A joint response to crime against intellectual property

CopyrightOn 19 September 2017, the first Europol conference to address crime against intellectual property began in Anvers (Belgium).

A total of 400 lawyers, experts in security and representatives of different industrial sectors of over 42 countries attended the opening of this conference. The organisers indicated that the purpose of the conference was to review new crime trends and propose strategies to apply the law and good practices in anything related to crime against intellectual property, via the study of operational cases and industrial prospects.

According to a study elaborated by the European Union Intellectual Property Office de (EUIPO), violation of intellectual property is a significant phenomenon in expansion. International commerce of fake products represents 2.5% of commerce worldwide, or in total figures: 388 billion Euros.1 As an example, this is the equivalent to the GDP of Austria. The impact of piracy is particularly high within the European Union, representing 5% of the imports of member states, or in total figures: 85 billion Euros.2

Because of the potential profit and the relatively low risk of possible legal consequences, piracy processes continue to evolve and will be more and more sophisticated. It is for this reason that the conference brought together people from different sectors, environments and countries to generate new knowledge and develop tangible measures to fight against piracy on a global scale.

Irrespective of future courses of action of Europol in this context, it is indeed relevant to explain the consequences of this type of crime, and stress the measures and actions that the European Agency has taken so far to combat them.

The main consequences of crimes against intellectual property are that they reduce the income of affected companies. The resulting adverse social and economic effects of those companies which are victims of such crime include the loss of employment and the livelihood of thousands of people. There are also other kinds of collateral damage, like that of fake products which are manufactured without taking into consideration the health and safety regulations of the EU, which means that they may be dangerous for consumers. The revenue of state members may also be affected by forgery and piracy, which might have an impact on innovation and investment, impede economic growth and reduce the creation of wealth.3

To promote the fight against forgery and piracy on line, in 2016 Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) united to create the International Property Crime Coordination Centre (IPC3), which operates within Europol.

To give an example of the social costs of crimes against intellectual property, falsification of clothes in the EU costs 43.3 billion Euros in losses to companies of the sector, which translates to losses of 8.1 billion in revenue for the states and 518,281 jobs.4

1 Europol (2017). EXPERTS GATHER TO COLLECTIVELY RESPOND TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CRIME. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/experts-gather-to-collectively-respond-to-intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 20 Sep. 2017].

2 OECD/EUIPO (2016). Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact. [online] Paris: OECD Publishing, p.5. Available at: https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/observatory/documents/Mapping_the_ Economic_Impact_study/Mapping_the_Economic_Impact_en.pdf [Accessed 20 Sep. 2017].

3 Europol. (2017). Intellectual property crime. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/crime-areas/intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].

4 Europol. (2017). Intellectual property crime. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/crime-areas/intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].


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Security meetings in France

Since 2013, the whole of France[1] has held security meetings which facilitate dialogue between citizens and services which provide security. The police, the “gendarmerie”, the fire service, the prefecture, civil protection and road safety services, and all actors who contribute to security present their professions, the materials they use, work techniques and the prerequisites of candidates to enter such professions.

These workshops mobilise almost 300,000 people and provide an excellent occasion for information exchanges and also for the general public to commit to its own security and that of its environment. It is an opportunity to better understand the mission of security services and to discover these professions. At the same time, it gives the general public the ability to more competently prevent everyday dangers (crime, traffic and domestic accidents, etc) as well as improve their reaction when exceptional situations have occurred.

This year, the general public will have attended a range of demonstrations and will have participated in some of them (exercises coordinated between different services, freeing of vehicles, life-saving activities…).

For instance, this year’s programme[2] in the municipality of Aube[3]has involved the participation of different actors like the departmental direction of public security, the Prefecture, the Gendarmerie, the Red Cross, the White Cross and the departmental association of Civil Defence among others to apply prevention to road safety among school children and the senior population, demonstrations of first aid and the presentation of materials and vehicles. Activities have taken place in a range of venues: schools, the public space, lecture rooms, the premises of the gendarmeries or the fire station.

Security workshops have become an interesting practice because they favour the creation of a “security community” where different actors interact and where knowledge and mutual collaboration are enhanced. The benefits of such good practices would appear to be undeniable.

Useful links:



[1] Metropolitan France and overseas territories.

