• Good Kill en VoD - Film de Andrew Niccol
    https://www.universcine.com/films/good-kill

    Le Commandant Tommy Egan, pilote de chasse reconverti en pilote de drone, combat douze heures par jour les Talibans derrière sa télécommande, depuis sa base, à Las Vegas. De retour chez lui, il passe l’autre moitié de la journée à se quereller avec sa femme, Molly et ses enfants. Tommy remet cependant sa mission en question. Ne serait-il pas en train de générer davantage de terroristes qu’il n’en extermine ? L’histoire d’un soldat, une épopée lourde de (...)

    #drone #militaire #aérien #surveillance #vidéo-surveillance

  • "Au Sahel, le spectre de la menace fantôme" + "L’armée française arme ses drones, mais le débat est confisqué" : 2 articles de Rémi Carayol sur Mediapart > Versions intégrales.
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/060920/au-sahel-le-spectre-de-la-menace-fantome

    Au Mali, où deux militaires français ont encore été tués, au Niger ou au Burkina Faso, les groupes djihadistes ont revu leurs pratiques en raison de la présence de drones armés par l’armée française. Mais la crainte de ce qui peut venir du ciel affecte aussi les populations civiles.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/060920/l-armee-francaise-arme-ses-drones-mais-le-debat-est-confisque
    "Officiellement, un drone de l’armée française a frappé pour la première fois le 21 décembre 2019 au Mali. Depuis, cela ne s’arrête pas. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact des frappes."

    "Au Sahel, le spectre de la menace fantôme - 6 sept. 2020 Par Rémi Carayol - Mediapart.fr"

    Au Mali, où deux militaires français ont encore été tués, au Niger ou au Burkina Faso, les groupes djihadistes ont revu leurs pratiques en raison de la présence de drones armés par l’armée française. Mais la crainte de ce qui peut venir du ciel affecte aussi les populations civiles.

    C’est la petite musique du moment : en dépit des nombreuses violences commises dans la région, y compris par les forces de sécurité alliées à l’armée française, et malgré le coup d’État qui a contraint le président malien à démissionner le 18 août, la France serait sur la bonne voie au Sahel.

    Responsables politiques et militaires se sont succédés ces derniers mois dans les médias pour assurer que depuis le sommet de Pau organisé en janvier dernier, « l’ennemi » djihadiste a subi de nombreuses défaites, que les résultats de l’opération Barkhane, qui mobilise 5 100 soldats, sont probants, et que les drones n’y sont pas pour rien. « Le choix d’armer les drones a ajouté aux moyens dont dispose Barkhane une capacité d’action d’opportunité, explique l’état-major. Au Sahel, ils permettent la saisie d’opportunités contre des groupes terroristes particulièrement fugaces. »

    De fait, et même si deux militaires français ont encore été tués samedi au Mali, les groupes djihadistes ont dû revoir leurs pratiques. Plusieurs sources locales affirment qu’ils se font plus discrets sur le terrain depuis qu’ils savent que des drones peuvent les frapper à tout moment. « Ils ne peuvent plus se regrouper par dizaines, voire par centaines comme avant, pour lancer des offensives, affirme un très bon connaisseur de ces groupes et du Mali. Ils craignent d’être repérés et frappés par des drones. »

    Mais cette psychose ne touche pas seulement les combattants armés. Les civils aussi en sont la proie. Au Mali, au Niger ou encore au Burkina Faso, la nouvelle donne n’a pas échappé aux habitants des zones dans lesquelles la France mène des opérations militaires : eux aussi savent que celle-ci dispose désormais de drones armés, capables de frapper à tout moment. « C’est inquiétant, indique le chef d’un village du centre du Mali ayant requis l’anonymat, comme l’ensemble des habitants de cette zone en partie contrôlée par les djihadistes. Les avions, on les entend venir. Mais les drones, on ne les voit pas, on ne les entend pas, on ne sait pas d’où ils sortent. Ils représentent une menace permanente. »

    Un spécialiste de cette région, qui s’y rend régulièrement dans le cadre de ses missions pour une ONG, a constaté cette crainte naissante. « La peur des populations a décuplé depuis l’utilisation des drones armés », affirme-t-il. Elle les a poussées à changer leurs habitudes. « Avant, lorsque les djihadistes venaient dans un village, au marché ou au puits, ils attiraient une foule de curieux. Maintenant, les civils les évitent, car ils savent que les drones peuvent frapper à tout moment. Mais les djihadistes en sont conscients et ils font en sorte d’être souvent au contact des populations dans le but de s’en servir comme de boucliers humains. »

    Autre nouveauté : « Avant, lorsqu’il y avait une frappe quelque part, les populations voisines s’y rendaient dans les heures qui suivaient afin d’enterrer les personnes tuées, selon la tradition. Elles n’avaient rien à craindre. Mais, aujourd’hui, elles n’y vont plus, de peur d’être elles aussi victimes des bombes françaises. Elles savent qu’un drone peut rester sur place après une frappe. »

    L’une d’elles a particulièrement marqué les esprits. Les 6 et 7 février, Barkhane a, selon un communiqué officiel, « conduit une opération d’opportunité à l’ouest du Gourma ayant abouti à la neutralisation d’une vingtaine de terroristes ainsi qu’à la destruction de plusieurs véhicules ». Cette opération « a mobilisé ses moyens aériens sur très court préavis », dont un drone. Or, selon plusieurs témoignages recueillis par Mediapart, la frappe du 7 février aurait tué de nombreux civils.

