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Home arrow newsitems arrow Track EUPeople (after Exposing them to Virus Import): CoE+NGOs+Snowden warn v.Orwell Risk=>EU Frame?

Track EUPeople (after Exposing them to Virus Import): CoE+NGOs+Snowden warn v.Orwell Risk=>EU Frame?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 09 April 2020
orwell_1984_eurofora_patchwork_400


*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/(Partly UpDated)- EU Citizens may soon face a Risky Paradox : After having been practicaly Abandoned, withOut Any Protection, vis a vis Massive Infections imported from NW Italy's initial Deadly Virus' Hotspot, since several EU Governments did Not Monitor at all the endangered Borders, (Contrary to what China succesfully did vis a vis its Wuhan Region, similar to Lombardy, which was Tightly Quarantined: See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/delaytoprotecteupeoplefromvirus.html, etc), Now they are threatened to be ...themselves Monitored in their EveryDay Private Lives, Spied even on their Individual Movements and Contacts, Health condition, etc., under Pretext to limit a Further Spread of the Virus !

- Already, CoE Assembly's new President, Rik Daems from Belgium (Liberal), Warned, on this occasion, against a Risk to "Open the Door to an <<Orwellian>> Future of Constant Personal Surveillance, Following our Every Move, for UnKnown and UnAccountable Purposes", as he said in a Press Release just send to "Eurofora" by PACE's Press Service in Strasbourg, (See also Infra).

- Indeed, as independent Web Freedom Watchdog "Electronic Frontier Foundation" NGO cautioned, currently, "Governments around the World are demanding Extraordinary new Surveillnce Powers", allegedly "to fight the Virus", Urging also a Close Scrutiny on New Links between some Governments and certain Private Companies that popped up out of the Pandemic, (f.ex. Telephone Companies, Internet access Providers, SpyWare Manufactors, Social Medias Networks, etc).

+ In Addition, World Famous WhistleBlower Edward Snowden, who risked his Job and Freedom in order to Denounce a Global Massive Surveillance mecanism by Secret Services, (Comp. Snowden's Replies to "Eurofora" Questions earlier at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenfriendshelpwhistleblowers.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenlaughonlongmuellerspyingtrump.html, etc) has just Warned that, even "Five years later the coronavirus is gone, this data's still available to them — they start looking for new things... They already know what you're Looking at on the Internet, they already know where your Phone is Moving, now they know what your Heart rate is" (f.ex. by Spying a "Fitness Tracker", etc). "What happens when they start to interMix these, and apply artificial intelligence to them ?"

- Yesterday, CoE's Rapporteur on WhistleBlowers, and vice-President of the French National Assembly, Sylvain Wasserman, from Strasbourg's area, (Comp. Earlier Replies by Wasserman to "Eurofora"s questions, f.ex., at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/whistleblowersineuandcoe.html, +http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenfriendshelpwhistleblowers.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coerapporteurforassangeprotection.html, etc), stressed that, as a matter of Principle, Nowadays "It is Vital we improve the Protection of Whistle-blowers both during and after the CoronaVirus Crisis". Because, "Times of Crisis show that we need them to Safeguard our fundamental Rights such as Freedom of Expression and Information, but we also need them to enable us to prepare for and manage such situations more effectively". Thus, inter alia, “Whistle-blowers can also Help to Prevent or Correct State Failures during the current Crisis. They are therefore an Essential cog in the wheel of our Democracies, and their Protection is a Measure of how Democratic we are".

=> In Consequence, Wasserman "fully Support(ed) the Initiative taken by NGOs to ...Improve the Protection of Whistle-Blowers ot only during the Crisis, but Also once it is behind us", including "Transarency International", the "European Federation of Journalists" and the "Media Development Center", "Government Accountability Project", the Universities of Griffith (Australia), Maastricht, Middlesex, Ryerson and Greenwich, "International Bar Association", "European Centre for Press and Media Freedom", "EuroCadres", "European Public Service Union", "European Organisation of Military Associations and Trade Unions", "Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff", "WhistleBlowing International Network", etc., who recently launched a "Coalition to make WhistleBlowing Safe, during COVID-19 and Beyond".

