Thursday 22 June 2017

EU building spy drones 'without any oversight'

An Italian-made surveillance drone belonging to the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo
An Italian-made surveillance drone belonging to the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Bruno Waterfield in Brussels

MORE than €386m has been spent on developing European Union surveillance drones without proper democratic oversight, a report from a civil liberties watchdog has found.

Neither Britain's House of Commons nor the European Parliament has been consulted over the development of EU unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), similar in size to military drones, being designed to police Europe's skies.

The report by Statewatch, a European civil liberties watchdog, has uncovered the allocation of €70m inserted into an EU regulation on air traffic control for this year.

The legislation declared it "a politically driven priority" to develop drones for use in surveillance by police forces, border guards and security services.

The watchdog also uncovered close links between industry and EU officials. It said "at least a dozen" officials had received awards for their "personal commitment and contribution" to drones from a security industry lobbying group that represents manufacturers of the aircraft. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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