    Ce jour-là, des habitants de la zone se trouvaient à Fatawada, un campement nomade situé dans les environs de Gossi, et étaient sur le point d’aller récupérer les corps des djihadistes tués la veille (dans le but de procéder à leur inhumation) lorsqu’ils auraient été ciblés à leur tour par un drone. Certaines sources parlent de plusieurs dizaines de morts, parmi lesquels des femmes et des enfants.

    Difficile à vérifier dans cette zone inaccessible, l’information est relayée par de nombreuses sources locales et prise au sérieux par la mission des Nations unies au Mali (Minusma). Sollicité par Mediapart en mars dernier, l’état-major avait réfuté ces accusations.

    Selon une source onusienne, cette frappe a choqué les populations et leur aurait fait prendre conscience de la menace que font désormais peser les drones sur leurs propres vies. « La connaissance des drones est très fluctuante sur le terrain, mais les populations se savent “surveillées” », souligne cette source basée à Bamako.

    Jamais la question des conséquences sur les civils survolés par des drones n’a été abordée en France. Dans les rares rapports publics consacrés à l’armement des drones, seuls les aspects stratégique et éthique sont abordés, et seulement du point de vue français. Pourtant, le retour d’expérience des États-Unis en Afghanistan, au Pakistan et au Yémen a montré à quel point l’utilisation de drones armés pouvait être néfaste pour les populations civiles.

    Dans une étude publiée en avril 2016 par l’Oxford Research Group, intitulée « Drone Chic », trois chercheurs constatent que l’usage de drones armés au Pakistan et en Afghanistan a eu « des conséquences profondes » pour les populations au sol. Il a « changé les pratiques culturelles et provoqué des troubles psychologiques », notent-ils. Parmi ces troubles : anxiété, insomnie, paranoïa… Dans ces pays, un ciel bleu est synonyme de danger.

    Le philosophe Grégoire Chamayou, qui s’est intéressé de près à la question des drones tueurs américains dans un ouvrage remarqué (et très peu apprécié des militaires), Théorie du drone (La Fabrique éditions, 2013), note, en citant plusieurs études et reportages, que « les drones pétrifient. Ils produisent une terreur de masse, infligée à des populations entières. C’est cela, outre les morts et les blessés, les décombres, la colère et les deuils, l’effet d’une surveillance létale permanente : un enfermement psychique, dont le périmètre n’est plus défini par des grilles, des barrières ou des murs, mais par les cercles invisibles que tracent au-dessus des têtes les tournoiements sans fin de miradors volants ».

    Et de citer David Rohde, journaliste du New York Times qui fut kidnappé et détenu pendant sept mois au Waziristan en 2008. Celui-ci parle d’un « enfer sur terre » à cause des drones : « Le bourdonnement lointain du moteur sonne comme le rappel constant d’une mort imminente. »

    Ces conséquences ne sont pas seulement dommageables d’un point de vue moral. Elles interrogent quant à l’intérêt stratégique de procéder à ce type de frappes et sur leurs effets à long terme.

    Chamayou note que « la chasse à l’homme dronisée représente le triomphe, à la fois pratique et doctrinal, de l’antiterrorisme sur la contre-insurrection. Dans cette logique, le décompte des morts, la liste des trophées de chasse se substituent à l’évaluation stratégique des effets politiques de la violence armée ». Or, si les drones excellent à « pulvériser des corps à distance », ils sont « inaptes à gagner les “cœurs et les esprits” » – le b.a.-ba de toute stratégie contre-insurrectionnelle, qui est aussi une composante non négligeable de l’opération Barkhane.

    Alors que des militaires français tentent depuis plusieurs années, à travers des micro-projets (construction d’un puits ou d’un marché, don de matériel ou promulgation de soins gratuits, etc.), de « séduire » les populations sahéliennes dans le but de les faire basculer de leur côté, les frappes de drones pourraient aboutir à l’effet inverse.

    "L’armée française arme ses drones, mais le débat est confisqué – Médiapart – 6/9/2020 – Rémi Carayol"

    Officiellement, un drone de l’armée française a frappé pour la première fois le 21 décembre 2019 au Mali. Depuis, cela ne s’arrête pas. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact des frappes.
    Au centre du Mali, dans les villages les plus reculés du Gourma, plus personne, y compris ceux qui sont dépourvus d’électricité et parfois de réseau téléphonique, ne l’ignore : les drones de l’armée française qui volent dans le ciel par jour de beau temps, invisibles à l’œil nu et inaudibles, ne se contentent plus de surveiller les allées et venues des combattants djihadistes ; désormais, ils frappent.
    Dans un silence de mort, sans que rien ne puisse alerter les populations au sol, ces engins pilotés depuis la base de Niamey, au Niger, lâchent des bombes de 250 kilos guidées par laser, des GBU-12, capables de tuer tout ce qui se trouve dans un rayon d’une dizaine de mètres autour de la cible. Précision : 9 mètres. Rayon d’action : 12,8 km.
    Mais qui, en France, s’en préoccupe ? Combien de Français savent que depuis plus de six mois, leur armée a rejoint le concert restreint des nations possédant des drones tueurs (on en compte une dizaine, parmi lesquelles les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, Israël, l’Arabie saoudite ou encore la Turquie), et qu’elle les utilise au Sahel au nom de la lutte antiterroriste ?
    La publicité, lors de l’annonce officielle de l’armement des drones le 19 décembre dernier, en pleine période de fêtes, a été minimale : un communiqué de la ministre des armées, Florence Parly, suivi de quelques articles sur le site du ministère et dans la presse spécialisée.
    Depuis, ça n’arrête pas : selon le journaliste Jean-Marc Tanguy, spécialiste des questions militaires, les avions de chasse et les drones déployés au Sahel auraient largué plus de GBU durant les quatre premiers mois de cette année que tout au long de l’année dernière, lorsque seule la chasse bombardait la zone. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact de ces frappes, ni même l’identité de leurs victimes. Les drones tuent, mais on ne sait pas qui, ni pourquoi.

