Statewatch News 30 July 2021 (Issue 14/21)

30 July 2021  — Statewatch News

Also available as a PDF)

This is the last issue of Statewatch news before we take a well-earned break over August. We will be back in September with more news, analysis and action on civil liberties in Europe. Thanks for following our work, and we wish you all a good summer.

—————————————-

Help us to keep you informed

Our projects, investigations, news and analyses take time, expertise and effort to produce. We rely on your support to keep our work trustworthy, independent and free to access.

Become a Friend of Statewatch with a regular donation and you can help us to keep you informed, and to stand up for civil liberties and individual rights in Europe.

—————————————-

Swiss intelligence agency spying on migrants’ rights groups

Switzerland’s Federal Intelligence Service (Service de renseignement de la Confédération, SRC) has been monitoring the activities of Solidarité sans frontières (SOSF), an organisation that advocates for the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers, since 2006.

The information was disclosed after SOSF made a request to the parliamentary committee responsible for overseeing the intelligence services. That request followed in the footsteps of one made by droitsfondamentaux.ch – whose activities the FIS had also been monitoring.

Find out more here.

—————————————-

Frontex series continued

In the middle of July we published the first in a series of articles taking a closer look at some under-examined issues related to the powers and activities of EU border agency Frontex. Parts two and three were published over the last fortnight, the former looking at the legal firewalls that create blurred responsibilities in cases of search and rescue and pushbacks, and the latter looking at problems with Frontex’s public image and supposed commitment to transparency.

—————————————-

UK: Home Office data strategy: digital infrastructure for ‘law and order’

The UK Home Office plans to maximise the gathering, matching and processing of personal and other data, making it possible to deploy “automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence” for the purposes of law enforcement, border control, customs and various other activities.

Read more here.

—————————————-

Contents

Frontex, secrecy and story-telling: control of information as super-strategy

To SAR or not to SAR, part 2: Legal firewalls of a very political agency

UK: Home Office data strategy: digital infrastructure for ‘law and order’

Switzerland: Federal Intelligence Service has spied on migrants’ rights group for 15 years

Bulgaria, Denmark and France condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for asylum and border policies

In the wake of the Pegasus revelations, states must halt the use and export of surveillance technology

Frontex: newly-published document highlights parliamentary inquiry’s limits

EU: Rule of law: reports of Council hearings of Hungary and Poland

Europol on anarchism: more information is needed on an “increasing and evolving” threat

EU: Tracking the Pact: Proposed cooperation with North Africa received with “interest”; external cooperation “state of play”

EU: Spying on foreign nationals: member states want to stay in the driving seat

UN: Agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality

Interview: “European border control degrades migrants by ruining their life expectations”

Analysis

29 July
Frontex, secrecy and story-telling: control of information as super-strategy

EU border agency Frontex spends a significant amount of time and money on its public image, and insists that its activities are fully transparent. However, that public image is – unsurprisingly – heavy on spin, and panders to far-right narratives. Meanwhile, its commitment to transparency is questionable – to say the least.

22 July
To SAR or not to SAR, part 2: Legal firewalls of a very political agency

The second part of an analysis looking at the legal firewalls that create blurred responsibilities in cases of search and rescue and pushbacks, shielding EU border agency Frontex from accountability measures.

News

29 July
UK: Home Office data strategy: digital infrastructure for ‘law and order’

The UK Home Office plans to maximise the gathering, matching and processing of personal and other data, making it possible to deploy “automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence” for the purposes of law enforcement, border control, customs and various other activities.

28 July
Switzerland: Federal Intelligence Service has spied on migrants’ rights group for 15 years

The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service has been monitoring the activities of Solidarité sans frontières (SOSF), an organisation that advocates for the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers, since 2006, papers obtained by SOSF show. SOSF is one of many such groups that the FIS keeps tabs on.

28 July
Bulgaria, Denmark and France condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for asylum and border policies

Bulgaria, Denmark and France have all recently been found to have violated human rights by Europe’s top court: Bulgaria for pushing back a journalist to Turkey; Denmark for making a refugee and his family wait almost three years before permitting their reunification; and France for detaining a young mother and her baby for 11 days whilst they tried to deport them both to Italy.

28 July
In the wake of the Pegasus revelations, states must halt the use and export of surveillance technology

States must place an “immediate moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology,” says an open letter signed by over 150 human rights organisations (including Statewatch) and more than 30 independent experts in response to the Pegasus Project revelations, which have shown how spyware developed by the NSO Group has been used against some 180 journalists.

27 July
Frontex: newly-published document highlights parliamentary inquiry’s limits

The Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) published its final report of a four-month fact finding investigation into alleged violations of fundamental rights on 15 July. This annex to the report highlights the limitations of the investigation.

27 July
EU: Rule of law: reports of Council hearings of Hungary and Poland

On 22 June the Council held hearings of Hungary and Poland as part of the Article 7 procedure concerning the risk of a breach of the EU’s founding values. The Council’s summary reports, published here, give an overview of what was discussed.

27 July
Europol on anarchism: more information is needed on an “increasing and evolving” threat

Europol has called for authorities to gather more information on “violent left-wing extremism and anarchism” due to an “increasing and evolving” threat, at the same time noting that “no organisation or group can be considered to pose an imminent threat”.

23 July
EU: Tracking the Pact: Proposed cooperation with North Africa received with “interest”; external cooperation “state of play”

Two internal EU documents circulated in the Council: one containing the former Portuguese Presidency’s assessment of North African states’ responses to a proposed “enhanced political dialogue” on justice and home affairs issues; the other, the Commission’s overview of “the main external migration dialogues and processes since 2019.”

23 July
EU: Spying on foreign nationals: member states want to stay in the driving seat

Member states want to take hold of proposed new powers that would step up the surveillance of third-country nationals in the Schengen area, in a blow to the European Commission’s plans to increase the role of EU policing agency Europol.

19 July
UN: Agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality

“Prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/1 and in recognition of the unprecedented opportunity for change, the present comprehensive report—to be read in conjunction with an accompanying conference room paper—presents an agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality.”

19 July
Interview: “European border control degrades migrants by ruining their life expectations”

An interview with Julien Jeandesboz, expert on border control, about the nature of “zoopolitics”, changes to the Eurodac biometric database, the development of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, and vaccination passports.

—————————————-

Support the fight for civil liberties in Europe

____________________________________
Statewatch: Monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
c/o MDR,88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
tel: +44(0)203 691 5227
http://www.statewatch.org
Privacy policy: https://www.statewatch.org/about/privacy-policy/

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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.