EU surveillance state

The EU is increasing the surveillance in its Member States. US authorities could soon also wiretap legally in Europe

The new European Parliament is to be constituted in September, after which the EU Commission will be re-elected. The governments of the member states use this phase to put far-reaching surveillance measures on track. This week the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers debated this on their Council meeting in Luxembourg.

Data retention is right at the top of the agenda. EU-wide, Internet and telephone providers are to be forced to store data on customers and their communications for years. If necessary, these could later be queried by police authorities or secret services. Although the European Union adopted a corresponding directive in 2006, it was declared invalid ten years later by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). As a result, many member states issued national regulations that differ in the depth of intervention or storage period. „EU surveillance state“ weiterlesen

Mass travel monitoring: 500 new posts for German Passenger Name Record system

EU-wide surveillance of air travellers is gathering pace. In the first year, the German BKA manually inspected tens of thousands of passengers after the automated screening. The authorities ordered follow-up measures for 277 passengers. These include arrests, open or discreet checks.

German authorities continue to look for personnel to implement the retention of passenger data. Of the more than 500 posts planned for the new system, around one third are currently occupied. This was written by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to questions on the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive.

The law passed in 2016 is intended to ensure comprehensive monitoring of air passengers. Airlines, travel agencies and other travel providers must transmit several dozen Passenger Name Records (PNR) to the responsible Passenger Information Unit (PIU) before each international flight. There they are stored and analysed in a Passenger Data Information System. The routinely processed information includes individual data, including name, address, flight connection, seat, meal requests or IP addresses. „Mass travel monitoring: 500 new posts for German Passenger Name Record system“ weiterlesen

Significantly more „Silent SMS“ with German police authorities

Police in Germany are a matter for the federal states, this also applies to the surveillance of telecommunications. In Schleswig-Holstein alone, local police departments send as many „Silent SMS“ as the Federal Police. A decision of the Federal Court of Justice should contain this practice, but a change is hardly recognizable.

German authorities are increasingly using mobile phones as a tracking device. This results from the semi-annual overview recently published by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to a parliamentary question. According to the report, the Federal Police sent 50,654 „Silent SMS“ in the second half of the year, compared with 38,990 in the previous half-year. Only the figures for the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) show a decrease. In the second half of the year, the authority sent 21,337 „Silent SMS“, about 10,000 fewer than previous. „Significantly more „Silent SMS“ with German police authorities“ weiterlesen

Arms companies benefit from migration in the English Channel

The market for border surveillance is booming. Two German companies are among the winners of the European policy sealing off their „blue borders“. The manufacturers of drones, radar systems and video surveillance can also be pleased.

Border authorities in France now observe ship movements in the English Channel with German technology. A ship tracking system near the port of Calais will be used. The system with the name „STYRIS“ was developed by Signalis and is located in a control centre at Cap Gris-Nez. Signalis is a merger of the armament groups Airbus and ATLAS Elektronik and specializes in the surveillance of maritime borders.

The British coastal town of Dover is only about 30 kilometres from the lighthouse at Cap Gris-Nez. More and more often, the British and French police report migrants trying to cross the English Channel in small boats. In 2018 French authorities counted 71 crossings, according to which 31 attempts failed. A total of 276 migrants successfully traversed the North Sea and 228 people were stopped. Since November, crossings had reportedly quadrupled. Most of the migrants came from Iran. „Arms companies benefit from migration in the English Channel“ weiterlesen

Study: Drones are mostly negatively associated

The German Aerospace Center is involved in numerous projects involving civil and military drones. The focus is increasingly on their use by authorities and organizations with security tasks. Reason enough for the institute to increase their acceptance. Drones should therefore remain more in the public discussion.

Women are rather sceptical about the civilian use of drones in Germany, while men predominantly agree with the use of the technology. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute for Applied Social Research (infas) on the acceptance of unmanned aerial vehicles.

For the representative survey, telephone interviews were conducted with 832 people aged between 14 and 94. Only 27% of the young interviewees expressed concern, while the figure for senior citizens was 65%. „Study: Drones are mostly negatively associated“ weiterlesen

Surveillance laboratory Südkreuz

Another pilot project to monitor travellers is starting at a Berlin train station.

The German Federal Police is testing the use of technology at Berlin’s Südkreuz railway station to detect and intervene in conspicuous behavior. Hazardous situations are defined for this purpose, which are then to be automatically identified with the aid of „intelligent video analysis systems“.

In response to a written question, the Federal Ministry of the Interior provides more detailed information on the six scenarios to be identified for the first time. For example, the technology should classify suitcases that stand around unattended for a long time as „suspicious objects“. Persons who behave conspicuously or enter blocked areas are also be reported. The software should count people on the platform and detect when a „mass of people“ spreads quickly. Finally, the camera operators should also have the option of marking people on the video with their faces, clothing or things they have with them so that the system can follow them over a longer period of time. All functions would be available in real time, but monitoring of people and crowds should also be possible in archive material. „Surveillance laboratory Südkreuz“ weiterlesen