19 October 1998
Source: Marie-Jose Klaver, NRC Handelsblad (WordPerfect format, 136K)
See also shorter European Parliment version: http://www.europarl.eu.int/dg4/stoa/en/publi/166499/execsum.htm
AN APPRAISAL OF THE TECHNOLOGIES OF POLITICAL CONTROL
An Omega Foundation Summary & Options Report
For The European Parliament
2. THE ROLE & FUNCTION OF POLITICAL CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES
3. RECENT TRENDS & INNOVATIONS
3.1 Policy Options
4. INNOVATIONS IN CROWD CONTROL WEAPONS
4.1 Policy Options
5. NEW PRISON CONTROL SYSTEMS
5.1 Policy Options
6. INTERROGATION, TORTURE TECHNIQUES & TECHNOLOGIES
6.1 Policy Options
7. DEVELOPMENTS IN SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY
7.1 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Surveillance Networks
7.2 Algorithmic Surveillance Systems
7.3 Bugging & Tapping Devices
7.4 National & International Communications Interceptions Networks
7.4.1 NSA Interception of All EU Telecommunications
7.4.2 EU-FBI Global Telecommunications Surveillance System
7.5 Policy Options
8. REGULATION OF HORIZONTAL PROLIFERATION
8.1 Policy Options
ANNEX 1 - BIBLIOGRAPHY
This report represents a summarised version of an interim study, "An Appraisal of the Technology of Political Control" (PE 166.499), (referred to throughout this document as the Interim Report), prepared by the Omega Foundation in Manchester and presented to the STOA Panel at its meeting of 18 December 1997 and to the Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs on 27 January 1998.
The Interim Report aroused great interest and the resultant high-profile press comment throughout the European Union and beyond, indicates the level of public concern about many of the innovations detailed by the study. This current report is framed by the same key objectives as the Interim Report(1), namely:
(i) To provide Members of the European Parliament with a succinct reference guide to recent advances in the technology of political control;
(ii) To identify and describe the current state of the art of the most salient developments, further clarifying and updating the areas of the interim report which have aroused the greatest public concern and comment;
(iii) To present MEP's with an account of current trends both within Europe and Worldwide;
(iv) To suggest policy options covering regulatory strategies for the future democratic control and management of this technology;
(v) To provide some further succinct background material to inform the Parliament's response to the proposed declaration by the Commission on electronic eavesdropping which has been put on the agenda for the plenary session of the European Parliament, on Wednesday 16 September 1998.
This report also has seven substantive sections covering (a) the role and function of the technologies of political control; (b) recent trends and innovations; (c) crowd control weapons; (d) new prisoner control technology; (e) new interrogation and torture technologies; (f) developments in surveillance technology (including the creation of human recognition and tracking devices and the evolution of new global police and military telecommunications interceptions networks; (g) the implications of vertical and horizontal proliferation of this technology and the need for an adequate EU response, to ensure it neither threatens civil liberties in Europe, nor reaches the hands of tyrants.
Thus, the purpose of this report is to explore the most recent developments in the technology of political control and the major consequences associated with their integration into processes and strategies of policing and internal control. The report ends each section with a series of policy options which might facilitate more democratic, open and efficient regulatory control, including specific areas where further research is needed to make such regulatory controls effective.
A brief look at the historical development of this concept is instructive. Twenty years ago, the British Society for Social Responsibility of Scientists (BSSRS) warned about the dangers of a new technology of political control. BSSRS defined this technology as "a new type of weaponry"..."It is the product of the application of science and technology to the problem of neutralising the state's internal enemies. It is mainly directed at civilian populations, and is not intended to kill (and only rarely does). It is aimed as much at hearts and minds as at bodies." For these scientists, "This new weaponry ranges from means of monitoring internal dissent to devices for controlling demonstrations; from new techniques of interrogation to methods of prisoner control. The intended and actual effects of these new technological aids are both broader and more complex than the more lethal weaponry they complement."(2)
BSSRS recognised that the weapons and systems developed and tested by the USA in Vietnam, and by the UK in its former colonies, were about to be used on the home front and that the military industrial complex would in the future, rapidly modify its military systems for police and internal security use. In other words, a new technology of repression was being spawned which would find a political niche in Western Liberal democracies. The role of this technology was to provide a technical fix which might effectively crush dissent whilst being designed to mask the level of coercion being deployed. With the advent of the Northern Irish conflict, the genie was out of the bottle and a new laboratory for field testing these technologies had emerged.
There have been quite awesome changes in the technologies available to states for internal control since the first BSSRS publication. Some of these technologies are highly sensitive politically and without proper regulation can threaten or undermine many of the human rights enshrined in international law, such as the rights of assembly, privacy, due process, freedom of political and cultural expression and protection from torture, arbitrary arrest, cruel and inhumane punishments and extra-judicial execution.
Proper oversight of developments in political control technologies is further complicated by the phenomena of 'bureaucratic capture' where senior officials control their ministers rather than the other way round. Politicians both at European and sovereign state level, whom citizens of the community have presumed will be monitoring any excesses or abuse of this technology on their behalf, are sometimes systematically denied the information they require to do that job.
Throughout the Nineties, many governments have spent huge sums on the research, development, procurement and deployment of new technology for their police, para-military and internal security forces. The objective of this development work has been to increase and enhance each agency's policing capacities. A dominant assumption behind this technocratisation of the policing process, is the belief that it has created both a faster policing response time and a greater cost-effectiveness. The main aim of all this effort has been to save policing resources by either automating certain forms of control, amplifying the rate of particular activities, or decreasing the number of officers required to perform them.
The resultant innovations in the technology of political control have been functionally designed to yield an extension of the scope, efficiency and growth of policing power. The extent to which this process can be judged to be a legitimate one depends both on one's point of view and the level of secrecy and accountability built into the overall procurement and deployment procedures. The full implications of such developments may take time to assess. It is argued that one impact of this process is the militarisation of the police and the para-militarisation of the army as their roles, equipment and procedures begin to overlap. This phenomena is seen as having far reaching consequences on the way that future episodes of sub-state violence is handled, and influencing whether those involved are reconciled, managed, repressed, 'lost' or efficiently destroyed.
What is emerging in certain quarters is a chilling picture of ongoing innovation in the science and technology of social and political control, including: semi-intelligent zone-denial systems using neural networks which can identify and potentially punish unsanctioned behaviour; the advent of global telecommunications surveillance systems using voice recognition and other biometric techniques to facilitate human tracking; data-veillance systems which can match computer held data to visual recognition systems or identify friendship maps simply by analysing the telephone and email links between who calls whom; new sub-lethal incapacitating weapons used both for prison and riot control as well as in sub-state conflict operations other than war; new target acquisition aids, lethal weapons and expanding dum-dum like ammunition which although banned by the Geneva conventions for use against other state's soldiers, is finding increasing popularity amongst SWAT and special forces teams; discreet order vehicles designed to look like ambulances on prime time television but which can deploy a formidable array of weaponry to provide a show of force in countries like Indonesia or Turkey, or spray harassing chemicals or dye onto protesters. Such marking appears to be kid-glove in its restraint but tags all protesters so that the snatch squads can arrest them later, out of the prying lenses of CNN.
Whilst there are many opposing schools of thought on why these changes are happening now, few doubt that there are fundamental changes taking place in the types of tactics, techniques and technologies available to internal security agencies for policing purposes. Yet many questions remain unanswered, unconsidered or under-researched. Why for example, did such a transformation in the technology used for political control dramatically change over the last twenty five years? Is there any significance in the fact that former communist regimes in the Warsaw Treaty Organisation and continuing centralised economic systems such as China, are beginning to adopt such technologies? What are the reasons behind a global convergence of the technology of political control deployed in the North and South, the East and West
What are the factors responsible for generating the adoption of such new policing technology - was it technology push or demand pull? What new tools for policing lie on the horizon and what are the dynamics behind the process of innovation and the need for a vast arsenal of different kinds of technology rather than just a few? Are the many ways this technology affects the policing process fully understood? Who controls the patterns of police technology procurement and what are the corporate influences?
