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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?

Pisac ACM
09. 04. 2020.
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*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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    - "Europe must be liberated from this undermining "wooden talk" of a "unique thought" which hampers democratic debates", stressed incoming EU Chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking to Journalists after his official meeting with EU Commission's President, Jose Barroso, at Elysee Palace in Paris

    - "It's precisely because there are not enough Debates, that EU hasn't managed yet to make it clear to European citizens what is really at stake", he added, in an obvious reference to the latest Irish "No" in 2008, after a long series of similar, unprecedented events, from the 1st Majority Abstention to EU Parliament's Elections in 1999, repeated in 2004, to the Dutch and French "No" in 2005, etc.


dsc00983_400_01
   
          In fact, "there is no time to lose for Europe, and that's why we decided to start the French EU Presidency right away, from the first day", he explained, on France's exceptional choice to schedule the usual meeting with EU Commission from the 1st day of the 1st month, instead of the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or even 10th or 11th, as it had been done by others in the Past..    


    - "This is not an easy period, but we shall act with determination, while also listening to Citizens' views", he promised.

    Sarkozy's move came shortly before his opening Speech, next week in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, for the first Public Debate on the Priorities of the French EU Presidency (July - December 2008), and that's one of the reasons for which he significantly opened his EU Council's Chairmanship by welcoming at Elysee palace EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert Poettering at first..

    The incoming EU Chairman was replying to Press Questions about rumours that controversial British EU Commissioner on Trade, Mandelson, was alone to drop an invitation to have a working Diner at Elysee palace, together with all other EU Commissioners and the French Government, only because he would have been upset for some critical points made earlier by President Sarkozy in defense of European Agriculture vis-a-vis its Foreign competitors.

    But, as smiling Sarkozy played down Mandelson's reported refusal to debate, saying that he had to visit Marseille for a Ministerial meeting on Trade the next morning, and that "all our British friends are always welcome to taste a nice diner" in France, perhaps at another occasion..

    - "It's urgent to win anew the trust of the People" : Lately, "the European ideal lost its momentum. Since several years, whenever Citizens are questioned on Europe, they react with reserves : They even have .. a tendency to reply "NO".. After this 3rd "No" of a People in some years, there is an Urgency to convince", added French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, after a meeting earlier the same day of all Ministers with EU Commissioners, followed by an interview with Barroso

    "According to recent Polls, only 30% of French people believe that the European construction is a source of hope. It's only a poll, but we all now quite well, that, since 2005, it's dangerous to neglect these alarming signals, as it would be dangerous to treat with contempt the Irish "No", Fillon warned.

    "We all have a common duty to prove to the European Citizens who have doubts, that EU is more useful, more necessary, than ever" : And "that EU can take decisions needed in order to respond to European or Global challenges", the Prime Minister concluded.

    - "We believe, together with President Sarkozy, that EU should open debates on all issues of direct, concrete interest to Citizens", confirmed later to EuroFora the Head of France's governing party (UMP), Patrick Devedjan, after his speech to the European People's party (EPP) Study Days in Paris (2 - 4 July 2008).

    He didn't deny that one of them is Turkey : - "Public Opinion in France is very much unfavorable to Turkey's EU bid, and President Sarkozy has said that several times", he told EuroFora.

    From European Central Bank's controversial policies on Euro's value, to EU Enlargement Strategy, etc., issues of obvious importance to EU Citizens will be plenty, next week in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, before President Sarkozy launches the debates on EU 2008 French chairmanship's priorities on Thursday.

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