Launched in 1999 and updated regularly, Statewatch News includes our own reporting and writing as well as articles, announcements, documents and analyses from elsewhere on civil liberties, EU policies and state practices. You can receive updates in your inbox by signing up to our mailing list, or use an RSS feed to get instant alerts.

24 March 2021

EU-USA: Action against encrypted communications to be discussed at senior officials' meeting in April

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.

23 March 2021

UK: New charter demands police chiefs commit to protecting freedom of assembly

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.

22 March 2021

UK: Protect the right to protest during lockdown, says Joint Committee on Human Rights

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.

19 March 2021

EU: One step closer to the establishment of the 'permission-to-travel' scheme

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.

18 March 2021

UK: Arrest of legal observers "an attack on vital community movements that hold the police to account"

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.

17 March 2021

EU: Ireland joins the Schengen Information System

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.

16 March 2021

Libya key to EU plan to build a “big wall” against migration, says new report

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.

15 March 2021

EU: More powers for Europol: what does your government think?

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.

11 March 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Migration obsession drives plans to boost the "external dimension"

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.

11 March 2021

Brexit: Draft EU data protection decision ignores spy agency-shaped "elephant in the room"

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."

11 March 2021

European Parliament briefings: Returns Directive, common asylum procedure, pushbacks at the external borders

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.

11 March 2021

UK: New anti-protest measures follow hot on the heels of 'spycops' law

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.

10 March 2021

Italy: Charges pressed against search and rescue crews

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.

10 March 2021

UK: Commission proposes new laws against "hateful extremism"

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.

09 March 2021

Northern Ireland: Gun "believed to have been smuggled with the help of British intelligence" implicated in up to 12 murders

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.

09 March 2021

EU: Frontex: “human intelligence” sources will provide "actionable intelligence", says document

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.

08 March 2021

EU: Data retention: Council Presidency tells national ministers that "a solution is necessary"

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.

08 March 2021

Controversial EU plans for blanket message and chat control: third trilogue will take place tomorrow

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.

08 March 2021

UK Home Office to lead discussion on "encryption and public safety" at UN crime congress

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.

04 March 2021

EU: Ad-hoc relocation: A lottery from the sea to the hotspots and back to unsafety

A new report shows how people rescued at sea and brought ashore in the EU are "being denied their fundamental rights" through the ad-hoc relocation mechanism, through which people seeking international protection are relocated from maritime border states such as Italy and Malta to elsewhere in the EU.


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