News in Brief (30-31.5.15)
Boycott after Muslim woman claims discrimination on flight (Channel 4 News, link): "Muslim chaplain Tahera Ahmad claims she faced discrimination and verbal abuse while she was on board a United Airlines flight on Friday."
How the Human Rights Act escaped the Tory axe - David Cameron convinced voters with his pledge to scrap European human rights laws and bring in a British Bill of Rights but he could not persuade his own MPs (Daily Telegraph, link)
GERMANY: Heimliche SMS - NRW-Polizei zapft zehntausende Handys an [Secret SMS - NRW police taps into thousands Phones] (WAZ, link)
UK: Tim Berners-Lee urges Britain to fight 'snooper's charter' - Inventor of world wide web also advised developing world to ‘just say no’ to Facebook’s Internet.org scheme (Guardian, link): "Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has urged Britons to fight the government’s plans to extend the country’s surveillance powers, and act as a worldwide leader for promoting good governance on the web. Berners-Lee said Britain had “lost the moral leadership” on privacy and surveillance, following the revelations of the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden."
GERMANY-NSA: New details about the joint NSA-BND operation Eikonal (Techdirt, link): "This weblog first reported about the joint NSA-BND operation Eikonal on October 15, 2014, but meanwhile interesting new details became available from the hearings of the German parliamentary inquiry, and from recent disclosures by a politician from Austria. Under operation Eikonal, the NSA cooperated with the German foreign intelligence service BND for access to transit cables from Deutsche Telekom in Frankfurt"
SNOWDEN: Here's the Best Stuff from Edward Snowden's Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (Mother Jones, link)
UK: Broadcasters attack Theresa May's plan to vet TV programmes for extremism - Industry figures say powers proposed by home secretary for Ofcom to approve content prior to transmission are ‘completely impractical’ and ‘difficult to justify’ (Guardian, link): "[Ofcom] all of its regulatory powers are post-transmission. May’s plan, revealed in a pre-election document outlining an extremism strategy for a “stronger Britain”, would give Ofcom the power to approve programmes before transmission, a fundamental shift."
Despite Dutch protection, Azer is still trapped by INTERPOL (Fair Trials, link): "Azer Samadov, a former Azerbaijani political refugee who currently has Dutch citzenship, has been subject to an INTERPOL arrest warrant since 2009."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: Recommendation of XXX on a European resettlement scheme (COM 286-15, pdf): It was going to be 5,000 people, then 40,000 now: "A total of 20 000 persons should be admitted to the Union during a two-year period of implementation of this scheme by the Member States"
and Annexes (pdf)
Statewatch Briefing: Coercive measures or expulsion: Fingerprinting migrants (pdf):
New guidelines released by the European Commission allow Member States to use physical and mental coercive measures to take fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe, including minors and pregnant women. If they refuse, they face detention, expulsion and a potential five year EU-wide ban.
“If the data-subject still refuses to cooperate it is suggested that officials trained in the proportionate use of coercion may apply the minimum level of coercion required, while ensuring respect of the dignity and physical integrity of the data-subject..” [emphasis added]
See also: The new EU Migration Agenda takes shape: analysis of the first new measures (EU Law Analysis, link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Press coverage:
Tunisian - and Top E.U. Generals - Fear Mission Creep Madness in Libya (The Daily Beast, link): "A newly revealed classified document and a history of grave misjudgments warn against the dangers of the new EU plan to stop migrants.... Europe’s defense chiefs are warning their political superiors that the planned military mission to stop migrant-smuggling boats crossing the Mediterranean can lead to land operations in Libya and possible clashes with the Islamic State’s affiliate in that failing North African state, a turn of events bound to threaten neighboring Tunisia’s fragile equilibrium still further."
Tunisian PM Speaks Against EU Military Action to Stop Refugee Smugglers (Sputnik News, link):
"Tunisia opposes any military effort by the EU to tackle refugee smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea, Prime Minister Habib Essid said Thursday. “Tunisia’s position was always clear… We are originally against all military action, both to regulate political conflict and to regulate the problem with illegal smugglers,” Essid said in the European Parliament."
Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire [Migrants in the Mediterranean: Tunisia against all military intervention] (rtbf.be, link):
"Habib Essid said that his country is "against any military intervention to solve this problem. This problem must be resolved upstream and downstream. These people take risks, sell everything they have around them to come to Europe, for more freedom, for better economic opportunities for work. I know the problems this poses for all countries of the European Union, but the solution is to look other than make occasional military interventions."
The European Parliament press release does not mention these comments: Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid on security and migration challenges (pdf)
Before the Boat: Understanding the Migrant Journey (MPI, link): "Deep, sophisticated insight into the decision-making process of those who undertake these journeys is necessary; without this information and a wider understanding of the political economy of migrant smuggling, policymakers essentially are making decisions in the dark."
"In the present report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 25/2, the Special Rapporteur addresses the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communications. Drawing from research on international and national norms and jurisprudence, and the input of States and civil society, the report concludes that encryption and anonymity enable individuals to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age and, as such, deserve strong protection." [emphasis added]
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 8161-15, pdf) See detailed ANNEX pp6-15. And: "Reports indicate that the surge of migration flows towards the EU from Turkey is partly due to Egypt and Algeria (since January 2015, also Lebanon) implementing visa requirements for Syrian nationals, who enjoy a visa-free entry to Turkey."
News in Brief (29.5.15)
European Commission: Take Swift Action Against Attacks on Core EU Values in Spain! (Liberties.eu, link)
Inside NSA, Officials Privately Criticize “Collect It All” Surveillance (The Intercept, link): "“The problem is that when you collect it all, when you monitor everyone, you understand nothing.” – Edward Snowden"
Marauders Map: the Chrome app that stalks Facebook Messenger users - Privacy concerns over app that allows you to pinpoint location of anyone who is part of same messaging thread, and track them via time stamps (Guardian, link)
UK: Fury after primary pupils are asked to complete radicalisation-seeking surveys - Parents complain after London council circulates questionnaire among year 6 pupils in schools with large Muslim intakes (Guardian, link)
EU-USA: MEPs give passing vote to TTIP (euractiv, link): "The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade has given its go-ahead to the European Commission on the EU-US trade agreement, conceding that a controversial arbitration clause, albeit reformed, needs to remain part of the deal." and Parliament Committee adopts a disappointing position on TTIP (EDRI, link)
Spare Rib goes digital: 21 years of radical feminist magazine put online (Guardian, link) and see Journal Archives (link)
USA: State Law Enforcement Body Camera Policies (EPIC, link)
EU: FORCIBLE FINGERPRINTING, DETENTION, EXPULSION & ENTRY BAN of MIGRANTS including pregnant women and minors: European Commission: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"Where is the EU going? Migrants, including pregnant women and minors, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty are to be forcibly finger-printed or held in detention until they acquiesce or expelled & banned from entry. To add insult to injury the Commission deliberately withheld publication of the Guidelines yesterday to control news reporting when announcing its new migration plans."
See also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers (Statewatch News, March 2015)
UK: Wide-ranging snooper's charter to extend powers of security services (Guardian, link):
"David Cameron is to use the Tories’ unexpected parliamentary majority to press ahead with a “turbo-charged” version of the snooper’s charter that will extend the powers of the security services in response to the debate that followed surveillance disclosures by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a surprise move, the government is to introduce an investigatory powers bill far more wide-ranging than expected. The legislation will include not only the expected snooper’s charter, enabling the tracking of everyone’s web and social media use, but also moves to strengthen the security services’ warranted powers for the bulk interception of the content of communications."
EU: Ombudsman opens investigation to promote transparency of "trilogues" (pdf, letter to the Council of the European Union)
The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has opened an investigation into the transparency of "trilogues" with a view to boosting transparent law-making in the EU. Trilogues are informal negotiations between the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Commission aimed at reaching early agreements on new EU legislation.
See: Statewatch Analyses: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf) and Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy “warts and all” (pdf)
EU Ombudsman: Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
GERMANY-EGYPT: New measures on the part of the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Police to assist Egyptian police authorities (pdf) including migrants, football fans and protest.
Data Protection or exploitation? The erosion of safeguards for health and genetic research (Genewatch, link): "This briefing describes proposed changes to the “research exemption” which , if adopted, would allow data to be stored and shared with commercial companies without people’s knowledge or consent . It considers the implications of these changes for the future storage and use of personal medical records and genetic data."
News in Brief (28.5.15)
Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy -The creator of PGP has moved his mobile-encryption firm Silent Circle to Switzerland to be free of US mass surveillance. Here he explains why (Guardan, link): "“Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way,” he warns. “We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We don’t want to become like North Korea.”
Poland elects right-wing president who criticized predecessor’s apologies to Jews (Times of Israel, link)
INTERPOL training in Ghana aims to strengthen regional police capacity in border management (Interpol, link) See also: EU: Millions of euros for new police databases in West Africa (Statewatch database)
European Defence Agency: EDA Chief Executive briefs European Parliament (link) and see: INTERVENTION BY EDA CHIEF EXECUTIVE IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT’S SUBCOMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND DEFENCE (pdf)
UK: Hundreds sign up for Yarl’s Wood protest calling for an end to detention (Bradford Today, link)
Lawyers denied access to case file – LEAP Survey Report (Fair Trials, link) and Legal Experts Advisory Panel: Survey Report: Access to the Case File (pdf)
Lithuania's spy officially charged (New Europe, link): "The President neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a swap "
Sanctions being finalised to crack down on disruptive TDs (Irish Times, link): "Tough new sanctions on TDs who behave in a disorderly and disruptive way in the Dáil chamber are close to being finalised."
EU: European Commission Migration Action Plan: The following documents were released:
- Communication: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015 - 2020) (COM 285-15, pdf)
- European Commission makes progress on Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf)
- Questions and Answers pdf
But if you search for the following you get a PR statement/News management (27 May)
European Parliament: INTERPARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MEETING: National Parliaments - Conference on the Democratic oversight of Intelligence services in the European Union, 28-29 May 2015: Agenda (pdf) and Background documents (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europe’s ‘violent humanitarianism’ in the Mediterranean (Ceasefire, link):
"Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration at the University of Oxford, speaks to Ceasefire's Luke De Noronha about Europe's response to the Mediterranean crisis and how borders are 'a dystopian project whose enforcement exposes the horrific violence of the state..... But it is the nation state that is ultimately what needs to be challenged. Of course the nation state is not going to quietly legislate itself out of existence. And while bordering has intensified, resistance has too.'
EUROSUR: European Day for Border Guards (2013): Panel Discussion III - Eurosur and the Future of Border Management (pdf):
"The European Commission’s Oliver Siefffarth, who acts as policy officer for Eurosur.... he [said] that not everything is expected to be up and running from day one: “On the contrary, Eurosur is conceived as a process which will never stop, which will always be further improved,”"
European Commission: Report: Progress report on the implementation of the Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies (COM 2176-14, pdf):
"On the important issue of the prevention and management of conflicts of interest the Commission issued guidelines in December 2013. The Commission invites the agencies to adopt without delay respective frameworks on conflicts of interest in line with these guidelines. Agencies hereby need to strike an adequate balance between managing conflicts of interest and preserving their capability to obtain best possible scientific advice. The Commission recalls the fact that as the agencies are legally independent entities, they alone are responsible for the way they handle the issue of conflicts of interest in practice and notably, how they enforce and control that the key principles in this domain are respected, as well as for reporting on it."
"the Court found that at the relevant time French law had not provided Mr Yengo with any preventive remedy by which he could have promptly obtained the termination of his inhuman and degrading conditions of detention. There had therefore been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention.."
Judgment (French, link)
USA: Congressional Research Service reports: Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief (pdf) and Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief (pdf)
News in Brief (27.5.15)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Frontex expands its Joint Operation Triton (Frontex, link): "Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri signed the amended operational plan of the Joint Operation Triton, expanding its operational area and bringing in a number of additional experts, vessels and aircraft. The operational area will be extended to 138 NM south of Sicily. During the peak summer season, Triton will deploy 3 airplanes, 6 Offshore Patrol Vessels, 12 patrol boats, 2 helicopters, 9 debriefing and 6 screening teams.