The technology of political control produces a continuum of flexible options which stretch from modern law enforcement to advanced state suppression. It is multi-functional and has led to a rapid extension of the scope, efficiency and growth of policing power, creating policing revolutions both with Europe, the US and the rest of the world. The key difference being the level of democratic accountability in the manner in which the technology is applied. Yet because of a process of technological and decision drift these instruments of control, once deployed quickly become "normalised." Their secondary and unanticipated effects often lead to a paramilitarisation of the security forces and a militarisation of the police - often because the companies which produce them service both markets.
Since the "Technology of Political Control" was first written (Ackroyd et al.,1977) there has been a profusion of technological innovations for police, paramilitary, intelligence and internal security forces. Many of these are simple advances on the technologies available in the 1970's. Others such as automatic telephone tapping, voice recognition and electronic tagging were not envisaged by the original BSSRS authors since they did not think that the computing power needed for a national monitoring system was feasible. The overall drift of this technology is to increase the power and reliability of the policing process, either enhancing the individual power of police operatives, replacing personnel with less expensive machines to monitor activity or to automate certain police monitoring, detection and communication facilities completely. A massive Police Industrial Complex has been spawned to service the needs of police, paramilitary and security forces, evidenced by the number of companies now active in the market.. An overall trend is towards globalisation of these technologies and a drift towards increasing proliferation.
One core trend has been towards a militarisation of the police and a paramilitarisation of military forces in Europe. In some European countries, that trend is reversed, e.g. in 1996, the Swiss government (Federal Council and the Military Department) made plans to re-equip the Swiss Army Ordungsdienst with 118 million Swiss Francs of less-lethal weapons for action within the country in times of crisis. (These include 12 tanks, armoured vehicles, teargas, rubber shot and handcuffs). The decision was made by decree preventing any discussion or intervention. Their role will be to help police large scale demonstrations or riots and to police frontiers to 'prevent streams of refugees coming into Switzerland.(3)
There has also been an increasing trend towards convergence - the process whereby the technology used by police and the military for internal security operations, converges towards being more or less indistinguishable. The term also describes the trend towards a universal adoption of similar types of technologies by most states for internal security and policing. Security companies now produce weapons and communications systems for both military and the police. Such systems increasingly represent the muscle and the nervous system of public order squads. (4) Given the potential civil liberties and human rights implications associated with certain technologies of political control, there is a pressing need to avoid the risks of such technologies developing faster than any regulating legislation. MEP's may wish to consider how best it should develop appropriate structures of accountability to prevent undesirable innovations emerging via processes of technological creep or decision drift. Towards that end, members of the European Parliament may wish to consider the following policy options:-
(i) Accepting the principle that the process of innovation of new systems for use in internal social and political control should be transparent, (i.e. open to appropriate public and parliamentary scrutiny and be subject to change should unwanted and unanticipated consequences emerge;
(ii) Give consideration to what committee and procedural changes might be needed to ensure that Members of the European Parliament are adequately informed on issues relating to technologies of political control and can effectively act should the need arise;
(iii) Consider if there is a need to amend the terms of reference of the Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee to include powers and responsibilities for matters relating to for example, the civil liberties and human rights implications of developments in political control technologies such as:(a) new crowd and prison control weapons and technologies, lethal and less lethal weapons and ammunition;
(b)developments in surveillance technologies such as data-veillance, electronic eavesdropping, CCTV, human recognition and tracking systems;
(c) private prisons and related equipment and training;
(d) torture and interrogation of detainees;
(e) any class of technology which has been shown in the past to be excessively injurious, cruel, inhumane or indiscriminate in its effects.
The Interim Report critically evaluated the so called safety of these allegedly 'harmless crowd control weapons.(5) Using earlier US military data and empirical data on the kinetic energy of all the commonly available kinetic weapons such as plastic bullets, it found that much of the biomedical research legitimating the introduction of current crowd control weapons is badly flawed. All the commonly available plastic bullet ammunition used in Europe breaches the severe damage zone of kinetic energy used to assess such weapons by the US military scientists. (Over 100,000 plastic bullets were withdrawn in the UK in 1996 for possessing excessive kinetic energy but according to this report their replacements are still excessively injurious). The price of protest should not be death, yet given that these weapons are frequently used against bystanders in zone clearance operations, this aspect is particularly important.
Likewise there is a need to consider halting the use of peppergas (OC) in Europe until independent evaluation of its biomedical effects is undertaken. Special Agent Ward, the FBI officer who cleared OC in the USA, was found to have taken a $57,000 kickback to give it the OK. Other US military scientists warned of dangerous side effects including neurotoxicity and a recent estimate by the International Association of Chief Police Officers suggested at least 113 peppergas linked fatalities in the US - predominantly from positional asphyxia.(6)
Amnesty International has said that the use of pepper spray by Californian police against peaceful environmental activists, is 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of such deliberateness and severity that it is tantamount to torture." (Police deputies pulled back protesters heads, opened their eyes and "swabbed" the burning liquid directly on to their eyeballs).(7)
Sometimes when technologies are transferred, their characteristics also change. For example CS Sprays authorised for use by the police in the UK from 1996 were five times the concentration of similar MACE products in the US and have dispersion rates which are five times faster. This means that they dump twenty five times as much irritant on a targets face as do US products yet were justified as being the same. In practice this meant that one former Metropolitan police instructor Peter Hodgkinson lost between 40-50% of his corneas after he volunteered to be sprayed at the beginning of trails. Most police forces in the UK have now adopted the spray which was authorised before findings on its alleged safety were published.(8)
In the early Nineties, much to the disbelief of serious researchers, a new doctrine emerged in the US - non-lethal warfare. Its advocates were predominantly science fiction writers such as (Toffler A., & Toffler,H., 1994) and (Morris, J., & Morris, C., 1990, 1994), who found a willing ear in the nuclear weapons laboratories of Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore. The cynics were quick to point out that non-lethal warfare was a contradiction in terms and that this was really a "rice-bowls" initiative, dreamt up to protect jobs in beleaguered weapons laboratories facing the challenge of life without the cold war.
This naive doctrine found a champion in Col. John Alexander (who made his name in the rather more lethal Phoenix assassination programmes of the Vietnam War) and subsequently picked up by the US Defence and Justice Departments. After the controversial and overly public beating of Rodney King (who was subdued by an electro-shock "taser" before being attacked); the excessive firepower deployed by all sides in the Waco debacle (where the police used chemical agents which failed to end the siege); and the humiliations of the US military missions in Somalia - America was in search of a magic bullet which would somehow allow the powers of good to prevail without anyone being hurt. Yet US doctrine in practice was not that simple, it was not to replace lethal weapons with "non-lethal" alternatives but to augment the use of deadly force, in both war and 'operations other than war', where the main targets include civilians. A dubious pandora's box of new weapons has emerged, designed to appear rather than be safe. Because of the "CNN factor" they need to be media friendly, more a case of invisible weapons than war without blood. America now has an integrated product team consisting of the US Marines, US Air Force, US Special Operations Command, US Army, US Navy, DOT, DOJ, DOE, Joint Staff, and CINCs Office of SecDef. Bridgeheads for this technology are already emerging since one of the roles of this team is to liaise with friendly foreign governments.
Last year, the interim report advised that the Commission should be requested to report on the existence of formal liaison arrangements with the US, for introducing advanced non-lethal weapons into the EU.(9) The urgency of this advice was highlighted in November 1997 for example, when a special conference on the "Future of Non-Lethal Weapons", was held in London. A flavour of what was on offer was provided by Ms Hildi Libby, systems manager of the US Army's Non-lethal Material Programme.
