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In June 2021 the European Commission sought the views of member states on ways to reintroduce the bulk retention of telecoms traffic, location and internet connection data on everyone in the EU. Responses from seven member states, published here, show a divergence of views on what data to retain and when, but a majority in favour of new EU legislation.
Earlier this year we analysed the time and money Frontex invests in its public image. Media expertise has remained a high priority for Frontex, with a total of €315,000 set aside for three various media contracts this year.
115 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, have today published a collective statement calling for EU institutions to prioritise fundamental rights in the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA), which is currently under negotiation.
The controversial expansion and extension of the Eurodac database is moving ahead, with compromise proposals circulated by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council last week. The legislation would extend Eurodac from a system concerned with supporting the implementation of the EU's asylum rules, to a more general "migration management" database, with a big emphasis on providing data for deportations.
Frontex is creating an external experts database and has published a list of the roles it is seeking, ranging from a "civil engineer for camp management and administration," to experts in social media surveillance and an "expert in intelligence gathering officers education".
The statement published following the meeting on Channel crossings, to which the UK was "disinvited", is entirely concerned with law enforcement and migration control measures, with no mention of humanitarian issues despite the drastic situation in Calais and other sites along the French and Belgian coasts. It is noteworthy that the statement announces the first major deployment of EU resources that aims to prevent departures from - rather than arrivals into - the EU.
The Council of the EU wants to make it possible for private actors to operate mass biometric surveillance systems on behalf of police forces, and intends to extend the purposes for which such systems can be used under the EU's proposed Artificial Intelligence Act.
Frontex supported EU member states in removing over 8,300 non-EU nationals to their countries of origin in the first half of 2021, the largest ever number for a six-month period. However, the number of operations with at least one human rights monitor on board decreased by 7%, according to a report recently circulated to EU member states by the border agency.
The Council has circulated an unofficial consolidated text of the revised proposal for an Asylum Procedure Regulation, which would replace a previous Directive on common procedures for international protection in the EU. Available here, it will aid understanding of the proposal for individuals and organisations working to protect individual rights.
More than 13,000 Turkish military personnel have been dismissed since July 2016 on the basis of an algorithm used by the authorities to assess the alleged “terrorist” credentials or connections of military officers and their relatives in violation of multiple human rights, says a new report published today by Statewatch. 
An EU military exercise led by Greece in June this year tested the procedures and activities for launching an intervention in the fictional country of "Seglia", where incursions by the "Newborn Extremist State" and political interference from the country "Kronen" were leading to a deteriorating security situation with an impact on the EU's political and strategic interests.
Intensified border security checks targeting Afghan nationals have been agreed by the Council of the EU, with the procedures requiring the extraction of mobile phone data and significant coordination with national intelligence agencies – despite the EU having no competences in the realm of “national security”.
A new book offers a broad geographic and inter-disciplinary analysis of how time is used to dehumanise, disenfranchise and disempower asylum-seekers, irregular migrants and people awaiting deportation.
A meeting on 16 November 2021, co-organised by Frontex and the Slovenian Council Presidency, covered joint operations, information exchange and capacity building in a region seen by the EU as a "buffer zone" to deflect arrivals to its borders.
Civil society organisations, elected representatives and other prominent public figures are calling on Interpol to take steps to prevent the abuse of international policing databases and alert systems by authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. A resolution sent to the policing organisation a week before its 89th General Assembly calls for the protection of human rights by the full implementation of recommendations made by the Council of Europe and European Parliament. Statewatch is one of the signatories of the resolution.
The Slovenian Presidency of the Council has launched a discussion on climate change and migration, calling for "a multi-sectoral approach that works across silos to address root causes and consequences – in other words, an approach that not only responds to and mitigates crises but that is also forward looking and preventative."
In reponse to the publication of the EU's new action plan on migrant smuggling and the ongoing discussions on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Council has begun discussing new ways to deal with migrant smuggling and "secondary movements," defined as "the journeys undertaken by third-country nationals and stateless persons from one EU/[Schengen state] to another without the prior consent of national authorities and with or without facilitation."
A new report examines how Operation Luxor, the largest ever peacetime police raid undertaken by the Austrian authorities, "was an unlawful and ideologically-driven targeting of Austrian Muslims," that has been followed by government attempts to "[leverage] its Islamophobic policies to position itself as leader in Europe on ‘counter-terror’ measures."
After shipwreck, survivor faces more than 230 years for “boat driving” and father charged with the death of his 6-year-old child
Press release published by the Council of Europe on 3 November 2021, along with the updated recommendation.
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