• #Leonardo sbarca in #Somalia, la sua fondazione promuove l’italiano e addestra l’esercito

    Leonardo punta a rafforzare la propria presenza in Corno d’Africa e affida l’affaire all’ex ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti (Pd), alla guida della Fondazione Med-Or costituita dall’holding del complesso militare-industriale italiano per promuovere progetti di “cooperazione” e scambi culturali-accademici con i Paesi del cosiddetto Mediterraneo allargato (Med) e del Medio ed Estremo Oriente (Or).

    Il 21 dicembre 2021 è stato firmato a Roma un Memorandum of Understanding tra la Fondazione Med-Or e la Repubblica Federale di Somalia per la “promozione della lingua italiana in Somalia e il sostegno all’alta formazione, attraverso l’erogazione di borse di studio e corsi di formazione professionale”.

    A sottoscrivere l’accordo Marco Minniti e il Ministro degli Affari Esteri somalo Abdisaid Muse Ali, ma all’evento erano presenti pure il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Luigi Di Maio, il Ministro della Pubblica Istruzione somalo Abdullahi Abukar Haji e l’intero stato maggiore di Leonardo S.p.A., il presidente Luciano Carta (generale ritirato della Guardia di finanza), l’amministratore delegato Alessandro Profumo, il direttore generale Valerio Cioffi e Letizia Colucci, direttrice generale della Fondazione Med-Or.

    “La Somalia è un Paese strategico nei complessi equilibri dell’Africa Orientale ed è un partner fondamentale per noi nel Corno d’Africa”, ha dichiarato l’ex ministro Minniti. “L’interesse e l’impegno di Med-Or verso l’ex colonia italiana sono in linea con quanto fatto nel corso degli ultimi anni. Consolideremo la cooperazione in numerosi campi e le relazioni comuni, insieme alle istituzioni somale”.

    Il Memorandum firmato con la Repubblica di Somalia segue altri due progetti promossi e finanziati in Africa dalla Fondazione di Leonardo: il primo con la Mohammed VI Polytechnic University di Rabat (finanziamento di alcune borse di studio presso la LUISS “Guido Carli” di Roma, destinate a studenti provenienti dal Marocco); il secondo con la consegna alla Repubblica del Niger di una cinquantina di concentratori di ossigeno per alcune strutture sanitarie impegnate nell’assistenza a malati di Covid-19.

    La presenza a Roma alla firma dell’accordo di “cooperazione” dei massimi vertici di Leonardo S.p.A., conferma l’intenzione del gruppo di penetrare nel redditizio mercato dei sistemi d’arma del martoriato Corno d’Africa. Risale a tre anni fa l’ultima importante commessa nella regione, la fornitura al governo federale somalo di sistemi ATC – Air Traffic Control. Nello specifico, la controllata Selex ES Technologies Limited (SETL) con sede in Kenya, ha installato nel 2018 a Mogadiscio un Centro Nazionale ACC (Air Control Centre) per l’integrazione degli strumenti operativi di controllo aereo e tre torri radar in altrettanti aeroporti del Paese per un totale di 16 postazioni operatore, oltre a un sistema radio VHF e una rete satellitare.

    Una trattativa per la fornitura di un sofisticato sistema radar è in corso tra Leonardo e le autorità militari di Gibuti, la piccola enclave tra Eritrea, Etiopia e Somaliland, strategica per il controllo dello Stretto Bab El Mandeb che separa il Mar Rosso dal Golfo di Aden, principale rotta commerciale e petrolifera tra l’Asia e l’Europa.

    Il 30 gennaio 2020 i manager del gruppo italiano hanno accompagnato una delegazione della Repubblica di Gibuti (presenti tra gli altri il ministro della Difesa Hassan Omar Mohamed e l’ambasciatore a Parigi Ayeid Mousseid Yahya) in visita alla 4ª Brigata Telecomunicazioni e Sistemi per la Difesa Aerea e l’Assistenza al Volo dell’Aeronautica Militare di Borgo Piave, l’ente responsabile della realizzazione, installazione e manutenzione dei sistemi radar, di telecomunicazioni e radio assistenze al volo e alla navigazione aerea.

    “Gli ospiti sono stati accolti dal Comandante della 4ª Brigata, generale Vincenzo Falzarano”, riporta la nota dell’ufficio stampa dell’Aeronautica italiana. “La visita ha interessato il Sistema FADR (Fixed Air Defence Radar, modello RAT–31DL, prodotto da Leonardo, nda) che costituisce la struttura portante del sistema di Difesa Aerea. Il FADR è un radar di sorveglianza a lungo raggio (oltre 470 chilometri) e l’Aeronautica Militare, grazie alla sinergia con il mondo industriale nazionale, lo ha utilizzato per il rinnovamento tecnologico di dodici radar fissi a copertura dell’intero spazio aereo nazionale”.

    Come nel caso del Niger, la Fondazione Med-Or di Leonardo S.p.A. sembra voler privilegiare le regioni del continente africano dove operano stabilmente le forze armate italiane. In Corno d’Africa l’Italia è presente nell’ambito di due missioni internazionali, EUTM Somalia (European Union Training Mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces) e MIADIT.

    L’operazione EUTM ha preso il via nell’aprile 2010 dopo la decisione dell’Unione Europea di “contribuire al rafforzamento del Governo Federale di Transizione della Somalia attraverso l’addestramento delle Forze di sicurezza somale”. Inizialmente il personale militare UE era schierato in Uganda e operava in stretta collaborazione con le forze armate ugandesi.

    Furono costituititi un quartier generale a Kampala, una base addestrativa a Bihanga (250 km a ovest della capitale) e un ufficio di collegamento a Nairobi (Kenya). Quando le condizioni di sicurezza in Somalia sembrarono migliori, EUTM inaugurò un centro di formazione presso l’aeroporto internazionale di Mogadiscio (aprile 2013) e, dall’inizio del 2014, sia il quartier generale sia i centri addestrativi furono trasferiti in territorio somalo.

    “Focus iniziale della Missione EUTM è stato l’addestramento delle reclute somale e la formazione di istruttori delle Somali National Security Forces, capaci di gestire in proprio l’addestramento di sottufficiali e della truppa”, spiega il Ministero della Difesa italiano. “Con il crescente impegno della Comunità Internazionale e dell’UE nel processo di stabilizzazione del Corno d’Africa, è stato previsto un ulteriore sviluppo della missione. Dall’aprile 2015, con il 4° mandato, essa si è concentrata sempre più sulla componente legata alla consulenza operativa, logistica e amministrativa del Ministero della Difesa e dello Stato Maggiore somalo”. Dal 15 febbraio 2014 il Comando di EUTM è assegnato all’Italia e il contingente nazionale impiegato è di 148 militari e 20 mezzi terrestri.

    Dal 2013 le forze armate italiane sono impegnate pure nella Missione Bilaterale di Addestramento delle Forze di Polizia somale e gibutiane – MIADIT. “La missione è volta a favorire la stabilità e la sicurezza della Somalia e dell’intera regione del Corno d’Africa, accrescendo le capacità nel settore della sicurezza e del controllo del territorio da parte delle forze di polizia somale”, spiega ancora il Ministero della Difesa. “L’obiettivo a lungo termine è quello di rigenerare la polizia federale somala mettendola innanzitutto in grado di operare nel complesso scenario e successivamente, con i corsi training of trainers, portarla gradualmente all’autosufficienza formativa”.

    Il contingente nazionale impiegato è di 53 militari e 4 mezzi dell’Arma dei Carabinieri. I moduli addestrativi sono diretti a 150-200 agenti somali e gibutini alla volta e hanno una durata di 12 settimane.