Ms Libby described the M203 Anti-personnel blunt trauma crowd dispersal grenade, which hurtles a large number of small "stinging" rubber balls at rioters. The US team also promoted acoustic wave weapons that used "mechanical pressure wave generation" to "provide the war fighter with a weapon capable of delivering incapacitating effects, from lethal to non-lethal"; the non-lethal Claymore mine - a crowd control version of the more lethal M18A1; ground vehicle stoppers; the M139 Volcano mine which projects a net (that can cover a football sized field) laced with either razor blades or other "immobilisation enhancers" - adhesive or sting; canister launched area denial systems; sticky foam; vortex ring guns - to apply vortex ring gas impulses with flash, concussion and the option of quickly changing between lethal and non-lethal operations; and the underbarrel tactical payload delivery system - essentially an M16 which shoots either bullets, disabling chemicals, kinetic munitions or marker dye.
One of the unanticipated consequences of these weapons is that they offer a flexible response which can potentially undermine non-violent direct action. Used to inflict instant gratuitous punishment, their flexibility means that if official violence does tempt demonstrators to fight back, the weapons are often just a switch away from street level executions.
At their last conference in Lillehammer, the Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation Pugwash came to the conclusion that the term 'non-lethal should be abandoned, not only because it covers a variety of very different weapons but also because it can be dangerously misleading. "In combat situations, 'sub-lethal' weapons are likely to be used in co-ordination with other weapons and could increase overall lethality. Weapons purportedly developed for conventional military or peacekeeping use are also likely to be used in civil wars or for oppression by brutal governments."
Weapons developed for police use may encourage the militarisation of police forces or be used for torture. If a generic term is needed "less-lethal or pre-lethal weapons might be preferable."(10) Such misgivings are certainly borne out by recent developments. US expert Bill Arkin has warned that the new generation of acoustic weapons can rupture organs, create cavities in human tissue and produce shockwaves of 170 decibels and potentially lethal blastwave trauma.(11) Pugwash considered that "each of the emerging less-lethal weapons technologies required urgent examination and that their development or adoption should be subject to public review."(12) Informed by principle 3 and 4 of the United Nations Basic Principles on The Use of Force & Firearms (13), MEP's may wish to consider the following options:-
(i) Reaffirm the European Parliamentary demand of May 1982, for a ban on the use of plastic bullets;
(ii) Establish objective criteria for assessing the biomedical effects of so called non-lethal weapons that are independent from commercial or governmental research;
(iii) Seek confirmation from the Commission that: Member States are fully aware of their responsibilities under Principles 3 and 4 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force & Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and to ask for clarification of exactly what steps individual Member States are taking to ensure that these are fully met, given the power of "less-lethal weapons" changes and whether consistent standards apply;
(iv) Request the Commission to report on the existing liaison arrangements for the second generation of non-lethal weapons to enter European Union from the USA and call for an independent report on their alleged safety as well as their intended and unforeseen social and political effects.
(v) During the interim period, consider restricting the deployment by the police, the military or paramilitary special forces, of US made or licensed 2nd. generation chemical irritant, kinetic, acoustic, laser, electromagnetic frequency, capture, entanglement, injector or electrical disabling and paralysing weapons, within Europe.
(vi). Establish the following principles across all EU Member States:(a) Research on chemical irritants should be published in open scientific journals before authorization for any usage is permitted and that the safety criteria for such chemicals should be treated as if they were drugs rather than riot control agents.
(b) Research on the alleged safety of existing crowd control weapons and of all future innovations in crowd control weapons should be placed in the public domain prior to any decision towards deployment.
(c) that deployment of OC (peppergas) should be halted across the EU until independent non-FBI funded research has evaluated any risks it poses to health.
Some of the equipment described above, such as the surveillance, area denial and crowd control technologies, also finds ready use inside permanent prisons and houses of correction. Other devices such as the area denial, perimeter fencing systems, portable coils of razor wire, prison transport vehicles with mini cage cells, to create temporary holding centres. Permanent prisons are however, literally custom built control environments, where every act and thing, including the architecture, the behaviour of the prison officers and daily routines, are functionally organised with that purpose in mind. Therefore many of the technologies discussed above are built in to the prison structure and integral to policing systems used to contain their inmates. For example, area denial technology, intruder detection equipment and surveillance devices are instrumental in hermetically sealing high security prisons. If disturbances develop within a prison, the riot technologies and tactics outlined above, are also available for use by prison officers. The trend has been to train specialized MUFTI (Minimum Force Tactical Intervention) squads for this purpose. Outside Europe, irritant gas has been used not only to crush revolt but also to punish political detainees or to eject reticent prisoners from their cells before execution. The Interim Report describes prison restraint techniques using straitjackets, body belts, leg shackles, padded cells and isolation units, some of which infringe the European Convention against Torture.(14)
Apart from mechanical restraint, prison authorities have access to pharmacological approaches for immobilising inmates, colloquially known as "the liquid cosh." These vary from psychotropic drugs such as anti-depressants, sedatives and powerful hypnotics. Drugs like largactil or Seranace offer a chemical strait-jacket and their usage is becoming increasingly controversial as prison populations rise and larger numbers of inmates are "treated". In the USA, the trend is for punishment to become therapy: "behaviour modification" - Pavlovian reward and punishment routines using drugs like anectine, producing fear or pain, to recondition behaviour. The possibilities of testing new social control drugs are extensive, whilst controls are few. Prisons form the new laboratories developing the next generation of drugs for social reprogramming, whilst military and university laboratories provide scores of new psychoactive drugs each year. (15)
Critics such as Lilly & Knepper (1992, 186-7) argue that in examining the international aspects of crime control as industry, more attention is needed to the changing activities of the companies which used to provide supplies to the military. At the end of the cold war, "with defence contractors reporting declines in sales, the search for new markets is pushing corporate decision making, it should be no surprise to see increased corporate activity in criminal justice." Where such companies previously profited from wars with foreign enemies, they are increasingly turning to the new opportunities afforded by crime control as industry.(Christie, 1994).
Several European countries are now experiencing a rapid process of privatisation of prisons by corporate conglomerations, predominantly from the USA. Some of the prisons run by these organisations in the US have cultures and control techniques which are alien to European traditions. Such a process of privatisation can lead to a bridgehead for importing U.S. corrections mentality, methods and technologies into Europe and there is a pressing need to ensure a consensus on what constitutes acceptable practice. There is a further danger that such privatisation will lead to cost cutting practices of human warehousing, rather than the more long term beneficial practice of prisoner rehabilitation.
In some European countries, particularly Britain, where changes in penal policy are leading to a rapid rise in prison population without additional resources being applied to the sector, the imperative is to cut costs either through using technology or by privatising prisons.(16)
Already, the UK Prison Service has compiled a shopping list of computer based options with existing CCTV surveillance systems being complemented by geophones, identity recognition technology and forward looking infra-red systems which can spot weapons and drugs..(17) Alongside such proactive technologies, UK prisons will face increasing pressure to tool up for trouble. Much this weaponry including the contract for between 950,000 and 2,500,000 of side handled batons, kubotans, riot shields etc. made by the Prison Service in March 1995, are likely to be originally manufactured in the United States.(18)
The U.S.A. adopts a far more militarised prison regime than anywhere in Europe outside of Northern Ireland. A massive prison industrial complex has mushroomed to maintain the strict control regimes that typify American Houses of Correction. The future prospect is of that alien technology coming here, with very little in the way of public or parliamentary debate. A few examples of US prison technologies and proliferation illustrate the dangers.
Many prisons in the U.S, use Nova electronic 50,000 volt extraction shields, electronic stun prods and most recently the REACT remote controlled stun belts. In 1994, the US Federal Bureau of Prisons decided to use remote-controlled stun belts on prisoners considered dangerous to prevent them from escaping during transportation and court appearances. By May 1996, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections said that no longer will inmates be chained together "but will be restrained by the use of stun belts and individual restraints."
