Statewatch report – “The Shape of Things to Come”

European civil rights group Statewatch today launched a fascinating and worrying report – The Shape of Things to Come by Tony Bunyan – giving an overview of EU policy and the implications for civil liberties. Here’s what they had to say about it:

The EU is currently developing a new five year strategy for justice and home affairs and security policy for 2009-2014. The proposals set out by the shadowy “Future Group” set up by the Council of the European Union include a range of highly controversial measures including new technologies of surveillance, enhanced cooperation with the United States and harnessing the “digital tsunami”. In the words of the EU Council presidency:

“Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts.”

Seven years on from 11 September 2001 and the launch of the “war on terorism” this major new report The Shape of Things to come (60 pages) examines the proposals of the Future Group and their effect on civil liberties. It shows how European governments and EU policy-makers are pursuing unfettered powers to access and gather masses of personal data on the everyday life of everyone – on the grounds that we can all be safe and secure from perceived “threats”.

The Statewatch report calls for a “meaningful and wide-ranging debate” before it is “too late” for privacy and civil liberties.

Reading this report, it’s hard to disagree with the conclusion that:

In the immediate aftermath of 11 September 2001 the EU, and national governments, adopted measures said to be necessary as “exceptional” because of the “war on terrorism” and that they were not permanent but time limited. Seven years on the “exceptional” has become the norm.

Press release
Eight page summary
Full report