EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean

The European Union has mandated Italy to set up several maritime control centres in Libya. The Coast Guard and Maritime Police will be linked to European surveillance systems, the authorities will communicate directly with Frontex. The project costs 46 million euros and starts in July. But the Libyan Coast Guard has since long been connected to Italian counterparts.

According to media reports, as of last week Libya has an official sea rescue zone. This SAR region has therefore been officially notified by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Libya had already submitted such an application last summer, but withdrew due to a lack of prospects of success. With the support of the Italian Coast Guard, the Libyan authorities launched a new attempt in December, which is now said to have been approved by the IMO.

In order to set up an SAR region, the competent authorities must, among other things, designate a maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC). The notified SAR regions and MRCC’s are officially available on a Canadian website, but there is no entry for Libya. In fact, it is unclear how the government in Tripoli will meet the IMO requirements. EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean weiterlesen

Biometric data from multiple databases to be merged into a European „identity repository“

Under the catchword „interoperability“, several EU databases will be pooled together. Fingerprints and facial images should be stored with personal data in a „common identity repository“. This applies above all to so-called third-country nationals. A big order for the surveillance industry will probably go to France.

The major EU databases currently hold more than 53 million fingerprints. This was written by the European Commission in response to a question by left-wing MEP Cornelia Ernst. The unpublished list has been sent by the Commission as an annex. According to this, almost 48 million impressions are stored in the Visa Information System (VIS), over five million in the Eurodac fingerprint database and 121 000 in the Schengen Information System (SIS II). Biometric data from multiple databases to be merged into a European „identity repository“ weiterlesen

88,000 files in the upload filter for „countering radicalisation“

13 Internet companies operate a database with videos and images, the upload of which is to be prevented. The information on the files comes from police authorities. Many companies react promptly to notifications for deletion, but the European Commission nevertheless threatens to impose a legal framework. „Illegal“ content should in future be detected and removed „proactively“.

An upload filter against the distribution of „terrorist content“ currently contains 80,000 image files and 8,000 video files. This is the message of the current „Progress Report towards an effective and genuine Security Union„, which the European Commission now regularly publishes. The content to be removed is stored in a „Database of Hashes“ currently operated by 13 Internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Youtube. The number of contents stored there has more than doubled in six months. 88,000 files in the upload filter for „countering radicalisation“ weiterlesen

European border surveillance in Libya

The shifting of the EU’s external borders to North Africa is generating profits for defence companies

The European Union is stepping up efforts to protect its external borders. The focus is on developing the Frontex Border Agency into a European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Another pillar of EU migration policy is the transfer of border security to third countries. Particular attention is paid to the maritime borders in Libya and neighbouring countries. Furthermore, most of the migrants reaching the European Union via the Mediterranean come from Libya. Their absolute number is declining, yet in 2017 almost 119,000 people fled.

The fragile „unity government“ in Tripoli controls only a fraction of the land borders. However, their military coastguard and civilian maritime police are responsible for those stretches of the coast from which many depart for the EU. Shortly after the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011, the EU wanted to integrate the Libyan coastguard into its surveillance systems. Control centres in Tripoli and Benghazi should be connected to a Mediterranean Cooperation Centre (MEBOCC) based in Rome. Border authorities from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus are joining forces there and communicating via the „Seahorse Mediterranean“ network. European border surveillance in Libya weiterlesen

European Union trains North African authorities to control the Internet

Under the neighbourhood policy the southern Mediterranean countries are supported with a police programme. Since 2004 measures in „cyberspace“ are on the agenda. Once again, this is the surveillance of social networks, upload platforms and video telephony.

The European Union wants to train North African countries in Internet surveillance. This is what Johannes Hahn, Commissioner responsible for EU neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations, writes in his reply to a question by MEP Sabine Lösing. In an unnamed „partner country in the southern neighbourhood“, training courses on „social media investigations“ are to be held as part of the „Euromed Police IV“ police programme. Further measures are to be taken in the areas of „cyberspace and terrorism“. These include financial investigations and digital forensics. European Union trains North African authorities to control the Internet weiterlesen

US companies also affected: EU to discuss direct access to all telecommunications

A planned EU regulation on police investigations into cloud data should now include direct access and real-time interception. This would include user,  traffic and content data. All companies offering „interpersonal communication services“ in the European Union would be concerned. The Austrian Presidency wants an agreement by the end of the year.

The European Union is planning to extend a planned legislation to allow direct access to data held by Internet service providers. This is stated in a document distributed by the Bulgarian Presidency to the representations of the Member States. The regulation is aimed in particular at US companies. EU Justice Ministers should give the green light as soon as possible to start negotiations with the US administration. They will also discuss whether the act could also apply to intercepted calls. US companies also affected: EU to discuss direct access to all telecommunications weiterlesen