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Our latest summary of developments and new material on immigration and asylum in Europe.
The next high-level justice and home affairs meeting between the EU and USA will include a discussion point on "challenges related to encryption and lawful interception," with both sides keen to find a way to grant law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications technologies - something that experts have warned time and again is impossible without fundamentally compromising those technologies for all users.
Last Friday hundreds of people joined an online day of action organised by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), calling on the National Police Chiefs Council to commit to protecting freedom of assembly by adopting an eleven-point charter.
The government should ensure that the right to protest is protected by the emergency measures brought in to restrict the spread of coronavirus, says a report published last week by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), made up of MPs and members of the House of Lords.
The Council and Parliament have reached provisional agreement on rules governing how the forthcoming European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will 'talk' to other migration and policing databases, with the purpose of conducting automated searches on would-be travellers to the EU.
The organisation Black Protest Legal Support has condemned the arrest of four of their legal observers at a demonstration on Tuesday against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The Irish authorities are now part of the Schengen Information System's police cooperation aspects, allowing them to enter and search data on a wide variety of persons and objects.
Libya lies at the heart of a strategy for which funds from Italy, EU institutions and other member states have been channelled through an opaque financing mechanism with the central aim of reducing migration from Africa to Europe, says a new report by ActionAid.
Proposals published in December could vastly increase the powers of EU policing agency Europol, in particular by granting it new data-processing powers, a role in developing algorithms and new technologies for the police, and by easing cooperation with non-EU states. EU member states have been discussing the proposals since January. To facilitate democratic engagement and scrutiny, Statewatch is publishing internal Council documents that set out the member states' comments on the proposals so far.
The Portuguese Council Presidency and the EU's foreign affairs chief have prepared a 'Joint issues paper on The External Dimension of the EU’s Migration Policy under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum', which will be discussed at a joint meeting of EU interior and foreign affairs ministers next week.
A draft European Commission decision published in February declared that the UK offers "adequate" protection for personal data, thus proposing that transfers between the EU and UK should be permitted. Data protection experts Douwe Korff and Ian Brown argue that this ignores a whole host of factors, including the "elephant in the room... the UK’s intelligence agencies’ actual surveillance practices."
Three recent briefings published by the European Parliament Think Tank look at key current issues in proposed EU migration and asylum legislation: the proposal to recast the 2008 Returns Directive, governing deportations from the EU; the recent proposal for a common asylum procedure; and pushbacks at the external borders.
At the beginning of this week, the highly-controversial Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act became law. Now, the government has proposed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which contains new powers to clamp down on the right to protest, as well as an array of other dangerous measures. Campaign groups are preparing to oppose the Bill.
Activists have condemned the Italian authorities' decision to charge 21 individuals from three human rights with aiding and abetting illegal immigration, following the closure of an investigation into the groups' search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
A report published by the government-appoined Commission for Countering Extremism has called for new laws to criminalise the possession of terrorist material, amongst a host of other recommendations.
An assault rifle linked to a series of murders carried out by loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland between 1988 and 1991 is believed to have been smuggled into the country with the help of British intelligence operatives, according to a recent media report.
Fourteen Frontex officers have been trained on “Interrogation, questioning and debriefing tactics” and “How to recruit an informant” as part of a plan for “a long-term increase in the flow of incoming intelligence related information,” a document obtained by Statewatch reveals.
A discussion paper from the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU to national justice ministers says that "a solution is necessary" on the issue of telecommunications data retention for law enforcement purposes.
The EU institutions will continue discussions tomorrow on whether providers of email, messaging and chat services should be able to automatically screen all communications for potential child sexual abuse material. Critics are concerned that the use of automated technology will wrongly block legitimate content, bypass judicial authorisation for accessing electronic communications and lay the groundwork for further intrusive automated screening tools.
The UK Home Office is hosting a discussion on "end-to-end encryption and public safety" at the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which kicked off this week with a mixture of online and 'real-world' events in Kyoto, Japan.
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