    Le attività spaziano dall’addestramento individuale al combattimento, agli interventi nei centri abitati, alle tecniche di controllo del territorio e gestione della folla, alla ricerca e neutralizzazione di armi ed esplosivi. Sempre secondo la Difesa, gli istruttori dei Carabinieri hanno già addestrato oltre 2.600 unità appartenenti alla Polizia Somala, alla Polizia Nazionale e alla Gendarmeria Gibutiana, contribuendo inoltre alla ristrutturazione dell’Accademia di Polizia di Mogadiscio.

    https://www.africa-express.info/2021/12/24/leonardo-sbarca-in-somalia-la-sua-fondazione-promuove-litaliano-e-a

    #Italie #néo-colonialisme
    #Minniti #Marco_Minniti #Fondazione_Med-Or #complexe_militaro-industriel #Mediterraneo_allargato #Memorandum_of_Understanding #accord #langue #langue_italienne #formation_professionnelle #bourses_d'étude #Abdisaid_Muse_Ali #Luigi_Di_Maio #Abdullahi_Abukar_Haji #Luciano_Carta #Alessandro_Profumo #Valerio_Cioffi #Letizia_Colucci #Corne_d'Afrique #coopération #aide_au_développement #ATC #Air_Traffic_Control #Selex_ES_Technologies_Limited (#SETL) #ACC (#Air_Control_Centre) #radar #système_radar #Bab-el-Mandeb #Vincenzo_Falzarano #Sistema_FADR (#Fixed_Air_Defence_Radar) #RAT–31DL #défense_aérienne #Aeronautica_Militare #armée #EUTM_Somalia #European_Union_Training_Mission_to_contribute_to_the_training_of_Somali_security_forces #MIADIT #Bihanga #Nairobi #Somali_National_Security_Forces #Missione_Bilaterale_di_Addestramento_delle_Forze_di_Polizia_somale_e_gibutiane (#MIADIT) #training_of_trainers #formation #Carabinieri #police

  • Se questa è l’Europa. Una cortina di ferro per i migranti

    La Polonia costruirà da dicembre una barriera per fermare il flusso di profughi spinti verso il confine dal governo della Bielorussia. Negli ultimi 50 anni costruiti 65 muri di confine

    Non sarà facile, quando toccherà agli storici, spiegare che l’epoca dei muri non è più solo quella del Vallo di Adriano o il tempo del cinese Qin Shi Huang, l’imperatore padre della Grande Muraglia. Epoche in cui le fortificazioni servivano a proteggersi dalle incursioni armate. Non nel 2021, quando miliardi di euro vengono investiti per respingere nient’altro che persone disarmate.

    Il 60% delle nuove barriere è stato voluto per ostacolare le migrazioni forzate. Negli ultimi 50 anni (1968-2018) sono stati costruiti oltre 65 muri di confine. L’Europa (26%) è seconda solo all’Asia (56%). A oltre trent’anni dalla caduta del muro di Berlino, il 60% della popolazione mondiale (circa 4,7 miliardi di persone) vive in Paesi che hanno costruito un qualche argine contro i flussi di persone.

    Il centro studi ’Transnational Institute’ ha calcolato che solo dal 1990 al 2019 i Paesi Ue dell’area Schengen si sono dotati di oltre mille chilometri di recinzioni. E presto saranno più del doppio. La spesa totale ha sfiorato il miliardo di euro. A cui andranno aggiunti gli stanziamenti per i 508 chilometri di frontiera che la Lituania ha deciso di puntellare con pali d’acciaio e filo spinato. Come la Polonia, del resto, che con i lituani condivide l’affaccio sulla Bielorussia. Ieri la conferma: da dicembre il governo polacco costruirà una nuova barriera al confine. «È sconcertante quanto avviene in più luoghi ai confini dell’Unione. È sorprendente – ha detto ieri il presidente Sergio Mattarella – il divario tra i grandi principi proclamati e il non tener conto della fame e del freddo cui sono esposti esseri umani ai confini dell’Unione» .

    Per venirne a capo bisogna seguire i soldi. Tanti soldi. Si scopre così che il filo spinato e le armi per ricacciare indietro i poveri sono prima di tutto un colossale giro d’affari. A poco servono le inchieste amministrative e quelle penali sulle operazioni condotte da agenzie come Frontex, nata per supportare la sorveglianza dei confini esterni e finita accusata di malversazioni e di aver cooperato nelle operazioni più cruente nei Balcani, nel Canale di Sicilia e nell’Egeo. Entro il 2027 si passerà dagli attuali 1.500 a 10mila effettivi, di cui 7 mila distaccati dalle forze dell’ordine nazionali, e avrà nel bilancio un budget superiore alla maggior parte delle agenzie dell’Unione Europea: circa 5,6 miliardi di euro fino al 2027.

    Direttamente o attraverso consociate, beneficiano dei cospicui investimenti europei le più importanti aziende del comparto difesa: tra cui #Airbus, #Thales, #Leonardo, #Lockheed_Martin, #General_Dynamics, #Northrop_Grumman, #L3_Technologies, #Elbit, #Indra, #Dat-Con, #Csra, #Leidos e #Raytheon. Tra i principali beneficiari degli appalti per i muri le grandi firme dell’industria bellica. C’è #European_Security_Fencing, produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, utilizzato nelle recinzioni al confine con Spagna/Marocco, Ungheria/Serbia, Bulgaria/Turchia, Auanche stria/Slovenia, Regno Unito/ Francia. Poi la società slovena “#Dat-Con” incaricata di costruire barriere in Croazia, a Cipro, in Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina.

    E ancora il costruttore navale olandese #Damen, le cui navi sono state utilizzate in operazioni di frontiera da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, oltre che Libia, Marocco, Tunisia e Turchia. I francesi siedono al tavolo dei grandi appalti con “#Sopra_Steria”, il principale contraente per lo sviluppo e la manutenzione del Sistema d’informazione visti ( #Vis), il Sistema d’informazione Schengen (#Sis_II) e Dattiloscopia europea (#Eurodac). Poi di nuovo una compagnia spagnola, la #Gmv incaricata di implementare #Eurosur, il sistema europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere esterne.

    Prima di oggi le imprese hanno beneficiato del budget di 1,7 miliardi di euro del Fondo per le frontiere esterne della Commissione europea (2007-2013) e del Fondo per la sicurezza interna – frontiere (2014-2020) di 2,76 miliardi di euro. Per il nuovo bilancio Ue (20212027), la Commissione europea ha stanziato 8,02 miliardi di euro al Fondo per la gestione integrata delle frontiere; 11,27 miliardi di euro a Frontex (di cui 2,2 miliardi di euro saranno utilizzati per acquisire e gestire mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spesa totale (20002027) per le sue banche dati di identità e Eurosur (il sistema europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).

    Commentando le ultime notizie dalla frontiera orientale, il presidente della commissione Cei per i migranti, il vescovo Giancarlo Perego, ha usato parole che ben riassumono la deriva del continente dei muri: «Una sconfitta dell’umanesimo su cui si fonda l’Europa, una sconfitta della democrazia. L’Europa dei muri è un’Europa che dimostra di cedere alla paura, un’Europa in difesa da un mondo che cammina». Oppure, per dirla con Papa Francesco, le moderne muraglie sono «una cosa insensata, che separa e contrappone i popoli».

    https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/una-cortina-di-ferro-per-i-migranti

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

  • #Border_Profiteers. Corporations profiting from borders, detentions and deportations - Berlin edition

    This brochure has gathered a list of corporations that profit from deportations, from managing detention centers, from building fences, selling ships, drones or planes patrolling the Mediterranean, subcontracted security guards, providing data collection, border surveillance software, id control mechanisms, racist policy consultation, prison construction and any other form of oppression that limits peoples freedom of movement and right to stay.

    The external borders of Europe are not in Berlin, but the border regime is all around us. This regime consists of more than just the state. In capitalism, many forms of border oppression are subcontracted to corporations. Borders are very profitable. Therefore this market is dominated by huge multinational corporations. And since keywords of the European borders are militarisation and surveillance, the list of corporate border profiteers is full of the usual suspects that also profit from war, prisons and privacy infringement.

    The goal of this booklet is to promote action in Berlin and Brandenburg. Hence the focus is very much on companies that have an office in Berlin or action possibilities based on local struggles.