- "The signatories ... call(ed) on all public authorities and institutions to Protect those who Report or expose the Harms, Abuses and serious Wrongdoing that arise during this period of Crisis caused by the COVID19 Pandemic", and "encourage(d) all Citizens and Workers to participate in ensuring our Governments, Corporate institutions and markets remain Accountable, and in Defending the Human Rights and freedoms", as "the Need for regular and Reliable Information", as well as "the importance of Accountability" are Now "Brought into Stark Relief", since "Speak about Threats to Public Health and Safety, Corruption and other Abuses", added to "their Disclosures", "are Vital to Preventing Major Disasters and reducing the Impacts of the crisis ..., especially on the most Vulnerable members of society and our Democratic systems", particularly "when Decisions are taken in Emergency conditions, often Away from Democratic Scrutiny", since "the use of Extraordinary Powers by governments, withOut proper public Oversight and Transparency creates a tangible Risk of overreach and potential Misuse".

- Indeed, "we have Already seen examples of Wrongdoing and Mismanagement in our public Institutions, commercial Markets and Business as a result of COVID-19. Emerging areas of Concern include Health System Capacity and delivery" (f.ex. Masks, ICT, Ventilators, etc), "public Procurement, violations of health and safety and labor law, inequitable and ill-prepared global Supply chains, ... and significant Violations of personal Privacy rights at scale, through the Digital Tracking of individuals", the NGOs Denounced.

Already, f.ex., New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo notoriously called the CoronaVirus' Crisis as "Worse than 9/11" Massive Barbaric Killings of Thousands of innocent Civilian People, and everybody knows that this was soon Followed, in the recent Past, by various US Government's Exceptional Measures, including, particularly, on Mass and Individual Spying, (that many Criticized as Excessive), etc...

=> F.ex., in South Korea several massive attempts to Track Individuals, in relation to the Virus, through the GeoLocalisation of their Mobile Phones were reportedly made, including SMS Alerts for Contacts with Infected People, while in Taiwan Police is autiomaticaly alerted if Quarantined patients move Outside of their Homes, and from China come also Reports about Individual Mobile Codes being Tracked when Entering several Private Residences, Public Areas, Super Markets, Collective Gardens, etc, added to Singapore's SmartPhone App Tracking People who may have been Exposed.

- In Iran, the Government reportedly pushed Citizens to download an App available at Google's Play Store which registered their device, collEcting Contact and Location details, (but, when this was Denounced by a Researcher, Google removed that app, and the Iranian Government blamed the Officials responsible for that, ensuring the People that No Private Lines were crossed)...

- At the West, already in Poland citizens under Quarantine have to download a government App that mandates they respond to periodic requests for "Selfies".  The UK Government is reportedly talking with Private Companies about Phone and Contacts Tracking, without being clear if this might concern Individuals who are Quarantined or Everybody, using Private Data or only Anonymized and Aggregated Data, Secretly or Openly. USA's Kansas Governor reportedly uses Phone Data of Infected People and GeoLocalisation, although it seems that those Data might, eventually, be Anonymised and Aggregated. Germany and some Other EU Countries are, in parallel, reportedly planning to use also Mobile Phone Data, but Only Anonymized and Aggregated for Maps. However, in Israel, a new Law has just allowed the Government to impose Mobile Phone Tracking of Infected People, and Alert those Contacting them, as well as to Enforce Quarantine Orders. But on Canada much Worse Concerns were expressed when controverial "Socialist" Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly "did Not Exlude" that the Government might use telecom Data to Track all Canadians' compliance with Pandemic Measures in the foreseable future, (Expanding that issue, soon After French-speaking Quebec's Premier, Francois Legault, had recently spoken about Tracking past Movements of Infected People, by using their Phones). In France, President Macron is due to announce new Measures on Monday, and many consider that he may include also Mobile Phone's Data related to Massive Confinement, (as, Already, its Government reportedly Tested a relevant App, and the JHA Ministry has just Started to Invite People to Inform its Website about their planned individual Movements, by filling a special Form with their Mobile Phone Numbers and Personal Data, while promising that these won't be stored !)...   

