A seahorse for the Mediterranean: Border surveillance for Libyan search and rescue zone

Libya is to become the first third-state to join the EU’s satellite-supported “Seahorse Mediterranean” network. The Italian military is currently setting up the necessary control centres, to be followed by a new application for a search and rescue zone, supported by Italy. In the end, the Libyan coastguard is to coordinate all maritime search and rescue missions itself.

Shortly after Muammar Gaddafi‘s fall from power in 2011, the European Union attempted to incorporate Libyan border surveillance into European systems. Just one year later, rebels in the first post-revolution government signed a declaration with the intention of establishing maritime situation centres in the capital Tripoli and in Benghazi. The Libyan coastguard, which is part of the military, was to be linked with the Mediterranean Border Cooperation Centre (MEBOCC) in Rome. Libyan border guards would then have been provided with information from the European states bordering the Mediterranean in real time, in order to prevent refugees from crossing to Italy and Malta. A seahorse for the Mediterranean: Border surveillance for Libyan search and rescue zone weiterlesen

Germany funds new border control technology in Tunisia

Tunisian border authorities are receiving equipment and training assistance from the German Bundeswehr and the Border Police in the course of a number of projects. Existing measures are now being extended. Manufacturers of surveillance technology stand to benefit.

The German Government is helping Tunisia pursue the ongoing development of an electronic border surveillance system. A section that has already been constructed is now being extended along the Libyan border to the border town of Borj El Khadra in the Sahara. This was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to a minor interpellation. The overall project is being planned together with the US Government. The intended recipient of this “training initiative” is the Tunisian military .

The American Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been tasked with the concrete implementation of these measures. Costs of extending the installations are not known. The financial aid received from Germany is explained vaguely as being “in the tens of millions”. Germany funds new border control technology in Tunisia weiterlesen

EU language biometrics projects: research for police and intelligence services

Voice samples can be analysed in order to identify unknown persons in tapped telephone conversations, audio chats and video files. If the technology were applied to internet nodes, then it would be of particular interest to intelligence services.

The Speaker Identification Integrated Project (SIIP) on the use of speech biometrics by the police, co-financed by the European Union (EU), has successfully passed its final test. This was announced by the international police organisation Interpol in a press release. SIIP’s objective is to identify and locate “criminals and terrorists” through the analysis of their voices.

A total of 19 authorities, companies and institutes are involved in SIIP, including the Italian Ministry of Defence, the University of Groningen and the companies Nuance and Airbus. The police organisation Interpol, of which 190 states are members, is the intended end-user of the project. Other interested parties include the Italian Carabinieri, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the Portuguese Criminal Police and the British Metropolitan Police. The project is scheduled to be terminated until April 2018. Following tests in the field, the participants are now in the process of drafting their final report. EU language biometrics projects: research for police and intelligence services weiterlesen

German police cooperation with Egypt: New security agreement takes effect

Matthias Monroy, Leil-Zahra Mortada

The German Federal Government expresses its concern about the human rights situation and crackdown on civil society in Egypt. Despite this fact, the two countries have begun to implement a new security cooperation agreement, and in August they concluded another agreement regarding cooperation in the area of migration. According to the Federal Foreign Office, these measures help promote the values and principles of the rule of law.

According to Amnesty International, at least 40,000 politically persecuted individuals are imprisoned in Egypt. The majority of them are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and are thus supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by military general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi three years ago. Civil rights and human rights groups, bloggers, journalists and lawyers are also being specifically persecuted. Now the Egyptian authorities are targeting the queer scene in Cairo. Since 22 September, the police have arrested dozens of LGBTQI activists – as well as people they perceive to be LGBTQI activists. The wave of arrests began after rainbow flags were waved in the audience at a concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou‘ Leila in Cairo. German police cooperation with Egypt: New security agreement takes effect weiterlesen

How Europol is coordinating cross-border undercover investigations and surveillance

While the European Union has agencies for police and border police cooperation, it does not have own police powers of attorney. The same also applies to undercover observation and surveillance measures. The police agency Europol has played a most active role in this area nevertheless and has worked for years to interconnect relevant units and working groups from the member states.

Europol first organised an experts’ conference on undercover surveillance in 2008, holding a second conference in 2011. Prominent attendees included the European Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW), an alliance of a number of mobile task forces and comparable units from the member states, which was formed in 2005. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the CSW is investigating “the scope for deploying technical equipment in efforts to combat crime”. It is also addressing the question as to how “criminal activities and technical means to identify police measures” can be prevented. How Europol is coordinating cross-border undercover investigations and surveillance weiterlesen

Disappointing results for predictive policing

The Max Planck Institute in Freiburg does not see any proof of effectiveness for predictive policing in preventing home burglaries. Another study is expected next year from Hamburg.

So far, there has been no proof in Germany that so-called „predictive policing“ leads to crime rates being lowered in a particular area. Two investigations aim to shed light on this: one „study of new technologies for predicting home burglaries and their consequences for policing practice“ is currently underway at Hamburg University, however the project does not end until December 2018. In the meantime, evaluation of a predictive policing project in Baden-Württemberg by the Freiburg Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law has been completed. Disappointing results for predictive policing weiterlesen