    List of Border Profiteers

    1. DEPORTATION COLLABORATORS
    #Lufthansa#Eurowings
    #Privilege_Style
    #Corendon_Airlines
    #Turyol / #Jalem_Tur
    #Enter_Air

    2. BORDER MILITARISATION
    #Airbus#Hensholdt
    #Otokar#Koç_Holding
    #Thales

    3. DETENTION INDUSTRY
    #European_Homecare
    #Pulsm#Morten_Group
    #Markgraf
    #Baukontor_Lange

    4. SURVEILLANCE SOFTWARE
    #Sopra_Steria
    #Cevision

    5. PRIVATE GUARDS
    #City_Schutz
    #Securitas
    #L&S_Sicherheit
    #Secura_Protect

    6. BORDER CONSULTANCY
    #McKinsey

    Quelques captures d’écran :

    https://noborderassembly.blackblogs.org/2021/04/14/new-brochure-border-profiteers

    Pour télécharger la brochure :
    https://noborderassembly.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/1214/2021/04/Border-Profiteers-berlin.pdf

    #profit #business #complexe_militaro-industriel #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #Allemagne #compagnies_aériennes #sécurité #détention_administrative #rétention #consultants #militarisation_des_frontières #renvois #expulsions #charter #Frontex

    #no_border_assembly #rapport

  • L’UE alloue 276 millions d’euros à la Grèce et appelle la Turquie à reprendre les migrants déboutés

    La commissaire européenne Ylva Johansson a appelé lundi, de l’île grecque de #Lesbos, la « Turquie à réadmettre d’urgence les migrants » renvoyés de Grèce, assurant par ailleurs que l’Union européenne allait allouer 276 millions d’euros à la construction de nouveaux camps d’accueil en #mer_Egée.

    La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures chargée des migrations s’est rendue sur place pour pousser le gouvernement grec à agir plus rapidement en vue de l’ouverture avant l’hiver prochain de tels camps sur cette île, ainsi que sur celles de #Samos, #Chios, #Leros et #Kos, et à améliorer les #conditions_d'hébergement des quelque 14.000 demandeurs d’asile qui s’y trouvent.

    Ylva Johansson a par ailleurs exhorté la Turquie « à réadmettre d’urgence les migrants » renvoyés de Grèce, tandis que les présidents de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen, et du Conseil européen Charles Michel se rendront à Ankara le 6 avril pour rencontrer le président Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Le ministre grec des Migrations Notis Mitarachi a rappelé lundi que la Grèce avait demandé à la Turquie de reprendre sur son territoire 1.450 personnes qui avaient été déboutées du droit d’asile sur les #îles grecques.

    La commissaire européenne a en outre souligné que « la question migratoire devait être européanisée » et qu’il ne fallait pas laisser les Etats membres aux #frontières_extérieures de l’UE seuls face à la gestion de cette crise. Elle a jugé « impératif » de trouver « de nouvelles #solutions_politiques » pour partager le #fardeau entre les pays européens, estimant que « depuis trois ans, il n’y a pas eu de progrès » en ce sens. Elle a dit « comprendre » que « la patience a ses limites » et qu’à Lesbos, notamment, "la limite était « proche ».

    Illustration de la #colère des insulaires, Ylva Johansson a été confrontée à la fronde de 300 habitants de Lesbos qui ont manifesté devant le bâtiment où se déroulait sa conférence de presse pour s’opposer à la mise en place d’un nouveau camp.

    « Non aux structures sur l’île », pouvait-on lire sur une banderole déployée avant l’arrivée de la commissaire européenne et du ministre grec des Migrations. Lors de la même conférence de presse, Notis Mitarachi a annoncé que les camps de Samos, Kos et Leros ouvriraient d’ici trois mois. Les autres avant décembre 2021, a-t-il dit à l’AFP.

    Le gouvernement avait promis il y a longtemps un nouveau camp pour remplacer celui de #Moria, détruit en septembre dans un incendie, mais sa construction s’était heurtée à l’opposition de la population et des autorités locales, lassées par la présence des demandeurs d’asile sur leur île depuis la crise migratoire de 2015. Le nouveau camp de Lesbos doit voir le jour dans la localité de #Pali, à une demi-heure de route de la capitale de cette île, Mytilène. Depuis l’incendie de Moria, quelque 8.000 migrants sont toujours regroupés dans des installations provisoires où leurs #conditions_de_vie ont été extrêmement difficiles cet hiver.

    La Grèce doit enquêter

    Interrogée sur les accusations de refoulements de migrants par les garde-côtes grecs en mer Egée, Ylva Johansson a estimé que « la Grèce peut faire plus en matière d’investigations ».

    « Il y a des cas particuliers qui, je le pense vraiment, doivent être examinés de près », a-t-elle exhorté, se disant « très préoccupée » par les rapports établis par le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés de l’ONU.
    « Nous devons protéger nos frontières extérieures et nous devons protéger les droits fondamentaux, cela va de pair, ce n’est pas une contradiction », a-t-elle poursuivi.

    Les autorités grecques ont été accusées ces derniers mois par des ONG et dans des enquêtes parues dans de nombreux médias d’avoir forcé des migrants présents en mer Egée à retourner dans les eaux territoriales turques sans déposer de demandes d’asile en Grèce, en violation du droit international. « Nous n’avons pas renvoyé de bateaux. Nous avons empêché des bateaux d’entrer sur le territoire grec et européen, ce qui est permis », avait récemment assuré dans un entretien avec l’AFP Notis Mitarachi.

    Lundi, il a de nouveau apporté un démenti à ce sujet, insistant sur le fait que des enquêtes menées par l’Union européenne et l’agence Frontex n’avaient conclu à « aucune infraction à des droits fondamentaux dans les cas qui ont été examinés ».

    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1256960/lue-va-allouer-276-millions-deuros-pour-la-construction-de-camps-de-m

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #UE #EU #aide_financière #déboutés #Turquie #réadmission #camps_de_réfugiés #nouveaux_camps #encampement #européanisation

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • EU : One step closer to the establishment of the ’#permission-to-travel' scheme

    The Council and Parliament have reached provisional agreement on rules governing how the forthcoming #European_Travel_Information_and_Authorisation System (#ETIAS) will ’talk’ to other migration and policing databases, with the purpose of conducting automated searches on would-be travellers to the EU.

    The ETIAS will mirror systems such as the #ESTA scheme in the USA, and will require that citizens of countries who do not need a #visa to travel to the EU instead apply for a “travel authorisation”.

    As with visas, travel companies will be required to check an individual’s travel authorisation before they board a plane, coach or train, effectively creating a new ’permission-to-travel’ scheme.

    The ETIAS also includes a controversial #profiling and ’watchlist’ system, an aspect not mentioned in the Council’s press release (full-text below).

    The rules on which the Council and Parliament have reached provisional agreement - and which will thus almost certainly be the final text of the legislation - concern how and when the ETIAS can ’talk’ to other EU databases such as #Eurodac (asylum applications), the #Visa_Information_System, or the #Schengen_Information_System.

    Applicants will also be checked against #Europol and #Interpol databases.

    As the press release notes, the ETIAS will also serve as one of the key components of the “interoperability” scheme, which will interconnect numerous EU databases and lead to the creation of a new, biometric ’#Common_Identity_Repository' on up to 300 million non-EU nationals.

    You can find out more about the ETIAS, related changes to the Visa Information System, and the interoperability plans in the Statewatch report Automated Suspicion: https://www.statewatch.org/automated-suspicion-the-eu-s-new-travel-surveillance-initiatives

    –------

    The text below is a press release published by the Council of the EU on 18 March 2020: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/03/18/european-travel-information-and-authorisation-system-etias-council-

    European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS): Council Presidency and European Parliament provisionally agree on rules for accessing relevant databases

    The Council presidency and European Parliament representatives today reached a provisional agreement on the rules connecting the ETIAS central system to the relevant EU databases. The agreed texts will next be submitted to the relevant bodies of the Council and the Parliament for political endorsement and, following this, for their formal adoption.

    The adoption of these rules will be the final legislative step required for the setting up of ETIAS, which is expected to be operational by 2022.

    The introduction of ETIAS aims to improve internal security, prevent illegal immigration, protect public health and reduce delays at the borders by identifying persons who may pose a risk in one of these areas before they arrive at the external borders. ETIAS is also a building bloc of the interoperability between JHA databases, an important political objective of the EU in this area, which is foreseen to be operational by the end of 2023.

    The provisionally agreed rules will allow the ETIAS central system to perform checks against the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS), the Entry/Exit System (EES), Eurodac and the database on criminal records of third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN), as well as on Europol and Interpol data.

    They allow for the connection of the ETIAS central system to these databases and set out the data to be accessed for ETIAS purposes, as well as the conditions and access rights for the ETIAS central unit and the ETIAS national units. Access to the relevant data in these systems will allow authorities to assess the security or immigration risk of applicants and decide whether to issue or refuse a travel authorisation.
    Background

    ETIAS is the new EU travel information and authorisation system. It will apply to visa-exempt third country nationals, who will need to obtain a travel authorisation before their trip, via an online application.