    Cette opacité est le fil conducteur de l’histoire des drones en France : depuis que le débat sur leur armement est ouvert, tout est fait pour qu’il ne déborde pas sur l’espace public et reste confiné aux professionnels de la guerre.

    Alors délégué général pour l’armement, Laurent Collet-Billon avait annoncé la couleur en 2014 lors de son audition devant les sénateurs : « Une question majeure demeure : le second système de drone MALE [acronyme de « moyenne altitude longue endurance » – ndlr] doit-il être armable ou non ? N’ouvrons surtout pas le débat. L’important est de les obtenir vite. On verra le reste après ! »

    « Il s’agit d’une tradition bien française, il n’y a aucune transparence en ce qui concerne les sujets liés à la défense, et plus particulièrement les OPEX [opérations extérieures – ndlr], déplore Aymeric Elluin, responsable de plaidoyer Armes et Justice internationale au sein de la section française de l’ONG Amnesty International. On peut en débattre en petit comité, mais jamais devant l’ensemble des Français. Le Parlement n’a aucun pouvoir en la matière. Sur ce sujet, on a un siècle de retard par rapport à d’autres pays, notamment les États-Unis. »

    « Le fonctionnement de la France se rapproche de celui de la CIA, qui ne publie rien, et jamais ne confirme ou n’infirme une attaque », abonde Chris Woods dans un récent numéro de la revue XXI (no 46, hiver 2020). Cet ancien journaliste a créé Airwars, une plateforme qui recense toutes les attaques de drones armés et leurs victimes sur l’ensemble de la planète. Pour lui, « c’est un problème intrinsèque à l’armée française, qui demande une véritable prise de conscience ».

    C’est en 2013, après d’interminables tergiversations liées notamment à des divergences de vue entre l’armée de l’air et l’armée de terre, que la France s’équipe en drones MALE : des Reaper MQ-9 achetés aux États-Unis. Il s’agit alors de les envoyer au plus vite dans le ciel sahélien, où l’armée française se bat depuis le début de l’année. Et il n’est pas question de les armer – du moins pas publiquement.

    Les militaires y sont favorables, mais pas Jean-Yves Le Drian, l’inamovible ministre de la défense de François Hollande. « Il craignait des réactions négatives à gauche », estime un ancien de ses collaborateurs à l’hôtel de Brienne. Aucune étude ne le prouve, mais tout le monde est persuadé que l’emploi de drones armés est mal vu en France. L’exemple américain, médiatisé notamment par le film Good Kill, sorti en salles en 2015, et disséqué par le philosophe Grégoire Chamayou dans un ouvrage publié en 2013 (La Théorie du drone, La Fabrique éditions), fait figure d’épouvantail.

    Au fil des ans, les Américains ont fait du drone leur arme de prédilection. Leur armée mais aussi la CIA en possèdent des centaines, qui survolent en permanence les ciels de l’Afghanistan, du Pakistan, du Yémen et de la Somalie, et qui frappent très souvent, y compris des civils. Selon le Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), qui recense toutes les frappes de drones américains, entre 910 et 2 200 civils pourraient avoir été tués par des attaques de drones dans ces quatre pays ces quinze dernières années.

    En février 2013, un sénateur américain, Lindsey Graham, affirmait que les attaques de drones de la CIA avaient tué 4 700 personnes. « Parfois on frappe des personnes innocentes, ce que je déteste, mais nous sommes en guerre, et nous avons tué plusieurs hauts responsables d’Al-Qaïda », affirmait ce républicain. Airwars avance de son côté le chiffre de 2 214 civils tués en Syrie, en Irak, en Libye et en Somalie, par des engins américains, mais aussi turcs, saoudiens ou israéliens. Difficile dans ce contexte « d’employer une arme si décriée », admet Chris Woods, le fondateur de l’ONG.

    L’élection d’Emmanuel Macron en 2017 change tout. Quelques jours après son investiture, un rapport réalisé au nom de la commission des affaires étrangères, de la défense et des forces armées du Sénat ouvre la voie à l’armement des drones. Comme souvent au sein de cette commission, ses auteurs, Cédric Perrin et Gilbert Roger, recyclent tous les arguments avancés par les militaires. « C’est efficace, économique, et cela permet une meilleure protection des troupes », loue encore aujourd’hui Cédric Perrin, sénateur du Territoire de Belfort. Lors de leur enquête, ils ont auditionné la crème de l’armée et de l’industrie de guerre de la France : Safran, Airbus, Dassault… « On a aussi entendu Amnesty », ajoute le sénateur.

