EU pays for surveillance and control technologies
“Arming Big Brother”, a new report by Transnational Institute (TNI) and
Statewatch, reveals the army industry lobbying has led to creating a new
European security-industrial complex. According to this report, EU is
preparing to spend to €1 billion per year on new “research” into
surveillance and control technologies.
Following the demands made in 2003 by the GoP (Group of Personalities)
including EU officials and Europe’s largest IT and arms companies arguing
Europe multinationals needed a billion euros per year to compete with US
multinationals and Government, the European Commission appointed a European
Security Research Advisory Board to develop and implement the future
European Security Research Programme (ESRP).
Ben Hayes, the author of the report stated “The ESRP is completely
unaccountable and gives multinational corporations an unacceptable role in
EU decision-making. This is contributing to a European security agenda in
the corporate rather than the public interest…”
This claim is supported by the fact that 24 projects have already received
funding from the Commission out of which military organisations and defence
sector contractors are leading 17 of them. Another 10 projects deal with
research into high-tech surveillance systems.
The big four European arms companies have a combined annual revenue of
around 84 billion dollars, not far off the total EU budget. The author of
the report raises the question of whether the European citizens should
therefore pay the bill for the research of these companies.
Although some of the projects funded under the ESRP have a legitimate
objective focusing on radio-nuclear fallout and the protection of critical
infrastructure, the majority of these projects “deal with surveillance and
the development of military technologies of political control offering
little guarantee as far as ‘security’ is concerned”.
The report argues that rather than facing serious threats like terrorism,
environmental degradation, climate change, diseases or other types of
insecurity, the ESRP is part of a EU strategy “focused almost exclusively on
the use of military force and new law enforcement technologies. Freedom and
democracy are being undermined by the very policies adopted in their name.”
There is already clear evidence that new law enforcement technologies,
unless under strict control, can damage civil liberties. The EU legislation
on the introduction of biometrics into passports and travel documents raises
serious privacy concerns. This creates an alarming image of a Europe in
which everybody is registered and fingerprinted, in which communications and
movements are monitored and in which this control is rather imposed by
“military force rather than civilianconsent”.
Arming Big Brother makes an appeal to civil society to resist the
development of the security-industrial complex and the militarization of the
EU. Its author expresses his hope that the report may contribute to a larger
campaign against EU militarism and that independent groups will continue to
monitor the development and implementation of the ERSP.
Press release – Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of
Europe’s security-industrial complex (25.04.2006)
Arming Big Brother The EU’s Security Research Programme (04.2006)