[2] Consultable at http://aube.gouv.fr/content/download/14744/101259/file/Programme-Rencontres%20de%20la%20sécurité%20%202017.pdf

[3] Municipality situated in the north east of France, within the department of La Moselle and in the region of AlsaceChampagne-ArdenneLorraine.


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The Margin Project analyses perceptions of insecurity in five European countries and regions

The Margin project[1], financed by the European Commission within the framework of the Horizon 2020 research programme, has allowed for the development of collaboration between administrations and public universities in: the UK, Catalonia, France, Hungary and Italy.

The aim of the project, which was carried out between May 2015 and April 2017, is to analyse perceptions of insecurity in Europe in accordance with individuals, the groups they belong to and the neighbourhood they live in. It also aims to provide public actors and citizens with tools of analysis and reliable public policies to contribute to the study and to the reduction of perceptions of insecurity.

The systemisation of the information gathered by the surveys in these territories allows for an insight into aspects such as perceptions and behaviour linked to insecurity but also information relative to worries about security.

Perceptions and behaviour linked to insecurity

Crime surveys measure many perceptions linked to insecurity. On a smaller scale, some analyse behaviour deriving from conduct related to protection or avoidance. These aspects are conceptualised in a similar way to the surveys but the formulation of questions may vary considerably depending on the country.

Surveys include questions about perceptions of security or insecurity but with differences: Catalan and French surveys frame the question in the home, neighbourhood, town or city; surveys in England and Wales, Hungary and Italy ask about specific aspects like going home alone at night. They all measure the intensity of such feelings except the French one, which quantifies its frequency.

The pilot survey of the project applied experimentally to Italy, unlike the rest, measures fear of unlawful acts: the emotional reaction in a particular country, its intensity and its frequency in the short and the long term. This survey and the English one measure the impact of fear on daily life. All the surveys address the psychological aspect of crime: the Catalan survey is based on an open question; that of England and Wales based on a detailed list of questions.

 Most of the surveys address conducts of self-protection adopted after suffering a crime. This normally involves a conduct of avoidance: not leaving home, or avoiding certain environments or people.

Worries linked to security

Perceptions of security are explained not only by crimes experienced but also by other parameters like the socio-economic environment or certain impressions and opinions. Crime surveys try to measure these preoccupations about safety with the assessment of crime, evaluation of police services and of justice, the gathering of the interviewees’ perceptions of security in their neighbourhood and the measure of preoccupations of a social nature.

As an important element of the Margin project, a guide of good practices has been drawn up which tries to offer criteria for the collective use of several instruments and indicators to carry out a security diagnosis. A series of methodologies and strategies gathered in the fifth chapter must be stressed. On the one hand, it promotes the collective use of quantitative and qualitative data, both from the police and surveys of other ambits (social, economic); also, the participative design of a new survey to study social determining factors of the perceived insecurity. On the other hand, it gathers criteria to convert the diagnosis into security policies and strategies; and finally, it gathers measuring tools and relevant security-related strategies.[2]

Links of interest:





[1] http://marginproject.eu/

[2] http://marginproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Agenda-of-best-practices.pdf


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The Vigipirate Plan in the anti-terrorist strategy in France

The terrorist attacks perpetrated in France in 2015 and 2016 and the legislative provisions adopted in 2016 have led to a review of the Vigipirate plan to adapt it to the increased threat.


Vigipirate is a central plan within the framework of anti-terrorist strategy that involves all national actors (The State, territorial entities, companies and citizens) in a context of surveillance, prevention and protection.

How is the Plan structured?

It involves 300 measures which apply to 13 fields of action: alert and mobilisation; protection of large human concentrations in an open area; protection of installations and buildings with a symbolic, economic, political or ecological value; protection of industrial installations in the chemical, hydrocarbon or nuclear sector; cybersecurity; the aviation sector; the maritime sector; transport by land; the healthcare sector; protection of the food chain; protection of communication networks, water, electricity, hydrocarbon and gas; control of land, fluvial and lacustrine, maritime and air space borders; protection of French residents in the exterior and French interests abroad.

Objectives of the Plan

1.- The objectives involve dual roles:- Develop a culture of surveillance and security in society as a whole in order to detect threats of terrorist action and

2.- Permanently ensure the protection of citizens, of the territory and interests of France in the face of the terrorist threat.