Promotional literature from US company Stun Tech of Cleveland, Ohio, claims that its high pulse stun belt can be activated from 300 feet. After a warning noise, the Remote Electronically Activated Control Technology (REACT) belt inflicts a 50,000 volt shock for 8 seconds. This high pulsed current enters the prisoners left kidney region then enters the body of the victim along blood channels and nerve pathways. Each pulse results in a rapid body shock extending to the whole of the brain and central nervous system. The makers promote the belt "for total psychological supremacy ... of potentially troublesome prisoners." Stunned prisoners lose control of the bladders and bowels. "After all, if you were wearing the contraption around your waist that by the mere push of a button in someone's hand, could make you defecate or urinate yourself, what would you do from the psychological standpoint?"(19) Amnesty International wants Washington to ban the belts because they can be used to torture, and calls them, "cruel, inhuman and degrading." Some officials say the belts can save money because fewer guards would be needed. But human rights activists and some jailers oppose them as the "most degrading new measure in an increasingly barbaric field." (Kilborn,1997) Already, some European countries are in the process of evaluating stunbelt systems for use here. (Marks, 1996)
Without proper licensing and a clear consensus on what is expected from private prisons in Europe, multinational private prison conglomerations could act as a bridgehead for similar sorts of technology to further enter the European crime control industry. Proper limits need to be set when a licence is granted with a comprehensive account taken of that company's past track record in terms of civil liberties, rehabilitation and crisis management rather than just cost per prisoner held. Amnesty International in the USA is currently asking the large multi-national prison corporations to sign up to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and a similar approach with associated contractual obligations, might prove to be a useful way forward here in Europe. Members of the European Parliament may wish to consider the following options:
(i) To let commercial requirements to make profits from prisoners become the primary criterion in running Europe's private jails;
(ii). Further examine the use of kill fencing and lethal area denial systems in all prisons within the European Union, whether private or public, with a view to their prohibition;
(iii) That the European Parliament establish a rigorous independent and impartial inquiry into the use of stun belts, stunguns and shields , and all other types and variants of electro-shock weapons in Member States, to assess their medical and other effects in terms of international human rights standards regulating the treatment of prisoners and the use of force; the inquiry should examine all known cases of deaths or injury resulting from the use of these instruments, and the results of the inquiry should be published without delay;
(iv) That the European Commission be asked to:(a). Ensure that the UN Minimum treatment of prisoners rules banning the use of leg irons on prisoners are implemented in all EU correctional facilities.
(b). Implement a ban on the introduction of in-built gassing systems inside European gaols on the basis of the manufacturers warnings of the dangers of using chemical riot control agents in enclosed spaces. Restrictions should also be made on the use of chemical irritants from whatever source in correctional facilities wherever research has shown that a concentration of that irritant could either kill or be associated with permanent damage to health.
(c). Explore legal mechanisms to ensure that all private prison operations within the European Union should be subject to a common and consistent licensing regime by the host member. If adopted, no licence should be granted where proven human rights violations by that contractor have been made elsewhere. Consideration might be given to providing a contract mechanism whereby any failure to secure a licence in one European state should debar that private prison contractor from bidding for other European contracts (pending evidence of adequate human rights training and appropriate improvements in standard operating procedures and controls by that corporation or company).
(v). Seek agreement between all Member States to ensure that:(a) All riot control, prisoner transport and extraction technology which is in use or proposed for use in all prisons, (whether state or privately run), should be subject to prior approval by the competent member authorities on the basis of independent research.
(b) Automated systems of indiscriminate punishment such as built in baton round firing mechanisms, should be prohibited.
(c). The use of electro-shock restraining devices or other remote control punishment devices including shock- shields should be immediately suspended in any private or public prison in the European Union, until and unless independent medical evidence can clearly demonstrate that their use will not contribute to deaths in custody, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Interim Report on the variety of hardware, software and liveware involved in human interrogation and torture.(20) Millennia of research and development have been expended in devising ever more cruel and inhumane means of extracting obedience and information from reluctant victims or achieving excruciatingly painful and long-drawn-out deaths for those who would question or challenge the prevalent status quo. What has changed in more recent times is (i) the increasing requirement for speed in breaking down prisoners' resistance; (ii) the adoption of sophisticated methods based on a scientific approach and (iii) a need for invisible torture which leaves no or few marks which might be used by organisations like Amnesty International to label a particular government, a torturing state. Today, the phenomena of torture has grown to a worldwide epidemic. A report by the Redress Trust, 1996, found that 151 countries were involved in torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, despite the fact that 106 states have ratified, acceded to or signed the Convention Against Torture.
Helen Bamber, Director of the British Medical Foundation for the Treatment of the Victims of Torture, has described electroshock batons at "the most universal modern tool of the torturers" (Gregory,1995) Recent surveys of torture victims have confirmed that after systematic beating, electroshock is one of the most common factors (London, 1993); Rasmussen, 1990). If one looks at the country reports of Amnesty International, (which recently published a survey of fifty countries where electric shock torture and ill treatment has been recorded since 1990)(21), confirm that electroshock torture is the Esperanto of the most repressive states. Since publication of the Interim Report, one news story has uncovered evidence suggesting that Taiwan made electroshock weapons are being sold with the EC "mark of quality", despite the resolution passed by the European Parliament seeking a ban on such devices. There is an urgent need to establish whether this is a bogus claim or whether there really are people in the Commission building whose job is to make sure the electro-shock weapons produced by foreign manufacturers can produce the requisite level of paralysis & helplessness beloved of torturers every where.(22) Members of the European Parliament may wish to consider the following policy options:
(i). That the Civil Liberties Committee should receive expert evidence to determine whether:(a) New regulations on the nature of in-depth interrogation training should be agreed which prohibit export of such techniques to forces overseas known to be involved in gross human rights violation.
(b) All training of foreign military, police, security and intelligence forces in interrogation techniques, can be subject to licence, even if it is provided outside European territory.
(c) Restrictions on visits to European MSP related events by representatives of known torturing states can be effectively implemented.
(ii) The Commission should be requested to achieve agreement between member States to:(a) Carry out an investigation of claims that the EC "mark of quality" is being used to endorse electroshock devices and Immediately prohibit the transfer of all electroshock stun weapons to any country where such weapons are likely to contribute to unlawful killings, or to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, for example by refusing any export licence where it is proposed that electroshock weapons will be transferred to a country where persistent torture or instances of instances of electric shock torture and ill treatment have been reported.
(b) Introduce and implement new regulations on the manufacture, sale and transfer of all electroshock weapons from and into Europe, with a full report to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties committee made each year. [Special consideration should be given to controlling the whole procurement process, covering even the making of contracts of sale, (to prevent a purchase deal made in a European country being met by a supplier or subsidiary outside of the EU, in an effort to obviate extant controls)].
(c). Ensure that the proposed regulations should cover patents and prohibit the patenting of any device whose sole use would be the violation of human rights, via torture or the creation of unnecessary suffering. The onus should be on the patent seeker to show that his patent would not lead to such outcomes.
(v) The European Parliament should look at commissioning new work to investigate how existing legislation within member states of the EU, can be brought to bear to prosecute companies who have been complicit in the supply of equipment used for torture as defined by the UN convention of torture. This new work should examine, in conjunction with the Directorate of Human Rights:(a) The extent to which such technology produced by European companies is being transferred to human rights violators and the role played by international military, police and security fairs organised both inside and outside European Borders;
(b)The possible measures that could be set in place to monitor and track any technology transfer within this category and any potential role in this endeavour that might be played by recognised Non-Governmental Organisations.
