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

EU Data Retention Directive: For a limited time period, but with option to be extended?

As the preventive retention of telecommunication data is illegal throughout the EU, the retention of data from individual countries or regions might be an option. This is discussed by the EU member states, documents from the Council and the German Federal Government reveal. A “renewable arrest warrant” could be created for this purpose.

The EU member states are currently discussing a possible new version of the Data Retention Directive. The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council has proposed the adoption of “renewable retention warrants” in the responsible Council Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection. The Estonian Presidency had already touched on this issue in the second half of 2017, albeit offering scant detail at the time. According to the German Federal Ministry of Justice, these “still very preliminary considerations” are also being examined by the German Government. EU Data Retention Directive: For a limited time period, but with option to be extended? weiterlesen

German Countdown for armed drones

The majority of the population in Germany is against the acquisition of armed drones; nevertheless a contract to procure them may soon be signed. The Social Democratic Party can still prevent the deal.

Before June 15th, the German Ministry of Defense plans to sign a contract to lease seven weaponizable drones. The deadline for concluding the lease agreement that was offered last year has once again been extended. The Airbus Group, the arms company that is the prime contractor in the drone procurement deal, confirmed this to the German Ministry of Defense. The previously agreed-upon price of around 900 million Euros will still be honored.

Acquisition of the drones, which are produced by the Israeli manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries, will be among the most important of the new German military procurements. German Countdown for armed drones weiterlesen

Dutch Review Committee sees shortcomings in cooperation between European secret services

The domestic secret services in Schengen states exchange real-time data on terrorism and operate a database of individuals. A Dutch review of the cooperation has revealed several deficits. The data protection commissioners in the member states involved thus need to work together to ensure oversight.

For almost two years, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has been cooperating with 29 European intelligence services on an “operational platform” in The Hague. The system belongs to the “Counter Terrorism Group” founded in 2001 by the “Club de Berne”, the informal group of domestic secret services of EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The services involved operate a real-time information system and a shared database. The focus is on Islamist terrorism. The authorities do not only cooperate virtually, but also send liaison officers to The Hague. Dutch Review Committee sees shortcomings in cooperation between European secret services weiterlesen