    The information submitted in each application will be automatically processed against EU and relevant Interpol databases to determine whether there are grounds to refuse a travel authorisation. If no hits or elements requiring further analysis are identified, the travel authorisation will be issued automatically and quickly. This is expected to be the case for most applications. If there is a hit or an element requiring analysis, the application will be handled manually by the competent authorities.

    A travel authorisation will be valid for three years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first. For each application, the applicant will be required to pay a travel authorisation fee of 7 euros.

    https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/march/eu-one-step-closer-to-the-establishment-of-the-permission-to-travel-sche

    #interopérabilité #base_de_données #database #données_personnelles #migrations #mobilité #autorisations #visas #compagnies_de_voyage #VIS #SIS #EU #UE #union_européenne #biométrie

    ping @etraces @isskein @karine4

    • L’UE précise son futur système de contrôle des voyageurs exemptés de visas

      Les modalités du futur système de #contrôle_préalable, auquel devront se soumettre d’ici fin 2022 les ressortissants de pays tiers pouvant se rendre dans l’Union #sans_visa, a fait l’objet d’un #accord annoncé vendredi par l’exécutif européen.

      Ce dispositif, baptisé ETIAS et inspiré du système utilisé par les Etats-Unis, concernera les ressortissants de plus de 60 pays qui sont exemptés de visas pour leurs courts séjours dans l’Union, comme les ressortissants des Etats-Unis, du Brésil, ou encore de l’Albanie et des Emirats arabes unis.

      Ce système dit « d’information et d’autorisation », qui vise à repérer avant leur entrée dans l’#espace_Schengen des personnes jugées à #risques, doit permettre un contrôle de sécurité avant leur départ via une demande d’autorisation sur internet.

      Dans le cadre de l’ETIAS, les demandes en ligne coûteront 7 euros et chaque autorisation sera valable trois ans pour des entrées multiples, a indiqué un porte-parole de la Commission.

      Selon les prévisions, « probablement plus de 95% » des demandes « donneront lieu à une #autorisation_automatique », a-t-il ajouté.

      Le Parlement européen avait adopté dès juillet 2018 une législation établissant le système ETIAS, mais dans les négociations pour finaliser ses modalités opérationnelles, les eurodéputés réclamaient des garde-fous, en le rendant interopérable avec les autres systèmes d’information de l’UE.

      Eurodéputés et représentants des Etats, de concert avec la Commission, ont approuvé jeudi des modifications qui permettront la consultation de différentes #bases_de_données, dont celles d’#Europol et d’#Interpol, pour identifier les « menaces sécuritaires potentielles, dangers de migration illégale ou risques épidémiologiques élevés ».

      Il contribuera ainsi à « la mise en oeuvre du nouveau Pacte (européen) sur la migration et l’asile », a estimé le porte-parole.

      « Nous devons savoir qui franchit nos #frontières_extérieures. (ETIAS) fournira des #informations_préalables sur les voyageurs avant qu’ils n’atteignent les frontières de l’UE afin d’identifier les risques en matière de #sécurité ou de #santé », a souligné Ylva Johansson, commissaire aux affaires intérieures, citée dans un communiqué.

      Hors restrictions dues à la pandémie, « au moins 30 millions de voyageurs se rendent chaque année dans l’UE sans visa, et on ne sait pas grand chose à leur sujet. L’ETIAS comblera cette lacune, car il exigera un "#background_check" », selon l’eurodéputé Jeroen Lenaers (PPE, droite pro-UE), rapporteur du texte.

      L’accord doit recevoir un ultime feu vert du Parlement et des Vingt-Sept pour permettre au système d’entrer en vigueur.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/190321/l-ue-precise-son-futur-systeme-de-controle-des-voyageurs-exemptes-de-visas
      #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes

  • Giant iceberg breaks off Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica (https://www...
    https://diasp.eu/p/12535839

    https://www.esa.int/var/esa/storage/images/esa_multimedia/images/2021/03/giant_iceberg_breaks_off_brunt_ice_shelf_in_antarctica/23184236-10-eng-GB/Giant_iceberg_breaks_off_Brunt_Ice_Shelf_in_Antarctica_card_full.gif

    Giant iceberg breaks off Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica

    Image: New Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar images show a giant iceberg breaking off from the northern section of Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf

    #news #space #science #esa #europeanspaceagency posted by pod_feeder_v2

  • Democratic Societies in the Digital Age 1 : Mass Surveillance and Facial Recognition
    https://edps.europa.eu/democratic-societies-digital-age-1-mass-surveillance-and-facial-recognit

    Do All Roads Lead to Datocracy ? Our generation sees the development and deployment of disruptive technologies at a high rate in contexts affecting both everyday life on an individual level and the functioning of democracies. The European Union takes pride in advocating for democratic values and fundamental rights, among which we find digital rights. Yet, upholding these is a constant struggle and therefore individual and societal data protection concerns are now more tangible than ever. (...)

    #biométrie #facial #législation #reconnaissance #surveillance #EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi

  • European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City

    The #European_Action_Coalition_for_the_Right_to_Housing_and_to_the_City is a convergence process between movements from different cities in several european countries fighting for the respect of these fundamental rights. After having campaigned independently for years, those movements (groups and, social movements composed by tenants, slum/ self-built neighborhoods dwellers, squat residents, victims of inadequate housing, victims of eviction or affected by indebtedness, professionals and researchers) felt the need to gather in order to strengthen this fight to take common action and common positions on European Housing issues.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pbvn5F5r6A&feature=emb_logo

    https://housingnotprofit.org

    #logement #droit_au_logement #villes #urban_matter #résistance #luttes #Europe #expulsions #crise_du_logement #spéculation #droits_humains

    ping @karine4

  • How the Pandemic Turned Refugees Into ‘Guinea Pigs’ for Surveillance Tech

    An interview with Dr. Petra Molnar, who spent 2020 investigating the use of drones, facial recognition, and lidar on refugees

    The coronavirus pandemic unleashed a new era in surveillance technology, and arguably no group has felt this more acutely than refugees. Even before the pandemic, refugees were subjected to contact tracing, drone and LIDAR tracking, and facial recognition en masse. Since the pandemic, it’s only gotten worse. For a microcosm of how bad the pandemic has been for refugees — both in terms of civil liberties and suffering under the virus — look no further than Greece.

    Greek refugee camps are among the largest in Europe, and they are overpopulated, with scarce access to water, food, and basic necessities, and under constant surveillance. Researchers say that many of the surveillance techniques and technologies — especially experimental, rudimentary, and low-cost ones — used to corral refugees around the world were often tested in these camps first.

    “Certain communities already marginalized, disenfranchised are being used as guinea pigs, but the concern is that all of these technologies will be rolled out against the broader population and normalized,” says Petra Molnar, Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab, York University.

    Molnar traveled to the Greek refugee camps on Lesbos in 2020 as part of a fact-finding project with the advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi). She arrived right after the Moria camp — the largest in Europe at the time — burned down and forced the relocation of thousands of refugees. Since her visit, she has been concerned about the rise of authoritarian technology and how it might be used against the powerless.

    With the pandemic still raging and states more desperate than ever to contain it, it seemed a good time to discuss the uses and implications of surveillance in the refugee camps. Molnar, who is still in Greece and plans to continue visiting the camps once the nation’s second lockdown lifts, spoke to OneZero about the kinds of surveillance technology she saw deployed there, and what the future holds — particularly with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Molnar says, adding “that they’ve been using Greece as a testing ground for all sorts of aerial surveillance technology.”

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    OneZero: What kinds of surveillance practices and technologies did you see in the camps?

    Petra Molnar: I went to Lesbos in September, right after the Moria camp burned down and thousands of people were displaced and sent to a new camp. We were essentially witnessing the birth of the Kara Tepes camp, a new containment center, and talked to the people about surveillance, and also how this particular tragedy was being used as a new excuse to bring more technology, more surveillance. The [Greek] government is… basically weaponizing Covid to use it as an excuse to lock the camps down and make it impossible to do any research.