Surveillance technology can be defined as devices or systems which can monitor, track and assess the movements of individuals, their property and other assets. Much of this technology is used to track the activities of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, student leaders, minorities, trade union leaders and political opponents. A huge range of surveillance technologies has evolved, including the night vision goggles; parabolic microphones to detect conversations over a kilometre away; laser versions, can pick up any conversation from a closed window in line of sight; the Danish Jai stroboscopic camera can take hundreds of pictures in a matter of seconds and individually photograph all the participants in a demonstration or March; and the automatic vehicle recognition systems can tracks cars around a city via a Geographic Information System of maps.
New technologies which were originally conceived for the Defence and Intelligence sectors, have after the cold war, rapidly spread into the law enforcement and private sectors. It is one of the areas of technological advance, where outdated regulations have not kept pace with an accelerating pattern of abuses. Up until the 1960's, most surveillance was low-tech and expensive since it involved following suspects around from place to place, using up to 6 people in teams of two working 3 eight hour shifts. All of the material and contacts gleaned had to be typed up and filed away with little prospect of rapidly cross checking. Even electronic surveillance was highly labour intensive. The East German police for example employed 500,000 secret informers, 10,000 of which were needed just to listen and transcribe citizen's phone calls.(23)
By the 1980's, new forms of electronic surveillance were emerging and many of these were directed towards automation of communications interception. This trend was fuelled in the U.S. in the 1990's by accelerated government funding at the end of the cold war, with defence and intelligence agencies being refocussed with new missions to justify their budgets, transferring their technologies to certain law enforcement applications such as anti-drug and anti-terror operations. In 1993, the US department of defence and the Justice department signed memoranda of understanding for "Operations Other Than War and Law Enforcement" to facilitate joint development and sharing of technology. According to David Banisar of Privacy International, "To counteract reductions in military contracts which began in the 1980's, computer and electronics companies are expanding into new markets - at home and abroad - with equipment originally developed for the military. Companies such as E Systems, Electronic Data Systems and Texas Instruments are selling advanced computer systems and surveillance equipment to state and local governments that use them for law enforcement, border control and Welfare administration."(24)What the East German secret police could only dream of is rapidly becoming a reality in the free world."(25)
In fact the art of visual surveillance has dramatically changed over recent years. Of course police and intelligence officers still photograph demonstrations and individuals of interest but increasingly such images can be stored and searched. Ongoing processes of ultra-miniaturisation mean that such devices can be made to be virtually undetectable and are open to abuse by both individuals, companies and official agencies.
The attitude to CCTV camera networks varies greatly in the European Union, from the position in Denmark where such cameras are banned by law to the position in the UK, where many hundreds of CCTV networks exist. Nevertheless, a common position on the status of such systems where they exist in relation to data protection principles should apply in general. A specific consideration is the legal status of admissibility as evidence, of digital material such as those taken by the more advanced CCTV systems. Much of this will fall within data protection legislation if the material gathered can be searched, e.g., by car number plate or by time. Given that material from such systems can be seamlessly edited, the European Data Protection Directive legislation needs to be implemented through primary legislation which clarifies the law as it applies to CCTV, to avoid confusion amongst both CCTV data controllers as well as citizens as data subjects. Primary legislation will make it possible to extend the impact of the Directive to areas of activity that do not fall within community law. Articles 3 and 13 of the Directive should not create a blanket covering the use of CCTV in every circumstance in a domestic context.
A proper code of practice such as that promoted by the UK based Local Government Information Unit (LGIU, 1996) should be extended to absorb best practice from all EU Member States to cover the use of all CCTV surveillance schemes operating in public spaces and especially in residential areas.(26) As a first step it is suggested that the Civil Liberties Committee formally consider examining the practice and control of CCTV throughout the member States with a view to establishing what elements of the various codes of practice could be adopted for a unified code and an enforceable legal framework covering enforcement and civil liberties protection and redress.
The revolution in urban surveillance will reach the next generation of control once reliable face recognition comes in. It will initially be introduced at stationary locations, like turnstiles, customs points, security gateways etc. to enable a standard full face recognition to take place. The Interim Report predicted that in the early part of the 21st. century, facial recognition on CCTV will be a reality and those countries with CCTV infrastructures will view such technology as a natural add-on. In fact, an American company Software and Systems has trialed a system in London which can scan crowds and match faces against a database of images held in a remote computer.(27) We are at the beginning of a revolution in "algorithmic surveillance" - effectively data analysis via complex algorithms which enable automatic recognition and tracking. Such automation not only widens the surveillance net, it narrows the mesh. (See Norris, C., et. al, 1998)
Similarly Vehicle Recognition Systems have been developed which can identify a car number plate then track the car around a city using a computerised geographic information system. Such systems are now commercially available, for example, the Talon system introduced in 1994 by UK company Racal at a price of 2000 per unit. The system is trained to recognise number plates based on neural network technology developed by Cambridge Neurodynamics, and can see both night and day. Initially it has been used for traffic monitoring but its function has been adapted in recent years to cover security surveillance and has been incorporated in the "ring of steel" around London. The system can then record all the vehicles that entered or left the cordon on a particular day. (28)
It is important to set clear guidelines and codes of practice for such technological innovations, well in advance of the digital revolution making new and unforeseen opportunities to collate, analyze, recognise and store such visual images. Already multifunctional traffic management systems such as "Traffic Master", (which uses vehicle recognition systems to map and quantify congestion), are facilitating a national surveillance architecture. Such regulation will need to be founded on sound data protection principles and take cognizance of article 15 of the 1995 European Directive on the protection of Individuals and Processing of Personal Data. Essentially this says that : "Member States shall grant the right of every person not to be subject to a decision which produces legal effects concerning him or significantly affects him and which is based solely on the automatic processing of data."(29) There is much to recommend the European Parliament following the advice of a recent UK House of Lords Report (Select Committee Report on Digital Images as Evidence, 1998). Namely: (i)that the European Parliament ...."produces guidance for both the public and private sectors on the use of data matching, and in particular the linking of surveillance systems with other databases; and (ii) That the Data Protection Registrar be given powers to audit the operation of data matching systems".
Such surveillance systems raise significant issues of accountability, particularly when transferred to authoritarian regimes. The cameras used in Tiananmen Square were sold as advanced traffic control systems by Siemens Plessey. Yet after the 1989 massacre of students, there followed a witch hunt when the authorities tortured and interrogated thousands in an effort to ferret out the subversives. The Scoot surveillance system with USA made Pelco cameras were used to faithfully record the protests. The images were repeatedly broadcast over Chinese television offering a reward for information, with the result that nearly all the transgressors were identified. Again democratic accountability is only the criterion which distinguishes a modern traffic control system from an advanced dissident capture technology. Foreign companies are exporting traffic control systems to Lhasa in Tibet, yet Lhasa does not as yet have any traffic control problems. The problem here may be a culpable lack of imagination.
A wide range of bugging and tapping devices have been evolved to record conversations and to intercept telecommunications traffic. In recent years the widespread practice of illegal and legal interception of communications and the planting of 'bugs' has been an issue in many European States.(30) However, planting illegal bugs is yesterday's technology. Modern snoopers can buy specially adapted lap top computers, and simply tune in to all the mobile phones active in the area by cursoring down to their number. The machine will even search for numbers "of interest" to see if they are active. However, these bugs and taps pale into insignificance next to the national and international state run interceptions networks.
The Interim Report set out in detail, the global surveillance systems which facilitate the mass supervision of all telecommunications including telephone, email and fax transmissions of private citizens, politicians, trade unionists and companies alike. There has been a political shift in targeting in recent years. Instead of investigating crime (which is reactive) law enforcement agencies are increasingly tracking certain social classes and races of people living in red-lined areas before crime is committed - a form of pre-emptive policing deemed data-veillance which is based on military models of gathering huge quantities of low grade intelligence.