Libya PM 'escapes assassination attempt' in Tobruk (BBC News, link): "Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni says he has survived an assassination attempt by gunmen who attacked his car in the city of Tobruk.....A government spokesman said the prime minister escaped unharmed but one of his bodyguards was wounded. Libya has been in turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power in 2011. Mr al-Thinni is trying to run the country from Tobruk after being expelled from the capital, Tripoli, by militias in 2014. His power has been challenged by the establishment of another body in Tripoli that claims to be the legitimate government."
Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey Move to Jointly Tackle Migration (Novinite, link): "Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, facing a surge in illegal migration, have signed an agreement to set up a joint contact centre for border and customs control, the Interior Ministry in Sofia announced on Monday. The joint contact center will start functioning on Bulgarian territory at Kapitan Andreevo crossing at the border with Turkey. The agreement needs parliamentary approval in Greece and Turkey to take effect , while in Bulgaria it only has to be endorsed by the government." Agreement (Bulgarian, link)
UK: Government delays Human Rights Act repeal amid opposition from senior Tories (Independent, link): "Today’s Queen’s Speech will not include full legislation to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights in this session of parliament, it has emerged."
GERMANY-NSA: Aktenvermerk bringt Merkel in Bedrängnis (SZ.de, link): "Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the German chancellor knew in August 2013, at the peak of the NSA espionage affair and amid the national elections, that the US might not offer Germany a so-called "no-spy treaty" nevertheless the government announced that such an agreement would come. It never did."
CANADA: The Governance of Telecommunications Surveillance (Telecom Transparency Project, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Statewatch Analysis: Manufacturing consent, EU style: The EU’s anti-smuggling military operation (pdf) Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
A EU military planning document reiterates that the EU’s new anti-smuggling operation could result in a ground conflict in Libya that leads to the loss of life of soldiers, refugees and smugglers, and destabilise Libya in the process. The document makes clear that most of the key details of the plan have not been worked out yet, and there is no political end point. But this is all fine, because the document plans a media strategy designed to brush these problems under the carpet.
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Despite the claims of the Council Presidency that it hopes to conclude the negotiations between Member States by the end of June much remains to be agreed:
• Chapter I - Article 2(e) - scope of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Directive (LIMITE doc no: 8745-15, pdf):
"a number of delegations expressed concern about the use of the term “maintain law and order” and broadening the scope of the Directive." So two options are proposed:
Option 1: "Article 1: Subject matter and objectives: 1. This Directive lays down the rules relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent (…) authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the prevention of threats to public security.
Option 2, proposed by the UK would read: "falling within the scope of Chapter 4 or 5 of Title V of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union." which, for the unitiated, covers "Such competent authorities may include not only public authorities such as the judicial authorities, the police or other law enforcement authorities but also any body/entity entrusted by national law to performing public duties or exercising public powers" In other words covering the maintenance of "law and order"
• Article 6 and recital 40 in Chapter II and Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 9082-15, pdf) 59 pages with 248 Member State positions or reservations.
• Chapter III and horizontal issues, including Chapter II, Article 6 (LIMITE doc no: 8835-15, pdf) 56 pages with 230 Member State positions or reservations
• Chapter VIII ( LIMITE doc no: 8383-15, (pdf) 73 Member State positions or reservations
Interesting comment on what "partial general approaches" agreements within the Council mean:
"The Council gave priority on achieving progress on the General Data Protection Regulation finding agreement on several partial general approaches between June 2014 and March 20151. These partial general approaches are based on the understanding that:
- nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and future changes to be made to the text of the provisionally agreed Articles to ensure the overall coherence of the Regulation are not excluded;
- such partial general approaches are without prejudice to any horizontal question; and
- such partial general approaches do not mandate the Presidency to engage in informal trilogues with the European Parliament on the text."
• Delegated and implementing acts (LIMITE doc no: 8833-15, pdf) 20 Member State positions or reservations:
The Commission proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation contains 26 delegated acts and 22 implementing acts. In the Presidency compromise text the majority of delegated acts and implementing acts have not been retained or replaced by an alternative, such as a providing more details in the regulation itself or leaving these rules to be worked out in codes of conduct."
• German delegation: Horizontal issues (LIMITE doc no: 8836-15, pdf)
• Applicability of the General Data Protection Regulation to the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (LIMITE doc no: 8837-15, pdf):
"The ICRC has indicated that the draft Regulation may give rise to two different concerns. A first concern relates to the effect certain provisions of the draft Regulation may have on the confidentiality of personal data processed by the ICRC..... The ICRC has referred to the possible impact on confidentiality regarding detainees, where the ICRC may intervene with the detaining authorities to request respect of their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. An intervention of this type is likely to provide details of the alleged ill treatment and conditions of detention and is confidential. "
See also: See Data bill enters final leg of state-level talks (euobserver, link): "Five chapters remain to be wrapped up in the next few weeks. “We still think this is a reasonable aim and feasible,” said one EU diplomat. The remaining chapters include issues on data subject rights, sanctions, definitions, final provisions, and the complex legal interpretations of implemented and delegated acts (secondary legislation)".
EU: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks
Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):
"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
And see: Boat-sinking operation poses 'risk' to EU image (euobserver, link) and EU military ‘mission’ against Libya: further details/docs… (UndercoverInfo, link)
LONDON: SNOWDEN MEETING: Stand Up for Truth: Whistleblowers speaking tour London: Monday, 1 June 2015 from 18:30 to 21:00 at Birkbeck (University of London) Main building, Room B35 (entrance on Torrington Square) London WC1E 7HX Speakers: Eileen Chubb, Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, Norman Solomon & Justin Schlosberg
UK: Legal experts call for greater scrutiny of surveillance laws - Government must not repeat mistakes of previous administrations, but instead must have ‘an open and transparent assessment and critique of UK surveillance powers,’ academics say (Guardian, link): "An alliance of prominent academics have signed a letter to the government warning against any expansions of state surveillance without the full involvement of parliament and the public. The letter’s 38 signatories, led by LSE law professor Andrew Murray and University of East Anglia lecturer in IT law Paul Bernal, call on the new government “to ensure that any changes in the law, and especially any expansions of power, are fully and transparently vetted by parliament, and open to consultation from the public and all relevant stakeholders”."
and see: Open letter to UK MPs: Ensuring democratic scrutiny of UK surveillance law changes (EU Law Analysis, link)
News in Brief (26.5.15)
UK: Making our whole society into immigration controllers is bad for Britain (Migrants' Rights Network, link):
EU: Net neutrality faces unwilling Council negotiators (euractiv, link):"A European Council communication sent to the Parliament Friday (22 May) shows that it hasn't budged on net neutrality legislation. The Council is pushing back against the Parliament's earlier move towards net neutrality rules that would prevent telecommunications companies from giving some internet traffic special treatment."
LONDON: Thousands expected at anti-Tory protests as Queen opens parliament - Demonstrators to gather at Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, part of wave of planned protests since Conservatives’ election win (Guardian, link)
EU: Net neutrality – is the European Parliament ready to accept complete failure? (EDRI, link): "After an overwhelming vote in favour of net neutrality by the European Parliament in April 2014, this position in favour of free speech, competition and innovation is now in danger."
New Finnish Government Raises NATO Stakes (Politico, link): "In a move that is certain to further irritate Moscow, Finland's new center-right coalition has included the option of applying for NATO membership "at any time" in its government formation Joint Policy Position statement.... In a move that is certain to further irritate Moscow, Finland's new center-right coalition has included the option of applying for NATO membership "at any time" in its government formation Joint Policy Position statement."
Spain, Poland and Greece: shudders in Europe’s political foundations (Channel 4 News, link)
The second job you don’t know you have - How self-checkouts, ATMs and airport check-ins are changing our economy (Politico, link) ": Young people are 17 percent of the global population but 40 percent of the unemployed."
Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning - In an exclusive interview from Moscow, Snowden cautions that more needs to be done to curb NSA surveillance two years after his disclosures (Guardian, link)
EU: In memoriam of Simonetta POZZI co-founder of the FREE-Group (ASFJ, link)
"On May 15, 2015 Simonetta POZZI co-founder (with Philippe DE BRUYCKER and myself) of the Fundamental Rights European Experts Group passed away due to severe heart failure.
What will be most missed by everyone who met her will be her noble spirit, her constant research of perfection together with true, heart-warming generosity, and her heightened sensibility.
On a political perspective She was a truth and Justice seeking person. She hated hypocrisy, easy compromises as well as window dressing of political and diplomatic discourses. Hating ostentation She worked hard in the background to make more visible to the ordinary citizens the activity of regional, national and European Institutions.
I consider then a unique privilege to have been on her side in the last forty years.
Emilio DE CAPITANI
News in Brief (25.5.15)
EU: Migration plans and UK top the bill this week (euobserver, link)
UK: Family of handcuffed student urge inquiry into deaths in police custody - Relatives of Kingsley Burrell say concern over issue is reaching boiling point, after 87 such deaths in England and Wales since 2010 (Guardian, link)
GERMANY-NSA: Germany silent on report that leak has made US review spying cooperation - Bild reported intelligence director James Clapper had ordered review - Secret documents allegedly leaked to media from parliamentary committee (Observer, ink):
"The German government declined on Saturday to comment on a report that US intelligence agencies were reviewing their cooperation with German counterparts and had dropped joint projects due to concerns secret information was being leaked by lawmakers.
The Bild newspaper reported on Saturday that the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had ordered the review because secret documents related to the BND’s cooperation with the US were being leaked to media from a German parliamentary committee." and see:
German parliament inquiry 'more dangerous' than Snowden (DW, link): "There are reports US intelligence director James Clapper wants to put future cooperation with Germany's BND under review. The agency is facing scrutiny following revelations it helped the NSA spy on European targets."
USA: NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure - Administration has not applied to secret court for 90-day extension - USA Freedom Act fails in early hours after long Senate session (Guardian, link)
"“We did not file an application for reauthorization,” an administration official confirmed to the Guardian on Saturday. The administration decision ensures that beginning at 5pm ET on 1 June, for the first time since October 2001 the NSA will no longer collect en masse Americans’ phone records....
A chaotic early morning on Saturday in the Senate ended with the procedural defeat of the USA Freedom Act, which would have banned the NSA bulk collection program while renewing an expiring Patriot Act provision allowing FBI access to business records and a vast amount of US communications metadata."
News in Brief (23-24-5-15)
UK: Jihadi threat requires move into 'private space' of UK Muslims, says police chief - Exclusive: Britain’s most senior Muslim officer says potency of Islamist propaganda means some five-year-olds believe Christmas is forbidden (Guardian, link): "Islamist propaganda is so potent it is influencing children as young as five and should be countered with intensified monitoring to detect the earliest signs of anti-western sentiment, Britain’s most senior Muslim police chief has warned."
GLOBAL ECONOMY: Borders are closing and banks are in retreat. Is globalisation dead? In the days before the Great Recession, the liberalisation of world trade seemed a certainty: now fears over ‘hot money’ and migration have changed the mood (Observer, link) "Obama has made it clear that a major rationale for the TPP is not promoting shared prosperity – the idealistic motivation that lay behind the birth of the Doha round – but creating a political and economic counterweight to the might of China".
Apple and Google Just Attended a Confidential Spy Summit in a Remote English Mansion (The Intercept, link): "At an 18th-century mansion in England’s countryside last week, current and former spy chiefs from seven countries faced off with representatives from tech giants Apple and Google to discuss government surveillance in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s leaks. The three-day conference, which took place behind closed doors and under strict rules about confidentiality, was aimed at debating the line between privacy and security." See: Ditchley Foundation: Conference Note (pdf)
EU: DP REGULATION: No Food, No Drink, No Water: EU Ministers Agree on One-Stop Shop, Plan June Lock-In (Privacy Tracker, link): "EU ministers dramatically agreed to hold a marathon meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June in order to finalize their version of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, having earlier reached agreement on the regulatory one-stop shop and the principles underpinning the regulation. Agreement in June would then allow trilogue discussions between the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission to commence in the summer"
How we’re fighting back against the UK surveillance state - and winning (Ars Technica, link) Concludes: "If the courts continue to rule in favour of rights organisations and other complainants, then the real work can begin: the daunting task of actually rolling back the vast surveillance apparatus that was first revealed in June 2013 to an unsuspecting world. And that will be a tough fight." Comment: In the EU the battles have largely been in the courts not in governments. parliaments and certainly not in the EU or the Council of Ministers.