    « Avec un avion de chasse, on ne fait pas d’assassinat ciblé. Avec un drone, si »
    Mais personne n’est dupe : il s’agissait d’un plaidoyer sans équivoque en faveur de l’armement des drones. « Afin d’éviter de susciter des craintes infondées, notent les sénateurs, il convient, en premier lieu, de rappeler les points suivants : la France ne possède que quelques drones MALE (une douzaine à terme) et ce faible nombre interdit de facto d’opter pour la politique d’utilisation massive des drones armés qui est reprochée à certains pays [...] ; l’armée de l’air utilise les drones in situ et non à distance, ce qui relativise l’idée d’une guerre sans risques, à l’origine de nombreuses critiques ; tout comme pour les autres armes, l’utilisation des drones armés par nos forces se conformerait au droit international : respect des règles permettant l’entrée en conflit [...] et respect des règles du droit international humanitaire [...]. »

    La porte est ouverte, il suffit de la pousser. Quelques semaines plus tard, le 5 septembre 2017, à l’occasion de l’Université d’été de la défense organisée à Toulon, Florence Parly, qui estime que les enjeux « ont été parfaitement identifiés et expliqués » par les sénateurs Perrin et Roger, annonce sa décision d’armer les drones. « Les drones sont devenus des moyens incontournables dans les opérations que nous menons au Sahel », déclare-t-elle, tout en précisant que « les règles d’engagement pour les drones armés seront strictement identiques à celles que nous appliquons déjà ».

    Depuis lors, les militaires et les responsables politiques vendent le même « storytelling » : la France n’est pas les États-Unis, clament-ils, et l’on ne reproduira pas les excès constatés au Pakistan ou au Yémen. Selon le sénateur Perrin, l’armée française aurait des règles d’engagement plus rigoureuses et disposerait de meilleurs garde-fous – comme si l’armée américaine n’en avait pas.

    Plusieurs militaires contactés par Mediapart assurent que les règles d’engagement sont les mêmes pour un drone que pour un avion de chasse.

    Mais pour Aymeric Elluin, on oublie, en disant cela, de préciser que les caractéristiques du drone sont différentes de celles du Rafale : « Nous ne sommes pas opposés aux drones armés. Mais nous craignons des dérives. Avec un avion de chasse, on ne fait pas d’assassinat ciblé. Avec un drone, si. N’y a-t-il pas le risque, surtout au Sahel, de voir un glissement vers des pratiques inavouables qui ne respecteraient pas les règles des droits humains, comme des exécutions extrajudiciaires ? Le seul moyen d’éviter une dérive en la matière est de rendre transparentes la chaîne de responsabilité, les règles d’engagement et les enquêtes lorsqu’il y en a. »

    La France pratique depuis longtemps la peine de mort au Sahel – François Hollande ne s’en est jamais caché et Florence Parly ne l’a pas nié lorsque Amnesty l’a interrogée en novembre 2017 dans une correspondance privée.

    Une liste de « high value targets » (cibles de haute valeur) a été établie dès le début de l’opération Serval, menée au Mali entre 2013 et 2014, et ceux qui la composent, des chefs des différents groupes djihadistes, doivent être éliminés. De fait, plusieurs d’entre eux ont été tués ces dernières années, dont l’émir d’Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), Abdelmalek Droukdel, exécuté le 3 juin dernier au nord du Mali par des hommes au sol, et non par une frappe de drone.

    Présentés comme des succès militaires, ces assassinats ciblés n’en restent pas moins problématiques sur le plan éthique. Mais là aussi, les responsables politiques et militaires préfèrent ne pas en parler. Une étude consacrée aux « aspects juridiques et éthiques des frappes à distance sur cibles humaines stratégiques », et notamment au « niveau d’acceptabilité de ce type d’action », copubliée en mars 2014 par l’IRIS (Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques) et le ministère de la défense, avait pourtant abordé le sujet sous toutes ses coutures.

    On peut notamment y lire qu’aucune enquête d’opinion n’a été menée auprès de la population française au sujet des drones armés, pour deux raisons surprenantes : d’abord « parce qu’il n’est guère possible en six mois, avec des moyens réduits, de mener une telle enquête » ; ensuite parce que « le sujet est sans doute trop sensible pour prendre le risque d’aller recueillir les appréciations auprès d’un échantillon massif de citoyens sans déclencher des réactions éventuellement hostiles ».

    Autrement dit : les Français pourraient y être opposés et cela demanderait du temps et de l’argent, mieux vaut donc ne pas leur demander leur avis… Les auteurs de l’étude ont préféré plus confortablement enquêter auprès des « prescripteurs d’opinions » : partis politiques, journalistes spécialisés défense, responsables religieux et organisations de défense des droits humains. La plupart ont refusé de se prononcer.

    L’étude relevait tout de même un point important : « Même si la politique américaine est l’objet de la condamnation médiatique, il semble évident que les opérations que les forces armées françaises pourraient mener à l’avenir avec des outils similaires, risquent d’être assimilées à celles des États-Unis [...] et frappées du même opprobre si les armées ne mettent pas en place un certain nombre de mesures d’accompagnement de leur action. »

    Parmi ces mesures, l’étude, qui évoquait un besoin de transparence, proposait de renforcer le contrôle sur la prise de décision concernant l’utilisation de drones armés. Elle recommandait également de « prévoir une information du Parlement a posteriori et à huis clos, en prenant toutes les précautions requises en matière de discrétion ». Aucune de ces propositions n’a été adoptée.