Without encryption, modern communications systems are virtually transparent to the advanced interceptions equipment which can be used to listen in. The Interim Report also explained how mobile phones have inbuilt monitoring and tagging dimensions which can be accessed by police and intelligence agencies. For example the digital technology required to pinpoint mobile phone users for incoming calls, means that all mobile phone users in a country when activated, are mini-tracking devices, giving their owners whereabouts at any time and stored in the company's computer. For example Swiss Police have secretly tracked the whereabouts of mobile phone users from the computer of the service provider Swisscom, which according SonntagsZeitung had stored movements of more than a million subscribers down to a few hundred metres, and going back at least half a year. (31)
However, of all the developments covered in the Interim Report, the section covering some of the constitutional and legal issues raised by the USA's National Security Agency's access and facility to intercept all European telecommunications caused the most concern. Whilst no-one denied the role of such networks in anti terrorist operations and countering illegal drug, money laundering and illicit arms deals, alarm was expressed about the scale of the foreign interceptions network identified in the report and whether existing legislation, data protection and privacy safeguards in the Member States were sufficient to protect the confidentiality between EU citizens, corporations and those with third countries.
Since there has been a certain degree of confusion in subsequent press reports, it is worth clarifying some of the issues surrounding transatlantic electronic surveillance and providing a short history and update on developments since the Interim Report was published in January 1998. There are essentially two separate system, namely:
(i) The UK/USA system comprising the activities of military intelligence agencies such as NSA-CIA in the USA subsuming GCHQ & MI6 in the UK operating a system known as ECHELON.
(ii) The EU-FBI system which is linking up various law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, police, customs, immigration and internal security.
Although the confusion has been further compounded by the title of item 44 on the agenda for the Plenary session of the European Parliament on September 16, 1998,(32) in intelligence terms, these are two distinct "communities." It is worth looking briefly at the activities of both systems in turn, encompassing, Echelon, encryption; EU-FBI surveillance and new interfaces with for example to access to internet providers and to databanks of other agencies.
7.4.1 NSA INTERCEPTION OF ALL EU TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The Interim report said that within Europe, all email, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency, transferring all target information from the European mainland via the strategic hub of London then by Satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill in the North York Moors of the UK.
The system was first uncovered in the 1970's by a group of researchers in the UK (Campbell, 1981). A recent work by Nicky Hager, Secret Power, (Hager, 1996) provides the most comprehensive details to date of a project known as ECHELON. Hager interviewed more than 50 people concerned with intelligence to document a global surveillance system that stretches around the world to form a targeting system on all of the key Intelsat satellites used to convey most of the world's satellite phone calls, internet, email, faxes and telexes. These sites are based at Sugar Grove and Yakima, in the USA, at Waihopai in New Zealand, at Geraldton in Australia, Hong Kong, and Morwenstow in the UK.
The ECHELON system forms part of the UKUSA system but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the cold war, ECHELON is designed for primarily non-military targets: governments, organisations and businesses in virtually every country. The ECHELON system works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of communications and then siphoning out what is valuable using artificial intelligence aids like Memex to find key words. Five nations share the results with the US as the senior partner under the UKUSA agreement of 1948, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are very much acting as subordinate information servicers.
Each of the five centres supply "dictionaries" to the other four of keywords, Phrases, people and places to "tag" and the tagged intercept is forwarded straight to the requesting country. Whilst there is much information gathered about potential terrorists, there is a lot of economic intelligence, notably intensive monitoring of all the countries participating in the GATT negotiations. But Hager found that by far the main priorities of this system continued to be military and political intelligence applicable to their wider interests.
Hager quotes from a"highly placed intelligence operatives" who spoke to the Observer in London. "We feel we can no longer remain silent regarding that which we regard to be gross malpractice and negligence within the establishment in which we operate." They gave as examples. GCHQ interception of three charities, including Amnesty International and Christian Aid. "At any time GCHQ is able to home in on their communications for a routine target request," the GCHQ source said. In the case of phone taps the procedure is known as Mantis. With telexes its called Mayfly. By keying in a code relating to third world aid, the source was able to demonstrate telex "fixes" on the three organisations. With no system of accountability, it is difficult to discover what criteria determine who is not a target.
Indeed since the Interim Report was published, journalists have alleged that ECHELON has benefited US companies involved in arms deals, strengthened Washington's position in crucial World Trade organisation talks with Europe during a 1995 dispute with Japan over car part exports. According to the Financial Mail On Sunday, "key words identified by US experts include the names of inter-governmental trade organisations and business consortia bidding against US companies. The word 'block' is on the list to identify communications about offshore oil in area where the seabed has yet to be divided up into exploration blocks ..." It has also been suggested that in 1990 the US broke into secret negotiations and persuaded Indonesia that US giant AT & T be included in a multi-billion dollar telecoms deal that at one point was going entirely to Japan's NEC.(33)
The Sunday Times (11 May, 1998) reported that early on the radomes at Menwith Hill (NSA station F83) in North Yorkshire UK, were given the task of intercepting international leased carrier (ILC) traffic - essentially, ordinary commercial communications. Its staff have grown from 400 in the 1980's to more than 1400 now with a further 370 staff from the MoD. The Sunday Times also reported allegations that conversations between the German company Volkswagen and General Motors were intercepted and the French have complained that Thompson-CSF, the French electronics company, lost a $1.4 billion deal to supply Brazil with a radar system because the Americans intercepted details of the negotiations and passed them on to US company Raytheon, which subsequently won the contract. Another claim is that Airbus Industrie lost a contract worth $1 billion to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas because information was intercepted by American spying. Other newspapers such as Liberation (21 April 1998) and Il Mondo (20 March 1998), identify the network as an Anglo-Saxon Spy network because of the UK-USA axis. Privacy International goes further. "Whilst recognising that "strictly speaking, neither the Commission nor the European Parliament have a mandate to regulate or intervene in security matters ... they do have a responsibility to ensure that security is harmonised throughout the Union."
According to Privacy International, the UK is likely to find its "Special relationship" ties fall foul of its Maastricht obligations since Title V of Maastricht requires that "Member States shall inform and consult one another within the Council on any matter of foreign and security policy of general interest in order to ensure that their combined influence is exerted as effectively as possible by means of concerted and convergent action." Yet under the terms of the Special relationship, Britain cannot engage in open consultation with its other European partners.(34) The situation is further complicated by counter allegations in the French magazine Le Point, that the French are systematically spying on American and other allied countries telephone and cable traffic via the Helios 1A Spy satellite. (Times, June 17 1998)
If even half of these allegations are true then the European Parliament must act to ensure that such powerful surveillance systems operate to a more democratic consensus now that the Cold War has ended. Clearly, the Overseas policies of European Union Member States are not always congruent with those of the USA and in commercial terms, espionage is espionage. No proper Authority in the USA would allow a similar EU spy network to operate from American soil without strict limitations, if at all. Following full discussion on the implications of the operations of these networks, the European Parliament is advised to set up appropriate independent audit and oversight procedures and that any effort to outlaw encryption by EU citizens should be denied until and unless such democratic and accountable systems are in place, if at all.
