„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content

Currently, removal requests to hosting providers only have to be voluntarily complied with, but on 7 June, the regulation on mandatory removal of terrorist online content will come into force. It only applies to jihadist propaganda. The German government is only now introducing an implementation law.

Once again, Europol has held a „Referral Action Day“ on the removal of internet content. This time the focus was on the online music service Soundcloud. The EU police agency reported around 1,100 illegal audio files and user profiles with terrorist or extremist content to the provider.

The „Action Day“ covered the week between 5 and 13 May. The activities were led by the Counter-Terrorism Centre, which was set up at Europol by EU interior ministers in 2015. This is also where the Internet Content Reporting Unit (EU IRU) is located, which is responsible for detecting and reporting content. „„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content“ weiterlesen

Hypersonic weapons: China tests aircraft carrier killer in the desert

The People’s Liberation Army is firing at dummy US warships in the Uighur region. The ability to deliver a sensitive first strike to enemy fleets is being tested.

The Chinese military is testing mid- and long-range missile attacks on warships in the desert, which are modelled on US Navy units in terms of their dimensions. The existence of such dummies in the Gobi Desert was reported by some media outlets as early as 2013. More recent installations in the Taklamakan Desert were discovered last year in the Uighur region of Xinjiang in the northwest of the country by USNI, a military portal specialising in the navy.

High-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies now points to other test centres where the military simulates aircraft carriers and other warships the size of destroyers. Some of these are equipped with full-scale piers that are probably meant to replicate ships in port, USNI reports. „Hypersonic weapons: China tests aircraft carrier killer in the desert“ weiterlesen

US security assistance: Drone boats for Ukraine

After kamikaze drones for the army, the Ukrainian navy is getting unmanned naval systems from the government in Washington. They could be dangerous for Russia in the Black Sea.

The US government has already decided on several weapons packages for Ukraine, at least three of which include drones. First, the Ukrainian army benefited from so-called loitering Switchblade munitions. Similar flying weapon systems are following with the Phoenix Ghost, which are intended to cause even more destruction. Now unmanned swimming systems are being delivered.

The drone boats are part of the €740 million security assistance announced by US President Joe Biden on 13 April. They were to be used to defend coastal waters off Crimea, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the press. In addition, the unmanned ships were to be deployed in the Sea of Azov, whose coasts – except for Mariupol – are now completely controlled by Russia. „US security assistance: Drone boats for Ukraine“ weiterlesen

American Dragnet: Immigration and Customs authority sets up unprecedented surveillance

For €2.7 billion, ICE has bought information and spying technology in recent years. Data from private brokers and government agencies has been used to create warrantless mass surveillance that affects a large proportion of US residents.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up an extensive surveillance network, reports the Georgetown University-based Center on Privacy & Technology in its newly published study „American Dragnet“. The alleged aim is to detect and arrest migrants who are obliged to leave the country. Among other things, the agency buys extensive data sets from private companies. With hundreds of requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the researchers have obtained and analysed these contracts.

Between 2008 and 2021, the ICE spent the equivalent of 2.7 billion euros on the acquisition, storage and processing of data. According to the Washington-based think tank, this has created a system that allows ICE to investigate US citizens in almost complete secrecy. For the study’s authors, the scope of the network came as a shock. „American Dragnet: Immigration and Customs authority sets up unprecedented surveillance“ weiterlesen

Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group

Despite Brexit, British police can influence surveillance laws in the EU. The country is also represented in European secret service circles.

Notwithstanding its exit from the European Union, the British police will remain a member of a Standing Heads of Lawful Interception Units based at Europol. The UK is represented there by the National Crime Agency. This was confirmed by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in her answer to a parlamentary question by the pirate Patrick Breyer. The UK is thus the only third country in the group, which otherwise consists exclusively of EU members and the Schengen states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

The working group of the departments on telecommunications surveillance had once been founded as a strategic „5G Expert Group“ on the initiative of the German Federal Criminal Police Office. It was supposed to give the authorities access to the new telephone standard, which was actually tap-proof. After this was successfully pushed through in the European and international standardisation bodies ETSI and 3GPP, the group was given a new name and new tasks in October 2021. It is now to ensure that the needs of law enforcement agencies are taken into account when amending surveillance laws at EU level and in the member states. „Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group“ weiterlesen

British NGO: 26 countries have armed drones

Every year, Drone Wars UK counts the number of countries that have medium-altitude, long-endurance armed drones. Some of them, however, do not use them at all. Another six governments are planning to procure them, including Germany and Poland.