    Le rapport du Sénat qui a ouvert la voie au ministère des armées pour armer les drones défendait lui aussi « la nécessité d’une certaine transparence ». Les sénateurs proposaient l’organisation d’un débat au Parlement sur la question – celui-ci n’a jamais eu lieu – et prônaient « une information régulière de la représentation nationale » – cela n’a jamais été fait.

    Afin de « prévenir certaines critiques infondées », ils jugeaient utile de « mettre en place des mesures de transparence », comme c’est le cas aux États-Unis et au Royaume-Uni. Ils enjoignaient aux autorités de « communiquer sur les frappes menées au cours de conflits », et, « en cas d’éventuel dommage collatéral d’ampleur causé par un drone armé », à « rendre publics les résultats des investigations menées » sur le terrain. « Un bilan des frappes, avec le nombre de combattants ennemis neutralisés et les éventuels dommages collatéraux, pourrait être périodiquement publié », détaillaient-ils.

    Or, depuis huit mois, le ministère des armées et l’état-major refusent de donner ces informations, même lorsqu’il y a une suspicion de victimes civiles, comme ce fut le cas au mois de février au Mali (lire ici l’enquête de Mediapart). Questionnée à de multiples reprises par Mediapart sur les circonstances dans lesquelles les drones français ont frappé au Sahel (lieu exact, contexte, cible, nombre de victimes, identité des victimes), l’institution militaire est restée muette.

    #Afrique #France #Sahel #Conflits #Drones_armés

  • Istres
    https://technopolice.fr/istres

    En avril 2018, il a été indiqué que la police municipale de la ville d’Istres s’était équipée de deux drones « équipés de caméras enregistrant en 4K qui transmettront en temps réel des informations extrêmement précises, permettant à la police d’identifier les auteurs de méfaits ». Les images prises par ces drones sont directement envoyées au centre de supervision urbain : « ces clichés visibles par l’agent-pilote seront diffusés en streaming avec une milliseconde de décalage sur les écrans des quinze (...)

    #algorithme #CCTV #drone #aérien #vidéo-surveillance #surveillance #LaQuadratureduNet #Technopolice

  • Inside Facebook’s new power grab
    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/facebook-power-grab

    From cables to internet cafes, Mark Zuckerberg is leaving his mark on the global South Mark Zuckerberg is not a man used to failure. He has built a $600-billion empire, buying up or crushing most would-be competitors and brushing regulators aside. When, in 2015, he personally headed up an effort – first called internet.org, then “Free Basics” – to help 3.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to the internet get connected, he might have expected praise for what he framed as (...)

    #Facebook #câble #drone #WiFi #domination #BigData #lobbying

  • Cannes
    https://technopolice.fr/cannes

    Vidéosurveillance Depuis 2011, la ville de Cannes multiplie le nombre de caméras de vidéosurveillance : 9 juillet 2011, la ville comptait 260 caméras (1/270 habitants) 16 octobre 2012 : 336 caméras (1/208 habitants) selon un article France 3. Dans un article du 21 février 2014, lors de la campagne de municipales, Cannes indiquait 422 caméras (1/176 habitants), dont « 299 sur la voie publique ». Le 2 juin 2015, un article Le Point indiquait que la ville comptait « 468 caméras Le 11 avril 2016, il a (...)

    #algorithme #capteur #CCTV #drone #verbalisation #anti-terrorisme #biométrie #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #conducteur·trice·s #COVID-19 #délation #masque #santé #surveillance #LaQuadratureduNet (...)

    ##santé ##Technopolice

  • The military is turning to Twitch to fix its recruitment crisis
    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/british-army-video-game-recruitment

    The armed forces have a complicated relationship with video games – but as recruitment numbers fall the military can’t resist one more turn In 2002, the United States military developed and released a free-to-play video game called America’s Army, a first-person shooter designed to give gamers a taste of life as a soldier. The early versions of the game focussed more on strategic gameplay than Call of Duty or other commercial titles, centring instead on things like the rules of engagement on (...)

    #USArmy #jeu #militaire #recrutement #drone

  • Les armées recrutent à coups de jeux vidéo de guerre
    http://www.slate.fr/story/194145/armees-recrutent-soldats-jeux-video-guerre

    L’initiative avait été un franc succès en 2002 pour l’armée américaine, qui réitère l’opération pour renflouer ses rangs. Et si un jeu vidéo avait le pouvoir de convaincre des jeunes d’entrer dans l’armée ? En 2002, les États-Unis en manque de jeunes recrues pour fut au rendez-vous : en trois ans, l’institution avait enregistré près de 40% d’engagement supplémentaire. Aujourd’hui, la situation se reproduit et les forces humaines viennent à manquer. Les armées américaine et britannique relancent donc ce (...)

    #USArmy #drone #jeu #militaire #recrutement

  • Violences : Gérald Darmanin veut pouvoir utiliser des drones pour identifier les casseurs
    https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/violences-gerald-darmanin-veut-pouvoir-utiliser-des-drones-pour-identifier-

    Le ministre de l’Intérieur a annoncé avoir « demandé à ses services de travailler à un cadre réglementaire » afin de permettre l’utilisation de ces drones. Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Gérald Darmanin, a évoqué lundi 24 août son souhait de « renforcer encore » les moyens des forces de l’ordre pour lutter contre les casseurs en marge des manifestations, notamment en utilisant des drones pour permettre leur identification. Revenant sur les incidents qui ont éclaté à Paris en marge de la finale de la Ligue des (...)