The 3 levels of the Plan

The implementation of each level is in accordance with the level of the threat and is easily identifiable with a visible logo in the public space:

1.- The level of surveillance is the permanent level of security and involves the implementation of 100 measures which are always active.

2.- The level of consolidated security – risk of a terrorist attack: it adapts the response of the State to a high or very high terrorist threat. A range of additional security measures can be activated to complement others that are permanent especially in airports, railway stations and places of worship among others. This may be applicable to the whole of the national territory.

3.- The level of emergency corresponding to the terrorist attack: this can be activated in the case of an attack that has taken place or when a tourist group that is identified but not located takes action. This level is valid for a limited time that coincides with the management of the crisis. It allows for the mobilisation of exceptional resources and the spreading of information to protect citizens in a crisis.

Intelligence services assess the terrorist threat and their analysis allows the General Secretary of Defence and National Security (SGDSN) to establish the general strategy of the security plan which involves implementing security measures within the framework of significant national events; security measures on specific key dates like the beginning of the school year or end-of-year festivities and apply a national system of emergency protection if a terrorist attack takes place in France or abroad.

For further information the following links can be consulted:








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An increase in support for crime victims in the USA

The Office of Justice Victims of the United States is working in different areas related to the field of justice. One of the pillars of the task is the Office of Crime Victims. This office has organised a whole series of initiatives, workshops and tributes to all types of crime victims during the month of September. This area of justice includes different programmes and over recent years has received greater economic support from the government.

Among the most noteworthy resources, there are four main areas being worked on:

  • Honouring the victims and heroes of 9/11. On the anniversary of the 11 September attacks, North Americans united to participate in the so-called national day of service and memory.
  • The so-called national month of preparation. The President of the USA has declared the month of September as a time to pay attention to the victims of the disasters, whether these are natural or caused by humankind.
    • Carry out planning and preparation before an incident happens.
    • Mitigate the effects of future acts on victims.
    • Respond to active incidents.
    • Recover after a mass or terrorist violent incident.
  • The Office of Victims offers a series of tools to help the victims of mass and terrorist violence. In broad terms, these would be planning, response, recuperation and resources. This multidisciplinary product provides communities with the framework, strategies and resources to:
  • Security for universities and university students. In order to highlight security on campuses, September has also been recognised as national month of security campuses. There are dozens of web pages devoted to security on campuses, and even resources linked to criminality in this sector.
  • The so-called national month of Hispanic inheritance, which is normally commemorated from 15 September to 15 October to recognise the Hispanic history, culture and contribution that US citizens have received. There is a web page of resources in Spanish aimed at Spanish-speaking victims of a crime.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 2 - 8 2017 Strength Resilience Justice 480 x 80

All these resources are designed to be able to rapidly develop public awareness raising campaigns during the year and for the National Crime Victims ‘Rights Week (NCVRW). In the month of April this was celebrated with the slogan: Strength, Resilience, Justice. This year it has tried to reflect on a future vision in accordance with which all victims are strengthened by the support they receive, where organisation respond to their challenges, and communities can access collective justice.


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The Observatory for the Prevention of Violent Extremism gets under way in Barcelona

OPEVLast January, 320 representatives of 172 organisations of society and social movements from 22 countries met in Barcelona with the aim of preventing violent extremism. The meeting produced an action plan on behalf of Euro Mediterranean civil society in order to prevent violent extremism in all its forms.[1] The plan includes the creation of the Observatory for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (OPEV),[2] in order to provide support for the plan’s execution.

The action plan focuses on the fundamental idea that basing the fight against violent extremism on anti-terrorist measures leaves out civil society, which boasts vital energy to generate social cohesion and, consequently, the prevention of violent radicalisation, and confront factors which favour this. In this direction, the creation of open, fair, inclusive and plural societies, based on respect for human rights, constitutes a solid and attractive alternative to violent radicalism.

Violent extremism erodes the foundations of our society, promotes hatred and discrimination and makes living together peacefully impossible. Extremism is based on political, social or religious ideas which reject the status quo and which are based on totalitarian, fanatical, intolerant, anti-democratic and anti-plural values. They intend to meet their objectives with violence, and as extreme as necessary. The enemy is often taken to be an ethnic group, an ideology, a religion or a social class and practically advocates its extinction.