UK: ‘The police didn’t see Deen as a victim despite blood pouring out of his head’ - Deen Taiwo’s ordeal at the hands of racists is being made into a documentary in an innovative attempt to improve police responses to hate crimes (Observer, link)
UK: Human Rights Act: If Michael Gove listens to Daniel Hannan’s honeyed polemic on Human Rights he really will get into a muddle (Barrister Blogger, link)
EU: Commission Drones policy: Question: European legislation on drones (EP, link) and Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the Commission (EP, link) See: Commission Communication: A new era for aviation: Opening the aviation market to the civil use of remotely piloted aircraft systems in a safe and sustainable manner (pdf)
UK: David Cameron backs plans for Ofcom to block 'extremist messages' on TV - PM appears to support Theresa May’s proposals despite business secretary Sajid Javid’s statement that measures would amount to ‘state censorship’ (Guardian, link)
UK: CCTV cameras secretly being switched off by cash-strapped councils (Independent, link): "Tony Porter, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, told The Independent that a rising number of local authorities in England and Wales were shutting down CCTV networks to cope with the Government’s austerity cuts, raising the prospect of a “postcode lottery” for crime detection."
UK: Theresa May's plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague - Exclusive: Former culture secretary Sajid Javid told prime minister he was unable to support home secretary’s proposal as it infringed free speech (Guardian, link)
"A plan by the home secretary to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters’ programmes before they are transmitted has been attacked in the bluntest terms as a threat to freedom of speech by one of her own Conservative cabinet colleagues, the Guardian has learned.
Sajid Javid wrote to David Cameron to say that, as culture secretary, he was unable to support Theresa May’s proposal to give Ofcom the new powers to take pre-emptive action against programmes that included “extremist content”, in a letter sent just before the start of the general election campaign."
And see: New counter-extremism plans to allow police to ask to vet anyone's internet communications (Independent, link): "Counter-extremism powers that will allow the police to vet the online conversations of those considered extremists are to be fast-tracked into effect, David Cameron said."
EU: EUROPEAN SYSTEM OF BORDER GUARDS?: 21 May 2015: Speech by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the Frontex Conference on the European Day for Border Guards, Warsaw Poland (pdf):
"The ongoing evaluation of Frontex activities should also identify the limitations and shortcomings that will have to be addressed in the medium and long term development of the Agency. When speaking about the future of border management, one of the issues that we will explore is the possible creation of a European System of Border Guards."
And see: Commissioner backs EU 'border guard corps' (euobserver, link):
"Avramopoulos, a Greek former defence minister, used strident terms to praise the EU’s new military operation, EUnavfor Med, which is to start sinking migrant-smugglers’ boats in July if it gets UN and Libyan permission. “Europe has declared a war against smugglers”, he said. He noted that Frontex will create “profiles” of the type of vessels being used “in order to improve their detection”. He also said Frontex' “mandate must be reinforced” so it can physically help EU countries deport failed asylum claimants."
EU: MED-CRISIS: ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration (euractiv, link): "The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EU’s idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean."
And see: Twisting the 'lessons of history' to authorise unjustifiable violence: the Mediterranean crisis (Open Democracy, link): "More than 300 slavery and migration scholars respond to those advocating for military force against migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This is no slave trade. Where is the moral justification for actions that cost lives?"
Also: "The War on migrants and refugees: has the ‘never again’ imperative been forgotten?" (Franck Duvell, link): "This imperative derived from the lessons learned from the Holocaust and the failure to rescue the European Jews has now been relinquished it seems. Are we now back at the moral state of the 1930s were unwanted populations are removed from the ‘realm of moral subjects’ (Bauman 1996) and killed or left to die and the needy are turned away and refused shelter?"
EU: CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES: European Parliament: Draft Opinion: on safe use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in the field of civil aviation (pdf):
""whereas Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can be used for a range of civil (non-military) purposes, such as critical infrastructure and civil protection, disaster management and search and rescue, environmental protection, law enforcement and surveillance, journalism, commercial activities and leisure...
reiterates that when personal data are processed by RPAS operated in the EU, including for law enforcement purposes, the right to the protection of personal data enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) applies and that the EU legal framework for data protection is to be fully complied with"
See: Statewatch Report: Eurodrones Inc
"Failure to deploy data protection safeguards will result in a critical loss of individual trust, leading to fewer opportunities for public authorities and businesses, hampering the development of the health market. To foster confidence, future policies need to encourage more accountability of service providers and their associates; place respect for the choices of individuals at their core; end the indiscriminate collection of personal information and any possible discriminatory profiling; encourage privacy by design and privacy settings by default; and enhance the security of the technologies used." [emphasis in original]
UK: One Nation: but whose? The first of a post-election two-part series on civil liberties in the UK examines the government’s proposal to replace the Human Rights Act by a British Bill of Rights (IRR, link) by Frances Webber: "Prime minister David Cameron was quick to don the mantle of ‘One Nation Toryism’ after his party’s election victory. But the Tories’ priorities set out in their manifesto would suggest that Cameron’s version of ‘One Nation’ owes more to Thatcher and Bush than to its inventor Harold Macmillan."
And: Where the war on welfare and the war on migrants and refugees lead - The war on welfare has parallels with the war on migrants and refugees, both in terms of rhetoric and impact (IRR link) by Jon Burnett.
"Data Protection Authorities are increasingly facing financial and other resource constraints whilst at the same time the demands on them are increasing. Not only does the law need to keep pace with the ever changing digital world but so does the capacity of the Data Protection Authorities for effective supervision at national, EU and the wider European level. If individuals are to have the trust and confidence necessary for a successful digital future the powers and resources available to Data Protection Authorities must be sufficient to enable them to properly uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals in the digital age."
News in Brief (22.5.15)
Scotland Office memorandum leak: Cabinet Office inquiry statement (Cabinet Office, link) and see: Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael admits responsibility for anti-Sturgeon leak (Guardian, link) - He is currently the only Scottish MP representing the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Commons.
Senate Expected to Act on NSA Collection of Phone Records (New York Times, link): "The fate of the bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency is now before the Senate, in what is increasingly looking like a game of legislative chicken. The Senate is expected to decide Friday what to do with the oft-debated measure.If the Senate doesn't act, the laws authorizing the programs will expire June 1"
Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying? (Washington Post, link)
Europe and “Whistleblowers” : still a bumpy road… (EASFJ, link)
Refugees to Sweden left in six-month limbo (The Local, link): " Asylum seekers arriving in Sweden are now likely to face a wait of up to six-months before they can have their cases heard, as migration officers struggle to cope with the workload."
UK: Conservative manifesto plan to reduce immigration is an 'aim' not a promise, says Theresa May (Independent, link) and Deport First, Appeal Later: Cameron Hardens Stance in New Immigration Bill (sputnik, link)
Online now: Statewatch News Online digest 21 May 2015 (pdf) and Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs debate EU response (pdf): "MEPs discussed on 20 May European Commission plans to tackle the large
numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea. Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders."
See also: MEPs angry at member states over immigration (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers on Wednesday accused some member states of passing the buck by rejecting a Brussels plan for binding quotas for refugees making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing."
NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones (Intercept, link): "The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.
The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia."
See: Document from Five Eyes (4MB, pdf)
Council of the European Union: Eurojust: Confiscation, Bosnia: Mandate & Revised civilian tasks: CSDP
- EUROJUST: Strategic Seminar towards greater cooperation in Freezing and Confiscation of the proceeds of crime: a practitioner's approach Eurojust, The Hague, 11 December 2014 Report (LIMITE doc no: 8570,pdf)
- BOSNIA MANDATE EXTENDED: Proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for a Council Decision extending the mandate of the European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (LIMITE doc no: 8829-15, pdf)
- Revised draft list of generic civilian CSDP tasks (LIMITE doc no 7656-REV-2-15, pdf)
News in Brief (21.5.15)
Save William McNeilly, Trident whistleblower (COURAGE, link)
Brussels scrambles to salvage troubled migration plan (Politico, link): "Commission president's chief aide, Martin Selmayr, is on a mission to EU capitals to save 'Juncker's baby.'"
GERMANY: Cyberattacke auf Bundestag: Abgeordnete fühlen sich nach Hackerangriff alleingelassen (Spiegel Online, link): : MPs and their assistants fear that their confidential data might be compromised after a big hack by unknown attackers. Now they complain that there is almost no information shared by the administration about what happened and how they can protect themselves better. Some MPs say they have "a bad feeling," and some already stopped "sharing confidential informations via email."
UK: Cameron's immigration bill to include crackdown on illegal foreign workers - David Cameron to promise bill in Queen’s speech that will make ‘Britain a less attractive place to come and work illegally’ (Guardian, link) and see: What are the Member States doing regarding sanctions on employers of irregularly staying third country nationals? (EU Law Analysis, link). New UK rules on seizing wages of irregular migrants will contradict EU Directive (which UK opted out of.
EU: Don’t Endanger Lives at Sea or Deny Protection (HRW, link): "Migrants intercepted by EU vessels in the Mediterranean, including those participating in EUNAVFOR Med, should be taken to safe ports in the EU, where those asking for protection or indicating a fear of return should undergo asylum screening. Under no circumstances should the EU transfer boat migrants to the Libyan coast guard or disembark them in Libya, where they have no possibility of seeking asylum and where they risk being detained in appalling and abusive conditions and being harmed by the violence that is pervasive across the country"
"A strange — and strangely unnoticed — trend is emerging in the evolving global response to massive 2013 leaks about US surveillance activities. While our European cousins talk privacy reform, the United States is actually moving ahead with it, albeit more slowly than many would like. As the American side of the Atlantic inches toward self-restraint, many European governments are seeking sweeping new spying powers. Europe is at risk of falling behind the US in privacy reform."
HUNGARY: European Parliament: Views on Hungary, fundamental rights and EU values (Press release, pdf): "The situation in Hungary, following Prime Minister Viktor Orban's remarks on the possibility of reinstating the death penalty there and the government's public "consultation" on immigration, were debated by MEPs, Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Latvian State Secretary for European Affairs Zanda Kalni.Lukaevica for the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers and Mr Orban himself on Tuesday afternoon.... Sophie In 't Veld (ALDE, NL), said that the Council's "non-statement" signalled its "moral bankruptcy". There is "no place" for the death penalty in Europe or "anywhere in the world", she stressed, asking the Commission to check the legality of the Hungarian migration questionnaire. Parliament must elaborate proposals for enforcing fundamental rights, she added.
And see: Hungary's Orbán angers EU over death penalty, migrants (euractiv, link)
EU: MORE MONEY for MED CRISIS: New budget: Responding to migratory pressues (pdf):
"additional appropriations – EUR 75,8 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 69,7 million in payment appropriations – to provide the additional funding to be authorised in the 2015 budget for the migration measures. These reinforcements are distributed across five budget lines" [see p7]
EU: MED-CRISIS: The Guardian view on Mediterranean migrants: a rescue plan with many flaws - Editorial (Guardian, link):
"Britain has taken the lead in trampling the solidarity principle on asylum. The EU migration plan is long on rhetoric but short on substance. The causes of African migration must be addressed ...
The military aspect of the plans is also problematic. Yes, force may be required to combat trafficking networks, particularly to take control of empty boats and put them beyond use. But talk of possible onshore, commando-type operations, or infringement of Libyan sovereignty, has opened up a Pandora’s box of uncertainties. Although Ms Mogherini is ruling out “boots on the ground”, mission creep is an obvious worry. Russia will not be inclined to cooperate in the UN with anything suggesting the use of force in Libya, given the 2011 Nato precedent. The military option sounds tough, but who knows how EU forces, once deployed, could react if attacked in the context of the Libyan tinderbox?"
