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 our RSS feed to get instant alerts.

16 June 2021

EU: Drugs strategy includes actions to "tackle encryption" and postal snooping

The Draft EU Drugs Action Plan 2021-25 is heading to the Council for approval, and amongst other things includes an action to "improve possibilities to tackle encryption," as well as the use of new technologies (including the near-ubiquitous "artificial intelligence") for "monitoring suspicious postal items... while preserving the fundamental right of privacy of correspondence."

16 June 2021

UK: Metropolitan Police branded "institutionally corrupt" by inquiry into murder of private detective

London's Metropolitan Police engaged in a form of "institutional corruption" by delaying and denying access to documents and information held by the force that were sought by an inquiry into the unsolved 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan, a private detective.

16 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council ready for negotiations with Parliament on European Agency for Asylum

The Council has agreed its position - published here - on the proposed Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), which would take the place of the European Asylum Support Office and have an extended remit and powers.

15 June 2021

UK: MPs must ensure protection for encrypted communications

Over 30 organisations, including Statewatch, have signed a statement published in UK parliament's magazine The House, calling on MPs to ensure that the Online Safety Bill does not undermine or threaten the encryption of digital communications.

14 June 2021

UK and USA confirm continued cooperation on undermining encryption

The UK and USA have outlined their continued commitment to military and security cooperation, including through ongoing plans to undermine encryption for digital communications.

10 June 2021

UN Special Rapporteur: report on the human rights impact of pushbacks

Pushback practices are widespread and have become "a routine element of border governance", says the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

10 June 2021

EU: Short-sighted Commission consultation on plan against migrant smuggling

The European Commission recently launched a consultation on the EU action plan against migrant smuggling (2021-2025). However, its strategy for the new plan did not involve a thorough evaluation of actions to date, and its questions for contributors "are clearly geared towards legitimising a pre-determined set of actions". Statewatch's submission called for public debate about the root causes of migrant smuggling and the impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of EU action taken to prevent and punish it.

09 June 2021

Greece rebuffs refugee travel abuse claims from northern Schengen states

In response to a letter from six northern Schengen states calling for action to prevent the "secondary movement" of refugees from Greece, the Greek government has argued that "the focus needs to be placed on preventing primary flows," meaning stricter border controls.

08 June 2021

EU: Council Presidency discussion paper on artificial intelligence and internal security

Final version of the Council Presidency's paper on the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act and the implications for internal security use of AI technologies, sent to COREPER and the Council to inform discussion at yesterday and today's Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting.

08 June 2021

The rise of antisemitism online during the pandemic: A study of French and German content

A study contracted by the European Commission finds that the coronavirus pandemic "has only served to exacerbate a worrying trend in terms of online antisemitism."

08 June 2021

Frontex confronted with allegations of violence in North Macedonia

Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter sent to Frontex today by Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).

08 June 2021

Frontex: EU Court of Auditors finds agency inefficient and ineffective

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) announced on Monday 7 June that its latest audit of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, found that the body is not ready to effectively implement its mandate under the 2019 Regulation.

07 June 2021

Whip Greece into shape so we can resume migrant removals, northern Schengen states demand

A letter from six northern EU member states, obtained by Statewatch, calls on the European Commission to take steps to make it possible to resume removals of asylum-seekers and refugees to Greece and put a halt to "secondary movements".

07 June 2021

EU: New powers for Europol: Presidency progress report and latest member state comments

Discussions in the Council on granting extended powers to EU police agency Europol are pressing ahead, with a number of the "thematic blocs" in the proposal closed, according to an internal Presidency report published here alongside the member states' most recent comments.

07 June 2021

“The potential for abuse is too great”: Global call to ban biometric surveillance in public spaces

Statewatch is one of almost 180 organizations from across the globe calling for a ban on uses of facial and other remote biometric recognition technologies that enable mass and discriminatory targeted surveillance.

04 June 2021

EU: Growing online censorship of presumed "violent extremism" of all ideological varieties

EU police agency Europol recently undertook its first ever "Referral Action Day against right-wing terrorist online propaganda," in which officers trawled the internet to file complaints about material that may contravene platforms' terms of service.

04 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council documents on coordination of externalisation, "partnerships" and Afghanistan

Three Council documents on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum's externalisation aspects, covering: how to establish better EU-national coordination on externalisation of migration control; how to implement comprehensive "partnerships" on migration with priority countries; and a more detailed overview on relations on migration with Afghanistan.

03 June 2021

Arriving soon: global air travel surveillance and passenger profiling with no democratic control

The ICAO, Interpol and various UN bodies are continuing their efforts to aid the establishment of systems for the surveillance of air travel and the automated profiling of passengers.

03 June 2021

A tribute to Thomas Mathiesen

Thomas Mathiesen, the renowned sociologist, passed away on 29 May 2021. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director Emeritus, pays tribute to his life and work.

26 May 2021

ECHR: Bulk communications data interception by UK and Swedish spy agencies violated right to privacy

An eight-year legal challenge initiated following the Snowden revelations in 2013 ended yesterday, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the surveillance regime governing "bulk interception" of communications data by British spy agency GCHQ violated the right to privacy.


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