The presence of violent extremism in the Euro Mediterranean region is very significant. This benefits from the presence of Jihadist groups which promote indiscriminate violence, and extreme right-wing populist, racist, anti-Islamic movements, which pressure governments towards intolerance, hatred and cuts in rights which, in practice, affect specific groups, and which can only serve to worsen the problem in the future.

Next 21 September the OPEV is presenting its first report on the evolution of anti-terrorist legislation in the region and the consequences that legislative reform may have on violent radicalisation, with the intention of setting up a forum to reflect on this issue in order to help to find pacifying solutions.

[1] Vid. http://novact.org/2017/01/plan-action-civil-society-of-the-euromediterranean-region-for-the-prevention-of-all-forms-violent-extremism/

[2] Vid. http://novact.org/2017/02/web-opev/


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The use of drones to improve road safety is at the experimental stage in France

After twelve years with a constant drop in road deaths in France, they increased by 3.5% in 2014[1]. The French government reacted and on 26 January 2015 the minister of the interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, presented the prime minister with a contingency plan with 26 road safety measures,[2] of which 19 were implemented on 2 October 2015. On this date the interministerial road safety committee met, chaired by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, which decided on 22 measures aimed at: intensifying the fight against dangerous behaviour; protecting the most vulnerable; introducing road safety to the digital age and guaranteeing equality for all before the law.   Among the first batch of measures aimed at combating dangerous behaviour the following are included: “Experiment with the use of road safety drones. Experiment with the use of automated registration plate readers to combat the lack of obligatory driving insurance”.


The French gendarmerie began to use models of drones in a pilot programme to improve road safety and, in a report dated 3 February 2016 concluded the following:

  • From a technical point of view, the first device was easier to use, the support with telenavigation was ergonomic and it was autonomous when in flight for thirty minutes. The quality of the image was exceptional. The camera facilitated the reading of a moving vehicle’s registration plate in a photographic format with a one-minute latency. It moved easily from one area of control to another and was very flexible. On the other hand, the second device, in spite of its robustness and autonomy in flight (two hours) displayed drawbacks as a camera because it did not facilitate the reading of registration plates either of stationary or moving vehicles among other disadvantages.

To optimize operational decisions and control of flights, the two devices simultaneously transferred images to the pilot’s telenavigation tablet and to a Smartphone-type terminal at the head of control.

  • From an operational point of view the effectiveness of the devices were determined in different contexts. The two devices showed infractions like: not respecting a STOP sign, not respecting the safety distance, not wearing a helmet (detected by one of the devices, not by the other); neither detected the use of mobile phones while driving. Both facilitated the accurate tracking of a fleeing criminal by road in order to orientate their persecution.

Although the use of drones for the purpose of persecuting those who threaten road safety is at an experimental phase, the French minister of the interior may intend to substitute the use of helicopters with drones in order to reduce costs. The French manufacturer Gruau proposed a fully equipped prototype to the gendarmerie: a Citroën Berlingo with enough space to transport a drone.

Before extending the use of these devices some technical problems must be remedied such as: the quality of the optics, the level accuracy to calculate speed, the risk of an accident if the device breaks down in flight, and a range of pending legal issues.

Further information is available on the following links. (in French)




Law nº 2016-1428 of 24 October 2016 corresponding to the enhancement of security when using civil drones https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/loi/2016/10/24/DEVX1614320L/jo/texte


You can also consult two postings which have already been published on this blog:

https://security notes.blog.gencat.cat/2016/12/14/new-norms-for-drones-to guarantee-securit-and-privacy-in the-European-union/

https://security notes.blog.gencat.cat/2016/07/13/measures-to-control-the increase-in-crime-and-threats-to-air space-committed-by-drones/

[1] Data provided by the French Road Safety Observatory (ONISR)



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The evolving Schengen information system

Schengen Information System (SIS)Last December, the European Commission responded to a series of proposals in order to meet the different challenges which have been identified as priority: the phenomenon of migration and challenges to security. The proposals try to reinforce and broaden the scope of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in three aspects; the return of nationals from non-member states who reside illegally in the Union, border control, and police and judicial cooperation.[1]

