An open letter signed by 50 organisations and individuals, including Statewatch, calls on the Belgian government to halt its plan to introduce legislation that would introduce backdoors into encrypted communications, undermining the privacy, confidentiality and security of all users.
Two presentations produced by the European Commission explain different aspects of the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act - namely, how the new measures would affect the use of biometric technologies, and what the rules would mean for the use of "artificial intelligence" for law enforcement, migration and asylum. Amongst other things, one presentation notes that the Artificial Intelligence Act aims "to decrease administrative burden on home affairs authorities in order not to hamper innovation"
On 21 September, Heiner Busch, one of the founding members of Statewatch, passed away at the age of 64. Here we publish a translation of a tribute from a number of German organisations with which Heiner worked, and a tribute from Statewatch Director Emeritus, Tony Bunyan.
The EU is looking for ways to step up the number of deportations, and the Slovenian Presidency is seeking other member states' views on "missings links" and "synergy" in the coordination between different actors, whether there should be further emphasis on return and readmission in the EU's relations with third countries, and how negotiations on readmission agreements could be improved.
The EU and UK are to extend the application of rules that allow the cross-border searching and exchange of DNA and fingerprint data by law enforcement authorities, pending an evaluation of the UK’s data protection rules, which must take place by the end of June next year.
The European Commission intends "to step up border management support at Libya’s Southern border," according to a draft action plan on cooperation on migration with Niger. New working arrangements will be signed between Frontex and EU missions EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUBAM Libya, that "could help the Governments of Niger and Libya shore up border management at their mutual land border," says the document.
12 September was the ninth anniversary of the publication of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which set out the truth about what happened at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989: failures by the police and the football club to ensure safety measures, combined with a lack of coordination amongst emergency services, caused the deaths of 97 people following a crush in one of the stands. Here, we reproduce an extract from Phil Scraton's book, 'Hillsborough: The Truth', along with the presentation he gave at the launch of the Independent Panel's report in 2012.
A Council Presidency note on the proposed e-evidence Regulation, which would ease the cross-border acquisition of digital data by law enforcement authorities, sets out a proposed way forward in negotiations with the European Parliament - including an admission that the Council is seeking to ensure that 'Article 7' proceedings on the rule of law in EU member states "will not affect the way the data is obtained from service providers."
The attack on the asylum system proposed by the UK government in the Nationality and Borders Bill has provoked outrage. However, the Bill also includes proposals to introduce an electronic 'permission to travel' scheme that would involve gathering biometric and other data from tens of millions of people. The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is conducting legislative scrutiny on the Bill; Statewatch submitted written observations to the inquiry last week.
The Slovenian Presidency of the Council is planning to accelerate negotiations on a vast expansion of the Eurodac database, which will hold sensitive data on millions of asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation, by 'delinking' the proposed rules from other EU asylum and migration laws under discussion.
The recent meeting of G7 interior and security ministers in London resulted in a detailed set of commitments, including reassertion of the need to undermine encrypted communications, reinforce Interpol, and to enforce new international standards on Passenger Name Record (PNR) travel surveillance and passenger profiling systems.
A draft European Commission action plan on the response to people fleeing the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan says that an EU agreement facilitating deportations to the country is suspended - but encourages EU member states to continue deporting Afghan nationals to other third countries, where permitted by readmission agreements.
The House of Lords must make significant changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill if rights are to be upheld, says an open letter to the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice signed by over 350 civil society organisations, including Statewatch. If passed into law, the Bill would massively restrict protest rights, facilitate racist and discriminatory policing, and unnecessarily push more people into the criminal justice system.
"The Counter-Terrorism Action Plan has been elaborated in coordination with the Commission services, the EEAS, the Presidency and relevant EU JHA agencies. It sets out 22 recommendations for action, divided into four areas: I. security checks – prevent infiltration; II. strategic intelligence/foresight: avoid that Afghanistan becomes a safe haven for terrorist organisations; III. monitor and counter propaganda and mobilisation of the Jihadi eco-system; IV. tackling organised crime as a source of terrorist financing."
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Circulated by the Presidency of the Council on 2 September.
The document includes detailed comments from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.
31 organisations, including Statewatch, have signed an open letter to MEPs working on new rules for the Eurodac database calling for a halt to negotiations so that the impact on human rights can be meaningfully taken into account.
The Council is preparing a short set of conclusions on a recent European Court of Auditors report looking at Frontex's support to external border management, which concluded that it was "not sufficiently effective".
Press release issued by Pro Asylum on 2 September 2021, concerning a study by Kiel University into conditions in refugee shelters during the pandemic.
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