European Commission: Better regulation for better results - An EU agenda (COM 215-15 Final (pdf)
"In particular, we are calling on the European Parliament and the Council to: Carry out an impact assessment on any substantial amendments the Parliament or Council propose during the legislative process. Where the Parliament and the Council find an agreement significantly different from the initial Commission proposal, they should assess the likely impact and regulatory burden before any final decision" [COM 215-15] and
"The three institutions will ensure an appropriate degree of transparency of the legislative process, including of trilateral negotiations between the three institutions." [emphasis added] The question is how will "appropriate" be defined?
and see earlier draft: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
Adopted: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (COM 216-15, pdf)
Also: The Commission goes big on downsizing - Frans Timmermans presents his plan for cutting red tape. But it's already undergoing an impact assessment of its own (Politico, link) and EU to shed light on law-making 'kitchen' (euobserver, link): "The European Commission on Tuesday (19 May) presented plans designed to rid itself of its image as of an out-of-touch and overactive bureaucracy.... A regulatory scrutiny board of seven members including three from outside the commission will replace the impact assessment board created in 2006. It will be chaired by a person independent of the commission hierarchy."
News in Brief (20.5.15)
Migration: We need legal and save ways to enter Europe- Not the army (YouTube, link) Ska Keller MEP
No Borders protesters perform die-in at London St Pancras - video (Guardian, link)
EU plan for migrant quotas hits rocks after France and Spain object - French president François Hollande says quotas are ‘out of the question’ 24 hours after Spanish foreign minister flatly rejects proposal (Guardian, link)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Ansip denies ‘rumours’ of encryption backdoors in EU’s digital plan (euractiv, link): "European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, rejected suggestions on Tuesday (19 May) that the European executive was planning workarounds to crack encryption technologies, which ensure secure communications on the Internet."
LONDON: Police officer found guilty of assaulting student at tuition fees protest - PC Andrew Ott faces jail after breaking front tooth of William Horner with riot shield during 2010 demonstration in London (Guardian, link)
Outrage in Portugal over police beating of man in front of his children - Video footage of Jose Magalhaes being struck by police at Benfica football match has put family at centre of national scandal over alleged police brutality (Guardian, link)
CIA: Mission Unstoppable: From drone strikes to prison torture, the CIA has been pulling the strings of U.S. Foreign Policy since 9/11. And if history is a guide, the agency will be calling the shots in the Middle East for years to come.(FP, link)
Passenger Name Records and data protection issues: busting some myths (Media Poicy Project, LSE, link)
Council of Europe (CoE): European ministers adopt new legal standards for tackling foreign terrorist fighters: "Foreign ministers from across Europe have adopted the first set of legally-binding international standards to help tackle so-called "foreign terrorist fighters". The measures take the form of an additional protocol to the Council of Europe's convention on the prevention of terrorism, which has so far been signed by 44 of the organisation's 47 member states. The protocol will require countries to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information."
The Bureau of Investigative Journalists and the Rendition Project map: The 119 CIA Detainees (link): "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Rendition Project compiled this information from the US Senate intelligence committee's summary report on CIA detention and torture, from documents relating to military detention in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, and from media and NGO reports."
See also: Statewatch's Observatory on "rendition" including over 220 submissions to the European Parliament inquiry
EU: MED CRISIS: European Agenda on Migration Missed Opportunity to Protect Rights and Save Lives (EMHRN, link):
"As the European Parliament is set to look at the Commission’s ‘bold’ Agenda on Migration, the European Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) warns of its many pitfalls and shortcomings....By focusing on the consequences rather than the real root causes of irregular migration, the Commission has missed an opportunity for a meaningful alternative the EU can and should embrace."
See: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf)
GREEN/EFA Group: Beyond Dublin: Rethinking Europe's Asylum System, Public conference: 3 June 2015 (link) from 15:00 to 18:30: European Parliament - Room ASP A1G3 60 rue Wiertz - 1047 Brussels
EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION: Germany toughens up on data retention (euractiv, link):
"German policymakers have moved to strengthen data retention laws, insisting that information will only be stored in Germany, and for much shorter periods, after the European Court of Justice struck down weaker EU privacy legislation.... A 55-page draft of Germany's planned data retention law was published on the blog Netzpolitik.org over the weekend. It is reportedly scheduled to be presented to the federal government in two weeks, and in the Bundestag in June."
Draft Bill: Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einführung einer Speicherpflicht und einer Höchstspeicherfrist für Verkehrsdaten (pdf) [A draft law introducing a storage obligation and a maximum retention period for traffic data]
Italy, France, Germany sign European drone project (Reuters, link): "Italy, France and Germany agreed on Monday to develop a European drone programme for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology."
See also: France, Germany, Italy Confirm Joint MALE Drone Development Program (Defence World.net, link): Notes that: "The contract will be issued later this year with OCCAR and European Defense Agency (EDA) as part of program management and certification. The EDA will provide support for air traffic insertion and airworthiness." This does not mean, as various news websites are reporting, that an 'EU drone' is being developed - rather, that three Member States are using the EDA [European Defence Agency] as a forum for cooperation. Whether EU institutions will ever get their hands on it (if it ever does get developed) is another question.
The French-German-Italian agreement seems to be a diminished version of previous plans for seven Member States to get involved in the joint drone project:
See: Statewatch Report Eurodrones Inc - detail on cooperative Member State drone programmes in Chapter 4
USA: Congressional Research Service reports:
- Perspectives on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: In Brief (pdf)
- Reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) (pdf): "there has been ongoing litigation in the lower federal courts as to ECPA’s extraterritorial
reach. The Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act (S. 512, H.R. 1174) would require third-party service providers to disclose the contents of U.S persons’ electronic communications held overseas upon issuance of a warrant based on probable cause."
- Genomic Data and Privacy: Background and Relevant Law (pdf): "Genetic and genomic research—and other “omics” research—have generated large amounts of genetic data."
News in Brief (19.5.15)
The new tech changing airport security (BBC Future, link)
GERMANY: NDR reports Hanover federal police tortured migrants (DW, link): "German public radio has reported that federal police in the northern state of Lower Saxony are accused of attacking migrants in their custody for entertainment. Prosecutors are investigating the case. "
What happens to democracy in a cashless society? (Open Democracy, link): "New technology is transforming the way we pay for everything, but at what cost?"
Libya says EU boat-sinking operation 'not humane' (euobserver, link)
Denmark plans to collect all passenger data (The Local, link): "While the European parliament continues to wrestle with the privacy repercussions of a proposal on collecting passenger data, Denmark plans to move ahead with its own domestic plan. The Danish government plans to give the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) the ability to collect passenger data on all flights in and out of Denmark. PET would be given access to passengers’ names, passport information, travel patterns and travelling companions."
CoE: Ministers to green-light new legal measures against foreign terrorist fighters (link)
UK: Majority of whistleblowers left without legal representation (Law Society Gazette, link)
EU ministers back Mediterranean naval mission, reject migrant quotas (euractiv, link): "European Union foreign and defence ministers agreed on a naval mission on Monday (18 May) to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya. But parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for housing asylum seekers."
And see: Italian coastguards: military action will not solve Mediterranean migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The Italian coastguards leading migrant rescue missions in the southern Mediterranean have voiced concern about the EU’s migration strategy, arguing that military operations will not stop migration to Europe and calling instead for European navies to prioritise search-and-rescue missions. Speaking on Monday before EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch military operations against Libyan smugglers, coastguard captain Paolo Cafaro said a military campaign would not eradicate the root causes of the Mediterranean crisis....
Cafaro also questioned whether European navies would be able to target smugglers’ boats before they are used for migration missions, due to both the absence of a blessing from Libya’s official government and the UN, as well the complexities of the smuggling process. Smuggling boats are often simply fishing boats bought in the days prior to a trip, and kept in civilian harbours until the night of their departure."
EU: MED CRISIS RESPONSE: Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s Planned War on Smugglers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:
"it is clear from the documents discussed in the EU’s Political and Security Committee last week that (unless plans have changed radically in the meantime) the High Representative is being “economical with the truth”. The EU action clearly contemplates action by ground forces. Moreover, it anticipates the possible loss of life not only of smugglers but also of Member States’ forces and refugees. In effect, the EU is planning to declare war on migrant smugglers – without thinking through the consequences."
DEVELOPING STORY (18.5.15): Council of the European Union: Press Release: Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean (pdf) See:Mediterranean migrants crisis: Is military force the solution? (BBC News, link) and EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis (Guardian, link): "The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said." [emphasis added]
EU RESPONSE TO MED CRISIS: BOARDING AND DESTROYING BOATS-"BOOTS ON THE GROUND"- "COLLATERAL" EFFECTS? Today EU Defence and Foreign Affairs Council is meeting in Brussels - on Tuesday there will be a meeting of EU Defence Chiefs (with NATO in attendance). The EU is still waiting for UN approval of its Libya plan, which being drafted by the UK to legitimate EU military operations in Libyan waters and coast. See: Remarks by HR/Vice-President at the start of the meeting (Council press release, pdf)
UK to offer drones to help combat people-smugglers in Libya - Britain set to take leading role in Mediterranean military operation by supplying intelligence in response to migrant boat crisis (Guardian, link), Nato 'ready to help' EU anti-migrant smuggler operation (euobserver, link) and EU: boat-sinking Yes, migrant quotas No (euobserver, link)
Among the responses will be the report to the Political and Security Committee of the Council last Tuesday (12 May 2015) which includes:
"Non-compliant boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life [page 8] ...Collateral effects of EU kinetic actions will need to be avoided but the risk remains. Any casualties as a result of EU action could trigger a negative response from the local population and the wider region, jeopardising support and follow-up." [page 16]
"The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include:
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance;
- Boarding teams;
- Patrol units (air and maritime);
- Amphibious assets;
- Destruction air, land and sea, including Special Forces units" [p18, emphasis added]
UK: May asked to define extremism in new counter-extremism bill (BBC Radio 4 link)
"Theresa May said the government's counter-extremism strategy is designed to combat people who are "seeking to divide us". The home secretary said that "we are one nation" but some people want to divide us into "them and us".
She claims the measures will be part of a bigger picture which would includea strategy to "promote British values" - which, she says, include tolerance and respect for different faiths."Nobody is suggesting that different views cannot be expressed but one reason for looking at extremism in this way, is the path down which it can lead people", she adds. David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long. The PM will tell the National Security Council a counter-extremism bill will be in the Queen's Speech on 27 May".
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LIMITE doc no: 7779-15, 366 pages, pdf):
"The manual contains an overview of all EU systems, legal bases and instruments of information exchange available to the law enforcement authorities of the Member States." [emphasis in original] and includes the : "following key operational contexts:
– prevention and investigation of criminal offences (and illegal immigration)
– combating terrorism
– maintaining public order and security."
EU: UNI Global Union: Civil society groups form ‘Better Regulation’ Watchdog to protect citizen, worker and consumer rights (link) and See: Founding Statement (pdf)
The Commission’s ‘Better Regulation’ power play - New internal documents show an effort to control the Parliament and Council's appointments to a proposed legislative board (Politico, link): "The European Commission is trying to exert more control over both the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in determining the make-up of a powerful new legislative board that forms a key component of its “Better Regulation” initiative."
See also: Commission: COMMUNICATION: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (pdf): Draft Agreement between the Commission, Council and the European Parliament: "The European Parliament and the Council will carry out impact assessments prior to the adoption at any stage of the legislative process of any substantive amendment to the Commission proposal." [emphasis added] and Commission proposal: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
"Emily O'Reilly explained: "The Commission should not allow itself to finance, with EU money, actions which are not in line with the highest values of the Union that is to say, the rights, freedoms and principles recognised by the Charter. Among the fundamental rights issues I was alerted to during this inquiry were the following: EU funds being used to build institutions for people with disabilities instead of community-based living; a planned segregated neighbourhood for Roma, publicly advertised as benefitting from ESI Funds; and higher barriers to women's associations' access to funds. I trust that the Commission will take my proposals on board at this early stage of the 2014-2020 funding period."
