Statewatch News Online, 30 August 2010 (15/10): Statewatch Special: DRAFT EU-US AGREEMENT ON THE EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

30 August, 2010

Home page: www.statewatch.org/
Statewatch European Documentation Centre (SEMDOC): www.statewatch.org/semdoc/
Sitemap: www.statewatch.org/sitemap.htm

1.   Statewatch Special: DRAFT EU-US AGREEMENT ON THE EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
2.   EU: Statewatch Briefing: ID Cards in the EU: Current state of play
3.   G8 SUMMIT: Muskoka, Canada, 26 June 2010: G-8 Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism
4.   EU: FRANCE-ROMA POLICY
5.   UK: More than 200 public sector staff caught snooping on citizen records
6.   EU: Council: Report to COSI: The Joint Report Internal Security in the EU
7.   UK: Factsheet and FAQ on Expulsion of homeless EEA Nationals
8.   EU-USA: Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance comes into force
9.   EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion on RFID Applications
10. Countering Terror or Counter-Productive? Comparing Irish and British Muslim Experiences
11. EU: SCHENGEN EVALUATION
12. UK: Understanding surveillance statistics by Tony Bunyan
13. EU: Council of the European Union: FRONTEX POWERS: Update
14. UK-IOM: Home Office funding of International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

1. Statewatch Special: EU-US AGREEMENT ON DATA PROTECTION & THE EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION: There are currently six EU-US agreements covering justice and home affairs issues: 1. Europol (exchange of data); 2. Extradition; 3. Mutual assistance; 4. PNR (passenger name record); 5. SWIFT (all financial transactions, commercial and personal); 6. Container Security Initiative (CSI). Getting agreement on many of them have proved controversial and time-consuming (the European Parliament has a say) so now the EU and the USA want to conclude a long-term general agreement covering all future exchanges of personal data concerning any criminal offence however, minor.

This EU’s negotiating mandate, drawn up by the European Commission and now to be agreed to by the Council of the European Union:

a) Explanatory Memorandum and proposed Recommendation (COM 252-10): Proposal for a Council Recommendation to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-usa-dp-general-em.pdf

b) Mandate: Negotiating Directives:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-us-general-dp-agreement-mandate.pdf

Background: see: Reports by the High Level Contact Group (HLCG) on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (EU doc no: 15851/09):
www.statewatch.org/news/2009/nov/eu-usa-hlg-data-protection-15851-09.pdf

“The European Union would apply these principles for “law enforcement purposes”, meaning use for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of any criminal offense.” while: “The United States would apply these principles for ‘law enforcement purposes’, meaning for “the prevention, detection, suppression, investigation, or prosecution of any criminal offense or violation of law related to border enforcement, public security, and national security, as well as for non-criminal judicial or administrative proceedings related directly to such offenses or violations.” (emphasis added)

See also Council Presidency to Justice and Home Affairs Counsellors: EU-US High Level Contact Group on data protection and data sharing (HLCG) (EU doc no: 14574/09): www.statewatch.org/news/2009/dec/eu-usa-hlg-dp-14574-09.pdf

This records that: 1) the US Privacy Act only applies to US citizens and further that extensive exceptions are allowed for law enforcement agencies; 2) in the EU “every individual has a fundamental right to effective judicial remedy” but “In the US no comparable general rule exists”; and 3) “It is clear that the EU cannot accept a principle that does not provide for an unconditional right to judicial redress. That, on the other hand, is unacceptable to the US” so the EU Council Presidency has proposed: “that any possible gap in the US redress framework which is unacceptable to the EU, cannot be fixed in the redress principle, but must, if necessary, be addressed in a possible future agreement.”

2. EU: Statewatch Briefing: ID Cards in the EU: Current state of play:
www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-107-national-ID-cards-questionnaire.pdf

Having laid down measures to introduce biometrics (eg: fingerprints) for visas, resident third country nationals and then EU passports the Council of the European Union (27 governments) is now embarking on “harmonising” national ID cards (which in the Schengen area are used as travel documents). This will cover the inclusion of biometrics and using national ID cards for access to e-government services (like social benefits, libraries and healthcare). This is the start of a process of “soft-law making” over which the European and national parliaments have no say.