    #algorithme #CCTV #drone #aérien #vidéo-surveillance #sport #surveillance

  • I costi nascosti delle nuove “guerre remote” di Stati Uniti ed Europa

    Le forze occidentali sperimentano in Somalia e in Sahel un tipo di conflitto che non prevede l’invio di nutriti contingenti armati e utilizza al suo posto nuclei speciali, droni, contractors. Tra le controindicazioni un aumento delle vittime civili.

    Nel settembre 2019 membri di al-Shabaab, un gruppo terrorista con base in Somalia, hanno attaccato un convoglio italiano nella capitale Mogadiscio e la base militare statunitense di Baledogle. Due attacchi tanto imprevisti quanto sottovalutati. La ragione di questa analisi insufficiente dipende in gran parte dalla natura delle recenti azioni in teatri di guerra stranieri: Paesi come Stati Uniti e Italia dispiegano un numero limitato di forze per affrontare gruppi ribelli o terroristi, con l’obiettivo di contenere i costi per le proprie truppe. Gli attacchi, tuttavia, non andrebbero letti come un incidente isolato ma come sintomo di un problema più ampio. E dovrebbero spingere il governo statunitense e i vari governi europei coinvolti in conflitti esteri a rivalutare la presunta assenza di rischio, non solo per le proprie truppe ma anche per la stabilità dei Paesi oggetto di intervento a distanza.

    I due attacchi sono una perfetta illustrazione dei pericoli legati alla “guerra remota”, quella che si combatte quando l’intervento non avviene attraverso l’invio di grandi contingenti armati. La definizione è dell’Oxford Research Group (ORG), un istituto di ricerca con sede a Londra: secondo i ricercatori di ORG, guerra remota è “lo sforzo da parte di attori esterni di evitare il modello di contro-insorgenza (COIN) associato all’intervento statunitense in Afghanistan e Iraq e di focalizzarsi invece su altri modelli, quali l’invio di forze speciali, l’utilizzo di droni armati -l’arma simbolo di questo approccio-, il dispiegamento di contractors privati, l’assistenza attraverso il servizio di intelligence, l’invio di attrezzature e il training a milizie locali”.

    Paesi come Stati Uniti e Italia dispiegano un numero limitato di forze per affrontare gruppi ribelli o terroristi, con l’obiettivo di limitare i costi per le proprie truppe

    L’utilizzo di droni in particolare è legato all’interpretazione legale di “guerra globale al terrore”, applicata dagli Stati Uniti per giustificare uccisioni mirate in Pakistan, Siria, Yemen e Somalia. Non solo Usa, però: anche Israele, Turchia, Cina, Nigeria, Regno Unito, Francia e ora anche l’Italia fanno un uso globale di droni armati. Dan Gettinger del Center for the Study of the Drone a Washington riporta che la spesa per droni statunitense è salita del 21% nel 2018 rispetto al 2017. Phil Finnegan di Teal Group afferma che “la produzione globale di droni dovrebbe più che raddoppiare in un decennio, da 4,9 miliardi di dollari nel 2018 a 10,7 miliardi nel 2027, con un tasso di crescita annuo del nove per cento”. L’Unione europea intanto sta per lanciare il suo primo Fondo per la Difesa: se approvato dal Parlamento europeo, dovrebbe ammontare a circa 13 miliardi di euro in sette anni.

    Ma nessuna guerra può essere chirurgica, priva di costi ed efficace allo stesso tempo: portare avanti guerre remote può essere percepito come vantaggioso, ma ha delle ricadute che aggravano il bilancio dell’intervento. Sia in Sahel sia in Somalia, dove è in corso un peggioramento della situazione di sicurezza, esacerbato da altre dinamiche interne, è vitale per gli attori esterni che hanno scelto di intervenire farlo con una strategia coerente e che tenga conto soprattutto di quelli che sono i bisogni della popolazione locale.

    10,7 miliardi di dollari: il valore stimato del mercato dei droni nel 2027. Nel 2018 si è fermato a 4,9 miliardi

    Le forze italiane attaccate a fine settembre del 2019 facevano parte di EUTM Somalia, una “missione militare dell’Unione europea che ha il compito di contribuire all’addestramento delle forze armate nazionali somale (Somali National Armed Forces, o SNA)”. La Somalia è una delle aree d’intervento delle politiche di sicurezza e difesa (CSDP) dell’Unione Europea. Paul Williams del Wilson Center osserva che “per oltre un decennio, una dozzina di Stati e organizzazioni multilaterali hanno investito tempo, sforzi, attrezzature e centinaia di milioni di dollari per costruire un’efficace esercito nazionale somalo. Finora hanno fallito”. Lo SNA conta “circa 29mila unità sul suo libro paga” ma molti sono soldati fantasma e quando le forze della missione dell’Unione africana in Somalia (AMISOM) si ritirano dai territori “la sicurezza tende a deteriorarsi in modo significativo ed è al-Shabaab a colmare il vuoto”. Gravi problemi affliggono anche l’impegno del comando africano degli Stati Uniti (AFRICOM) nel Paese. Ella Knight di Amnesty International ha documentato almeno sei casi in cui si ritiene che gli attacchi aerei statunitensi in Somalia abbiano provocato vittime civili e tutto questo in un’area geografica limitata.

