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Campaign against the “11th European Police Congress“

six hills | 05.11.2007 10:52 | G8 Germany 2007 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Repression

Campaign against the “11th European Police Congress“, 29th-30th of January 2008 in Berlin

Against a “Global Security Architecture”, for more security-critical behaviour!

In the recent months more information about the investigation methods of security forces has been revealed: data storage, online searches, so-called “textual analysis of political pamphlets“ (used in the paragrpah 129a investigations against anti-G8 activists in Germany) and so forth. Police and intelligence services want to attain unrestricted access to personal data and internet user profiles. Internet providers are now forced to save their data traffic long-term in order to relieve the police databases.

The debate around the introduction of biometrical passports has called into attention the fact that the industry has already developed complex surveillance systems: Iris-scanning, RFID chips (e.g. for supermarkets or on ID cards) or automatic facial recognition. In the context of border control “privileged travellers” are supposed to be able to cross borders “automatically”. The new “European Agency for the operative cooperation in the field of management of external borders” (FRONTEX) is in charge of assessing permanently the risks and dangers at the borders of the EU, and to provide more coordination and control. Technological armament is at the centre of the agency’s policies.

Control, normalization and surveillance are certainly not a new phenomenon. The retrenchment of social security in global capitalism goes along with the gentrification of city centres, gated communities with cameras, fences and security or video surveillance at work. Next to the freedom of movement, the free use of internet is increasingly restricted. Against unwanted social movements new repressive measures are introduced.

With the support of police unions, criminal investigation police and police hardliners, politicians of internal affairs want to create the political and social conditions for the introduction of new security technologies. These reforms are supposed to contribute to the creation of a “global security architecture”, based on approaches of the US Department of Homeland Security, whose mission is to foresee dangers, to pre-empt and prevent them.

“Security” has already become a hotly contested market in the IT sector. Dozens of suppliers compete about technical solutions in order to make information available rapidly for involved authorities, to encrypt communication via digital radio, or to develop software for the harmonisation of different databases. This is the same kind of software that is commercially traded, provided for example to universities, administrative authorities or private users,adapted to the operations of police and intelligence services. Thereby, differing technical standards of various countries pose a problem to police cooperation. At the next conference German police unions want to present a call for the introduction of unified software.

The “European Police Congress” is a forum where politicians, police authorities, intelligence services, the military and the security industry meet to discuss the implementation of new measures for prosecution.

The annual congress has the character of a “security trade fair”. During the first years technological innovation ranked high on the agenda. Meanwhile, for the investigative authorities the question has arisen of how to effectively process the immense amount of data they collect. One answer is so-called “data mining”, a process where texts, tapped conversations or video material can be searched for certain keywords or expressions and attributed to certain persons. Several providers are developing software that is supposed to enable the mathematical calculation of the probability of future illegal activities. The company SPSS described this procedure during a presentation at the “European Police Congress” as “evolution in the fight against crime… from reacting… to own initiative… to prediction…”. This way, the first step of the “Homeland Security” ideology is taken: the “prediction of threats”.

Also for the “prevention of threats” the “European Police Congress” fulfils a function: creating a network of international police departments that transcends already existing structures (the European Police department EUROPOL, the Schengen Information system SIS). The army is involved in the re-organisation of security policies. At home and abroad armies are supposed to take on security tasks (“civil- military cooperation”). For the “fight against international terrorism”, for “border controls”, or for the “policing of big events”, like international summits or sport events, new agencies, institutes, working groups and research programmes have emerged. Central topics are discrete intelligence gathering and intervention. Connected to this are commando and control systems, access to intelligence databases, ways of dealing with complaints against the police, IT infrastructure, fences, “crowd management”, as well as media and PR strategies.

Characteristic for these new police networks is that they operate in obscurity. National and supranational police departments delegate so-called “liaison officers” who negotiate crucial security matters in closed-door meetings. The acquired knowledge of how to control “security-critical behaviour” is exchanged during regular conferences, workshops or seminars of police academies. The goal is to develop international standards. The international networking of security agencies transcends restrictive political arrangements and takes place without any democratic control.

The “global security architecture” has a new quality. The focus on “predicted risks” exposes every citizen to a general suspicion. This poses a massive challenge for social movements. Therefore, we propose a campaign against the “11th European Police Congress” in February 2008 in Berlin. The campaign has at first the following, rather general goals:

* to protest against the architects of the “global security architecture” of neoliberalism
* to intervene in the discourse of threat scenarios that are designed to legitimize the new security measures
* to make informal structures of European police cooperation visible
* to create awareness about the new surveillance methods in the IT sector
* to scandalise the influence of the private sector in the “global security architecture”
* to enable more security-critical behaviour

The Police Congress 2008 has the motto “Information technology – investigation – operation”. On Tuesday, the 29th of January, Schäuble, the German Minister of Internal Affairs, will speak at the “Forum of European Ministers of Internal Affairs”. Together with other groups, we will organise a rally and perhaps a demonstration on that day.

We want to reach broad segments of society and we think that the “11th European Police Congress” is a potential extension of already existing campaigns: against data storage, against §129abc, Frontex, Oury Jalloh, antimilitarism, etc.

* Further Info about “European Police Congress”:
* Official programme:

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