The Statewatch survey shows:

– 17 countries make it mandatory for their citizens to have an ID card, four do not.
– 13 countries issue traditional ID cards, eight issue cards containing contact and/or RFID chips, two countries do not currently issue ID cards (Norway, UK)
– Of the eight countries that issue electronic ID cards with the capacity to store biometric data, six have chosen to do so (Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal,
Spain and Sweden)

Sources:

[1] EU doc no: 5299/1/10: www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jun/eu-council-ID-cards-5299-1-10.pdf
[2] EU doc no: 9949/10: www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jun/eu-council-ID-cards-9949-10.pdf

3. G8 SUMMIT: Muskoka, Canada, 26 June 2010: G-8 Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/g8-terr-statement-26-6-10.pdf

4. EU: FRANCE-ROMA POLICY: Barroso and Fillon to hold Roma ‘workshop’ (euobserver, link)
euobserver.com/9/30687

and France invites handful of ministers to ‘immigration’ summit (euobserver, link):
euobserver.com/9/30661

Also see: Stop this state persecution of Roma – France’s deportation of Roma is nothing short of state-sponsored racism. When will the international community stand up for us? (Guardian, link): www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/aug/18/persecution-roma-must-stop/print

And: Italy to raise EU citizen expulsion policy at September meeting (euobserver, link): “Italy has said it intends to expel citizens from other EU states if they are not able to support themselves, in a move apparently inspired by France’s current crackdown on Roma.”:  euobserver.com/9/30657

5. UK: More than 200 public sector staff caught snooping on citizen records (Computer Weekly, link):
www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2010/08/25/242514/More-than-200-public-sector-staff-caught-snooping-on-citizen.htm?printerfriendly=true

6. EU: Council of the European Union: Report to Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI): The Joint Report by Europol, Eurojust and Frontex on the State of Internal Security in the EU (EU doc no: 9359/10):
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-council-eurojust-europol-frontex-int-sec-9359-10.pdf

It contains the statement that an: “estimated 900,000 illegal migrants enter the EU each year.”

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“A few years ago a Europol official was put on the spot by the media when asked about “illegal” migration and said that 500,000 “illegal” migrants entered the EU every year. This figure was quoted time and time again. Later this same official admitted that he had simply invented the figure as logically the number of migrants entering the EU undetected was unknown. Now we have the three leading EU agencies do the same thing, inventing a figure to get headlines and budgets. This is irresponsible and fuels racism in the EU.”

7. UK: Factsheet and FAQ on Expulsion of homeless EEA Nationals (Migrants’ rights network, link):
www.migrantsrights.org.uk/publications/briefing-papers/factsheet-and-faq-expulsion-homeless-eea-nationals

See: Factsheet – full-text: www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/uk-factsheet-expulsion-of-homeless-EEA-nationals.pdf

“Recently the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have launched a pilot scheme attempting to remove homeless EEA nationals, who do not wish to leave, on the basis that they are not exercising residence rights in the UK. The UKBA is aiming towards a combined strategy for dealing with homelessness, underpinned by the prospect of immigration enforcement for those who do not comply. However, the basis for expulsion on which the new scheme relies is yet to be tested in the courts. AIRE Centre, ILPA and MRN believe that this scheme of coercive expulsion is unlawful and needs to be challenged.”

8. EU-USA: AGREEMENT ON MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE: On 1 February 2010 the EU-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement finally came into force. Article 4: Requests for financial information: Requests under Article 4 of the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the USA:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-usa-mla-req-5833-rev1-10.pdf

But Article 8 extends mutual legal assistance to almost any crime:

“Mutual legal assistance to administrative authorities

Mutual legal assistance shall also be afforded to a national administrative authority, investigating conduct with a view to a criminal prosecution of the conduct, or referral of the conduct to criminal investigation or prosecution authorities, pursuant to its specific administrative or regulatory authority to undertake such investigation. Mutual legal assistance may also be afforded to other administrative authorities under such circumstances.”