    When you are in Lesbos, it is very clear that it is a testing ground, in the sense that the use of tech is quite rudimentary — we are not talking about thermal cameras, iris scans, anything like that, but there’s an increase in the appetite of the Greek government to explore the use of it, particularly when they try to control large groups of people and also large groups coming from the Aegean. It’s very early days for a lot of these technologies, but everything points to the fact that Greece is Europe’s testing ground.

    They are talking about bringing biometric control to the camps, but we know for example that the Hellenic Coast Guard has a drone that they have been using for self-promotion, propaganda, and they’ve now been using it to follow specific people as they are leaving and entering the camp. I’m not sure if the use of drones was restricted to following refugees once they left the camps, but with the lockdown, it was impossible to verify. [OneZero had access to a local source who confirmed that drones are also being used inside the camps to monitor refugees during lockdown.]

    Also, people can come and go to buy things at stores, but they have to sign in and out at the gate, and we don’t know how they are going to use such data and for what purposes.

    Surveillance has been used on refugees long before the pandemic — in what ways have refugees been treated as guinea pigs for the policies and technologies we’re seeing deployed more widely now? And what are some of the worst examples of authoritarian technologies being deployed against refugees in Europe?

    The most egregious examples that we’ve been seeing are that ill-fated pilot projects — A.I. lie detectors and risk scorings which were essentially trying to use facial recognition and facial expressions’ micro-targeting to determine whether a person was more likely than others to lie at the border. Luckily, that technology was debunked and also generated a lot of debate around the ethics and human rights implications of using something like that.

    Technologies such as voice printing have been used in Germany to try to track a person’s country of origin or their ethnicity, facial recognition made its way into the new Migration’s Pact, and Greece is thinking about automating the triage of refugees, so there’s an appetite at the EU level and globally to use this tech. I think 2021 will be very interesting as more resources are being diverted to these types of tech.

    We saw, right when the pandemic started, that migration data used for population modeling became kind of co-opted and used to try and model flows of Covid. And this is very problematic because they are assuming that the mobile population, people on the move, and refugees are more likely to be bringing in Covid and diseases — but the numbers don’t bear out. We are also seeing the gathering of vast amounts of data for all these databases that Europe is using or will be using for a variety of border enforcement and policing in general.

    The concern is that fear’s being weaponized around the pandemic and technologies such as mobile tracking and data collection are being used as ways to control people. It is also broader, it deals with a kind of discourse around migration, on limiting people’s rights to move. Our concern is that it’ll open the door to further, broader rollout of this kind of tech against the general population.

    What are some of the most invasive technologies you’ve seen? And are you worried these authoritarian technologies will continue to expand, and not just in refugee camps?

    In Greece, the most invasive technologies being used now would probably be drones and unpiloted surveillance technologies, because it’s a really easy way to dehumanize that kind of area where people are crossing, coming from Turkey, trying to claim asylum. There’s also the appetite to try facial recognition technology.

    It shows just how dangerous these technologies can be both because they facilitate pushbacks, border enforcement, and throwing people away, and it really plays into this kind of idea of instead of humane responses you’d hope to happen when you see a boat in distress in the Aegean or the Mediterranean, now entities are turning towards drones and the whole kind of surveillance apparatus. It highlights how the humanity in this process has been lost.

    And the normalization of it all. Now it is so normal to use drones — everything is about policing Europe’s shore, Greece being a shield, to normalize the use of invasive surveillance tech. A lot of us are worried with talks of expanding the scope of action, mandate, and powers of Frontex [the European Border and Coast Guard Agency] and its utter lack of accountability — it is crystal clear that entities like Frontex are going to do Europe’s dirty work.

    There’s a particular framing applied when governments and companies talk about migrants and refugees, often linking them to ISIS and using careless terms and phrases to discuss serious issues. Our concern is that this kind of use of technology is going to become more advanced and more efficient.

    What is happening with regard to contact tracing apps — have there been cases where the technology was forced on refugees?

    I’ve heard about the possibility of refugees being tracked through their phones, but I couldn’t confirm. I prefer not to interact with the state through my phone, but that’s a privilege I have, a choice I can make. If you’re living in a refugee camp your options are much more constrained. Often people in the camps feel they are compelled to give access to their phones, to give their phone numbers, etc. And then there are concerns that tracking is being done. It’s really hard to track the tracking; it is not clear what’s being done.

    Aside from contact tracing, there’s the concern with the Wi-Fi connection provided in the camps. There’s often just one connection or one specific place where Wi-Fi works and people need to be connected to their families, spouses, friends, or get access to information through their phones, sometimes their only lifeline. It’s a difficult situation because, on the one hand, people are worried about privacy and surveillance, but on the other, you want to call your family, your spouse, and you can only do that through Wi-Fi and people feel they need to be connected. They have to rely on what’s available, but there’s a concern that because it’s provided by the authorities, no one knows exactly what’s being collected and how they are being watched and surveilled.

    How do we fight this surveillance creep?

    That’s the hard question. I think one of the ways that we can fight some of this is knowledge. Knowing what is happening, sharing resources among different communities, having a broader understanding of the systemic way this is playing out, and using such knowledge generated by the community itself to push for regulation and governance when it comes to these particular uses of technologies.

    We call for a moratorium or abolition of all high-risk technology in and around the border because right now we don’t have a governance mechanism in place or integrated regional or international way to regulate these uses of tech.

    Meanwhile, we have in the EU a General Data Protection Law, a very strong tool to protect data and data sharing, but it doesn’t really touch on surveillance, automation, A.I., so the law is really far behind.

    One of the ways to fight A.I. is to make policymakers understand the real harm that these technologies have. We are talking about ways that discrimination and inequality are reinforced by this kind of tech, and how damaging they are to people.

    We are trying to highlight this systemic approach to see it as an interconnected system in which all of these technologies play a part in this increasingly draconian way that migration management is being done.

    https://onezero.medium.com/how-the-pandemic-turned-refugees-into-guinea-pigs-for-surveillance-t

    #réfugiés #cobaye #surveillance #technologie #pandémie #covid-19 #coroanvirus #LIDAR #drones #reconnaissance_faciale #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés #Lesbos #Moria #European_Digital_Rights (#EDRi) #surveillance_aérienne #complexe_militaro-industriel #Kara_Tepes #weaponization #biométrie #IA #intelligence_artificielle #détecteurs_de_mensonges #empreinte_vocale #tri #catégorisation #donneés #base_de_données #contrôle #technologies_autoritaires #déshumanisation #normalisation #Frontex #wifi #internet #smartphone #frontières

    ping @isskein @karine4

    ping @etraces

  • How the Pandemic Turned Refugees Into ‘Guinea Pigs’ for Surveillance Tech
    https://onezero.medium.com/how-the-pandemic-turned-refugees-into-guinea-pigs-for-surveillance-t

    An interview with Dr. Petra Molnar, who spent 2020 investigating the use of drones, facial recognition, and lidar on refugees The coronavirus pandemic unleashed a new era in surveillance technology, and arguably no group has felt this more acutely than refugees. Even before the pandemic, refugees were subjected to contact tracing, drone and LIDAR tracking, and facial recognition en masse. Since the pandemic, it’s only gotten worse. For a microcosm of how bad the pandemic has been for (...)

    #algorithme #drone #biométrie #migration #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #COVID-19 #santé #surveillance (...)

    ##santé ##EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi

  • Civil society calls for AI red lines in the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence proposal
    https://edri.org/our-work/civil-society-call-for-ai-red-lines-in-the-european-unions-artificial-intellig

    European Digital Rights together with 61 civil society organisations have sent an open letter to the European Commission demanding red lines for the applications of AI that threaten fundamental rights. With the European Union’s AI proposal set to launch this quarter, Europe has the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that true innovation can arise only when we can be confident that everyone will be protected from the most harmful, egregious violations of our fundamental rights. Europe’s (...)

    #algorithme #biométrie #racisme #facial #prédiction #reconnaissance #sexisme #vidéo-surveillance #discrimination #surveillance (...)

    ##EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi

  • Energy from solar wind favours the north (https://www.esa.int/Appli...
    https://diasp.eu/p/12279803

    https://www.esa.int/var/esa/storage/images/esa_multimedia/images/2021/01/energy_from_solar_wind_favours_the_north/22412064-1-eng-GB/Energy_from_solar_wind_favours_the_north_card_full.jpg

    Energy from solar wind favours the north

    Using information from ESA’s Swarm satellite constellation, scientists have made a discovery about how energy generated by electrically-charged particles in the solar wind flows into Earth’s atmosphere – surprisingly, more of it heads towards the magnetic north pole than towards the magnetic south pole.