News in Brief (18.5.15)
NSA surveillance opposed by American voters from all parties, poll finds - Poll taken as key aspect of Patriot Act is set to expire finds opposition to government surveillance across partisan, ideological, age and gender divides (Guardian, link)
French police cleared over teenagers' deaths that sparked riots - Two officers acquitted of failing to help boys who died in electricity substation in 2005, prompting fears of renewed unrest in France (Guardian, link)
Angela Merkel under pressure to reveal extent of German help for US spying - German chancellor called on to divulge a list of targets, including the IP addresses of individual computers, tracked on behalf of the NSA (Guardian, link)
Spain’s Gag Law: spectre of an authoritarian past (Equal Times, link)
Smart cities: Haven for tech geeks or hacker paradise? (Extremetech, link)
The Killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books, link)
Lack of trust takes sting out of EU measures - Anglia Ruskin academic co-authors study on counter-terrorism law and policy (link) Press release about the book that came out of the SECILE:project
SPAIN: OSINT: Indra y Accenture pugnan por diseñar el sistema que buscará sospechosos en las redes sociales (eldiario.es, link). Spain has assigned 1.6M euros to the creation of a system to track social media and store nicknames, comments and metadata. The system will explicitly not delete any of the compiled data.The goal is to create a database of threatening profiles based on their social and demographic info
EU: Drone rules hover into view - European Commission package is expected to address safety, security, privacy and noise pollution (Politico, link) See: Concept of Operations for Drones - A risk based approach to regulation of unmanned aircraft (pdf)
VIDEO: 10 points to really end the deaths of migrants at sea (YouTube, link)
UK: Police warn big budget cuts will lead to 'paramilitary' force - Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, says service is ‘on its knees’, and predicts end of policing by consent and move towards more violent style (Guardian, link): "Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now. White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.” White said cuts would see the bedrock principle of British law enforcement, policing by consent, ripped apart."
"European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday to consider proposed military action against human traffickers in Libya find themselves faced with a series of questions on just how far they can take the fight.
At the same time, the EU is seeking approval from the United Nations for its plan, which would allow it to go after smugglers in Libyan waters — and possibly even on land. The meeting will also address logistical concerns. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said she expects the group to decide on the headquarters and command of the mission. In a joint session, EU foreign and defense ministers will discuss strategy and tactics.
EU: Council of the European Union: Law Enforcement Working Party: Overview of expert groups and networks related to the LEWP and the provisional planning of their meetings (LIMITE doc no: 7706-rev-1-15, pdf): "Updated overview of the expert groups and networks related to the LEWP and the provisional planning of their meetings"
Includes RAILPOL (link), European Union (EU) Mobile identification interoperability group (e-Mobidig) (link), AQUAPOL (link), AIRPOL (link), EMPEN (European Medical and Psychological Experts' Network for law enforcement) (link) and ENLETS (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, EPPO, Presumption of Innocence & Fraud
- DP REGULATION: REMEDIES, LIABILITY AND SANCTIONS: 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 VIII (LIMITE doc no: 8371-15,pdf) 87 Footnotes with Member State positions.
See also European Parliament: Council's consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
- EPPO: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Orientation debate (LIMITE doc no: 8240-15, pdf)
- PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings - Preparation of second trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8547-15, 86 pages, pdf) Multi-column document with Commission Proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
- FRAUD: TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law[First reading] - Preparation of the next trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 8604-15, (pdf)
As a result of the tragic events unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea over the last few months, with over 1000 lives lost this year alone, the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) is said to be preparing for operations in European waters. According to news website Bruxelles2 , the details of a Mediterranean operation have been tentatively planned, with some Member States providing 'means and resources'.
News in Brief (16-17.5.15)
UK: Royal Navy investigates Trident whistle-blower William McNeilly who claims nuclear programme is a 'disaster waiting to happen' (Independent on Sunday, link) and Navy probes leaked Trident safety claims (BBC News, link)
A.T. v Luxembourg: the start of the EU-ECHR story on criminal defence rights (EU Law Analysis, link): "The applicant, A.T. was questioned by police following surrender under a European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’) (as to the cross-border aspect, see the post-script). On arrival, he demanded a lawyer. Police gave information (it is unclear what) which led him to accept to be questioned without one. He denied the offences. He was then questioned again before the investigating judge, with a lawyer present but (a) without having had the chance to talk with that lawyer beforehand and (b) without the lawyer having had sight of the case file prior to that questioning; again, he denied the offences."
EU to open shelters in Niger in bid to keep illegal migrants out of Europe - Faced with increasing migratory pressures and human trafficking, the EU unveils plans to stem growing tide of illegal migration (The Observer, link): "Neither the nature of these programmes, nor their size, nor the key issue of funding has been decided. European funds could be mobilised, the source said."
EU: MED CRISIS: Small boats, choppy seas - A plan to deal with the boat people is ambitious, but the outcome will be woefully inadequate (Economist, link): "The bigger problem is that, until the EU works out how to end war and poverty, no proposal can match the scale of the problem... With delicious timing this week the commission also published a sobering demographic forecast. By 2060, it said, the EU’s population will be in absolute decline. There will be just two workers for every man or woman over 65, compared to four today. If Europeans want to continue to fund the generous health care and pensions they have awarded themselves, then in the absence of a hitherto concealed fondness for procreation they will have to attract more workers from abroad."
USA-NSA: Former NSA Lawyer Says Keeping Bulk Collection Secret Was a Mistake (The Intercept, link): "The Bush administration’s decision to keep bulk collection of domestic phone records a secret was a strategic mistake, former NSA Inspector General Joel Brenner told his former colleagues on Friday."
UK: MAKING REMOTE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS "LAWFUL": Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told - Legislative changes exempting law enforcement officers from ban on breaking into people’s digital devices were never debated by parliament, tribunal hears (Guardian, link):
"GCHQ staff, intelligence officers and police have been given immunity from prosecution for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under legislative changes that were never fully debated by parliament, a tribunal has been told.
The unnoticed re-writing of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in March. The new clause 10, entitled somewhat misleadingly “Savings”, is designed to prevent officers from committing a crime when they remotely access computers of suspected criminals.
Changes to the Computer Misuse Act were introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015 which received royal assent on 3 March 2015. No reference to the true impact of the changes was made in the parliamentary explanatory notes that accompanied the bill, according to Privacy International."
The Serious Crimes Act 2015 (pdf) contains the following amendment to the Computer Misuse Act: "the person does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer" [emphasis added: Section 41] As long as it is "authorised" its lawful.
"In its legal filings, sent to Privacy International only the day before the hearing began, the Government notified claimants that the Computer Misuse Act was rewritten on 3 March 2015 to exempt the intelligence services from provisions making hacking illegal.
The explaintory notes that accompanied the act [Computer Misuse Act] make no reference to the true impact of the change. It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner's Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes. There was no published Privacy Impact Assessment. Only the Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Scotland Office, Northern Ireland Office, GCHQ, Police and National Crime Agency were consulted as stakeholders. There was no public debate.That legislation, deemed the Serious Crime Bill 2015, passed into law on 3 March 2015 and become effective on 3 May 2015."
Today, 15 May 2015, the Home Office issued two amended Codes of Practice:
NSA: USA Freedom Act Passes House, Codifying Bulk Collection For First Time, Critics Say (The Intercept, link):
"After only one hour of floor debate, and no allowed amendments, the House of Representatives today passed legislation that seeks to address the NSA’s controversial surveillance of American communications. However, opponents believe it may give brand new authorization to the U.S. government to conduct domestic dragnets. The USA Freedom Act was approved in a 338-88 vote... The measure now goes to the Senate where its future is uncertain. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined to schedule the bill for consideration, and is instead pushing for a clean reauthorization of expiring Patriot Act provisions that includes no surveillance reforms."
It does not limit the government’s authority to collect information overseas, including data on telephone and email records - in short NSA can carry on spying on the rest of the world.
EU: Joint Communication: European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Capacity building in support of security and development - Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises (pdf) Details EU external policies and begins with the statement that:
"Events in Africa, in Europe's neighbourhood and beyond point to a dramatic and deteriorating global security situation, with more than 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict affected regions worldwide. On current trends, this number is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030."
European Parliament Study: Comparative study on access to documents (and confidentiality rules) in international trade negotiations (pdf):
"It is extremely difficult to strengthen parliamentary oversight of the EU’s trade policies without clear and predictable rules and procedures for the EP to access relevant information from the Commission and the Council. This study provides an overview on the rules guaranteeing access to information in international trade negotiations both in the EU and in selected third countries."
EU: PRUM STATISTICS: Council of the European Union: "PRUM Decisions": overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (28 pages, pdf):
"The provisions of the "Prüm Decisions" relating to information exchange concern:
– supply of information relating to major events and in order to prevent terrorist offences;
– automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data [fingerprints] and vehicle registration data (VRD);
– data protection." [emphasis added]
The Council Decision on PRUM data exchange (2008, pdf) Article 14:covers the "Supply of personal data":
"For the prevention of criminal offences and in maintaining public order and security for major events with a cross-border dimension, in particular for sporting events or European Council meetings, Member States shall, both upon request and of their own accord, supply one another with personal data if any final convictions or other circumstances give reason to believe that the data subjects will commit criminal offences at the events or pose a threat to public order and security, in so far as the supply of such data is permitted under the supplying Member State's national law." [emphasis added]
No figures are supplied in the Annex on the use of Article 13 or 14 (Article 13 concerns the exchange of "non-personal data" for the same purpose)
EU-MED-CRISIS: Libya to Europe: Please Don’t Come to Our Rescue (FP, link): "Libya's U.N. envoy expresses skepticism over European plans to fight migrant smugglers in Libyan territory, saying it will cause more trouble than it's worth."
GERMANY-NSA-INQUIRY: WikiLeaks, er, leaks the Bundestag Inquiry into NSA naughtiness - Includes a German spook explaining how to siphon data from fibre-optic cables (The Register, link)
See: Bundestag Inquiry into BND and NSA (Wikileaks, link) Excellent, with transcripts of hearings.
News in Brief (15.5.15)
NATO moves closer to EU, Sweden, Finland (euractiv, link): "NATO will look at increasing cooperation with the European Union and its non-EU members Finland and Sweden through information-sharing and more military exercises, the alliance said on Thursday (14 May), a move likely to cause concern in Moscow."
Eurosceptic David Davis could oppose government on human rights reform - Tory MP’s comments show growing backbench rebellion over plan that could lead to withdrawal from European court of human rights (Guardian, link): "The Conservative MP David Davis, a prominent Eurosceptic, has threatened to oppose government proposals that could lead to the UK withdrawing from the European court of human rights. Davis’s reported comments are a sign of growing rebellion on the Tory backbenches as the complexity and political difficulties involved in seceding from the judicial authority of the Strasbourg court become increasingly apparent to the government."
UK: Young prisoner AJ Cracknell found dead in his cell in HMP Rochester (Kent Online, link): "A young man was found dead in his cell in HMP Rochester this week, the prison service has announced today. The inmate, named as AJ Cracknell, was 25 years old. On Tuesday at around 2pm prison officers entered his cell and found him to be unresponsive."
UK: ‘Systemic failures’ of prison service contributed to death of killer Simon Hall in Norfolk jail, inquest hears (Eastern Daily Press, link)
There is a threat to British values - the British government - The government's plans are among the greatest threats to our freedoms, spreading intolerance in the name of tolerance by Caroline Lucas MP (New Statesman. link)
Defence budgets in Europe: downturn or U-turn? (ISS, link to pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission: A European Agenda on Migration (COM 240-15, pdf):
"The criminal networks which exploit vulnerable migrants must be targeted. The High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) has already presented options for possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations to systematically identify, capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers. Such action under international law will be a powerful demonstration of the EU's determination to act." [emphasis in original]
The Commission "Agenda" will thus be supplemented by a plan for a military-intelligence operation "on the ground" in Libya being prepared by the High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) through the European External Action Service (EEAS) - see Guardian story below. See: Current: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) and European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf)
See: Military action underpins EU migration plan (euobserver, link): "Foreign and defence ministers, in Brussels on Monday will discuss a 19-page blueprint prepared by Mogherini’s staff and leaked to British daily The Guardian... It notes that “a [military] presence ashore might be envisaged if agreement was reached with relevant authorities”. But it warns that “the terrorist presence in the region constitutes a security threat. Action taken ashore could be undertaken in a hostile environment.” and National concerns erode European migration strategy (euractiv, link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Migrant crisis: EU plan to strike Libya networks could include ground forces - Exclusive: Strategy paper for the mission focuses on air and naval campaign, but adds that ‘presence ashore’ might be needed to destroy smugglers’ assets (Guardian, link)
"European plans for a military campaign to smash the migrant smuggling networks operating out of Libya include options for ground forces on Libyan territory.
