An audit report of the „Club de Berne“ finds serious deficiencies in the Austrian domestic intelligence service. Its IT systems were not approved for secret information. The authority should also ensure that it is not infiltrated by „extremist organisations“.
The Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism (BVT) is regarded as a security gap for European intelligence cooperation. This is the conclusion reached by the European „Club de Berne“ in an audit report. The document classified as „secret“ was leaked to the daily newspaper „Österreich“ and published.
Following an intervention by the government in Vienna, however, the editorial staff took essential parts offline again, and the public prosecutor’s office is now investigating for „treason of state secrets“. Netzpolitik.org was able to inspect the report, the authenticity of which was confirmed by the current Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Peschorn. It contains 156 „observations“, „recommendations“, „advice“ and „expectations“. „Secret document: „Club de Berne“ criticises member in Austria for possible extremism“ weiterlesen
In the Prüm Treaty, the police search for biometric data among EU Member States is significantly simplified. Under Austria’s leadership, the extension is now being examined for facial recognition. A corresponding Council decision could already be taken next year.
The European Union wants to make it much easier for the police to cross-check biometric data. This concerns mugshots or photographs that are stored in police databases after identification by the police. If an authority wants to determine the identity of a person using a photograph, each EU Member State must currently be contacted individually. It is therefore planned to set up a system that will allow data to be searched simultaneously in each country. „European Union plans borderless query of facial images“ weiterlesen
With the takeover of the sovereign border security, the Free State is also using new technology. The extraction of telephones is supposed to help in the detection of „smuggler networks“. Another application is „contactless identity verification“. The projects are perfecting the expansion of biometric EU databases.
Two years ago, the Bundestag passed the „law for better enforcement of the obligation to leave the country“. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) may now search mobile phones and other electronic devices of refugees in order to process their asylum applications. The information should help to determine their origin. The authorities evaluate, for example, the country codes of called telephone numbers and contacts and the domain endings of called websites. Geodata and the language used in text messages are also analysed. This practice could now be extended to border controls. „Border controls in Bavaria and Austria: Police to extract mobile phones“ weiterlesen
For four years, Austria is in charge of the EU network of special units. The head of the Cobra decided on a closer connection to the EU police agency. This also applies to military forces that assume tasks in the field of internal security.
The Network of European special units now has a permanent „Support Office“ at the Europol Police Agency in The Hague. The so-called ATLAS network has been based at Europol’s Anti-Terror Centre (ECTC) since 1 January. A corresponding decision was already taken in 2017, but only last October Europol concluded a contract with Austria’s Minister of the Interior Herbert Kickl. It regulates the tasks that Europol performs for the special units and is intended to guarantee the independence of the troops. For example, the office will not be financed by Europol, but by the EU funds earmarked for ATLAS.
The now opened „Support Office“ consists of permanent staff with management functions and police or gendarmerie officers from the member states will also be seconded to The Hague. The cooperation is to be evaluated by June 2020. „European Anti-Terrorist Force now coordinated at Europol“ weiterlesen
European special units have trained in seven EU member states for terrorist attacks. The aim of the exercise was to harden against „Islamist“ as well as „right-wing or left-wing ideologies“.
European special task forces held a Europe-wide exercise on Tuesday and Wednesday to deal with „terrorist situations“. The police units wanted to train the common approach to attacks and hostage-takings. According to the Ministry of the Interior of Baden-Württemberg, the individual scenarios were conceived „realistically based on past attack scenarios“.
The exercises were carried out via the ATLAS network, in which 38 special police units from all EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are organised. Founded after the attacks of 11 September 2001, the network has been part of the EU structures since 2008. „Europe-wide anti-terror exercise coordinated by Europol“ weiterlesen
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
Examination of several recently exposed cases suggests that the main targets of police public order operations are anti‐globalisation networks, the climate change movement and animal rights activists.
The internationalisation of protest has brought with it an increasing number of controversial undercover cross‐border police operations. In spite of questions about the legality of the methods used in these operations, the EU is working towards simplifying the cross‐border exchange of undercover officers, with the relevant steps initiated under the German EU presidency in 2007.
In October 2010 , “Mark Stone,” a political activist with far‐reaching international contacts, was revealed to be British police officer Mark Kennedy  prompting widespread debate on the cross‐border exchange of undercover police officers. Activists had noted Kennedy’s suspicious behaviour during a court case and then came across his real passport at his home. „Using false documents against “Euro-anarchists”: the exchange of Anglo-German undercover police highlights controversial operations“ weiterlesen