FREE Newsletter: 31 October 2013


* Leading EU party wants to ditch EU-US data agreement
* Finally, the review of the NSA’s powers we should have had already
* Réfugiés syriens: Amnesty demande à Amman de garder ses frontières ouvertes
Non-EU seasonal workers: EP/Council deal on better social rights and conditions
EU virtual border scheme based on ‘creative’ figures
Member states ‘endorse’ EU-wide public prosecutor


Leading EU party wants to ditch EU-US data agreement
Euobserver: “The European Parliament’s largest political group, the centre-right EPP, wants to end an EU-US data exchange agreement known as Safe Harbour.
German centre-right MEP Manfred Weber, who is the group’s vice-president, told this website on Tuesday (29 October) in an email that the “EPP group wants to terminate the agreement as it stands now and negotiate new rules.”
He said American IT companies are not respecting the terms of the agreement, meant to protect the personal data of EU citizens.
“There have been doubts if the firms always fully comply with the rules, not just since the revelations about the NSA activities. This has to stop,” he said.
He added that clear ground rules are needed to protect the personal data of EU citizens from the US-based companies.
“That is why we are saying ‘yes’ to a strict EU data protection legislation but ‘no’ to the Safe Harbour Agreement in its present form,” he said.
Critics say the so-called Safe Harbour agreement is full of loopholes and rarely enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Around 3,000 US companies have signed up to the self-certification scheme, which is only enforceable once the company makes a promise to adhere to a handful of privacy principles.
An annual compliance check by an independent body is not mandatory. Those which opt-out of the an independent review are required to review themselves…”

Finally, the review of the NSA’s powers we should have had already
The Guardian: “What are we, we citizens of the United States and nations of the world: chopped liver?
As Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed that millions of Americans and their metadata were ensnared in the National Security Agency’s collect-it-all dragnet, the White House and most of Congress – Senator Dianne Feinstein leading the defense – would brook no reconsideration. Citizens of other nations were treated as if they simply had no rights to avoid the NSA’s widening glare.
But when German Chancellor Angela Merkel complained about reports that her mobile phone had been targeted for more than a decade … well, that is the moment when President Obama considers hitting the brakes on the NSA and stopping them from snooping on heads of state. That was the moment when Merkel herself stopped defending a policy of aiding the NSA and started questioning it. And that is the moment when Feinstein finally concedes that:”

“A total review of all intelligence programs is necessary”.

Can’t they see what this says to the rest of us? That when members of their own club, foreign or domestic, find themselves spied upon, that is worth outrage, apology, and change. But the rest of us? Chopped chicken liver. Everybody else? They’re nobodies. Or to paraphrase the good pastor Niemöller:

“First they came for everyone and I didn’t speak out because I’m not one of them”.

No matter how it is inflicted, I’ll take the chink in the NSA’s armour. At long last, by whatever definition, someone in power is finally recognizing that the NSA has gone too far. So now can the debate begin?

President Obama told ABC News:

“What we’ve seen over the last several years is their capacities continue to develop and expand, and that’s why I’m initiating now a review to make sure that what they’re able to do doesn’t necessarily mean what they should be doing”.

At last, we stare down at the line between could and should.
If Merkel is right to feel violated by American spying – and she is – then why aren’t we all right to share her anger? If Americans are angry, then why can’t German and French and Spanish and Brazilian and British citizens be? If none of us is supposed to be surprised that governments spy on each other, can we at least be surprised now that so many of us fell under the net?…”

Also on the same topic:

NSA dismisses ‘false’ reports of mass European surveillance – as it happened:

NSA: Google et Yahoo! surveillés:

NSA: le Vatican sur écoute?:

La NSA, fournie en données par les agences européennes ?:

NSA is accused of targeting Google and Yahoo in yet more secret hacking:



Réfugiés syriens: Amnesty demande à Amman de garder ses frontières ouvertes
Rtbf: “Amnesty International a appelé jeudi la communauté internationale à aider la Jordanie et les autres pays accueillant des réfugiés syriens à mettre un terme aux restrictions imposées aux civils fuyant le conflit, dont des centaines sont repoussés aux frontières.
Dans un nouveau rapport intitulé “Des restrictions croissantes, des conditions difficiles: la détresse de ceux qui fuient la Syrie vers la Jordanie”, l’organisation de défense des droits de l’Homme souligne les difficultés des réfugiés syriens fuyant vers les pays voisins, particulièrement la Jordanie. Ce pays accueille plus de 550.000 réfugiés, notamment dans le camp de Zaatari, dans le nord, où vivent quelque 120.000 personnes. “Il est inacceptable que des dizaines de personnes venues de Syrie, y compris des familles avec des enfants en bas âge, se voient refuser le droit d’entrer dans les pays voisins”, a déclaré Philip Luther, directeur d’Amnesty International pour le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord, dans un communiqué…”


Non-EU seasonal workers: EP/Council deal on better social rights and conditions
European Parliament News: “Non-EU seasonal workers will get better working and living conditions, including a minimum wage and proper accommodation, under a draft law provisionally agreed by Parliament and the Council Presidency and backed by national governments on Tuesday. These rules, aiming both to end exploitation and to prevent temporary stays becoming permanent, are to be put to a plenary vote in January 2014.The EU Commission estimates that over 100,000 third-country seasonal workers come to the EU every year.
“We finally have agreement on a Directive that manages temporary, legal migration and ensures protection of workers from exploitation. It will be a strong tool to ensure humane conditions for low wage workers, discourage undercutting, and benefit good employers”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) on the compromise.
These rules, the first to be agreed at EU level on seasonal work, will not affect the right of member states to decide how many seasonal workers they allow in. Member states will also be free to widen the definition of “seasonal work” beyond the traditional one of tourism and agricultural work such as fruit picking, provided they consult social partners where appropriate and ensure that all the activities defined have a “seasonal aspect”…”

EU virtual border scheme based on ‘creative’ figures
Euobserver: “A European Parliament civil liberties report suggests the European Commission used misleading arguments to back its billion-euro plus proposal to finger print non-Europeans on visit to the EU.
“It’s really amazing that the commission has been so creative with figures, I find it really shocking,” German Green MEP Ska Keller told this website on Monday (28 October).
A commission impact assessment report, used by policy-makers to gauge the merits of a proposal, is said to have spun the best possible scenarios in its so-called ‘smart borders’ package.
The commission says the package, which includes the Entry/Exit System and the Registered Travellers Programme, would cost around €1.3 billion.
Building the two systems on the same technical platform could knock it down to €1.1 billion, it says.
The system, which would replace the current method of having a border guard stamp a passport, would also shave several seconds off every border crossing, potentially saving millions of man-hours, says the Brussels executive.
The figures are based on two separate studies by a global information technology firm called Unisys.
The 2010 Unisys study included a total cost estimate with a 25 percent margin of error, positive or negative…”


Member states ‘endorse’ EU-wide public prosecutor
Euobserver: “A majority of member states are said to back a proposal for a European public prosecutor after they failed to meet a deadline to submit counter arguments.
Member state national parliaments had until Monday (28 October) midnight to submit any complaints or concerns on setting up a EU-wide prosecutor tasked to tackle fraud committed against the EU budget.
“A clear majority of member states have not issued reasoned opinions and can thus be counted among the probable participants to the European public prosecutor’s office,” Mina Andreeva, European commission justice spokesperson, said in an email on Tuesday.
A minimum of nine member states is needed to launch the office.
Monday’s missed deadline means 17 have now demonstrated tacit support with only 11 member states opposed.
Parliaments in Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK, issued the complaints.
Both the UK and Ireland, along with Denmark, already said they would not participate when they opted out of the idea during talks on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.
Andreeva said with the member state positions clarified, EU lawmakers would now push forward with the proposal, first announced in July, with an aim to have it launched in 2015.
The prosecutor would have the power to conduct, prosecute, and bring to justice its own EU-wide investigations in co-ordination with member state authorities against people suspected of defrauding the EU…”

Also on the same topic:

Commission to press ahead with European Prosecutor’s Office, without France and Britain:

This entry was posted in Asylum & refugees rights and policies, Data Protection, European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Immigration policies, Judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Bookmark the permalink.

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