The 19-page strategy paper for the mission, obtained by the Guardian, focuses on an air and naval campaign in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters, subject to United Nations blessing. But it adds that ground operations in Libya may also be needed to destroy the smugglers’ vessels and assets, such as fuel dumps...
“The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.”
EU: Council of the European Union: SEAFARERS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on seafarers amending Directives 2008/94/EC, 2009/38/EC, 2002/14/EC, 98/59/EC and 2002/23/EC - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 8664-15, pdf) and 8664-ADD-1-15 (pdf): EP/Council deal is important for workers' rights - improving protection for everyone who works at sea.
News in Brief (14.5.15)
UK-HUMAN RIGHTS ACT-ECHR: Letter from International Bar Association to govermnent (IBA, pdf)
LONDON: Challenging state and corporate impunity: Is accountability possible? (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Speakers include: Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) – What is the role of researchers in supporting movements for state accountability?, Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group), Deborah Hargreaves (High Pay Centre) – How do we challenge corporate abuses of power when this power is increasingly concentrated in elites? Ewa Jasiewicz (Fuel Poverty Action) – How do we work for state and corporate accountability under conditions of austerity? Will McMahon (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool) – Linking academic research to social movements."
EU removes 6 people from its Al-Qaida Sanctions Listing (European Sanctions, link)
CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: May 2015: Cover Up! to Defend Your Privacy (Netpol, link): "Help us raise £2500 to pay for 500 face coverings to distribute to protesters"
GERMANY: Berlin police powers strengthened (WSWS, link): "The changes agreed in late March to Berlin’s “General Security and Public Order Act” (ASOG), strengthen the powers of the police and undermine fundamental civil liberties. They are another step on the government’s road to a police state."
Belgium Starts Unannounced Home Visits to Fight Social Benefit Fraud (Liberties.eu, link): "To fight social benefit fraud, the Belgian government has announced that it will begin unannounced home inspections of jobseekers and use energy usage data to target suspicious homes."
Campaigning to Save our Human Rights Act (LIBERTY, link)
UK: Cameron faces Tory backbench rebellion over plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (Independent, link)
: "current Tory proposals, that would allow the UK Parliament to opt out of rulings by the ECHR that it disagreed with, would be incompatible with its obligations under Convention of Human Rights. This could even lead to Britain’s expulsion from the organisation it helped found in the wake of the Second World War."
A.T. v Luxembourg: European Court of Human Rights follows EU law on access to lawyer (Fair Trials, link): "The European Court of Human Rights has given judgment in A.T. v Luxembourg, and it is the first time one of the Roadmap Directives has been relied upon in the interpretation of the ECHR. These Directives set minimum standards regarding access to a lawyer, the waiver of the right to a lawyer and remedies when that right is infringed."
Policeman accused of framing student at tuition fee riot (Channel 4 News, link): "PC Andrew Ott, who hit student William Horner with his riot shield, was recorded saying after the incident "he's going to have to have done something, coz I've put his tooth out".
Google wins first "right to be forgotten" case in Finland (YLE, link): "Internet and search giant Google has prevailed in a case involving a private individual looking to remove information about himself from search engine results. The case marks the first time the EU's controversial new "right to be forgotten" rule has been tested in Finland."
Germany gives huge amount of phone, text data to U.S.: report (Reuters, link):
"Citing confidential documents, Die Zeit Online reported on Tuesday that of about 220 million pieces of meta data gathered per day, some 1.3 billion pieces per month go to the NSA. The data includes raw material from phone calls and text messages which shows contact details and times of activity but does not contain content. In particular, it sends raw material on foreign communication in crisis regions, said Zeit Online. "It is questionable as to whether this practice is covered by German laws," wrote Die Zeit, citing a BND official responsible for data protection."
CYPRUS: KISA Press Release: Serious violations of detainee’s rights in Detention Centre in Mennogeia (pdf):
"On Friday, 08.05.2015, delegation of KISA visited and talked to a number of detainees, the majority of who are currently on a hunger strike. Unfortunately, the findings of the meeting confirm the findings of our previous meetings according to several serious violations of the rights of the detainees...."
News in Brief (13.5.15)
UK: The Government's Plans for Union Ballots Will Make Legal Strikes Close to Impossible (Huffington Post, link): Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary
UK: Mediterranean migrant crisis: May wants some people returned (BBC News, link): "Economic migrants rescued from the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe should be returned home, Home Secretary Theresa May has suggested." Is someone fleeing from poverty an "economic" migrant?
UK: New laws to target radicalisation (BBC News, link): "David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long."
UK: Theresa May to revive her 'snooper's charter' now Lib Dem brakes are off - Election results were barely in when the home secretary indicated the Tories will increase state surveillance powers, to the alarm of privacy campaigners (Guardian, link)
UK: Michael Gove to proceed with Tories' plans to scrap human rights act - Newly appointed justice secretary to follow through with pledge which would remove European court of human rights’ leverage over UK’s supreme court (Guardian, link) See: Protecting Human Rights in the UK: The Conservatives' Proposals for changing Britain's Human Rgihts Laws (pdf)
Opt-outs to poke holes in EU migration policy (euobsever, link)
The Commission’s new EU Migration Strategy: Waiting for the Great Leap Forward (EU Law Analysis, link)
INFOGRAPHIC: The facts about asylum seekers in Europe (euractiv, link)
GREECE: UN urgently called the Greek government to implement anti-racism measures to address issues of hate speech and verbal abuse against vulnerable people (New Europe, link): "UN Special Rapporteur also underlined the need for the creation of an indepedent body investigating police violence "
EU: "A huge power grab" by the Commission - Seeking to "regulate" EU legislators: "experts" Board will pronounce on any substantive changes made by the legislators to a Commission proposal (but who will "regulate" the Regulators?): See:
Commission: COMMUNICATION: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation (pdf): Draft Agreement between the Commission, Council and the European Parliament:
"The European Parliament and the Council will carry out impact assessments prior to the adoption at any stage of the legislative process of any substantive amendment to the Commission proposal." [emphasis added]
and Commission proposal: COMMUNICATION: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf)
"Carry out an impact assessment on any substantial amendments the Parliament or Council propose during the legislative process. Where the Parliament and the Council find an agreement significantly different from the initial Commission proposal, they should assess the likely impact and regulatory burden before any final decision." [emphasis added] .... "As announced in December 20146, a new and reinforced Regulatory Scrutiny Board will take the place of the existing [Impact] Board."
This Regulatory Board (replacing the Impact Assessment Board) would have six fullttime Members and three hired from outside EU institutions.
In simple terms the EU "Legislature" - the Council and the Parliament" - could not make any substantive amendments to a new measure without the Regulatory Board of "experts" pronouncing on how the original Commission proposal would be changed by the legislators.
As if to sweeten the move "consultations" are to take place at several stages before the Commission agrees a Proposal and sends it to the legislators and the secretness of "trilogues" would be ended (in most cases) - the latter should happen regardless of these ideas (see: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf).
Background: Commission wants to vet changes to draft EU law (euractiv, link): "EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will call on MEPs and national governments to commit to its drive for better regulation, and submit substantial changes to bills to scrutiny by experts, according to a leaked draft of its strategy to cut red tape.
UN-MED: EU mission could endanger refugees, UN warns (euobserver, link): "A senior UN official has warned the EU that “innocent refugees”, including children, will be “in the line of fire” of any operation to sink migrant smugglers’ boats. Peter Sutherland, the UN special envoy on migration and a former EU commissioner, issued the warning at a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Monday (11 May).
And see: Mediterranean crisis demands ‘intensive dialogue’ among UN and regional actors, Security Council told (UN News Centre, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference St. Pölten, Austria, 4 and 5 May 2015 - Joint Declaration (LIMITE doc no: 8626-15, pdf ): "The three main challenges discussed were migration and asylum, security and police cooperation with a focus on the fight against terrorism and cyber security."
The Salzburg Forum: Its member states are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. It is based on an Austrian initiative taken in 2000, is a platform for multilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of internal security.
"The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe."
EU:UN-EU RESOLUTION ON MED: Questions and answers: High Representative/Vice President (pdf):
"I'm afraid that what I can say now might not convince them to stop. Especially because the people that are leaving are coming from crisis areas, from conflict areas. And I'm afraid that there is nothing I can say to someone leaving from Syria, or from areas of conflict nowadays. What I can say to them is we, as Europeans, I add personally, finally, understood that we have to take this seriously, and together as Europeans. On different elements - preventing and managing conflicts - the main point is Syria there, but not only. Majority of the people come from the Horn of Africa."
See also: Commission: Strategy Note on "Legal Migration" (pdf)
German government denies deceit in NSA scandal (euractiv, link):
"Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert rejected accusations of a govenment cover-up in the mushrooming NSA scandal. Seibert said on Monday (11 May) that he reported on the issue that to the best of his judgement, appropriately presenting his level of knowledge at that time. His statement comes in response to accusations that Washington never offered Germany a No-Spy-Agreement, in contrast to government statements that suggested otherwise at the time. "
and see: BND spying affair divides German coalition (euractiv, link)
News in Brief (12.5.15)
NORTHERN IRELAND: Chief Commissioner Responds to Human Rights Proposals (NIHRC, link): "he Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has commented: “It is deeply concerning that after 17 years of improving lives and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable in society that a newly elected Government should be indicating its intent to repeal the Human Rights Act. This is even more worrying during a time of austerity."
SCOTLAND: SACC Statement on the death of Sheku Bayoh (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, link): "The death of Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh while in police custody in Kirkcaldy on 3 May appears to have disturbing similarities to the deaths of black people at the hands of police in England and the USA. What happens next will be a litmus test for Scotland's legal and political institutions and for Scottish civil society."
IRELAND: Plan to give Ireland share of refugees ‘acceptable’ (Irish Examiner, link)
FRANCE: Police violence in Calais: Calais Violences Policieres vs Cazeneuve mai 2015 HD (YouTube, link)
Frequently Asked Questions on IP and TPP Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) (Infojustice.org, link)
EU-UK: Home secretary hardens refusal to accept EU resettlement programme - British refugee organisations criticise Theresa May’s decision to take no responsibility for refugees or migrants caught up in Mediterranean boat crisis (Guardian, link)
USA: NSA Ruling Is a Victory for Privacy (TIME, link)
EU: European Commission: EU Migration Agenda (pdf)
A leaked draft of the Commission communication on the EU migration agenda which is due to be published on Wednesday 13th May. It might be changed before publication and may also be missing some text.(First published on EU Law Analysis)
The EU's proposal to try and deal with the crisis in the Mediterranean by destroying boats used to transport migrants is moving ahead, with foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini making the EU's case for military action to the UN Security Council today. The proposed military effort will feature in the Commission's forthcoming 'Agenda on Migration', to be published on Wednesday (pdf), which will revolve around four themes: "a strong common asylum policy, the fight against trafficking and the prevention of irregular migration, managing external borders, and a new policy on legal migration."
UK: The Judiciary and Institutional Racism (London Review of Books blog, link). In this article Nadine El-Enany examines the recent High Court judgment that found Lutfur Rahman, former mayor of London borough Tower Hamlets, guilty of multiple offences including electoral fraud and corruption. As El-Enany puts it: "That a judge can put forward the view that the ‘natural instinct’ of Muslims is to defer to their religious leaders and that Bangladeshis are a ‘less sophisticated’ and ‘less well educated’ people raises the question of whether the charge of institutional racism that Mawrey [the judge] is so quick to dismiss cannot also be laid at the door of the judiciary."