    Nessuna guerra può essere chirurgica, priva di costi ed efficace allo stesso tempo: portare avanti guerre remote ha ricadute che aggravano il bilancio delle operazioni

    Nel caso dell’intervento europeo e americano in Somalia le questioni aperte sono due: prima di tutto il training delle milizie governative locali ha portato a soprusi verso la popolazione, accrescendo paradossalmente la reputazione di al-Shabaab. Inoltre, la guerra remota attraverso droni ha fatto un numero ancora imprecisato di vittime civili, non riconosciute dagli Stati Uniti, contribuendo alla percezione negativa che la popolazione civile ha di questi interventi armati. In ultima istanza, anche le truppe (in questo caso italiane e statunitensi) sul territorio sono vittima di rappresaglie da parte di gruppi armati.

    Anche il Sahel è un teatro di conflitti, dove sempre più Paesi, non solo occidentali, stanno intervenendo con le tattiche della guerra remota. Ma anche qui il costo dell’intervento non è da sottovalutare. Il 25 novembre scorso in Mali due elicotteri delle forze armate francesi si sono scontrati, uccidendo tredici soldati. La presenza delle truppe francesi rimanda a quanto accaduto nel dicembre 2013: allora, truppe francesi sotto l’egida dell’Operazione Serval erano intervenute in Mali per fermare l’avanzata di milizie armate verso la capitale Bamako; l’operazione, conclusa con successo, aveva dato il via a un altro intervento francese nella regione. A partire dal 2014 l’Operazione Barkhane intende fornire supporto nel lungo termine all’intera regione.

    L’impegno internazionale sembra spesso esacerbare l’instabilità. L’abuso di Stato reale o percepito è un fattore alla base della decisione di unirsi a gruppi estremisti violenti

    La missione di stabilizzazione integrata multidimensionale delle Nazioni Unite in Mali (MINUSMA) è stata istituita nel 2013 anche al fine di addestrare le forze regionali della Joint Force G5 Sahel. L’Unione europea ha istituto tre missioni di sicurezza e difesa in Mali e Niger, e sta procedendo a una maggiore regionalizzazione della propria presenza attraverso le Cellule Regionali di Consiglio e Coordinazione (RACC).
    L’European Union Training Mission in Mali, in particolare, rientra nella definizione di assistenza a forze di sicurezza, in quanto fornisce addestramento militare a forze armate maliane. Tale contributo fa parte di uno sforzo più ampio per condurre operazioni a distanza nella regione: anche gli Stati Uniti hanno da poco costruito la base aerea 201 ad Agadez, un futuro hub per droni armati e altri velivoli. La presenza degli Stati Uniti nel Sahel è notevolmente aumentata negli ultimi anni, così come quella tedesca, britannica e italiana.

    In Niger la presenza militare straniera ha avuto impatti negativi sulla libertà di parola e molti leader dell’opposizione hanno lamentato la mancanza di controllo parlamentare

    L’impegno internazionale però sembra spesso esacerbare l’instabilità, come hanno affermato alcuni gruppi della società civile. International Alert riporta che tra giovani Fulani nelle regioni di Mopti (Mali), Sahel (Burkina Faso) e Tillabéri (Niger) “l’abuso di stato reale o percepito è il fattore numero uno alla base della decisione di unirsi a gruppi estremisti violenti. L’Unione europea sta attualmente addestrando truppe locali senza (però) esercitare pressioni sul governo di Bamako per introdurre riforme strutturali”. Proprio in Mali la questione è particolarmente problematica: secondo Abigail Watson dell’Oxford Research Group “forze armate e governo maliani sono accusati di favorire un gruppo etnico rispetto ad un altro”. Favorire un particolare gruppo all’interno di conflitti tra diverse etnie si è dimostrato essere estremamente dannoso per la sicurezza a lungo termine. Il governo nigerino ha accolto con favore la presenza di truppe statunitensi, purché contribuiscano allo sradicamento dell’attività terroristica nel Paese. La società civile in Niger però sembra diffidare di tale presenza. Un’inchiesta del Guardian nel 2018 segnalava che la presenza militare straniera ha avuto impatti negativi sulla libertà di parola e molti leader dell’opposizione hanno lamentato la mancanza di controllo parlamentare ogni volta che la presenza straniera è autorizzata. Gli Stati Uniti non hanno chiarito le loro intenzioni strategiche a lungo termine, mentre sia la Francia sia l’Ue lo hanno fatto: l’intenzione è quella di sostituire all’operazione Barkhane e alle missioni europee la G5 Sahel Joint Force. Non sembra tuttavia esserci un progetto strategico chiaro per il raggiungimento di tale obiettivo, il che porta inevitabilmente ad aspre critiche. Infine, come mostrano recenti ricerche, la “guerra dall’impronta leggera” ha comportato una serie di sfide che si riflettono su trasparenza e responsabilità pubblica. Come sottolineano Goldsmith e Waxman nel loro articolo “The Legal Legacy of Light- Footprint Warfare”, pubblicato da The Washington Quarterly nel 2016, “la guerra di impronta leggera non attira lo stesso livello di scrutinio congressuale e soprattutto pubblico rispetto a guerre più convenzionali”.