+ EU Commissioner in charge of the Common Market, Thierry Breton, from France, (UpDated), has just reportedly spoken about such possible Mobile Phone Tracking linked to the Virus throughout the EU, but vowed that it should be Not Linked to any "Sanctions", be "Voluntary", and used "Only by Health Authorities", under "Conditions" due to be determined asap. In Parallel, EU Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee's President, Juan Fernandez Lopez Aguilar, (a "Socialist" MEP from Spain), stressed that, at any case, "even in these Difficult Times, EU's basic Rules on Personal Data Protection and "E-Privacy" should remain in force and be respected".

=> It's in this Fast-Moving and Slipery-slope Context, that PanEuropean CoE Assembly's new President, Rik Daems, (a "Liberal" from Belgium : Comp. Supra), noted that, since "Until enough people have been Vaccinated against this CoronaVirus", (i.e. more than a Year Later, according to Technocrats, while Simple and Fast-Track eventual Treatments, as HCQ, are still Blocked f.ex. in France and elsehere), "we must Limit its Spread. ONE" (Not the Only) "Way is to Track-and-trace Infected people and those whom they Meet".

- "But this has Huge Privacy Implications and will Need very Careful Regulation to ensure respect for Human rights and the rule of Law". Because, "in defeating one evil, we must Not open the door to an Orwellian future", he Warned.

=> "Fortunately, we have common (Pan-)European standards (for all the 47 CoE's Member States, including Russia) on this,” he optimistically observed. In particular :  

- (1) “The European Convention on Human Rights requires Surveillance measures to have a Legal basis and be Necessary and Proportionate to their Goal", placed under ECHR's Judicial Monitoring.

 + (2) Moreover, "Automated data collection, Processing and Storage should satisfy the standards of the recently modernised Convention 108+" on Personal Data Protection.

++ (3) "States must Ensure that these requirements are Met BEFORE Track-and-trace Measures are Introduced, and" (probably most Important) "must establish Public TRUST in them, FROM THE OUTSET”, he urged.

+++ (4) Last, but not least, “Exceptional Crises justify Exceptional Measures, But they must be LIMITED to the OBJECTIVE, in SCOPE and TIME and comply with Fundamental Rights" of the People, Instead of a "Constant Personal Surveillance, Following our Every Move, for UnKnown and UnAccountable Purposes", President Daems stressed today.

=> It's in these circumstances that, inter alia, French mainstream Center-Right Opposition "Republican" Party (ChristianDemocrats/EPP) Top Official Bruno Retailleau has just send a Letter to President Macron Warning him that such a Political Decision, as an eventual imposal of Massive "Tracking", (even on any Citizens' access to his/her Workplace, a Doctor, Grocery Store, a short Promenade solo, or to Help an Elderly person, etc), would be "Formidably Risky" and complicated !

- In particular, for Retailleau, it would also become Useless, if France was UnAble to ensure a Massive prior Testing (of that Virus' Infections), as well as a Generalized use of protective Masks", (a Big Controversy here, as French Officials have, until recently, Claimed that normal Masks would Not be Appropriate for Citizens,  But Reserved Only to relevant Public Authorities' Agents : Medical staff, Police, etc)...

+=> "I am Asking him (President Macron) to provide Guarantees on Security and (Personal) Liberty", and to carefully measure all Immplications, Retailleau stressed, shortly Before the forthcoming Official Announcements.

Naturally, it Remains to be seen Whether the relevant National and European Legal and Political bodies, as well as International Human Rights Organisations, and, (mainly) the Majority of the People, could be Convinced, or Not.

Particularly when Crucial Local (2020) and Regional (2021) Elections are Soon followed, in a straight line, even by Decisive Presidential and Legislative Elections (2022) in France, (well Before the Culmination of EU-wide Elections on 2024)...

 

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

-----------------------------------

 

 

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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