See: Full-text of judgment (200 pages, pdf) and Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman found guilty of election corruption and barred from office (The Independent, link)
UK: Anti-austerity protesters accuse police of 'violence' after 15 arrested near Downing Street (The Independent, link): "Police have arrested 15 people, including a 16-year-old boy, following angry anti-austerity protests near Downing Street that saw a war memorial vandalised." See also: from the Metropolitan Police: UPDATED Statement following disorder in Westminster on 9 May (mynewsdesk, link)
FRANCE: Controversial French Surveillance Regulation Should Re-Ignite EU Debate on Surveillance Reform (Center for Democracy & Technology, link): "As has been widely reported in the press, France is moving ahead with new legislation to enable expanded electronic surveillance.. the bill is so excessive that we believe it could, and should, lead to a renewed debate on surveillance reform across Europe. We have long believed that action at the EU level is critical to protecting human rights in the surveillance context, and the French bill shows that this need is more urgent than ever."
See: Full-text of the law: Assemblée Nationale: Projet de loi relatif au Renseignement (link) and France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack (The Guardian, link)
UK & IRELAND: MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE
UK: Sam Hallam: The man who spent over seven years in jail for a murder he did not commit (The Independent, link): "'I used to get really angry. But now, I say to people I feel more angry than I did then,' says Sam Hallam, who spent more than seven years in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. A teenager when he was sentenced to life in 2005 for a gang-related murder in north London, Mr Hallam always protested his innocence."
See also: Wrongly convicted men launch new case against the Justice Secretary (The Independent, link): "Victims of two of Britain’s most worrying miscarriages of justice of modern times [Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon] are to take the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, to court over changes to the law stopping them from receiving compensation for the 24 years they wrongly spent behind bars."
And: Europe: Irish families seek justice for dead relatives (BBC News, link)
News in Brief (11.05.15)
EU to propose mandatory migrant settlement quotas (euractiv, link)
NSA-GERMANY: US 'asked Berlin to spy on Siemens': NSA suspected firm was supplying technology to the Russian secret service (Daily Mail, link): "German secret service also allegedly spied on French government for USA - Merkel's government has rejected requests for NSA's 'search terms' list - Edward Snowden: latest claims show 'massive surveillance is a reality'
EU: Police disrupt organised criminal group smuggling people from Africa to the EU (Europol press release, link)
GERMANY-USA: Documents: BND/NSA relationship; EU agreement which Germany flouts (UndercoverInfo, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch receive slightly more refugee requests than EU average (Expatica, link)
SPAIN: X-ray scan at Spanish border finds child stashed inside suitcase (The Guardian, link)
SWEDEN: Assange appeal rejected by Sweden's supreme court (The Guardian, link)
UK: Manchester council bans homeless people from using library (The Guardian, link)
USA: FBI admits to using surveillance planes above Baltimore protests (RT, link)
Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones
"On the basis of the Commission's communication and ongoing political and legal developments, it is doubtful - to say the least - whether the proposed "full compliance with fundamental rights" will be achieved. Instead, the Agenda looks likely to legitimise more repressive laws and policies at EU and national level."
See also: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015
UK: The ongoing fiasco of privatised court interpreting services (IRR, link): "Three years after Capita took on a Ministry of Justice contract to provide interpreting services in courts and tribunals, recent cases and an independent review have demonstrated that it is still failing, with serious consequences."
See also: Lost in privatisation: Capita, court interpreting services and fair trial rights (IRR, February 2014)
EU: SCHENGEN: Germany to reintroduce border controls for G7 conference
Thomas de Maizière, Germany's Interior Minister, informed the Council of the EU at the end of April that Germany will be reintroducing border controls from 26 May to 15 June 2015. This is to due to the "increased security requirements" of the G7 summit which takes place in Elmau, Bavaria, on the 7 and 8 June. According to de Maizière's letter, "the controls will be conducted subject to police intelligence, not on a permanent or nationwide basis, but flexibly in terms of time and place. Controls are likely to be focused on the German-Austrian border and... the German-Czech border... In particular, potential perpetrators of violence should be prevented from travelling to the venue in Germany, to help ensure that the summit passes without incident."
USA: NSA mass phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden ruled illegal (The Guardian, link): "The US court of appeals has ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is unlawful, in a landmark decision that clears the way for a full legal challenge against the National Security Agency."
See the full judgment: ACLU v. Clapper (pdf)
EU Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants’ fundamental rights during "forced returns" (pdf) and Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (link)
EU: Tripling Triton's budget: how fast will the EU move?
One of the European Council's recent proposals for dealing with the migration crisis in the Mediterranean was to "rapidly reinforce" the Triton border control mission, operated by EU agency Frontex. However, the speed of the decision-making process in the EU suggests that this reinforcement is not likely to be particularly rapid.
News in Brief (7.5.15)
FRANCE: Surveillance - FIDH and LDH challenge the decision of the Prosecution not to hold an inquiry (FIDH, link): "Today FIDH and LDH filed a request with the Paris General Prosecutor for an administrative review of the 13 April decision to refuse opening an inquiry following a complaint lodged in December 2014 against French intelligence services for illegal surveillance."
CYPRUS: Conditions in Cyprus for refugees ‘still a far cry from EU standards’(Cyprus Mail, link): "Around 65 per cent of people applying for asylum in Cyprus are granted subsidiary protection but conditions for refugees are “still a far cry from EU standards”, according to a new report."
'Everyday racism' weaves its way into welcoming Germany (DW, link): "While the PEGIDA movement has lost much of its steam, a spate of attacks on asylum seekers' homes across Germany reveals a worrying trend. Is a greater police presence the answer to creating a more open society? "
Direct Provision system for asylum seekers 'not fit for purpose' (Breaking News.ie, link): "A new report into Direct Provision in Ireland has found it is "not fit for purpose" and residents are being "failed". The Public Service Oversight Committee is publishing the full report later, following a series of interviews with residents and staff at the centres in Galway, Foynes, Mosney and Clondalkin."
Turkish student sentenced for re-tweeting satirical news (EDRI, link): "Meral Tutcali, a student in Anadolu University, was sentenced by the provincial court of Adana to one year in jail for “insulting a public official”, after she re-tweeted Zaytung’s article, which reported satirically that former Adana governor Huseyin Avni Cos declared his autonomy. The article included an illustration showing the Governor in a military vehicle, surrounded by guards. The picture was taken during a national holiday during which it’s customary for governors to appear in such parades. Tutcali’s house was raided twice by police for her retweet."
Deaths at Sea: ‘No more excuses’! (EHRN, link): "Amid public shock and anger at the tragic death of more than 900 people including refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Libya, the EU Council held an ”emergency” summit on April 23rd. Following a moment of silence to mourn these preventable deaths, EU leaders went back to business as usual."
Libya Coastguard Intercepts 500 Illegal Immigrants (Outlook, link)
What it means when we call people illegal (LACUNA, link): "More than 60 years ago European leaders gathered to sign the European Convention on Human Rights; a landmark international treaty born out of the horrors of the Second World War, and championed by the then British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The Convention declares that human rights are “the foundation of peace and justice in the world” and that they are ‘universal’ – they apply to everyone."
UN calls for suspension of TTIP talks over fears of human rights abuses - UN lawyer says tactics used by multinationals in courts outside of public jurisdiction would undermine democracy and law (Guardian, link)
Navy Robots Test the Limits of Autonomy (New York Times, link)
Garda actions towards homeless man ‘justified’ (Irish Examiner, link): "A Garda Ombudsman report into the filmed arrest of a homeless man by a garda last March found the force used appeared to be “justified, lawful and proportionate”.
EU-TTIP: Council of the European Union: European Commission Note: Investment in TTIP and beyond – the path for reform (LIMITE doc no: 8555-15, pdf): "CONCEPT PAPER: Investment in TTIP and beyond – the path for reform Enhancing the right to regulate and moving from current ad hoc arbitration towards an Investment Court." This TTIP document is on the key issue of investment arbitration against governments.
And see: European Commission: RECONSTRUCTED: Draft sent 26/3-15 from the Commission to the Trade Policy Committee CHAPTER [ ] Regulatory Cooperation (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Analysis of Agenda Setting in the European Council, 2009–2014 (80 pages, pdf): "The research is based on a quantitative analysis of the European Council Conclusions (ECCs) complemented by qualitative examinations of particular elements of the agenda that emerge from the results of the quantitative analysis."
GERMANY: NSA: BND spying affair divides German coalition (euractiv, link): "Angela Merkel defended cooperation between Germany’s intelligence service, the BND, and its US counterpart, the NSA, amid fresh accusations of illegal spying operations. EurActiv Germany reports. After sharp criticism from Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s ruling coalition parties are facing off in the spy debate."
See also: Austria files criminal complaint over alleged NSA snooping (Washington Post, link): "Austria is asking for a legal investigation of allegations that the German intelligence service helped the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdrop on the country’s political leaders. Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Tuesday her ministry has filed a criminal complaint against unnamed persons or entities on suspicion of “secret ntelligence activities to the detriment of Austria.”
News in Brief (6.5.15)
France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack - Controversial new bill that allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without judicial permission sparks protests from civil liberties groups (Guardian, link) and see: France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition (Statewatch)
European Court of Justice to advise on legality of web links to unpublished content (electronista, link(
EU: MED CRISIS: Russia to oppose EU sinking of migrant smuggler boats (euobserver, link): "Russia has indicated it will block UN approval of EU plans to sink migrant smugglers’ boats, but says the disagreement isn’t linked to Ukraine. Vladimr Chizhov, its EU ambassador, told press in Brussels on Tuesday (5 May) that “apprehending human traffickers and arresting these vessels is one thing, but destroying them would be going too far”."
EU: JUSTICIA: Procedural Rights (link): "The most up-to-date and relevant documents, press releases, academic comment, legislation, and case-law is collated and organised here in this fully-searchable central storage space. Here you can get an overall sense of the information available in the area of procedural rights or quickly find a specific document." and see: Snapshot (link)
GREECE-UK-IRELAND: Treatment of vulnerable people: Greece: Police Abusing Marginalized People (HRW, link), Family demand answers after inmate dies of asthma attack in prison... (ITV, link) and Cabinet to discuss concerns on imprisoning people for non payment of debt (Irish Examiner, link)
USA- NSA: The Computers are Listening - How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text (The Intercept, link):
"Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored."
UK: Client snooping: concern despite case victory (Law Society Gazette, link)
"Legal professional bodies have renewed their call for statutory protection for professional privilege despite a landmark ruling against the security services.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) this week ordered intelligence agency GCHQ to destroy illegally intercepted communications between Libyans subjected to renditions and their lawyers in the UK. This is believed to be the first time the tribunal has ordered an intelligence agency to give up surveillance material in its 15-year history.
However, both the Law Society and the bar said the ruling did not go far enough to protect lawyer-client communications."
GERMANY-NSA: BND scandal: Bundestag committee issues ultimatum (euractiv, link):
"The Bundestag's NSA investigation committee has demanded lists of search terms Germany's intelligence service, the BND, allegedly spied on for Washington."
And see: Merkel defends BND amid NSA spy scandal (euronews, link): "intelligence agencies must be able to work in secret to ensure the public’s safety. The German government will do everything it can to ensure that intelligence agencies are able to carry out their duties. In the face of international terrorism threats, they can only do this in cooperation with other intelligence agencies — and that includes first and foremost the NSA.”
"Becerril’s report notes that Frontex did not order the presence of a physician on several deportation flights that it monitored. On others, there was no interpreter. The migrants were sometimes not informed about the possibility of filing a complaint against violations of their fundamental rights... On all monitored deportation flights, there was no video recording as stipulated in the code, especially for difficult cases,” adds the study."
As usual: "Frontex has rejected any responsibility for the conditions on deportation flights, underscoring that this falls to the member states."
News in Brief (5.5.15)
Expulsados de sus vidas en 48 horas - Interior deporta en avión a más de 26.000 extranjeros en los últimos cinco años (El Pais, link) [Spain deported 26,491 people between 2010 and 2014, according to government data - 15 people per day]
EU Triton mission yet to receive extra cash and boats (euobserver, link): "Plans for more money and boats to expand the EU’s surveillance mission Triton in the Mediterranean have yet to be realised as migrants continue to attempt to make the perilous sea journey....The money will be siphoned from the EU budget but is currently mired in technocratic procedures... The EU-led mission is technically limited to a 30 nautical mile range along the Italian coast although discussions on expanding its operational scope are taking place between the EU’s border agency, Frontex, which coordinates the sea missions, and Italy, Greece, and Malta."