    #earth #science #space #esa #europeanspaceagency posted by pod_feeder_v2

  • Denying aid on the basis of EU migration objectives is wrong

    –-> extrait du communiqué de presse de CONCORD:

    The Development Committee of the European Parliament has been working on the report “Improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” since January 2020. However, shortly before the plenary vote on Wednesday, #Tomas_Tobé of the EPP group, suddenly added an amendment to allow the EU to refuse to give aid to partner countries that don’t comply with EU migration requirements.

    https://concordeurope.org/2020/11/27/denying-aid-on-the-basis-of-eu-migration-objectives-is-wrong

    –---

    Le rapport du Parlement européen (novembre 2020):

    REPORT on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid (2019/2184(INI))

    E. whereas aid effectiveness depends on the way the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is implemented; whereas more efforts are still needed to comply with PCD principles, especially in the field of EU migration, trade, climate and agriculture policies;
    3. Stresses that the EU should take the lead in using the principles of aid effectiveness and aid efficiency, in order to secure real impact and the achievement of the SDGs, while leaving no-one behind, in its partner countries; stresses, in this regard, the impact that EU use of development aid and FDI could have on tackling the root causes of migration and forced displacement;
    7. Calls on the EU to engage directly with and to build inclusive sustainable partnerships with countries of origin and transit of migration, based on the specific needs of each country and the individual circumstances of migrants;
    62. Notes with grave concern that the EU and Member States are currently attaching conditions to aid related to cooperation by developing countries on migration and border control efforts, which is clearly a donor concern in contradiction with key internationally agreed development effectiveness principles; recalls that aid must keep its purposes of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, respecting and supporting human rights and meeting humanitarian needs, and must never be conditional on migration control;
    63. Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration or security issues is not compatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;

    EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

    As agreed in the #European_Consensus_on_Development, the #EU is committed to support the implementation of the #Sustainable_Development_Goals in our development partner countries by 2030. With this report, your rapporteur would like to stress the urgency that all EU development actors strategically use the existing tools on aid effectiveness and efficiency.

    Business is not as usual. The world is becoming more complex. Geopolitical rivalry for influence and resources as well as internal conflicts are escalating. The impact of climate change affects the most vulnerable. The world’s population is growing faster than gross national income, which increases the number of people living in poverty and unemployment. As of 2030, 30 million young Africans are expected to enter the job market per year. These challenges point at the urgency for development cooperation to have a real impact and contribute to peaceful sustainable development with livelihood security and opportunities.

    Despite good intentions, EU institutions and Member States are still mainly guided by their institutional or national goals and interests. By coordinating our efforts in a comprehensive manner and by using the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools we have at our disposal our financial commitment can have a strong impact and enable our partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The EU, as the world’s biggest donor, as well as the strongest international actor promoting democracy and human rights, should take the lead. We need to implement the policy objectives in the EU Consensus on Development in a more strategic and targeted manner in each partner country, reinforcing and complementing the EU foreign policy goals and values. The commitments and principles on aid effectiveness and efficiency as well as international commitments towards financing needs are in place. The Union has a powerful toolbox of instruments and aid modalities.

    There are plenty of opportunities for the EU to move forward in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner:

    First, by using the ongoing programming exercise linked to NDICI as an opportunity to reinforce coordination. Joint programming needs to go hand in hand with joint implementation: the EU should collectively set strategic priorities and identify investment needs/gaps in the pre-programming phase and subsequently look at ways to optimise the range of modalities in the EU institutions’ toolbox, including grants, budget support and EIB loans, as well as financing from EU Member States.

    Second, continue to support sectors where projects have been successful and there is a high potential for future sustainability. Use a catalyst approach: choose sectors where a partner country has incentives to continue a project in the absence of funding.

    Third, using lessons learned from a common EU knowledge base in a strategic and results-oriented manner when defining prioritised sectors in a country.

    Fourth, review assessments of successful and failed projects where the possibilities for sustainability are high. For example, choose sectors that to date have been received budget support and where investment needs can be addressed through a combination of EIB loans/Member State financial institutions and expertise.

    Fifth, using EU and Member State headquarters/delegations’ extensive knowledge of successful and unsuccessful aid modalities in certain sectors on the ground. Continue to tailor EU aid modalities to the local context reflecting the needs and capacity in the country.

    Sixth, use the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools with the aim of improving transparency with our partner countries.

    We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Given the magnitude of the funding gap and limited progress towards achieving the SDGs, it is time to be strategic and take full advantage of the combined financial weight and knowledge of all EU institutions and EU Member States - and to use the unique aid effectiveness and efficiency tools at our disposal - to achieve real impact and progress.

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2020-0212_EN.html

    –—

    L’#amendement de Tomas Tobé (modification de l’article 25.):
    25.Reiterates that in order for the EU’s development aid to contribute to long-term sustainable development and becompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles, aid allocation should be based on and promote the EU’s core values of the rule of law, human rights and democracy, and be aligned with its policy objectives, especially in relation to climate, trade, security and migration issues;

    Article dans le rapport:
    25.Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration issues is notcompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;

    https://concordeurope.org/2020/11/27/denying-aid-on-the-basis-of-eu-migration-objectives-is-wrong
    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/B-9-2019-0175-AM-001-002_EN.pdf

    –—

    Texte amendé
    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0323_EN.html
    –-> Texte adopté le 25.11.2020 par le parlement européen avec 331 votes pour 294 contre et 72 abstentions.

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201120IPR92142/parliament-calls-for-better-use-of-the-eu-development-aid

    –-

    La chronologie de ce texte:

    On 29 October, the Committee on Development adopted an own-initiative report on “improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” presented by the Committee Chair, Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden). The vote was 23 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0323_EN.html.

    According to the report, improving effectiveness and efficiency in development cooperation is vital to help partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and to realise the UN 2030 Agenda. Facing enormous development setbacks, limited resources and increasing needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the report by the Development Committee calls for a new impetus to scale-up the effectiveness of European development assistance through better alignment and coordination with EU Member States, with other agencies, donors and with the priorities of aid recipient countries.

    On 25 November, the report was adopted by the plenary (331 in favour, 294 against, 72 abstentions): https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201120IPR92142/parliament-calls-for-better-use-of-the-eu-development-aid

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/improving-development-effectiveness-and-/product-details/20200921CDT04141

    #SDGs #développement #pauvreté #chômage #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #UE #Union_européenne #NDICI #Rapport_Tobé #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #root_causes #causes_profondes

    ping @_kg_ @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

    –—

    Ajouté dans la métaliste autour du lien développement et migrations:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

    • Le #Parlement_européen vote pour conditionner son aide au développement au contrôle des migrations

      Le Parlement européen a adopté hier un rapport sur “l’#amélioration de l’#efficacité et de l’#efficience de l’aide au développement”, qui soutient la conditionnalité de l’aide au développement au contrôle des migrations.

      Cette position était soutenue par le gouvernement français dans une note adressée aux eurodéputés français.

      Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, directrice France de ONE, réagit : « Le Parlement européen a décidé de modifier soudainement son approche et de se mettre de surcroit en porte-à-faux du #traité_européen qui définit l’objectif et les valeurs de l’aide au développement européenne. Cela pourrait encore retarder les négociations autour de ce budget, et donc repousser sa mise en œuvre, en pleine urgence sanitaire et économique. »

      « Les études montrent justement que lier l’aide au développement aux #retours et #réadmissions des ressortissants étrangers dans leurs pays d’origine ne fonctionne pas, et peut même avoir des effets contre-productifs. L’UE doit tirer les leçons de ses erreurs passées en alignant sa politique migratoire sur les besoins de ses partenaires, pas sur des priorités politiques à court terme. »

      « On prévoit que 100 millions de personnes supplémentaires tomberont dans l’extrême pauvreté à cause de la pandémie, et que fait le Parlement européen ? Il tourne le dos aux populations les plus fragiles, qui souffriraient directement de cette décision. L’aide au développement doit, sans concessions, se concentrer sur des solutions pour lutter contre l’extrême #pauvreté, renforcer les systèmes de santé et créer des emplois décents. »

      https://www.one.org/fr/press/alerte-le-parlement-europeen-vote-pour-conditionner-son-aide-au-developpement-a

  • Homo Digitalis
    https://www.homodigitalis.gr/en

    The use of the Internet constitutes an important part of everyday life in the contemporary era. The digital world has become part of our reality and influences our way of thinking, our choices and our acts. It reforms our society as a whole, but also the human existence in itself, by creating a new, digital representation of ourselves ; a digital personality, which is not necessarily identical to our real personality, but enjoys the same freedoms and rights. Homo Digitalis focuses on the (...)

