Chris Jones

Journalist, researcher, editor and occasional translator based in London.

Common European Asylum System: deadlock in the Council as "frontline" Member States oppose mandatory "border procedures"

"Council discussions on controversial proposals for dealing with asylum applications at the external borders of the EU hit a wall recently, with "a large majority" of Member States who favour tougher measures facing opposition from those on the "frontline". Member States' diplomatic representatives... Read more

EU pushes to link tracking databases

"The European Union is about to become a lot safer — at least on paper. Lawmakers are set to approve plans for an enormous new database that will collect biometric data on almost all non-EU citizens in Europe’s visa-free Schengen area. The database — merging previously separate systems tracking... Read more

MEPs make last-ditch attempt to halt mandatory fingerprinting of all ID holders

"Last-ditch amendments are being proposed by MEPs to try to prevent the mandatory fingerprinting of every national identity card holder in the EU and the potential construction of national fingerprint databases, before a final vote on a proposed new law in the European Parliament due this Thursday... Read more

EP civil liberties committee against proposal to give Frontex powers to assist non-EU states with deportations

"The European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) has agreed its position for negotiations with the Council on the new Frontex Regulation, and amongst other things it hopes to deny the border agency the possibility of assisting non-EU states with deportations. The position agreed by the... Read more

New criminal records database for non-EU nationals is "disproportionate and discriminatory"

"A new EU database for holding information on convicted non-EU nationals is "disproportionate and discriminatory", says an analysis (pdf) published today by Statewatch. The European Criminal Records Information System for Third-Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN) will allow Member States to search for... Read more

Visa Information System: child fingerprinting and police access proposals criticised by data protection authorities

"European data protection authorities have strongly criticised the European Commission's proposals to extend the Visa Information System (VIS), arguing that the lowering of the fingerprinting age for children, access to visa data by law enforcement authorities and the storage of long-stay visas and... Read more

Suspended sentence for Spanish activist is "decisive" for decriminalising solidarity with migrants and refugees

"The lawyer for a Spanish trade unionist given a suspended sentence of 17 months' imprisonment for trying to help a Kurdish refugee leave Greece has said the ruling is a "positive step" and "decisive to decriminalise solidarity" with migrants and refugees. In November 2016, Lola Gutiérrez tried to... Read more

The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies: Undermining human rights, instrumentalising civil society

"The globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies is the most significant development in counterterrorism policy in the last decade. What began as a rhetorical commitment from a handful of agencies has developed into a plethora of policies, deployed from Finland to the Philippines.... Read more

UN Security Council mandates worldwide air travel surveillance and profiling, biometric collection, terrorist watchlists

"In the name of "preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offenses and related travel," all UN Member States must develop systems for processing and analysing Passenger Name Record (PNR), Advance Passenger Information (API) and "fingerprints, photographs, facial recognition, and other... Read more

Massive biometric 'smart borders' database may be illegal

"Longstanding plans for an EU Entry/Exit System (EES) which would store the fingerprints, a facial image and other personal data on all travellers entering the Schengen area are running into serious problems as the implications of a recent court ruling on an EU-Canada air passenger surveillance... Read more

Hindering humanitarianism: European Commission will not ensure protection for those aiding sans-papiers

"A new European Commission evaluation of EU laws on migrant smuggling concludes there is a need to improve the situation around "the perceived risk of criminalisation of humanitarian assistance" to “irregular” migrants . The Commission argues that the answer to the problem is "effective... Read more

Free trade agreements: “a battle about power and we have to win it”

"On Wednesday morning the GLI International Summer School heard from John Hilary, the director of War on Want, who gave a talk on the threats posed by new corporate-fuelled free trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),... Read more

Taking stock: the evolution, implementation and evaluation of EU counter-terrorism policy

"Before 9/11, only a handful of the (then) 15 European Union (EU) Member States had dedicated counter-terrorism legislation, while relevant international conventions dealt only with specific terrorism-related offences, the suppression of terrorist financing and the production of potential nuclear... Read more

Secrets and lies: undercover police operations raise more questions than answers

British police officers undercover in protest movements have been shown to have regularly operated outside the UK. Activists, lawyers and MPs have all called for an independent public inquiry in order to reveal the full extent of the practice. Secrets and lies: undercover police operations raise... Read more

Secrecy reigns at the EU's intelligence analysis centre

"The EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (INTCEN) is the most recent name for an institution that has existed in a number of forms since 1999. It monitors events both inside and outside the EU in order to provide “intelligence analyses, early warning and situational awareness” to EU institutions and... Read more

Northern Ireland: MI5's control over national security issues means covert operations are run by a "parallel police force"

"Covert policing operations in Northern Ireland are effectively run by a 'parallel police force' dominated by MI5 that is answerable to government ministers in London rather than domestic officials, according to a new report by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ). The report, The... Read more