EU officials, principally led by Germany, have widened the scope of shared data on suspected terrorists and serious criminals to include political activists, defined in documents as “troublemakers” who attend “large public gatherings”, says a report in The Guardian.
Statewatch has obtained documents implementing European-wide “sytematic data collection” by Europol and other law enforcement agencies, including the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), described as Britain’s unaccountable and secretive police force. The programme is intended to acquire lists of people involved in “extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation” groups.
Police and security agencies have agreed to monitor “agents” who adhere to ideologies potentially involving violence. Political activists who have no association with terrorism could now find themselves monitored by authorities mandated to discover information about their friends, family, neighbours, political beliefs, use of the internet and even psychological traits. The inclusion of such a broad array of political interests will add to growing concerns that legitimate protest organisations are being subjected to state surveillance.