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Ever since 2014, when the Court of Justice of the EU struck down the Data Retention Directive - which required the mandatory retention of telecommunications metadata by service providers, in case it was of interest to law enforcement authorities - member states have been keen to reintroduce an EU-wide retention obligation. The Commission's position has varied over time. A recent study carried out for the Commission, following a request from the Council, looks at the situation in 10 member states and aims to contribute to the arguments for a new EU regime.
The European Parliament's research service has produced a substitute impact assessment for proposed additional rules for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). Amongst other things, it finds that the proposal to check applicants for travel authorisations against a criminal records system is "a serious interference" with privacy and data protection. The ETIAS was examined in detail in a recent Statewatch publication, Automated Suspicion.
The government's visa rules are having a significant impact upon peoples' lives in the midst of the pandemic, and are reportedly taking heavy toll on the workforce in the health service, where almost 14% of staff are not British nationals.
Open letter on the proposed Regulation on Terrorist Content Online, coordinated by Liberties. Signed by 16 organisations including Statewatch.
A week of action against the EU's new Pact on Migration and Asylum is taking place this week, led by the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Violations of the Rights of Migrant and Refugee People and Europe Must Act. The groups are calling for a Global Solidarity Pact in place of the EU's Migration Pact, to halt the criminalisation of migrants and to ensured the rights and dignity of all people. Due to the pandemic, most actions will take place online, but some 'real-life' activities are planned.
A new paper published by the Transnational Institute examines how France's state of emergency - originally declared in November 2015 as a temporary, exceptional measure - has become permanent, and the effects on individual rights.
Press release issued on 3 November by the Collectif des Organisations de la Société Civile et Aceturs de la Migration (C.O.C.S.A.M.), known as Lu waral lii. Translated with permission by Statewatch.
Discussions in the Council on the measures proposed as part of the EU's new 'Pact on Migration and Asylum' are ongoing. The aim is to find consensus on key points prior to Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings in November and December. The German Presidency set out its thinking on the proposals in a discussion paper circulated on 28 October, and published here. Externalisation, deportations, operations against migrant smuggling and tougher border controls are high on the Presidency's agenda.
Unofficial translation of a statement published by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France, CCIF), which the French interior minister stated was an "enemy of the republic", along with 50 other Muslim organisations, following the murder of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty in October.
The ECHR has ruled that evidence obtained via torture and ill-treatment inflicted by private individuals renders criminal proceedings unsafe, as is the case when it is inflicted by public officials.
The latest newsletter from Inicijativa Dobrodošli!/Welcome! Initiative covers the European Commission's plans to visit Croatia in light of news of fundamental rights violations at the borders; pushbacks at the Greek borders; deaths at sea; and police violence in Trieste against anti-racist demonstrators countering a far-right protest.
The Council and the Parliament have reached agreement on new rules that would link payments from the EU budget to conditions related to the rule of law in the member states. The final text, negotiated in secret trilogues - a long-standing anti-democratic practice of the EU law-making process - is not yet public and still has to be signed off by the Council and Parliament.
Mediapart was able to consult the files of several refugees from the Chechen community facing the withdrawal of their asylum status, something most often done on the basis of "white notes" transmitted by the intelligence services.
Press release from Patrick Breyer MEP (Pirate Party Germany, Greens/European Free Alliance) on the proposed Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. Negotiations between the Council and Parliament are close to being finalised, but many dangerous provisions remain in the text, which is being pushed through in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.
The Meijers Committee, made up of experts on immigration, refugee and criminal law, highlights a number of issues that must be considered following increasing suspension by national courts of European Arrest Warrant extraditions to Poland. National courts are halting procedures and requesting advice from the Court of Justice of the EU due to the Polish government's attack on judicial independence and the impact on individual rights in criminal proceedings.
In response to a question in the Bundestag, the German interior ministry's parliamentary secretary has said that a Greek official deployed on a German boat as part of Frontex's 'Operation Poseidon' "arranged for the Turkish Coast Guard to take over the persons" on board a boat spotted in Turkish waters, and return them to Turkey.
As part of the German Presidency's plan to establish a 'European Police Partnership', extending and simplifying the legal framework is high on the agenda, including for the use of drones in cross-border surveillance operations. Drones are also cited in a Commission consultation on an 'EU police cooperation code'. Although the documents contains generic references to fundamental rights and data protection, there are no details on how to improve means for legal or political accountability.
A taskforce by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Queen Mary University of London has published a report on cross-border data gathering, the US CLOUD Act, the e-evidence proposal, and implications for EU law. The task force report is written by Sergio Carrera, Marco Stefan and Valsamis Mitsilegas
The Overseas Operations Bill has passed through the House of Commons with a majority of 85 votes. Amongst other things, the Bill would make it extremely difficult to prosecute soldiers or the armed forces for human rights abuses or criminal acts conducted during military operations. UN experts recently condemned the Bill for providing "advance immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Three police networks focused on covert surveillance activities are to merge and start reporting to the Council of the EU's Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP). The group will include representatives of every EU and Schengen member state and - at least for the time being - the UK. Operational cooperation and training on issues such as "Non-Police Behaviour, Low-Light Capacity, Rural Surveillance and Counter Surveillance" will be extended through the move.
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