    #technologisme #législation #surveillance #EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi

  • Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU’s push to increase forced removals

    Deportation Union provides a critical examination of recently-introduced and forthcoming EU measures designed to increase the number of deportations carried out by national authorities and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. It focuses on three key areas: attempts to reduce or eliminate rights and protections in the law governing deportations; the expansion and interconnection of EU databases and information systems; and the increased budget, powers and personnel awarded to Frontex.

    There has long-been coordinated policy, legal and operational action on migration at EU level, and efforts to increase deportations have always been a part of this. However, since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015 there has been a rapid increase in new initiatives, the overall aim of which is to limit legal protections afforded to ‘deportable’ individuals at the same time as expanding the ability of national and EU authorities to track, detain and remove people with increasing efficiency.

    The measures and initiatives being introduced by the EU to scale up deportations will require massive public expenditure on technology, infrastructure and personnel; the strengthening and expansion of state and supranational agencies already-lacking in transparency and democratic accountability; and are likely to further undermine claims that the EU occupies the moral high ground in its treatment of migrants. Anyone wishing to question and challenge these developments will first need to understand them. This report attempts to go some way towards assisting with that task.


    https://www.statewatch.org/deportation-union-rights-accountability-and-the-eu-s-push-to-increase-fo
    #machine_à_expulser #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #UE #EU #rapport #union_européenne #renvois_forcés #rapport #Statewatch #Frontex #database #base_de_données #données_biométriques #Directive_Retour #return-opticon #Joint_return_operations (#JROs) #Collecting_return_operations #National_return_operations #Afghanistan #réfugiés_afghans #European_Centre_for_Returns #statistiques #chiffres #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @etraces

    • 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

  • Automated suspicion: The EU’s new travel surveillance initiatives

    This report examines how the EU is using new technologies to screen, profile and risk-assess travellers to the Schengen area, and the risks this poses to civil liberties and fundamental rights.

    By developing ‘interoperable’ biometric databases, introducing untested profiling tools, and using new ‘pre-crime’ watchlists, people visiting the EU from all over the world are being placed under a veil of suspicion in the name of enhancing security.

    Watch the animation below for an overview of the report. A laid-out version will be available shortly. You can read the press release here: https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/july/eu-to-deploy-controversial-technologies-on-holidaymakers-and-business-tr

    –----

    Executive summary

    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has raised the possibility of widespread surveillance and location tracking for the purpose of disease control, setting alarm bells ringing amongst privacy advocates and civil rights campaigners. However, EU institutions and governments have long been set on the path of more intensive personal data processing for the purpose of migration control, and these developments have in some cases passed almost entirely under the radar of the press and civil society organisations.

    This report examines, explains and critiques a number of large-scale EU information systems currently being planned or built that will significantly extend the collection and use of biometric and biographic data taken from visitors to the Schengen area, made up of 26 EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In particular, it examines new systems being introduced to track, analyse and assess the potential security, immigration or public health risks posed by non-EU citizens who have to apply for either a short-stay visa or a travel authorisation – primarily the #Visa_Information_System (#VIS), which is being upgraded, and the #European_Travel_Information_and_Authorisation_System (#ETIAS), which is currently under construction.

    The visa obligation has existed for years. The forthcoming travel authorisation obligation, which will cover citizens of non-EU states who do not require a visa, is new and will massively expand the amount of data the EU holds on non-citizens. It is the EU’s equivalent of the USA’s ESTA, Canada’s eTA and Australia’s ETA.[1] These schemes represent a form of “government permission to travel,” to borrow the words of Edward Hasbrouck,[2] and they rely on the extensive processing of personal data.

    Data will be gathered on travellers themselves as well as their families, education, occupation and criminal convictions. Fingerprints and photographs will be taken from all travellers, including from millions of children from the age of six onwards. This data will not just be used to assess an individual’s application, but to feed data mining and profiling algorithms. It will be stored in large-scale databases accessible to hundreds of thousands of individuals working for hundreds of different public authorities.

    Much of this data will also be used to feed an enormous new database holding the ‘identity data’ – fingerprints, photographs, names, nationalities and travel document data – of non-EU citizens. This system, the #Common_Identity_Repository (#CIR), is being introduced as part of the EU’s complex ‘interoperability’ initiative and aims to facilitate an increase in police identity checks within the EU. It will only hold the data of non-EU citizens and, with only weak anti-discrimination safeguards in the legislation, raises the risk of further entrenching racial profiling in police work.

    The remote monitoring and control of travellers is also being extended through the VIS upgrade and the introduction of ETIAS. Travel companies are already obliged to check, prior to an individual boarding a plane, coach or train, whether they have the visa required to enter the Schengen area. This obligation will be extended to include travel authorisations, with travel companies able to use the central databases of the VIS and ETIAS to verify whether a person’s paperwork is in order or not. When people arrive at the Schengen border, when they are within the Schengen area and long after they leave, their personal data will remain stored in these systems and be available for a multitude of further uses.

    These new systems and tools have been presented by EU institutions as necessary to keep EU citizens safe. However, the idea that more personal data gathering will automatically lead to greater security is a highly questionable claim, given that the authorities already have problems dealing with the data they hold now.

    Furthermore, a key part of the ‘interoperability’ agenda is the cross-matching and combination of data on tens of millions of people from a host of different databases. Given that the EU’s databases are already-known to be strewn with errors, this massively increases the risks of mistakes in decision making in a policy field – immigration – that already involves a high degree of discretion and which has profound implications for peoples’ lives.

    These new systems have been presented by their proponents as almost-inevitable technological developments. This is a misleading idea which masks the political and ethical judgments that lie behind the introduction of any new technology. It would be fairer to say that EU lawmakers have chosen to introduce unproven, experimental technologies – in particular, automated profiling – for use on non-EU citizens, who have no choice in the matter and are likely to face difficulties in exercising their rights.

    Finally, the introduction of new databases designed to hold data on tens of millions of non-citizens rests on the idea that our public authorities can be trusted to comply with the rules and will not abuse the new troves of data to which they are being given access. Granting access to more data to more people inevitably increases the risk of individual abuses. Furthermore, the last decade has seen numerous states across the EU turn their back on fundamental rights and democratic standards, with migrants frequently used as scapegoats for society’s ills. In a climate of increased xenophobia and social hostility to foreigners, it is extremely dangerous to assert that intrusive data-gathering will counterbalance a supposed threat posed by non-citizens.

    Almost all the legislation governing these systems has now been put in place. What remains is for them to be upgraded or constructed and put into use. Close attention should be paid by lawmakers, journalists, civil society organisations and others to see exactly how this is done. If all non-citizens are to be treated as potential risks and assessed, analysed, monitored and tracked accordingly, it may not be long before citizens come under the same veil of suspicion.

    https://www.statewatch.org/automated-suspicion-the-eu-s-new-travel-surveillance-initiatives

    #vidéo:
    https://vimeo.com/437830786

    #suspects #suspicion #frontières #rapport #StateWatch #migrations #asile #réfugiés #EU #UE #Union_européenne
    #surveillance #profiling #database #base_de_données #données_personnelles #empreintes_digitales #enfants #agences_de_voyage #privatisation #interopérabilité

    ping @mobileborders @isskein @etraces @reka

  • Undress or fail : Instagram’s algorithm strong-arms users into showing skin
    https://algorithmwatch.org/en/story/instagram-algorithm-nudity

    An exclusive investigation reveals that Instagram prioritizes photos of scantily-clad men and women, shaping the behavior of content creators and the worldview of 140 millions Europeans in what remains a blind spot of EU regulations. Sarah is a food entrepreneur in a large European city (the name was changed). The company she created helps women feel at ease with their food intake and advocates “intuitive eating”. Like many small-business owners, Sarah relies on social media to attract (...)

