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How the EU-US 'Security Cooperation' Works
Leaked outcome of a 16-17 March 2023 meeting in Stockholm confirms the ongoing transnationalisation of personal data
Yesterday I alerted you to the EU’s plans to introduce fully digital passports as soon as possible. Please have your say.
Today, however, I wish to provide some additional background information about what these plans entail.
Reference is made to the most recent of the long-established exchange between ‘EU-US Senior Official’s Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs’ that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, on 16-17 March 2023.
Please note that while this notion of digital passports might look like it’s a EU thing, it’s actually more of a joint EU-US operation, at least with respect to the envisioned data-sharing.
While there is no additional information about what these EU-US Senior Officials discussed, I have ‘found’ a ‘leaked’ version of the outcome somewhere on the internet, from which the below quotes have been taken (emphases mine):
Held in a constructive, unscripted atmosphere, this EU-US Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Justice and Home Affairs covered a wide array of topics of mutual interest on which both sides wish to pursue cooperation. The meeting was also an opportunity to identify potential areas of interest for more in-depth discussions at technical level, as well as to prepare the ground for the next EU-US JHA Ministerial meeting.
The US delegation comprised representatives from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and State. The EU delegation included representatives from the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU (which hosted the event), the incoming Spanish Presidency, the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS), Europol, Eurojust and the EU Counterterrorism Coordinator.
So, EU plans look ‘suspiciously’ like a joint endeavour, cloaked in boilerplate mumbo-jumbo. I’ll spare you the results on the Ukrainian-Russian conflict for time being as they don’t directly relate to the issues at-hand right now.
On Counter-Terrorism and Information-Sharing
A discussion on Violent extremism opened with a presentation of the main findings from a conference on this theme hosted prior that week in Stockholm by the Swedish Presidency. It recalled that right-wing terrorism is on the rise, with, in some cases pandemic-driven, anti-government conspiracy movements becoming more visible. The blurring of traditional loyalties on the right-wing terror scene is making the threat picture more complex. [so much for ‘it’s all right-wing extremists’ who are protesting…;line break added]
The EU delegation underlined the need to understand how extremism works to prevent it. A whole-of government approach was needed, looking also at facilitators. Identifying the actors involved, and ensuring platforms uphold their responsibilities remained a challenge. Reflections were underway on how to address anti-system violence, and on the possible listing of violent right-wing organisations, bearing in mind high-level legal standards established by the CJEU [Court of Justice of the EU] in regard to listings [proscriptions are coming; line break added].
The US delegation joined the EU side in welcoming a study visit to New York of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) which was taking place at the same time as this meeting. It recognised the influence that the US violent extremist scene could have beyond US borders and concurred on the challenges arising from the increasingly complex nature of the terrorist threat, which it would be useful to further discuss. Prosecutions of perpetrators responsible for the 6 January 2021 events were ongoing. [mind you that this is incredible in light of the CCTV footage being aired by FoxNews before Easter; line break added]
The US delegation noted that rapid demographic change has been identified as a predictor of radicalisation (as per research of Robert Pape, UChicago) and referred to concerns on radicalisation among police forces [so much for the alleged conspiratorial nature of ‘the great replacement’]. The US delegation asked for EU support in global fora to maintain a focus on ‘terrorist’ or ‘violent’ extremism (and ensure these adjectives are not dropped) to prevent oppressive regimes using it against freedom of expression [does this still qualify as ‘Orwellian’?].
In the context of discussions on Information sharing, the US delegation informed that it had managed to identify data sets, including fingerprint data of Afghan terror suspects that the US can hand over to Europol, as previously promised. The EU delegation welcomed this sharing of battlefield information. With respect to the Enhanced Border Security Partnership (EBSP), the Parties took note of the intention to have a first set of data transferred under a ‘proof of concept’ currently being developed (as presented to Member States at the Working Party on JHA Information Exchange). Both sides welcomed a promising pilot project between Europol and the US Department of Homeland Security, relating to the sharing of ESTA denials on terrorism grounds. The Parties also discussed the ongoing returns to Iraq from the Al-Hol Camp, in light of the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator’s recent visit to the region.
Access to Electronic Evidence
The Parties welcomed the resumption of the EU-US negotiations on an e-evidence agreement, held in the margins of the SOM [Senior Officials Meeting] 15-16 March in Stockholm. This opening session had allowed both sides to identify issues for further reflection. The next session will take place in June 2023 in Washington, DC. Both sides concurred on the need to closely coordinate in the context of negotiations on the UN cyber-crime convention to isolate China and Russia in their quest for internet regulation. The US delegation warned against the creation of a parallel data protection regime under the new UN agreement and stated its preference for using existing bodies to oversee the implementation of the Convention over establishing a new conference of parties [background: China and Russia want to build a new multilateral oversight/regulatory framework within the UN, which the powers-that-be, i.e., the US, assisted by big corporations and the EU, wish to prevent; that is what this part means…]. The EU delegation reiterated the need for high-level safeguards and welcomed the US reference to the Budapest Convention and its Second Protocol as a ‘gold standard’. A brief presentation by Eurojust highlighted the ongoing cooperation on the ANOM case, with the setting up of a ‘casework restricted area’ allowing prosecutors to share non-sensitive information on cases and court rulings.
‘Going dark’: Challenges for Frime Fighting in the Digital Era
The EU delegation provided an update on reflections underway in the EU on this longstanding issue (a priority for the Swedish Presidency) and on the plans for a High-Level Expert Group to address the question holistically. The EU’s conviction of the need to reinforce (also in in public discourse) law enforcement’s legitimacy to investigate was echoed by the US delegation, which concurred on the need to mirror privacy by design with lawful access by design [i.e., backdoor access by ‘law enforcement’.] A point of reference in this regard is the 2021 G7 Statement which speaks of ‘maintaining tightly controlled lawful access to data’; indeed, law enforcement is not seeking new powers but to preserve its ability to investigate. On end-to-end encryption, the US delegation noted a certain hypocrisy in the position of web platforms that resisted constructive engagement on lawful access with liberal democracies, while being liable to bow to pressure in more repressive jurisdictions. Beyond encryption, data retention and data processing were also identified as areas of focus by the US delegation. It confirmed that the fight against online child exploitation and abuse remained a national priority.
Please drop me an email at diefackel2punkt0(AT)protonmail.com if you wish to obtain the PDF document.
This is bad.
Sure, it sounds ‘nice’ enough to be overlooked, but then again, why isn’t the document made public?
Note the swamp-infested collaboration by virtually all relevant US and EU actors here.
So-called ‘pilot projects’ with respect to data sharing and the like are already underway, and I expect them to be rolled out permanently before too long.
The digital passports are but one piece of this larger puzzle of the ongoing integration of the Collective West into a gigantic—some would say: megalomaniac—blob, or ‘Borg’ by procedural means. Niklas Luhman once called this ‘legitimation by procedure’, i.e., everything looks o.k. because it ‘sounds right’, but it’s actually the opposite.
Accountability of political appointees is one thing, and since it’s mostly meaningless to the permanent bureaucracy, it may well continue; accountability of ‘senior officials’, however, is a very different beast.
Sunlight, as always, is the best disinfectant.