At least 26 states have so far procured armed drones or are manufacturing them themselves. Eleven of them have already used the systems in cross-border conflicts, and nine governments even fly attacks within their own borders. This is reported by the London-based organisation Drone Wars UK in its now published annual report.

The count only includes armed drones of medium altitude and long endurance (MALE), such as the „MQ-9 Reaper“ from the USA or the Turkish „Bayraktar TB2“. Not listed are states that use so-called kamikaze drones. These „loitering munitions“, which are also becoming increasingly popular with NATO states, are similar to a missile that can circle above its target before impact and swoop down on it at a favourable moment. The entire system is destroyed in the process. „British NGO: 26 countries have armed drones“ weiterlesen

Ukraine war: New Eurojust regulation in fast-track procedure

Eurojust is allowed to store and process personal and biometric data. As EU Justice Agency it will also be authorised to analyse digital evidence, but it does not actually have a mandate to do so.

The Permanent Representatives of the EU Member States today agreed on a position on the new Eurojust Regulation. The agency is responsible for judicial cooperation in criminal matters and coordinates cross-border investigations. Among the new proposals, Eurojust will be allowed to secure and process evidence on war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The three criminal offences enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are part of Eurojust’s mandate, but the establishment of a biometric database is not yet part of it.

The background to this is the war in Ukraine, on which the agency is to take action following a request from the EU Council of Ministers for „Justice and Home Affairs“. Eurojust is supposed to support European and international courts and the in securing evidence. Because the measures required for this are urgent, the Eurojust Regulation will also be adopted in a two-month urgent procedure. The Commission had presented a corresponding legislative proposal only last week. Four days later, the Member States in the Council dealt with it for the first time. „Ukraine war: New Eurojust regulation in fast-track procedure“ weiterlesen

Hensoldt: New German platform to be able to jam Russian air defense radars

The Bundeswehr is modernizing its electronic warfare capabilities. A new system is to be fitted to Eurofighters once it has been developed

Hensoldt, a German company specializing in sensor technology, has developed Kalaetron Attack, an electronic warfare system. Recent ground tests have proven its effectiveness in „current threat scenarios“, the German defense company writes in a press release. According to it, the platform is a „technology leap“ and could jam even the latest Russian radars.

Kalaetron Attack consists of various components to deceive, suppress and disrupt enemy capabilities in the air, on land and at sea. The same system is also said to be able to be used passively as a reconnaissance sensor. Thus, the platform might secure „freedom of movement“ in a contested electromagnetic environment, thereby increasing the effectiveness of friendly forces. „Hensoldt: New German platform to be able to jam Russian air defense radars“ weiterlesen

EU agency awaits requests for new maritime rescue drone

The Maritime Safety Agency EMSA has signed a four-year contract for new drone flights. But operational locations are still unclear because required flight permits and approvals are causing problems.

The European Union’s seas are increasingly becoming testing tracks for drone surveillance. The border agency Frontex has been monitoring the Libyan sea rescue zone for a year with an Israeli „Heron 1“; boats with refugees are reported to the coast guard in Libya for forced returns. Now Frontex wants to station such a long-range drone on Crete.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) also uses drones for maritime surveillance and was even significantly faster than Frontex in doing so. After a joint test six years ago, EMSA had been looking for companies to fly drones, and in the meantime the Lisbon-based agency has spent a three-digit million sum on them. „EU agency awaits requests for new maritime rescue drone“ weiterlesen

EU Parliament approves: Europol Regulation on the home straight

The EU police agency gets a new legal basis after six years. The expansion of its powers is hardly matched by new possibilities for supervision. A parliamentary control group even proves to be a driver for the expansion of an already powerful agency.

The EU Parliament has voted by a large majority to extend Europol’s powers. The negotiators of the Home Affairs Committee and the Council had agreed on the new regulation in February. With 480 votes in favour, 143 against and 20 abstentions, it was now approved in plenary.

The new text considerably expands the powers of the police agency based in The Hague. As in the investigations into the encrypted messenger services Encrochat and SkyECC, Europol will in future be allowed to receive millions of pieces of data from private companies in order to analyse them. Also in the area of crimes against the sexual self-determination of children, Europol will in future receive large data sets from companies and process them forensically. „EU Parliament approves: Europol Regulation on the home straight“ weiterlesen