The EU is taking its maritime surveillance to a new level. The three agencies responsible for coastal and maritime surveillance are to be merged. 81 million euros has been earmarked for unmanned aerial vehicles alone, with hundreds of millions also being spent on the necessary satellite capabilities. The money is flowing into the coffers of arms companies.
The FRONTEX border agency, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) have signed a new cooperation agreement. Its aims include improving border surveillance, intercepting vessels suspected of “engaging in criminal activities” and combating illegal fishing. The agreement was signed on the margins of a conference at which the agencies discussed new forms of maritime surveillance, information sharing and capacity building. „New FRONTEX agency: satellite reconnaissance and drones over the Mediterranean“ weiterlesen
European intelligence services are establishing a „Counter Terrorism Centre“ in the Dutch city The Hague. The centre belongs to the „Counter Terrorism Group“ (CTG) that was founded by the so called Club of Berne in 2001.
It consists of domestic intelligence services from all European member states plus Norway and Switzerland. France and Italy are participating with two different authorities. The CTG members are now invoked to send liason officers towards the Dutch centre. Which security services will participate in the „Counter Terrorism Centre“ is yet unclear. Reportedly to German media „not even half of the countries want to join“. „Europol to cooperate with new European intelligence service center“ weiterlesen
Europol’s Internet Referral Unit is more active than had previously been known. The partnership with the internet industry is now to be expanded further, with the aim of establishing a Joint Referral Platform for the police and private companies and developing “counter-narratives”.
A document posted online by the British civil-rights organisation Statewatch provides new information about the Internet Referral Unit set up at Europol in The Hague. It states that the unit has already found, analysed and assessed 7364 pieces of suspected terrorist and extremist material online. In 6399 cases, Europol asked internet companies to remove the content, and was successful in 95% of cases. Much lower figures had been given by the European Commission in a communication five weeks ago. The content was found across at least 45 different platforms, according to the communication. „“Terrorist material” online: further successful removal requests by Europol“ weiterlesen
Last week, the European Commission published its proposal to recast the EURODAC Regulation, which includes plans for longer storage periods, an expansion of data categories and comparison capabilities, and mandatory fingerprinting and photographing. To date, EURODAC has been used for comparison of fingerprints.
Now the system is also to store facial images and facial recognition capabilities are to be added. There are two different search options. When checks are taking place, people’s images can be compared with available personal data to verify their identity (known as 1:1 matching). However, it is also possible to search for a face in the entire database (1:n). „EU adds facial recognition capabilities to police databases“ weiterlesen
For the interim period, an Israeli model is to be leased; over the next ten years, European arms companies are to develop a competitive “Euro-drone”
The German Bundeswehr has now selected a model of combat drone for future use. It plans to lease “three to five” of the latest “TP” version (Block 2) of the Heron family of drones, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries. The prime contractor for the leasing arrangement is the Airbus Group, which entered into a teaming agreement with the Israeli manufacturer on marketing in Europe.
The selection decision is initially a “bridging solution” for a ten-year period. The Federal Government is planning the development by 2025 of a “European solution” for drones which can be armed. After several attempts, the governments of Germany, France and Italy have agreed on a preliminary study for a long-range drone of this kind. The arms companies Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi have been tasked with carrying out this “multilateral drone project”. Spain has since also joined the project. „German Bundeswehr to gain combat drones“ weiterlesen
The European Union is discussing access by law enforcement authorities to encrypted communications in a number of papers, working groups and new cooperation forums. The “crypto debate” begun around a year ago on ways to circumvent encryption or access protected communication has gained new momentum.
Most recently, the Luxembourg Council Presidency sent out a paper setting out the challenges posed by “Internet communication channels and multiple social media” to the Member States. The paper expresses the view that new “encryption based technologies” are increasingly hampering or rendering impossible effective investigations. According to this paper, these technologies are of particular significance not only in the area of “counter-terrorism policies”, but also of “anti-radicalisation measures”. „EU puts circumvention of encryption back on the agenda“ weiterlesen
As „the world’s first exit program for the intelligence community“ the campaign Intelexit started last month. Employees from the secret services like the National Security Agency (NSA), the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) are to be supported to leave the institutions. A video with Bruce Schneier and Thomas Drake, the Vienna-based therapist Angelika Schneider and the former Stasi officer Walter Eichner explains the backgrounds, a flyer gives more details.
Intelexit is directed to all employees, not only those who work on surveillance programs or take part in drone wars. Concerned people, who see themselves in moral conflicts, should be helped to receive counselling, therapy and legal support. Those who have hesitations, can try a selftest on the campaigns website.
This interview was conducted with some of the organisers briefly before the start of the campaign. „Campaign Intelexit: „Exit path back to democracy“ for members of the intelligence community in moral conflicts“ weiterlesen
On Thursday 16 January around 600 people in Leipzig took part in a spontaneous demonstration against racism focused on the murder of Khaled Idris Bahray, a 20-year-old Ertirean refugee who was found stabbed to death two days earlier in Dresden, the capital of the federal state Saxony. 
His friends had made posts on Facebook saying that the injuries he suffered led them to guess it was murder, but the police initially claimed they did not consider there to be any third-party responsibility for his death. The next day, 30 hours later, a spokesperson for the police reported that when washing the corpse they found several wounds, probably inflicted by a knife, and from which he probably died. The crime scene was until that point not secured or thoroughly investigated. „Mass confiscation of mobile phones by police after spontaneous anti-rascist demonstration“ weiterlesen
The German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) instructed the authorities of multiple North African and Middle Eastern countries in internet surveillance in the years running up to the Arab Spring, according to information released by the German government following questioning by Die Linke (Left Party) in April 2013.  Training in Tunisia and Egypt occurred shortly before the revolts in those countries, where control of the internet played a key role in allowing the government to undermine the uprisings.
Participants in the BKA-run courses were secret service-like police forces, such as the Egyptian State Security Service („Staatssicherheitsdienst“). Agencies from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Algeria also benefited from the seminars. Furthermore, Moroccan agencies received material aid including, among other things, police analytic software developed by IBM. „German police instructed Tunisia and Egypt on internet surveillance prior to revolutions“ weiterlesen
The „solidarity clause“, known more formally as Article 222 of the Lisbon Treaty, regulates the use of police, secret service and military means in case of a crisis within the EU. The EU Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy issued a proposal in December for the legal implementation of the clause. 
When the clause is implemented, Member States and EU institutions will be bound to assist one another in the case of a disaster („any situation, which has or may have an adverse impact on people, the environment or property,“ according to the Commission’s proposal) or terrorist attack, as defined in the 2002 Council Framework Decision on combating terrorism. The clause determines that engagement in the territory of another state shall only be allowed at the „request of its political authorities“. „Implementing the „solidarity clause“: EU secret service to be reinforced?“ weiterlesen