UK: IPCC investigates death of man restrained by police outside Devon pub - Devon and Cornwall police launch criminal inquiry into death of man who fell unconscious while he was being restrained after disturbance in Paignton (Guardian, link)
SERBIA: Right to asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2014 (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, pdf)
Global Detention Project (GDP): The Detention of Asylum Seekers in the Mediterranean Region: April 2015 (pdf): IThis Global Detention Project background paper is intended to highlight some of the vulnerabilities that people seeking international protection face when they are taken into custody in Mediterranean countries and to underscore the way that European Union-driven policies have impacted the migratory phenomenon in the region."
EU: Council of the European Union: EU Internet Referral Unit at Europol - Concept note (LIMITE doc no: 7266-15, pdf)
"Given the size of the problem, its span across multiple linguistic audiences and jurisdictions, tackling this phenomenon efficiently requires the EU Member States to pool resources and devise a coherent and coordinated European prevention strategy to counter terrorist propaganda and ensure that Internet remains a public good, free of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda while respecting fundamental principles such as the freedom of speech.
Accordingly, on 12 March 2015 the Council of Ministers agreed that building on the Check-the- Web project, Europol will develop an EU Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) by 1 July 2015"
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Speech in Berlin: Value of the EU Data Protection Reform against the Big Data challenges (pdf):
"Let me start with a message that I hope will resonate with all of you: We need global bridges to be able to protect the personal data and privacy of the individuals facing borderless technologies, business models and networks that use their data as fuel."
GERMANY-USA: NSA: German Prosecutors Launch Investigation of Spying Charges (Washington Post, link): "Germany's top public prosecutor will look into accusations that the country's BND foreign intelligence agency violated laws by helping the United States spy on officials and firms in Europe, including Airbus group, the federal prosecutors office said."
And see: Report: BND-NSA collaboration deeper than thought (DW, link): "The German news magazine Der Spiegel first outlined the extent of the BND's partnership with the NSA last week. But details are continuing to emerge, suggesting that more than metadata was shared.
EU: ERITREA: EU plans to provide Eritrea’s oppressive regime with new funding ( Reporters Without Borders, link): "Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF) on a significant improvement in fundamental freedoms, including freedom of information."
And see: Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE): Letter to European Commission: EU's Development aid to the Eritrean Government (link) and Quand l’UE finance la dictature de l’Érythrée pour stopper les migrants (When the EU finances the Eritrean dictatorship to stop migrants) (France 24, link)
News in Brief (4.5.15)
Revealed: refugees at Dungavel paid just £1 an hour for work in detention centre (HeraldScotland, link)
Europe’s journalists face growing climate of fear (Xindex, link): "Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs, according to a survey of the verified incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project."
Pressure on Central Europe to Take More Asylum-Seekers (BalkanInsight, link): "Newer EU member states likely to face pressure to share the asylum burden, which is weighing on Germany on Sweden."
Congressman with computer science degree: Encryption back-doors are ‘technologically stupid’ (Washington Post, link):"law enforcement officials to urge Congress to mandate that companies create a way for them to access encrypted content. But encryption experts say building such back-doors would fundamentally undermine the security of people who rely on those products because it could create new vulnerabilities and give hackers a new target to attack."
EU: MED-CRISIS: Thousands of migrants rescued in Mediterranean (euobserver, link):
"Thousands of people in rickety boats and rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean were rescued over the weekend in one of the largest life-saving operations to date led by Italy’s coastguard. Italian officials say some 5,800 were plucked from the sea on Sunday (3 May) and Saturday. Around 10 were found dead off the Libyan coast with more 2,150 of them rescued on Sunday alone. The migrants were taken to southern Italian ports."
Europe Weighs Bombing Migrant Boats (Defense News, link):
" Europe's leaders are carefully weighing the chances of pulling off an unusual military operation: Bombing small boats before they're loaded up with fishermen or illegal migrants. What sounds like a hypothetical war college exercise has instead become a pressing political problem..."
EU: MED-CRISIS: With details of exactly what the EU is going to do and on what legal basis still undecided it is perhaps useful to be reminded of similar ongoing operations the EU is undertaking: Ongoing EU operations (EEAS, pdf) This is full of acronyms, this is what they stand for:
EUAM (EU Administration of Mostar)
EUMM (EU Monitoring mission)
EUPOL (EU Police Mission)
EUMAM (Military Advisory Mission in the Central African Republic)
EUCAP ((EU capacity-building) NESTOR in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP SAHEL Niger EUAVSEC (aviation security) in South Sudan
EUFOR ALTHEA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
EUBAM (EU Border Assistance Mission)
EUNAVFOR (EU Naval Force)
Background: A EU Mission in the Med could call for financial support under the: ATHENA Council Decision (pdf). As to the legal basis it could be under Article 44 of the TEU and this was discussed in the Council's Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on Article 44 TEU (LIMITE doc no 6108-15, pdf) which notes that "The Council Legal Service advised that use of an Article 44 mission must be in accordance with: Article 42(1) and Article 43(1)" for a military-civil operation.
The Council Legal Service also concluded: that i) A Article 44 Mission has to be established by a Council Decision, adopted by unaminity ii) the actual implementation can be undertaken by a group of Member States and iii) A Third State can take part.
EU: Juncker demands secret service for Europe (The Times, link): "The president of the European Commission has demanded his own secret service to counter spies from the bloc’s national governments after it emerged that German secret agents helped America to spy on Brussels."
USA-NSA: SURVEILLANCE: Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying (New York Times, link):
"The secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program hampered its effectiveness, and many members of the intelligence community later struggled to identify any specific terrorist attacks it thwarted, a newly declassified document shows.
The document is a lengthy report on a once secret N.S.A. program code-named Stellarwind. The report was a joint project in 2009 by inspectors general for five intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and it was withheld from the public at the time, although a short, unclassified version was made public. The government released a redacted version of the full report to The New York Times on Friday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit."
See 751 page document (Cryptome, link)
See also: A Bill’s Surveillance Limits (New York Times, link): "Bipartisan legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee would reauthorize mass surveillance programs revealed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, but impose new limits on them. Although it does not limit the government’s authority to collect information overseas, including data on telephone and email records" [emphasis added] See: US Freedom Act 2015 (pdf)
News in Brief (2-3.5.15)
• UK: Open letter condemns legal aid cuts, calls on new government to restore justice - More than 100 judges, peers, lawyers and doctors write open letter to the Guardian calling on new government to prevent ‘widespread miscarriages of justice’ (Guardian, link)
• The Returns Directive and the Expulsion of Migrants in an Irregular Situation in Spain (EU Law Analysis, link)
• EU: Case C-192/15, Rease – secretly spied on, medical data leaked, and left unprotected by the Dutch regulator (EU Law Radar, link)
• African migrants lost at sea recalled (Irish News, link): " he countless migrants who died trying to escape poverty and persecution in Africa have been remembered in Dublin. A wreath was laid for the countless mothers, fathers and children who have died after risking their lives on what have been dubbed modern day 'coffin ships'.... Their desperate flight and the many tragic deaths have been likened to the harsh experiences of the Irish people who died in coffin ships on the Atlantic, trying to escape the Great Famine of the 1840s."
• UK: Action taken against hundreds of police officers for misconduct -Hundreds of misconduct notices have been served to police officers in the forces that cover Shropshire and Mid Wales, new figures reveal today. (Shropshire Star, link) and see: Over 3,000 police officers being investigated for alleged assault - and almost all of them are still on the beat (Independent, link)
UK: Cabinet minister accepted donation from corporate spy - Nicky Morgan received £3,220 from Paul Mercer, who has been paid by large firms including BAE to monitor political campaign groups (Guardian, link): "A cabinet minister has accepted a donation from a corporate investigator with a history of spying on political campaigners. The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, who received £3,220 from Paul Mercer, is fighting to be re-elected in her marginal seat of Loughborough in Leicestershire. Mercer, who has lived in the area for many years, is taking an active part in promoting her campaign."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union discussing its negotiating positions (30 April 2015): 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):
• Relationship Chapters II and IX (LIMITE doc no: 8309-15, pdf) includes "Purpose limitation and further processing in Chapter II" and "Further processing and Article 83", includes research exception.
• GENERAL PRINCIPLES: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 8372-15, pdf) 66 Member State positions.
EU: RETURNS POLICY: Council of the European Union: From Council Presidency: Return and readmission policy - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no 7156-15, pdf):
"In its March 2014 Communication on EU Return Policy, the Commission reported that "there is a considerable gap between the persons issued with a return decision (approximately 484 000 persons in 2012, 491 000 in 2011 and 540 000 in 2010) and those who, as a consequence, have left the EU (approximately 178 000 in 2012, 167 000 in 2011 and 199 000 in 2010). There are multiple reasons for this gap, including in particular lack of cooperation from the non-EU country of origin or transit (e.g. problems in obtaining the necessary documentation from non-EU consular authorities) and lack of cooperation from the individual concerned (i.e. he/she conceals his/her identity or absconds).".....
Quite frequently, the third countries concerned appear reluctant to accept the “third country national clause” or even oppose its inclusion in the agreement.... It would probably be useful to further reflect on the need to review this strategy on readmission, adopted by the Council in 2011, and to look for more powerful incentives for third countries of origin to cooperate on readmission.
It might be useful to establish a linkage between the currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code and the cooperation of third countries in the return/readmission of their nationals. The currently negotiated amendment of the Visa Code provides for a number of visa facilitations to third country nationals who are subject to the visa requirement. The applicability of these facilitations is currently exclusively linked to individual circumstances of third-country nationals. This approach might be reviewed, and visa facilitation only be granted to nationals of third countries who cooperate on readmission." [emphasis in original]
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Cybersecurity and Privacy Innovation Forum 2015, Brussels, 28 April 2015: Keynote address: Giovanni Buttarelli European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf):
"For nearly twenty years now, the EU data protection directive has provided a solid basis for safeguarding the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. But after so many years of rapid technological and business development, the law is due for maintenance.
We urge the European Parliament and the Council to adopt a new framework which reinforces the rights of the individual, before the end of this year.
Now is not the time to weaken the protection of personal data and to lower the level below the one provided by the current Directive."
EU:Meijers Committee: Note on the LIBE amendments to the draft directive Presumption of Innocence (pdf): "The Meijers Committee has carefully examined the amendments adopted by the LIBE Committee to the proposal for a directive on strengthening certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.1 As explained below, the Committee considers the adoption of a number of these amendments highly advisable in order to provide strong procedural rights in this matter, but also in light of previously created cooperation mechanisms in criminal affairs."
USA: ALL THE PRESIDENT’S PSYCHOLOGISTS: The American Psychological Association’s Secret Complicity with the White House and US
Intelligence Community in Support of the CIA’s ”Enhanced” Interrogation Program (pdf)
See also: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says (New York Times, link)
News in Brief (1.5.15)
• Is Gladio still alive in Turkey? (Todays Zaman, link): "A recent decision by a public prosecutor's office to drop a five-year case investigating top-secret documents found at a Turkish military headquarters has revived suspicions that now-defunct Gladio-type illegal structures from the Cold War years within NATO might still be alive in this member of the alliance."
• Forgot your password? The SME Intrinsic-ID proposes a device fingerprint to authenticate your access (COM Digital Agenda, link)
• HUNGARY-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Statement by the President after phone conversation with Prime Minister Orban (EP, link)
• Juncker on Germany's BND scandal: 'It is very difficult to keep secret services under control' (euractiv, link): "ermany's intelligence agency, the BND, spied on French officials and the EU's headquarters on behalf of US intelligence, German media reported Thursday (30 April). Asked to comment, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that it is very difficult to keep secret services under control."
• LSE takes legal action to evict occupying student protesters - London students took over university room in March to protest against tuition fees and privatisation, with support from Russell Brand (Guardian, link)
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