    #Google #Facebook #Instagram #algorithme #racisme #beauté #sexisme #discrimination #AlgorithmWatch #EuropeanDataJournalismNetwork #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) (...)

    ##beauté ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##GoogleVisionAI

  • Instagram capitalise sur la nudité
    https://www.alternatives-economiques.fr/instagram-capitalise-nudite/00093095

    Une enquête exclusive d’EDJNet révèle qu’Instagram privilégie les photos de femmes et d’hommes peu vêtus, influençant le comportement des créateurs de contenu et la vision du monde de 140 millions d’Européens dans ce qui demeure un angle mort des réglementations de l’Union européenne. Sarah est entrepreneure dans le domaine de l’alimentation à Berlin (nous avons changé son nom et celui de la ville). L’entreprise qu’elle a créée aide les femmes à se sentir à l’aise avec ce qu’elles mangent et prône « (...)

    #Google #Facebook #Instagram #YouTube #algorithme #manipulation #AlgorithmWatch #beauté #sexisme #discrimination (...)

    ##beauté ##EuropeanDataJournalismNetwork

  • Reconnaissance faciale : face au renoncement d’IBM, Amazon et Microsoft, qu’envisage l’Europe ?
    https://information.tv5monde.com/info/reconnaissance-faciale-face-au-renoncement-d-ibm-amazon-et-mic

    IBM, Amazon et Microsoft abandonnent la vente de systèmes de reconnaissance faciale aux forces de police, admettant qu’elles posent des problèmes de discrimination et de libertés publiques. En Europe, malgré des réglementations de l’Union qui devraient mettre à mal l’utilisation de cette technologie, de nombreuses expérimentations sont à l’œuvre. Explications. C’est un paradoxe qui vient de se révéler… et pas des moindres : alors que trois des plus grandes firmes américaines technologiques déclarent (...)

    #Microsoft #RATP #IBM #Amazon #algorithme #Alicem #CCTV #smartphone #biométrie #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##BigData ##frontières ##surveillance ##CNIL ##EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi ##LaQuadratureduNet

  • EU makes move to ban use of facial recognition systems
    https://sciencebusiness.net/news/eu-makes-move-ban-use-facial-recognition-systems

    Experts want to see restrictions on systems they say are error-ridden, invasive and – in the wrong hands – authoritarian The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition in public areas for up to five years. According to an 18-page draft circulated last week, the ban, which would last between three and five years, would give the EU time to figure out "a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures (...)

    #Apple #Google #algorithme #CCTV #biométrie #facial #reconnaissance #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #AlgorithmWatch #BigBrotherWatch (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##EuropeanDigitalRights

  • Call to Action: STOP FUNDING VIOLENCE NOW!

    https://transbalkanskasolidarnost.home.blog/stop-funding-violence-now

    May 27 – 29, 2020

    Transbalkan Solidarity invites you to participate in a 48-hour return-the-bullets-back protest campaign directed at the European Union and its decision-making bodies (the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union), which are accountable for funding acts of systematic violence that amount to crimes against humanity.

    Why do we need to take action?

    Through the Internal Security Fund (ISF) allocated to Member States’ national programmes for law enforcement cooperation and the management of the union’s external borders, and the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) cross-border collaboration programmes for non-member states, European Union is responsible for committing acts of violence against peoples that are residing, settling in or migrating to Europe by land or sea.

    Acts of violence occurring daily in more or less all the current camps, police stations, courtrooms, deportation centers, prisons and border areas in Europe:

    are not isolated or sporadic events but are a part of a wide systematic practice tolerated and condoned by our governments and the European Parliament,
    are funded by public funds,
    are a stable source of profit for privately-owned companies and shareholders,
    are reinforcing the arms industry, arms trade, and war economy,
    are direct degradation of the international humanitarian and human rights law, and subsequently the derogation of the right to asylum.
    Dehumanisation, deportations, extrajudicial punishments, kidnappings and forced disappearances, imprisonment, enslavement, human trafficking, torture, rape, political repression, racial discrimination and other human rights abuses experienced by people that reached Europe as migrants and refugees are a part of a widespread and systematic practice enforced by governmental policies and are conducted by law enforcement agencies, police and military forces, private security services, criminal groups, vigilante groups, judicial systems and other governmental bodies in Europe.

    Therefore, Transbalkan Solidarity holds the European Union’s decision-making bodies together with the Member States’ and non-member states’ governments accountable for:

    every bullet fired,
    every baton injury, every dog bite wound, every painful stitch,
    every drowning in the sea and rivers, every lack of rescue, every ban of docking,
    every tragic death, every disappearance, every family separation, every pushback, every human trauma caused by hunger, thirst, humiliation, and pain,
    every illegalisation and criminalisation of human existence,
    every criminalisation of activism and solidarity,
    all the acts of violence committed in the name of racial bias and xenophobic prejudice,
    all the acts of violence committed in the name of territory governance and border management,
    all the acts of violence committed in the name of profit!
    How to participate in the campaign?

    return the bullet that killed hope back (photo attached) to the European Commission at
    Secretariat-General, Ursula von der Leyen (president):

    ec-president-vdl@ec.europa.eu

    Migration and Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson (commissioner):

    cab-johansson-contact@ec.europa.eu

    Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi (commissioner):

    cab-varhelyi-contact@ec.europa.eu

    If you are concerned about your privacy, open a new email address.

    share the bullet that killed hope (photo attached) on your social media with hashtags
    #stopfundingviolence, #thisbulletkilledhope, #protestcampaign, #transbalkansolidarity, #europeancommission #eu

    distribute this call to action among your comrades and in your community
    return and/or share a bullet that killed hope anytime between May 27 – 29, 2020
    Take action now! Return the bullet that killed hope back to those who are funding it!

    Transbalkan Solidarity

    _

    Why do we organize this protest campaign?

    “They were just following orders” is the most common justification of violence we get, known as the Nuremberg Defense. But we are asking back: Whose orders? Whose funds?

    Who ordered the acts of violence against the kids in Bogovađa in Serbia this May, the violence against the people under protection in Obrenovac camp in Serbia and the beatings and the application of tear gas indoors in Krnjača camp in Serbia this April? Who gave orders for the urgent acquisition of razor wire for enclosing the camps in Serbia or fencing off the Porin camp in Zagreb in Croatia? Who ordered the use of lethal force of private security personnel and the consequent death of Ahmed from Kurdistan in camp Ušivak in Hadžići in Bosnia and Herzegovina in early May? Who ordered the forced transfers from camp to camp in Bosnia and Serbia? Who ordered the state-administered burning of personal possessions in Velika Kladuša in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Who ordered the access restrictions to prevent entry into the Bosnia camps that led to the tragic death of Ahmed from Morocco in Miral camp near Velika Kladuša? Who gave orders for random beatings in Miral camp this May, or regular cruelty of Croatian police and countless pushbacks, dog attacks, and injuries to the people? Who gave the order to stamp people on the move with the red cross sprayed on their heads and bodies? Who gave and funded those orders? Who ordered firearms shots at people on the move on multiple occasions, including children? Who ordered to let the dogs out? Who?

    There is no end to such horrible acts that were committed in the very short time of the Covid-19 lockdown? What fascists think and talk, the European Union’s decision-making bodies are funding and implementing, or is it the other way around? Such politics and crimes are shaping public opinion and encouraging hate speech, hate crimes, the recruitment of white supremacists and fascism. “Strike the scum, strike the animals,“ has become a normalized and widely accepted way of social commenting on every news of violence committed against the people on the move. It is those who are there to officially promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe who are committing these acts and should be held accountable.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Croatie

  • Ban biometric mass surveillance !
    https://edri.org/blog-ban-biometric-mass-surveillance

    Across Europe, highly intrusive and rights-violating facial recognition and biometric processing technologies are quietly becoming ubiquitous in our public spaces. As the European Commission consults the public on what to do, EDRi calls on the Commission and EU Member States to ensure that such technologies are comprehensively banned in both law and practice. Keep walking. Nothing to see here…. By the end of 2019, at least 15 European countries had experimented with invasive biometric mass (...)

    #CCTV #biométrie #racisme #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #BigData #COVID-19 #discrimination #Islam #LGBT (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##santé ##surveillance ##EuropeanDigitalRights-EDRi