITE doc no: 6589-15, pdf): "On 10 December 2014, the trio of Presidencies informed Coreper2 that they would work
jointly in order to address existing overlaps and improve the efficiency of the decision making processes of SCIFA, High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG), CATS and JAIEX, especially concerning the interaction between external and internal dimensions of migration." See also: The future of SCIFA Contribution to the evaluation by COREPER (LIMITE doc no: 12996-14, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Legal Aid
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings = General approach (6603-15, pdf)
EU: European Ombudsman: Ombudsman calls on EU institutions to adopt whistleblowing rules (pdf):
"The European Ombudsman, Emily OReilly, has found that seven out of the nine EU institutions questioned by her office have still to comply with a January 2014 obligation to introduce internal whistleblowing rules. While an inter-institutional committee is examining a common approach, she urges the committee to complete its work as quickly as possible.":
GERMANY: Sebastian Heiser: journalist accused of spying at German newspaper - IT technicians at the leftwing daily Taz say spying on colleagues had been going on since the beginning of 2014 (Guardian, link):
"The intrigues that have rocked the usually staid world of German newspapers began last month when a so-called key-loggerstick a USB-style contraption that hoovers up all the information on a computer, including passwords and everything else tapped into its keyboard was discovered in a computer in the newspapers newsroom in central Berlin."
The Iraq war and EU asylum law: the CJEUs answers are blowin in the wind (EU Law Analysis, link) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"There is a link to EU law here as set out in yesterdays Shepherd judgment of the CJEU. Unfortunately that judgment is highly problematic, not because the Court avoids the key issue of the wars legality, but because of its unconvincing interpretation of some key issues concerning the status of deserters in EU asylum law."
Revealed: How Britain benefits from torture (Independent on Sunday, link)
"According to a source close to the East Midlands bomb operation, the British officials would have made sure they were not actually in the roomwhere the torture was allegedly taking place, but there was no waythe intelligence that thwarted the bombing wasnt procured under duress. It is a fair inference to say he was being tortured. He wasnt volunteering the information, thats for sure,the source said. Of course we use intelligence from torture. We take it from wherever we can get it, but we are never, ever going to say we dont want that. Or ask too many questions about where it has come from. It is the difference between intelligence and evidence.
News in Brief (2.3.15)
Expand migrant rescue in Europes south (New Europe, link): "In an exclusive interview with New Europe, Cécile Kyenge, an Italian MEP and former integration minister under Enrico Lettas government, talks about immigration and terrorism."
Google to be inspected by Italian privacy regulator (Jdsupra, link)
The New Face of Italian Immigration Detention: A Retreat from the Criminalisation of Migrants (Border Criminologies, link)
Development of a Scottish Population Register/ID Card Scheme is subject to ICO criticism (Hawktalk, link): " there was a flourishing Entitlement Cardin Scotland; readers in the rest of the UK who can walk down memory lane on this subject will remember that this name was specifically chosen by David Blunkett in 2002 in his White Paper Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud."
Prison riots squad called to almost 100 incidents, including hostage taking, in one year (Birmingham Mail, link)
UK: INQUEST Report: "Stolen lives and missed opportunities": The deaths of young adults and children in prisons (link) and see: Sixty five young adults and teenagers have died in prison in last four years, report finds (Independent, link)
News in Brief (1.3.15)
IATA to make security check at airports hassle-free (link to video)
White House releases draft Consumer Privacy Bill (Ralf Bendrath, link)
UK: On the blacklist: how did the UKs top building firms get secret information on their workers? Five years after a blacklist was found that singled out construction site workers for being union activists, the full extent of undercover police surveillance and collusion is still not known, and myriad questions remain (Guardian, link)
UK: Far-right Pegida eclipsed by its opponents at first UK demo - Youre not welcome here: get off our streets Newcastle protestors message to anti-Islam marchers outnumbered by 3,000 to 400 (The Observer, link)
Spyware and malware availability sparks surge in internet stalking - Domestic violence experts warn malicious software is increasingly being used to compromise victims computers and phones (The Observer, link)
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