7.4.2 EU-FBI GLOBAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
Much of the documentation and research necessary to put into the public domain, the history, structure, role and function of the EU-FBI convention to legitimise global electronic surveillance, has been secured by Statewatch, the widely respected UK based civil liberties monitoring and research organisation.(35)
Statewatch have described at length the signing of the Transatlantic Agenda in Madrid at the EU-US summit of 3 December 1995 - part of which was the "Joint EU-US Action Plan" and has subsequently analysed these efforts as an ongoing attempt to redefine the Atlantic Alliance in the post-Cold War era, a stance increasingly used to justify the efforts of internal security agencies taking on enhanced policing roles in Europe.(36) Statewatch notes that the first Joint Action 'out of the area" surveillance plan was not discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs meeting but adopted on the nod, as an A point (without debate) by of all places, the Fisheries Council on 20 December 1996.(37)
In February 1997, Statewatch reported that the EU had secretly agreed to set up an international telephone tapping network via a secret network of committees established under the "third pillar" of the Mastricht Treaty covering co-operation on law and order. Key points of the plan are outlined in a memorandum of understanding, signed by EU states in 1995. (ENFOPOL 112 10037/95 25.10.95) which remains classified. According to a Guardian report (25.2.97) it reflects concern among European Intelligence agencies that modern technology will prevent them from tapping private communications. "EU countries it says, should agree on "international interception standards set at a level that would ensure encoding or scrambled words can be broken down by government agencies." Official reports say that the EU governments agreed to co-operate closely with the FBI in Washington. Yet earlier minutes of these meetings suggest that the original initiative came from Washington. According to Statewatch, network and service providers in the EU will be obliged to install "tappable" systems and to place under surveillance any person or group when served with an interception order.
These plans have never been referred to any European government for scrutiny, nor to the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, despite the clear civil liberties issues raised by such an unaccountable system. The decision to go ahead was simply agreed in secret by "written procedure" through an exchange of telexes between the 15 EU governments. We are told by Statewatch the EU-FBI Global surveillance plan was now being developed "outside the third pillar." In practical terms this means that the plan is being developed by a group of twenty countries - the then 15 EU member countries plus the USA, Australia, Canada, Norway and New Zealand. This group of 20 is not accountable through the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers or to the European Parliament or national parliaments.(38) Nothing is said about finance of this system but a report produced by the German government estimates that the mobile phone part of the package alone will cost 4 billion D-marks.
Statewatch concludes that "It is the interface of the ECHELON system and its potential development on phone calls combined with the standardisation of "tappable communications centres and equipment being sponsored by the EU and the USA which presents a truly global threat over which there are no legal or democratic controls." (Press release 25.2.97) In many respects what we are witnessing here are meetings of operatives of a new global military-intelligence state. It is very difficult for anyone to get a full picture of what is being decided at the executive meetings setting this Transatlantic agenda. Whilst Statewatch won a ruling from the Ombudsman for access on the grounds that the Council of Ministers misapplied the code of access, for the time being such access to the agendas have been denied. Without such access, we are left with "black box decision making". The eloquence of the unprecedented Commission statement on Echelon and Transatlantic relations scheduled for the 16th. of September, is likely to be as much about what is left out as it is about what is said for public consumption. Members of the European Parliament may wish to consider the following policy options:
(i) That a more detailed series of studies should be commissioned on the social, political commercial and constitutional implications of the global electronic surveillance networks outlined in this report, with a view to holding a series of expert hearings to inform future EU civil liberties policy. These studies might cover:(a) The constitutional issues raised by the facility of the US National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept all European telecommunications, particularly those legal commitments made by member States in regard to the Maastricht Treaty and the whole question of the use of this network for automated political and commercial espionage.
(b) The social and political implications of the FBI-EU global surveillance system, its growing access to new telecommunications mediums including e-mail and its ongoing expansion into new countries together with any related financial and constitutional issues.
(c) The structure, role and remit of an EU wide oversight body, independent from the European Parliament, which might be set up to oversee and audit the activities of all bodies engaged in intercepting telecommunications made within Europe.
(ii) The European Parliament should reject proposals from the United States for making private messages via the global communications network (Internet) accessible to US Intelligence Agencies. Nor should the Parliament agree to new expensive encryption controls without a wide ranging debate within the EU on the implications of such measures. These encompass the civil and human rights of European citizens and the commercial rights of companies to operate within the law, without unwarranted surveillance by intelligence agencies operating in conjunction with multinational competitors.
(ii) That the European Parliament convene a series of expert hearings covering all the technical, political and commercial activities of bodies engaged in electronic surveillance and to further elaborate possible options to bring such activities back within the realm of democratic accountability and transparency. These proposed hearings might also examine the issue of proper codes of practice to ensure redress if malpractice or abuse takes place. Explicit criteria should be agreed for deciding who should be targeted for surveillance and who should not, how such data is stored, processed and shared and whether such criteria and associated codes of practice could be made publicly available.
(iii) To amend the terms of reference of the Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee to include powers and responsibilities for all matters relating to the civil liberties issues raised by electronic surveillance devices and networks and to call for a series of reports during its next work programme, including:(a) How legally binding codes of practice could ensure that new surveillance technologies are brought within the appropriate data protection legislation.
(b) The production of guidance for both the public and private sectors on the use of data matching, and in particular the linking of surveillance systems with other databases; and addressing the issue of giving Member State Data Protection Registrars appropriate powers to audit the operation of data matching systems.
(c) How the provision of electronic bugging and tapping devices to private citizens and companies, might be further regulated, so that their sale is governed by legal permission rather than self regulation.
(d) How the use of telephone interception by Member states could be subject to procedures of public accountability referred to in (a) above? (E.g. before any telephone interception takes place a warrant should be obtained in a manner prescribed by the relevant parliament. In most cases, law enforcement agencies will not be permitted to self-authorise interception except in the most unusual of circumstances which should be reported back to the authorising authority at the earliest opportunity.
(e) How technologies facilitating the automatic profiling and pattern analysis of telephone calls to establish friendship and contact networks might be subject to the same legal requirements as those for telephone interception and reported to the relevant Member State parliament.
(f) The commission of a study examining what constitutes best practice and control of CCTV throughout the member States with a view to establishing what elements of the various codes of practice could be adopted for a unified code and a legal framework covering enforcement and civil liberties protection and redress.
(iv) Setting up procedural mechanisms whereby relevant committees of the European Parliament considering proposals for technologies which have civil liberties implications (e.g. the Telecommunications Committee) in regard to surveillance, should be required to forward all relevant policy proposals and reports to the Civil Liberties Committee for their observations in advance of any political or financial decisions on deployment being taken.
(v) Setting up Agreements between Member States Agreement whereby annual statistics on interception should be reported to each member states' parliament in a standard and consistent format. These statistics should provide comprehensive details of the actual number of communication devices intercepted and data should be not be aggregated. (To avoid the statistics only identifying the number of warrants, issued whereas organisations under surveillance may have hundreds of members, all of whose phones may be intercepted).
The Interim Report warned of the potential of some of these weapons, technologies and systems to undermine international human rights legislation - a consideration particularly poignant in this the 50th. anniversary year of the signing of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Many of the major arms companies have a paramilitary/internal security operation and diversification into manufacturing or marketing this technology, is increasingly taking place.
NGO's like Amnesty International, have begun to catalogue the trade in specialised military, security and police technologies, to measure its impact on industrialising repression, globalising conflict, undermining democracy and strengthening the security forces of torturing states to create a new generation of political prisoners, extra-judicial killings and "disappearances". (Amnesty International, 1996). The key issue for Members of the European Parliament is how they will deal with the human and political fall out of what is a systemic process of exporting repression: either importing a tidal wave of dispossessed refugees, or keeping them in desperation at the borders of Europe. There is an urgent need for greater transparency and democratic control of such exports and a clearer recognition of their frequent linkage with gross human rights violations in their recipient states.
