FREE News: 17th March 2015

AFSJ (Data Retention): Germany moves closer towards bill on data retention (Euractiv reports) “…After Social Democratic Party leader Sigmar Gabriel expressed his support for data retention, the country’s centre-right alliance is optimistic that the grand coalition can reach an agreement on the issue. EurActiv Germany reports...Implementation of the EU Directive was negotiated to include a minimum retention period of six months, he indicated. However, Bosbach explained, this does not mean that a shorter retention period cannot also be set.

AFSJ (Data Privacy): Upcoming event, Data Privacy: Balancing Security & Civil Liberties Wednesday 18th March “…On Wednesday, March 18th, The European Institute and the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress will hold a discussion with The Honorable Claude Moraes, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE); The Honorable Jim Sensenbrenner, Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives; and The Honorable Jan Philipp Albrecht, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Rapporteur for the Data Protection Regulation, and the Umbrella Agreement…”

AFSJ (Cyber Security): Cyber security: painting the threatscape facing Europe (European Parliament TV)

AFSJ (LIBE Committee REPORTS): The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Members States of the EU  Comparative Analysis here (Directorate-General for Internal Policies)

AFSJ (JHA Council): EU: Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, Brussels, 12-13 March 2014: Final Press release for 12-13 March 2014 (pdf) (pdf): Main “B” points Agenda (pdf), “A” Points Agenda: legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and “A” Points: non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Background note (pdf)

AFSJ (EU PNR): Commission vindicates EPP Group’s stance on EU PNR (EPP Group reports) …European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, concluded a letter to President Schulz by saying that “the use of EU PNR data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious transnational crime can be construed in a way that respects the legal requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights while providing an efficient new tool at EU level for the fight against such offences…”

AFSJ (Freedom of movement): PM+: Free movement an ‘asset’ to EU economy (The Parliament Magazine reports) …The free movement of people across the EU gained speed following the bloc’s fifth enlargement in 2004 and 2007. Figures from 2013 show that there were 13.7 million (2.7 per cent of the Union’s population) living in another EU country…”

…Free movement is a valued EU right which Europeans see as one of the most important achievements of EU integration…”

AFSJ: Is it time to go back to the typewriter, carbon paper and Tippex? (pdf) by Tony Bunyan (Viewpoint from Statewatch) …The “white-washing” report on GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 by the Intelligence and Security Committee published on 12 March 2015 was preceded by a draft Code of Practice “Equipment Interference” to allow the UK intelligence and security agencies to “legally” access computers to gather and break encryption codes and allow “remote access” to “interfere” with any targeted computer anywhere in the world. The deadline for comments on the Code is 20 March 2015 after which it will be “laid” before parliament and usually be adopted without debate…”

EAFSJ (US Freedom of Information): White House office to delete its FOIA regulations (USA today reports) The White House said the cleanup of FOIA regulations is consistent with court rulings that hold that the office is not subject to the transparency law. The office handles, among other things, White House record-keeping duties like the archiving of e-mails…”

EAFSJ (Surveillance): A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It’s Secret (The New York Times reports) …A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology…”

AFSJ (Romania): Romanian finance minister resigns over corruption allegations (Euractiv reports) …Romanian Finance Minister Darius Vâlcov resigned yesterday (15 March), after prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into suspected abuses of power in his former role as a mayor…”

AFSJ (Female Genital Mutilation): 16th Report – Female genital mutilation: follow-up (UK Commons Select Committee, Home Affairs)

AFSJ (Migration, Reception & Detention): Using the Charter of Fundamental Rights to improve reception and detention standards (ECRE reports) A new ECRE report provides guidance to Member States and asylum practitioners on how the provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights can be used to ensure a more rights based implementation of the standards contained in the Directive regulating the reception and detention of asylum seekers in the EU. The Charter, as informed by the case law from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), can assist in ensuring that applicants for international protection receive an ‘adequate standard of living’; a standard that Member States are required to provide under the Directive...”

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