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The government is proposing a new Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA), an independent body with a budget of £800 million over the term of the current parliament (until 2024), "to fund high-risk, high-reward scientific research." However, The Times has reported that the agency will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act - a move that the Campaign for Freedom of Information says "would be wholly unjustified," as the law already protects commercial secrets and research interests.
Two recent legal actions accuse Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, of serious violations of the rights of migrants and refugees in Greece.
The UK Home Office and National Police Chiefs Council have recently published a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for the national Automated Numberplate Recognition (ANPR) system, which captures the location of some 60 million vehicle numberplates every day.
A document circulated to national delegations in the Council of the EU shows how the Council intends to divide up its discussions on proposals to reinforce the powers of EU policing agency Europol.
An open letter signed by 37 organisations, including Statewatch, denounces the ongoing harassment of KISA and calls on the Cypriot authorities to reinstate their official registration as a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Six human rights organisations have condemned the Greek and EU authorities in a report that shines a light on the growing use of pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish borders in recent years, continued legal challenges and complaints, and ongoing impunity. The organisations say that "pushbacks have been rising at an alarming rate since March 2020, revealing an unsettling pattern of a practice endangering people’s lives and even inhuman at its essence," and against national, EU and international law.
The Reclaim Your Face campaign has launched a European Citizens' Initiative calling for a ban on biometric mass surveillance, for example through the public deployment of facial recognition technologies. If the petition gets at least one million signatures from seven EU member states, the European Commission will be obliged to respond to the campaign's demands, and the European Parliament will have to debate the topic.
The implementation of the 2019 Frontex Regulation has not been as swift as intended - in part due to the impact of the pandemic. However, media reports say that mismanagement and administrative failures have also played a role. The agency has produced a revised timetable for adopting its new roles, which Statewatch is publishing.
The Mixed Migration Centre has published a new report based on recent interviews with people arriving in the Canary Islands from the coast of West Africa, exploring their motivations for travelling on that route and the risks and dangers faced by them in doing so.
EU-UK relations post-Brexit are largely governed by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, agreed at the end of 2020. A recent analysis by the European Parliament's research service examines the different areas covered by the text, including law enforcement and judicial cooperation.
The European Parliament's position on the cross-border gathering of "e-evidence" is confusing, unclear and inconsistent, according to the European Judicial Network, which is made up of EU member states' national contact points for criminal justice cooperation.
Academics across Europe are calling for expressions of support for their colleagues in Greece, where the government recently passed a controversial new law introducing a special police force for universities. The law, which will see the recruitment of over 1,000 new officers who do not have to go through the usual three years of police training, has been justified on a number of grounds, including the false claim that similar forces exist in countries such as the UK. The bill was passed last week by the ruling New Conservative Party with support from the far-right Greek Solution party.
A recent briefing published by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) examines in detail the recent proposal to revamp Eurodac, which was originally set up to hold the fingerprints of asylum-seekers and limited categories of 'irregular' migrants. Following changes in 2013 to give police access to the system, more recent proposals will expand its scope even further, with the aim of serving "wider immigration purposes".
Eurojust and the European Judicial Network have both recently published papers examining the implications of Brexit on criminal justice cooperation between the EU and the UK. The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains a number of provisions on criminal justice cooperation.
States should pass laws banning ethnic profiling, force the police to take stronger action against racism and ensure clear political leadership against discriminatory practices, says a resolution passed at the end of January by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
A new report by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations looks at the use and abuse of facial recognition technology by states across the globe, providing detailed case studies from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.
96 organizations and initiatives in Germany have condemned the government's ongoing deportations to Afghanistan, a country still at war and in the midst of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
EU policing agency Europol could be given new powers to process vast quantities of personal data under proposals put forward by the European Commission in December. One objective is to train algorithms “for the development of tools” to be used by Europol and national law enforcement agencies, raising the risk of reinforcing racial and other biases.
A new report by the Last Rights project - 'Every Body Counts: understanding the consequences of pandemic measures on migrant families' - looks at the ways in which different measures taken to try to control the coronavirus pandemic have affected migrants and their families.
Recent Statewatch complaints to the European Ombudsman have resulted in significant victories for transparency over the activities of EU justice and home affairs agencies, but one decision made by the Ombudsman approves of restrictions placed by Frontex on the right of non-EU citizens to file requests for access to documents.
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