The Interim Report catalogued in some detail , examples of how this technology, including electroshock systems, was being supplied by European countries to assist in acts of human rights violation abroad,despite the fact that a substantial body of international human rights obligations should theoretically prevent such transfers .(39) The European Parliament made a resolution on the 19 January 1995, which called on the Commission to bring forward proposals to incorporate these technologies within the scope of the arms export controls and ensure greater transparency in the export of all military, security and police technologies to prevent the hypocrisy of governments who themselves breach their own export bans.(40) Members of the European Parliament may wish to consider the following policy options:
(i) That new research should be commissioned by the European Parliament to explore the extent to which European companies are complicity supplying repressive technologies used to commit human rights violations and the prospects of instituting independent measures of monitoring the level and extent of such sales whilst tracking their subsequent human rights impacts and consequences;
(ii) Consider if there is a need to amend the terms of reference of the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security to include powers and responsibilities for liaising with Member States to:(a) Enable the European Parliament to explore the possibilities of using the Joint Action procedures used to establish the EU regulations on the export of Dual Use equipment to draw up common lists of proscribed military, security, police (MSP)technology and training, the sole or primary use of which is to contribute to human rights violations; sensitive MSP technologies which have been shown in the past to be used to commit human rights violations; and military, security and police units and forces which have been sufficiently responsible for human rights violations and to whom sensitive goods and services should not be supplied.
(b) Enable Member States to monitor and regulate all exhibitions promoting the sale of security equipment and technology to ensure that any proposed transfers such as electroshock weapons, will not contribute to unlawful killings, or to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
(c) Explore mechanisms to ensure that all military, police and security exhibitions are required to publish guest lists, names of exhibitors, products and services on display and no visas or invitations should be issued to governments or representatives of security forces, known to carry out human rights violations.
(d) Find more effective means for ensuring that the sender should take legal responsibility for the stated use of military, security and police transfers in practice, for example making future contracts dependent on adherence to human rights criteria and that such criteria are central to the regulatory process.
(iii) That the Commission should be requested to achieve agreement between Member States to undertake changes to their respective strategic export controls so that:(a) All proposed transfers of security or police equipment are publicly disclosed in advance, especially electroshock weapons, (including those arranged on European territory where the equipment concerned remains outside Member States' borders) so that the human rights situation in the intended receiving country can be taken into consideration before any such transfers are allowed. and that reports are issued on the human rights situation in the receiving countries.
(b) Member States Parliaments are notified of all information necessary to enable them to exercise proper control over the implementation of their legal obligations and commitments to international human rights agreements, including receiving information on human rights violations from non-governmental organisations.
With proper accountability and regulation, some of the technologies discussed above do have a legitimate law enforcement function; without such democratic control, they can provide powerful tools of oppression.The real threat to civil liberties and human rights in the future, is more likely to arise from an incremental erosion of civil liberties, than it is from some conscious plan. As the globalisation of political control technologies increases, Members of the European Parliament have a right and a responsibility to challenge the costs, as well as the alleged benefits of many so-called advances in law enforcement. This report has sought to highlight some of the areas which are leading to the most undesirable social and political consequences.
Members of the Parliament are requested to consider the policy options provided in the report as just a first step to help bring the technology of political control, back within systems of democratic accountability.
1. The Interim Report on "An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control" (PE 166.499), is available free on request from the STOA secretariat in Luxembourg. Where appropriate, readers of this summary report seeking further detail are referred to the relevant pages of the interim study.
2. Ackroyd C, Margolis, K., Rosenhead, J., Shallice, T., (1977) The Technology of Political Control, Penguin Books, Middlesex, UK.
3. Statewatch, October, 1996, pp 6-7. A more recent related example concerns the proposed WEU creation of an 800 strong armed paramilitary police force drawn from existing specialist squads at the national level, for intervention in Central and Eastern Europe, to deal with public order, riot control and terrorism. (Statewatch, Vol 8, No.3-4, August 1998)
4. The Interim Report discusses in further detail specific innovations in area denial technology; surveillance technology including biometric systems such as face recognition; data-veillance; discrete order vehicles; less-lethal weapons; lethal weapons; and execution technologies (Interim Report, Sections 3.1-3.6, pp 8-15).
5. Interim Report, pp 22-39
6. "Critics Question Use of Pepper Spray," Rutland Herald and Barre Times-Argus, 22.2.98, Vermont, USA.
7. Amnesty International Press Release, AI: "USA: Police use of pepper spray is tantamount to torture," 7 November 1997.
8. No one from the police or home office has subsequently visited this inspector who remains partially sighted - See The Guardian, 29 January 1998.
9. Interim Report, p 39.
10. Pugwash Newsletter, November 1997, p. 276.
11. Bill Arkin writing in Journal of Medicine, Conflict and Survival, quoted in The Guardian, 9 December 1997.
12. Pugwash, Ibid.
13. Principle 3 states that: "the development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimise the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled"; principle 4 requires governments to take steps to ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force is not used by law enforcement officers, and that force is used "only if other means remain ineffective".
14. Interim Report, pp. 40-43.
15. Jessica Mitford's, The American Prison Business, Penguin 1977, provided a good discussion of early behaviour modification techniques tested in US gaols.
16. For example in 1996, the UK treasury announced enforced cutbacks of some 3,000 prison jobs. With the UK prison population expected to grow by 20,000 over the next 10 years due to the sentencing changes introduced by Home Secretary Michael Howard, staffing levels are sliding back to those prevailing at the time of the prison riots in the late 1980's. In these circumstances, the shortsighted prospect is one of expensive wardens being replaced with cheaper and more malleable technology, both passive and punitive.
17. Warren P, "Prisons go shopping in face of staff cuts," Computing, 25 January 1996
18. Restricted Contract Procedure (CC3160) for Her Majesty's Prison Service, Supply and Transport Services, Tenders Electronic Daily, Luxembourg.
19. Quoted in Amnesty International, United States of America - Use of electro-shock belts, June 1996.
20. Interim Report, pp 44-52; 54-57.
21. In its report Arming the Torturers (Amnesty International, 1997) Amnesty named the fifty countries where electroshock torture and ill treatment had been carried out in prisons, police stations and detention centres. They are:
Afghanistan, Algeria,Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chad, Chile, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia/East Timor, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco/Western Sahara, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Turkey, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia - Kosovo province, Zaire.
Amnesty recognises that the real figure is probably higher, "as the use of these weapons in torture can be very difficult to detect."
22. Quoted in Sunday Business, 30.9.98, London.
23. Speech by Hansjourg Geiger, German Federal Commission for the Stasi Files, April 14, 1993.
24. David Banisar, Covert Action Quarterly, No.56, Spring 1996.
25. David Banisar, CAQ Quarterly, No.56, Spring 1996.
26. The Interim Report (p 18) covers the minimal elements of such a code.
27. Patrick Hook, "Putting a Face to a Face," The Telegraph, 13.08.98.
28. "Your number may be up," Times, May 13, 1994.
29. Common Position EC No/95, Adopted by the Council on 20 February 1995, Directive 95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, "On the Protection of Individuals, With Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data."
30. Interim Report, p.18
31. Quoted from Reuters, 28 December 1997.
32. Commission Statement - Transatlantic relations/Echelon System. Transatlantic relations following 18 May EU-US Summit and the use of monitoring techniques in the field of communications. (It would be somewhat unusual if Echelon was actually discussed at this meeting, apart from a context to neutralise current disquiet).
33. Fletcher, M., "Cook Faces Quiz on Big Brother Spy Net," Financial Mail on Sunday, 1 March 1998.
34. Privacy International, "Divided Loyalties: Revelations About American Spying In Britain Are Causing A Storm in Europe," Briefing Paper by Simon Davies, 4 September 1998.
35. Statewatch can be contacted via 00-0181-802-1882 or via their website http//www.poptel.org.uk/statewatch/
36. Statewatch Vol 6, No.1 Jan-Feb 1996.
37. Statewatch Vol 7, No. 1 January-February 1997.
38. Statewatch, Vol 7, No. 4 & 5, July to October 1997
39. Interim Report p.53-57
40. Doc EN\RE\264264474
AN APPRAISAL OF THE TECHNOLOGIES OF POLITICAL CONTROL
AN OMEGA FOUNDATION SUMMARY & OPTIONS REPORT
* Note that this bibliography represents an abbreviated list. Those requiring a more comprehensive set of references to this topic are referred to the detailed bibliography provided provided in the Interim report, pages 74--100.
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