News

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.

23 February 2021

UK: New research agency must not be exempt from freedom of information law, say campaigners

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.

23 February 2021

EU: Legal actions pile up against Frontex for involvement in rights violations

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.

22 February 2021

UK: Home Office data protection review of "the largest vehicle surveillance system of its type in the world"

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.

22 February 2021

EU: New powers for Europol: Council overview of "thematic blocks for discussion"

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.

22 February 2021

Cyprus: 37 organisations call for the reinstatement of anti-racist NGO

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).

18 February 2021

Greece: Ongoing impunity for rights violations at the borders is "inhuman"

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.

18 February 2021

EU: New petition calls for a ban on biometric mass surveillance

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.

18 February 2021

EU: Revised "roadmap" for implementing the 2019 Frontex Regulation

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.

17 February 2021

New report examines the experiences of those travelling on the 'Atlantic Route' to Europe

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.

17 February 2021

Brexit: European Parliament analysis of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement

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.

17 February 2021

EU: Criminal justice: Parliament's "e-evidence" position under fire from judicial practitioners

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.

16 February 2021

European academics against new Greek university police force

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.

11 February 2021

EU: Revamping the Eurodac database: from asylum to "wider immigration purposes"

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".

11 February 2021

Criminal justice cooperation after Brexit: papers from Eurojust and the European Judicial Network

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.

11 February 2021

Council of Europe: States must do more to stamp out ethnic profiling

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).

11 February 2021

In focus: Facial recognition tech stories and rights harms from around the world

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.

11 February 2021

Germany: opposition to ongoing deportations to Afghanistan

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.

11 February 2021

Big data experiments: new powers for Europol risk reinforcing police bias

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.

11 February 2021

New report examines the consequences of pandemic measures on migrants and their families

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.

11 February 2021

Ombudsman fails non-EU citizens in Frontex access to documents decision

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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