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 May 2022

EU: Police to be granted cross-border access to driving licence photos

EU police forces will be able to retrieve the photos of holders of driving licences held by other member states, according to the latest amendments to a proposal known as 'Prüm II', which will massively expand cross-border police access to biometric and other data. There is also the possibility for the UK to join the upgraded system.

16 May 2022

EU: Disappearing documents: Frontex's transparency efforts fall short of requirements

Earlier this year, EU border agency Frontex created a public register of documents, as the law requires, in response to a complaint filed by Statewatch. However, the register does not include everything it should - and some documents that were previously made public appear to have been removed from the agency's website.

12 May 2022

EU has spent over €340 million on border AI technology that new law fails to regulate

The EU has spent €341 million on research into artificial intelligence technologies for asylum, immigration and border control purposes since 2007, yet the proposed AI Act currently being debated in EU institutions fails to provide meaningful safeguards against harmful uses of those technologies, says a report published today by Statewatch.

12 May 2022

EU: Reform of the Schengen Borders Code: Presidency compromise text

On 3 May the French Presidency of the Council circulated its most recent proposed amendments to the Schengen Borders Code, which is to be amended in order to introduce new powers to deal with: the so-called "instrumentalisation of migrants" by third states and non-state actors; border closures and controls in the event of threats to public health; the reintroduction of internal borders within the Schengen area; and identity checks and surveillance at the external and internal borders. We are also publishing previous compromise texts.

10 May 2022

Former Frontex officer pledges to vote “no” in referendum on Swiss funding for the agency

A Swiss border guard who served in around 10 Frontex operations has said he will vote “no” in the upcoming referendum on whether or not to increase the funding provided by Switzerland to the EU border agency, as he fears that the country may end up being an accomplice in unlawful actions.

10 May 2022

Spain: Launch of the "Vidas sin rastro" campaign, for the rights of the dead and missing migrants at the Southern border

Today, 10 May 2022, begins the campaign "Vidas Sin Rastro", "For the rights of the dead and disappeared at the southern border and those of their families", initiated by the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDHA) and the Grupo puente de activistas internacionales.

10 May 2022

EU: MEPs called upon to ban biometric mass surveillance

Today, a global coalition of 53 civil society organisations have joined together to call on Members of the European Parliament to use their democratically-elected powers to protect us all from biometric mass surveillance practices. The EU must not legitimise these dangerous practices. Otherwise, EU lawmakers risk setting a precedent for uses of AI-based technology which could destroy people’s anonymity forever and suppress a broad range of our rights and freedoms.

09 May 2022

Regulating migration technology: how the EU’s AI Act can better protect people on the move

As EU institutions work to amend the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), exploring and understanding the impact of AI systems on marginalised communities is vital. AI systems are increasingly developed, tested and deployed to judge and control migrants and people on the move in harmful ways. How can the AI Act prevent this?

03 May 2022

EU: Artificial Intelligence Act: latest Presidency compromise text

The latest compromise text circulated by the French Presidency of the Council on the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act deals with the chapters on notifying authorities, notified bodies and national competent authorities; as well as the titles on an EU database for high-risk AI systems and post-market monitoring and market surveillance.

03 May 2022

EU: Unprecedented funding for security policies will boost militarisation and border externalisation, new report shows

A new report published by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute provides a critical guide on the EU's security, military and border budgets for the 2021-27 period, explaining how the budgets work, who will make decisions and set spending priorities, and what degree of transparency and democratic accountability is in place.

28 April 2022

Interviews: Transnational action in support of upcoming referendum on Switzerland's funding for Frontex

To find out more about the Abolish Frontex! network and the upcoming Swiss referendum on whether the country should increase its financial contributions to the EU border agency, we spoke to Luisa Izuzquiza of Frag den Staat and Abolish Frontex! and to Lorenz Nagel, a member of Watch the Med/AlarmPhone and the Migrant Solidarity Network that proposed and campaigned for the Swiss referendum.

28 April 2022

Spain and Morocco renew security cooperation agreement linking organised crime and "irregular" immigration

Translation of a statement published by Migreurop and EuroMed Rights regarding the recent agreement between Spain and Morocco, which "anchors migration in a logic of securitisation, which can only lead to more rights violations at the borders." Statewatch is a member of Migreurop.

27 April 2022

EU counter-terror shopping list: sanctions against “radical rhetoric”, intelligence agencies in asylum proceedings

The Council of the EU is moving ahead with plans to allow the use of financial sanctions against "individual or entities promoting radicalisation and violent extremism that may lead to terrorism" within the EU, as part of wide-ranging conclusions on counter-terrorism that seek to promote cooperation between asylum authorities and intelligence agencies, and reassert the need for mass data retention and action against encryption.

21 April 2022

EU: Frontex: equipment requirements for 2023 include “lethal and non-lethal weapons”

Management board decision adopting rules relating to technical equipment, including minimum number of items of technical equipment (MNITE) and the rapid reaction equipment pool (RREP) outlines the agency’s equipment needs and selection criteria, with equipment provided by member states to be used “as a last resort”.

20 April 2022

EU: e-Privacy: Council proposed amended mandate whilst in negotiations with Parliament

A proposed EU e-Privacy Regulation is intended to complement rules in the General Data Protection Regulation, by setting out a specific privacy framework for electronic communications. It will replace the 2002 e-Privacy Directive. The Council and the European Parliament are in the midst of secret 'trilogue' negotiations. Documents published here show that the Council Presidency sought to change its negotiating mandate during those negotiations, with the aim of reaching an agreement with the Parliament.

14 April 2022

UK: Open letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary about plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda

Statewatch has joined more than 150 other human rights groups, charities and civil society organisations calling on the UK government to scrap the plan to send asylum-seekers who arrive in the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats to Rwanda to have their claims processed.

14 April 2022

EU: Europol and the Schengen Information System: new powers to propose "information alerts"

Europol will soon have the possibility to propose that EU member states enter "information alerts" on foreign nationals in the Schengen Information System law enforcement database, with a new law that is awaiting the approval of the Council and the Parliament.

13 April 2022

EU: Policing: France proposes massive EU-wide DNA sweep, automated exchange of facial images

The French Presidency of the Council is seeking EU-wide comparisons of every DNA profile held by police forces against all those held by other national police forces, as well as EU policing agency Europol, as part of plans to upgrade the ‘Prüm’ network of police databases. It also hopes to automate the police exchange of facial images by eliminating requirements for human review.

11 April 2022

EU: Biometric borders: half the member states see "high risks" for Entry/Exit System plans

Half of the EU's member states "foresee high risks" for the plan to have the biometric Entry/Exit System (EES) border crossing database up and running by the end of September this year, citing problems with testing, procurement, training and the adaptation of border infrastructure.

07 April 2022

EU: AI Act: Plans to loosen controls on law enforcement use of artificial intelligence

The French Presidency is aiming to loosen restrictions on law enforcement use of "artificial intelligence" technology, with a proposal circulated earlier this week to modify certain provisions in the Commission's proposal. The proposed changes would make it easier to deploy mass biometric surveillance technology in public, and significantly reduce the transparency obligations placed upon the authorities, amongst other things.


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