See: Full-text of EU-US Agreements on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance:
www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jun/useu09153.pdf

Background: EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (plus documentation):
www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jun/01useu.htm

9. EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 5/2010 on the Industry Proposal for a Privacy and Data Protection Impact Assessment Framework for RFID Applications: www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-dp-art-29-rfid.pdf

and Appendix: www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-dp-art-29-rfid-annex.pdf

10. Countering Terror or Counter-Productive? Comparing Irish and British Muslim Experiences of Counter-insurgency Law and Policy Report of a Symposium held in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, Falls Road, Belfast, 23-24 June 2009:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jul/uk-edge-hill-uni-countering-terror-or-counter-productive.pdf

Professor Mark McGovern, Edge Hill University with Angela Tobin. Organised in co-operation with Committee on the Administration of Justice, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Relatives for Justice, Coiste na n-Iarchimi

11. EU: SCHENGEN EVALUATION: Outcome of proceedings of the Working Party for Schengen Matters – Schengen Evaluation:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-council-schengen-evaluation-questionairre-12511-10.pdf

and Updated Schengen evaluation questionnaire (evaluation Nordic countries 2011):
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-council-schengen-evaluation-12648-10.pdf

The Outcomes/Minutes of the Working Party for Schengen Matters from July show that all the documents concerning the Schengen Evaluation process are “Restricted” – meaning they are not released to the public (”Restricted” is the lowest level of classified document). There are 27 “Restricted” documents listed in these Outcomes.

The questionnaire shows the detailed information gathered on border controls, databases used and exchanged, surveillance used, police cooperation and statistics gathered. One of the many questions asks: “What is the detection range of the cameras as regards human beings?”. It should be remember that this mass of data is being gathered by the Council of the European Union (27 governments) and not the European Commission.

12. UK: Understanding surveillance statistics by Tony Bunyan
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/05uk-understanding-surveillance-statistics.htm

– Since 1998 the surveillance of communications has more than trebled
– 525,130 “authorisations” were granted in 2009 to access communications data
– In 2009 there were 9,042 “covert human information sources” (CHIS) excluding MI5, MI6 and GCHQ

– The Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner: 2009 report:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/uk-interception-of-telecomms-comm-report-2009.pdf

– 1998 changes in telephone-tapping warrant procedures disguises true figures:
www.statewatch.org/news/2004/jul/uk-tel-tap-procedures.htm

– For the full statistics see: Telephone tapping/interception (and mail-opening figures) 1937-2009 ongoing:
www.statewatch.org/uk-tel-tap-reports.htm

– The Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner: 2009-2010 report:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/uk-chief-surviellance-commissioner-2009-2010.pdf

– Commentary: UK Chief Surveillance Commissioner 2003-2009:
www.statewatch.org/uk-surveillance-commissioner-reports.htm

– The Intelligence Services Commissioner: 2009 report:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/uk-intelligence-services-commissioner-2009.pdf

13.  EU: Council of the European Union: FRONTEX POWERS: Update: Outcomes (EU doc no: 11843/1/10):
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/eu-council-frontex-mandate-revision-11843-rev1-10.pdf

See also: Current Council position:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jul/eu-council-frontex-11843-10.pdf

Outcomes: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee (Details Member States positions):
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jul/eu-council-frontex-11843-10.pdf

and Proposal for a Regulation: amending  Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX):
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jul/eu-com-prop-frontex-powers-com-61-10.pdf

14. UK-IOM: Home Office has awarded the International Organisations for Migration (IOM) the following amount of money in each of the last five financial years:
www.statewatch.org/news/2010/aug/uk-ho-iom-funding.pdf

Includes details on: Voluntary Assisted Return, Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants and The Return to Afghanistan Programme and the countries to which people has been sent back to.

________________________________________________
Statewatch: Monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
PO Box 1516, London, N16 0EW. UK
tel: +44(0)20-8802-1882; fax: +44(0)20-8880-1727
www.statewatch.org

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.