12 November 1999. Thanks to Telepolis and CSH.
Source: http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/te/5476/1.html

See related reports: http://cryptome.org/g8-hunt.htm; http://cryptome.org/g8-law.htm; http://cryptome.org/enfopol-law.htm

Translation by Cryptome with Systran.

Telepolis Online

November 12, 1999

No agreement with European legal aid convention

By Christiane Schulzki Haddouti  

Echelon state Great Britain blocks monitoring plans of European investigators.

The negotiations for a European legal aid convention stagnate. At an October 29 meeting of the council on law and the interior in Luxembourg the Ministers again could reach no agreement. On the question of the telecommunications monitoring the British government sets its own course.

Advisers had compiled a new suggestion before in order to finally reach a decision here. In Great Britain there is no clear separation between the hearing measures, which are in some cases accomplished by the police and customs authorities and in other cases with the help of intelligence services. Therefore Great Britain, which for signal interception is a member of the UKUSA agreement, wants to absolutely prevent making surveillance material of the intelligence service available to other member states.

In their final communique the European heads of government agreed in Tampere that Finland will compile a compromise recommendation: Through it there is to be defined who and with which authority hearing measures may be involved, and which criminal data are to be seized by way of it. One problem of the report on mutual obligation seems unresolved: The British delegation had suggested that the possibility that a supervising member state should be granted the right to refrain from complying with the request of another member state for reasons of "national security".

The suggestion has a piquant background: As a member of the Echelon interception arrangement Great Britain hears world-wide satellite communication together with the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand , according to two STOA reports which were prepared by the European Parliament. The regulation suggested by the British delegation would have guaranteed the further secrecy of reconnaissance results which are obtained over the Echelon system. However, if Great Britain would be legally forced to send the other member states results from these monitoring measures these would be seen by the overseer.

Therefore it is unacceptable to Great Britain an alternative suggestion of the other member states according to which it can be agreed upon that the information which can be communicated is passed on "over special channels if secrecy is needed". For Great Britain it is certain that independently of whether the monitoring for the purpose of a criminal law investiagtion is kept secret or not, it must be accomplished in a way to assure the security of theintelligence services.

Therefore the Council is now examining whether Great Britain in regard to telecommunications monitoring will not participate in the legal aid convention. Interestingly enough the president of the committee of the Permanent Representatives in Brussels arrived at the conclusion that "nonparticipation may be authorized when representatives of a member state could not be present to oversee the monitoring." An appropriate clause should be taken up if the negotiations with Great Britain fail.

The telecommunications monitoring is to be advised after the Luxemburg meeting again in the committee of the Permanent Representatives and in the Article-36 Committee.

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