On 29 and 30 October 2014, the SURVEILLE project is going to organise together with the IRISS and RESPECT projects an Annual Forum for Decision Makers called “Democracy and Security”. This event is going to take place in the Diamant Brussels Conference & Business Centre (Bvd A. Reyerslaan 80, 1030 Brussels, Belgium).
It will be a significant moment for the three projects that are going to present the culmination of months’ work on the use of surveillance technologies for security purposes and its impact on our democratic societies.
Further information will be provided soon, which should be included in a particular website dedicated to this event
Yesterday the panel established by President Obama to review the surveillance practices of the NSA released its final report. One important dimension relates to the possible privacy protections of non-US citizens abroad. You can find the Review Group’s report HERE.
The report does not elaborate on the international human rights law obligations of the US (as a matter of law) but it draws inspiration from them and comes pretty close to the correct conclusions. Recommendation 13 quoted below (p. 151) comes close to a proper permissible limitations test. What is missing is proportionality, though as necessity is present (see “exclusively” in item 2) even proportionality can be inferred. Some of the reasoning quotes international law standards on privacy, even if presented in the context of policy considerations (democracy and reciprocity). The points articulated on pp. 155-156 in the report can be seen as a turn from policy to principle and can (perhaps optimistically) be read as an aspiration to respect foreigners’ privacy also/just because it happens to be a human right (please see quote #2, below).
QUOTE #1: ‘Recommendation 13’ (on page 29 of the report) –
“We recommend that, in implementing section 702, and any other authority that authorizes the surveillance of non-United States persons who are outside the United States, in addition to the safeguards and oversight mechanisms already in place, the US Government should reaffirm that such surveillance:
(1) must be authorized by duly enacted laws or properly authorized executive orders;
(2) must be directed exclusively at the national security of the United States or our allies;
(3) must not be directed at illicit or illegitimate ends, such as the theft of trade secrets or obtaining commercial gain for domestic industries; and
(4) must not disseminate information about non-United States persons if the information is not relevant to protecting the national security of the United States or our allies.
In addition, the US Government should make clear that such surveillance:
(1) must not target any non-United States person located outside of the United States based solely on that person’s political views or religious convictions; and
(2) must be subject to careful oversight and to the highest degree of transparency consistent with protecting the national security of the United States and our allies.”
QUOTE #2: (pp. 155-156 of the report) –
“Perhaps most important, however, is the simple and fundamental issue of respect for personal privacy and human dignity – wherever people may reside. The right of privacy has been recognized as a basic human right that all nations should respect. Both Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights proclaim that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy. . . .” Although that declaration provides little guidance about what is meant by “arbitrary or unlawful interference,” the aspiration is clear. The United States should be a leader in championing the protection by all nations of fundamental human rights, including the right of privacy, which is central to human dignity.”
During the visit of SURVEILLE’s Sebastian Sperber (EFUS) and Jonathan Andrew (EUI) to Bogotá the two were interviewed by the Colombian daily paper ‘El Tiempo’. Sebastian and Jonathan discussed their experience of the use of surveillance technologies by law enforcement and public authorities in Europe, and spoke of their experiences in Bogotá visiting the presidential administration and the city’s chamber of commerce. For the article please visit El Tiempo’s website: http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/bogota/consejos-para-combatir-la-delincuencia-en-bogota-_13143769-4
Professor Martin Scheinin, the Coordinator of the FP7-Research Project SURVEILLE, testifies before the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee inquiry on mass surveillance
Today SURVEILLE’s Coordinator, Professor Martin Scheinin of the EUI, provided testimony to the LIBE Committee with regard to mass surveillance and addressed the issues that concern such practices with respect to European citizens’ fundamental rights.
Live video feed:
The PDF documents below contain:
1. Professor Martin Scheinin’s main statement for the inquiry
2. Supporting documents relating to the statement
Ten European cities and regions will provide the SURVEILLE project with the perspective of technology users and political decision makers
As part of its contribution to the “SURVEILLE” project, the European Forum for Urban Security has set up a working group of ten experienced European local and regional authorities.
It is made of the cities of Brno (Czech Republic) and Brussels (Belgium), the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy) and the Autonomous Region of Catalonia (Spain), the cities of Lisbon (Portugal), Paris (France), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Sosnowiec (Poland), Saint-Herblain (France) and Soisy-sous-Montmorency (France). Also the cities of Munich (Germany) and Belfast have agreed to contribute to its work. Many of the cities and regions have already been involved in the Forum’s initiative for a responsible and democratic use of CCTV and subscribed to the ethical Charter it had developed.
The role of the working group is to accompany the FP7 research project on ethics and efficiency of surveillance technologies SURVEILLE and thereby also to continue and develop the work of the European Forum in this field. Members will benefit from state of the art knowledge and research and provide the researchers and technology developers an “end-user perspective”. The perspective of local and regional authorities is at the same time technical, as they use technologies in real life conditions, but also political, as it is the local elected official that needs to make trade-offs and justify choices for or against certain tools.
Therefore, in the tradition of the European Forum, also this working group brings together technical experts as well as political decision makers, as the former senator and mayor of Saint-Herblain, France, Charles Gautier, who is also the president of the French Forum for Urban Security, the mayor of Soisy-sous-Montmorency Luc Strehaiano, who is also charing the French National Commission on Video Surveillance, the deputy mayor of Paris, Miriam El Khomri, the deputy mayor of Lisbon, Manuel Da Silva Brito or the deputy mayor of Sosnowiec, Agniezka Cezechowska-Kopec.
Members will come together to their first official meeting 17th October 2012 in Paris. On their agenda will be analyses of the use of security technologies, an evaluation of their usefulness as well as a political positioning of the European Forum on the use of these technologies: The upcoming international conference “Security, Democracy and Cities: The Future of Prevention” will lead to the adaption of a new manifest of European cities on urban security, which will of course have to address the issues of security technologies. The partners of the SURVEILLE research project will be part of the conference and provide local and regional authorities valuable insights.