    Tra le considerazioni che i Paesi europei e l’Unione stessa dovrebbero fare è necessario inserire un dialogo costante con la società civile del Paese in cui si sta intervenendo, ma soprattutto una chiara definizione della strategia e un’analisi del tipo di guerra che si vuole condurre, tenendo conto dei rischi che questo comporta.

    https://altreconomia.it/guerra-remota
    #guerre #drones #Somalie #Sahel #expérimentation #drones #contractors #complexe_militaro-industriel #armes #guerre_à_distance #drones_armés #contractors #intelligence #milices

    ping @albertocampiphoto @wizo @etraces

  • Did you protest recently ? Your face might be in a database | Facial recognition
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/17/protest-black-lives-matter-database

    In the United States, at least one in four law enforcement agencies are able to use facial recognition technology. The implications are troubling In recent weeks, millions have taken to the streets to oppose police violence and proudly say : “Black Lives Matter.” These protests will no doubt be featured in history books for many generations to come. But, as privacy researchers, we fear a darker legacy, too. We know that hundreds of thousands of photos and videos of protesters have been (...)

    #Microsoft #Clearview #NYPD #FBI #IBM #Amazon #algorithme #CCTV #drone #activisme #biométrie #militaire #facial #reconnaissance #biais #discrimination #surveillance (...)

    ##bug
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1172b43c30f12d91234aa9a928d47e2705431b12/0_0_3108_1866/master/3108.jpg

  • Eurotunnel
    https://technopolice.fr/eurotunnel

    Description Eurotunnel (devenu Getlink en 2017) est la compagnie privée européenne concessionnaire de l’infrastructure du tunnel sous la Manche jusqu’en 2086 (ce qui comprend le ferroviaire et le ferry). La compagnie possède 650 hectares de terrain sur la commune de Coquelles, et met les grands moyens pour interdire l’accès à ses installations par les personnes étrangères. En 2016, on dénombrait 500 caméras, 300 vigiles, et 20 millions d’euros par an alloués à la sécurité. En juin 2016, deux drones (...)

    #Eurotunnel #CCTV #drone #algorithme #biométrie #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #frontières #surveillance # #PARAFE #aérien #LaQuadratureduNet (...)

    ##_ ##Technopolice

  • Paris
    https://technopolice.fr/paris

    Projet « Safe City » En mars 2017, il a été annoncé que la société Thalès voulait implémenter à La Défense sa solution « Safe City », également développée à Nice, pour en faire « le quartier d’affaires le plus sûr du monde ». Les technologies annoncées sont les suivantes : « caméras prédictives, détecteurs de coups de feu, capteurs de température ou encore détecteurs de présence » ainsi qu’un « logiciel de traitement intelligent de l’image qui permettra d’optimiser les bandes-vidéo captées par l’une des 1 200 (...)

    #Axone #RATP #Thalès #algorithme #capteur #CCTV #drone #smartphone #biométrie #aérien #facial #prédiction #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #comportement #mouvement #surveillance #ConseilConstitutionnel-FR #LaQuadratureduNet #LDH-France (...)

    ##Technopolice

  • « Xi Jinping : la société sous surveillance » – par Qiu Xiaolong, écrivain
    https://www.lopinion.fr/edition/international/xi-jinping-societe-surveillance-qiu-xiaolong-221176

    Le numéro un chinois n’a de cesse de renforcer le contrôle sur la population afin de d’assurer la stabilité politique et sociale du régime Ces dernières années, j’ai rencontré de plus en plus de difficultés pour retourner en Chine afin de mener des recherches liées à mes romans mettant en scène l’inspecteur Chen (publiés en France aux Editions Liana Levi). La principale raison ? Le renforcement et l’omniprésence de la surveillance dans le pays. Tout a commencé dès ma demande de visa pour laquelle je devais (...)

    #algorithme #CCTV #drone #Skynet #VPN #biométrie #censure #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #COVID-19 #santé #surveillance (...)

    ##santé ##TheGreatFirewallofChina

  • Villes
    https://technopolice.fr/villes

    Vous trouverez sur cette page la liste des projets Technopolice ayant eu lieu, ayant lieu ou devant bientôt avoir lieu en France. Comme nous le soulignons dans le Manifeste, ces projets pullulent sur tout le territoire, mettent en danger nos libertés, et le tout sans aucun débat public, cadre juridique ou autorités qui oseraient en interdire le développement : « Observatoire de la tranquillité publique » à Marseille, « Safe City » de Thalès à Nice et à La Défense, portiques de reconnaissance faciale (...)

    #algorithme #capteur #CCTV #drone #smartphone #SmartCity #vidéo-surveillance #enseignement #surveillance #Technopolice (...)

    ##LaQuadratureduNet

  • CBP Flew A Predator Drone Over Minneapolis Amid George Floyd Protests
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/krisholt/2020/05/29/cbp-predator-drone-minneapolis-george-floyd-aclu/#13d4fa5540fa

    Customs and Border Protection flew a Predator drone, which is commonly used in overseas military operations, over Minneapolis today, drawing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and others. Protests against police brutality have broken out in the city in recent days following the death of George Floyd, in which law enforcement officers were involved. The use of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which took off from Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, was first noted by Jason (...)

    #CBP #capteur #CCTV #drone #activisme #aérien #vidéo-surveillance #BlackLivesMatter #surveillance (...)

    ##ACLU

    • EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Trump Administration Is Bypassing Arms Control Pact to Sell Large Armed Drones
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