21 January 2021
The issues of encryption and discussions on a pan-EU police facial recognition database are high on the Portuguese Presidency's security agenda over the next six months, according to a presentation obtained by Statewatch that was given to the steering group of the Council of the EU's working party on internal security.
See: COSI-SG (presentation by the Portuguese Presidency, pdf)
The presentation was given to the 'COSI-SG' working group - that is, the steering group (SG) of the Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI), which was set up by the Lisbon Treaty.
The presentation lists negotiations on the amendments to the Europol Regulation as one priority, alongside:
The Council published a statement in December announcing its intention to find ways to undermine encryption, in the name of fighting crime. As experts have stated time and time again, this will render encryption generally unsafe.
However, the inclusion of the word "encryption" may also refer to another project: European police are also working on a common encrypted communications platform - a 'WhatsApp for police' - known as QROC.
Meanwhile, the reference to "Prüm Decision (next generation)" encompasses adding a facial recognition capability to the pan-EU network of fingerprint, DNA and vehicle registration databases (of which the UK remains a part, post-Brexit).
Note: this article was updated on 22 January 2021 to add the paragraph about the QROC project.
Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.
Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: c/o MDR, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH, UK. © Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals "fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.