The proposals, in turn, try to resolve a series of deficiencies which have been detected regarding SIS. Among the most important are the lack of standardisation when introducing alerts,[2] the lack of information relevant to some cases and the insufficient coverage of some profiles of persons who are not subject to systematic controls on the borders.[3]

The Commission, based on the report of the High-level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability (HLEG), presents a range of initiatives which may lead to substantial changes in the SIS:

  • Obligation to enter alerts when the decisions are to return. Until now, states could include an alert if entry was prohibited. With the new proposal they will be obliged to do so: nationals from non-member states (NP3) who reside illegally, the NP3 to whom entry or the authorisation to stay is denied, and those NP3 subject to extradition for penal reasons.
  • New alerts and controls. The creation of a new category of unknown wanted persons connected with criminal activity is proposed as is the expansion of an already existing category related to people who have disappeared, which would include minors at a high risk of being kidnapped by members of their families.[4]
  • Increased use of biometric data. There is a wish to reinforce the use of finger and face recognition,[5] and also include new elements like new biometric elements like the print of the palm of the hand.
  • Increase in the agencies which can make use of the SIS. Apart from each country’s national authorities, there is a wish to give access to Europol agencies, to the Coast and Border Guard of Europe and the future ETIAS unit. And also to authorities with competences in immigration and the justice system.
  • The integrity of the data and the security system of the SIS. Bearing in mind the expansion of sensitive and alert-related data, and also the number of agencies with access to this, a procedure will be developed to guarantee the integrity and security of the SIS.

Therefore, these changes, along with all the initiatives which are being fostered by European institutions, will mean that the SIS will become a database which can exceed its initial objective, the identification of people. Indeed, this concern had already appeared with the changes which were introduced in 2006.[6] All these factors have meant that the SIS can become a tool for investigating crime, combating terrorism and controlling immigration rather than one used to identify people.[7]

[1] These three proposals directed towards the SIS are part of a whole range of initiatives which pursue the same objectives: reinforce the exterior frontiers and strengthen the collaboration and exchange of information. Among the most noteworthy, the  Coast and border guard of Europe, the establishment of the EU entry/exit system (EES), the European travel information and authorisation System (ETIAS) and the modification of the Schengen Borders Code, which will oblige the member states to carry out systematic controls of people who enter and leave the Schengen zone by contrasting this with the relevant databases like the SIS and others.

[2] Meaning that, for the same person, there are a range of alerts with different content.

[3] In this case, and apart from criminal aspects, nationals from non-member states without a residence permit or with an expired permit are included.

[4]Minors who may be objected to ablation may be included.

[5] The use of facial recognition reinforces identification if it is coordinated with the proposed EU entry/exit System (EES), especially at border controls.

[6] Already in 2006, the SIS system was connected to other systems like Eurodac and Visa Information System(VIS), in order to facilitate the ability to consult any controls carried out by the police; the number of agencies with access to the database was increased, etc.

[7]This situation has already led to a debate about data protection, the use of such data and people’s fundamental rights which appear on the database.


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Positive assessment of the programme to combat youth violence

Between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 a programme (EGYV– Ending Gang and Youth Violence) to end youth and group violence was introduced in the United Kingdom. It has been operative for four years and 52 local authorities (there were 33 when the programme began) have participated and a network of 100 experts has been created with cutting edge experience of working with youth groups.

The programme focussed on seven specific areas:

  • Strengthening local leadership
  • Locating and identifying problems
  • Collaboration with different agencies
  • Assessment and remission
  • Focussed and effective interventions
  • Penal justice procedures
  • Mobilizing communities

endling_gang_youth_violenceIn November 2016 the independent report was published to assess the impact of the programme. To carry out this assessment, two surveys were done (one before and the other afterwards, in September 2015) and 20 of the responses from local areas participating in the programme were separated into two cohorts of 10, in accordance with whether they had joined the project at the beginning (in 2012) or later (in 2014). Furthermore, six local areas have been examined in detail (three from each temporary group), with 39 quality-oriented interviews of professionals from the different fields involved being carried out. It has also been taken into account that the recommendations given in a peer review of the situation have been applied.

Local areas have stated that the EGYV programme has had a “galvanising effect” on improving the participative work of the several agencies which offer support to the areas to implement strategies in response to the most pressing local issues. The peer reviews had mostly been implemented (89% of the area groups involved in the 2012 programme, and71% of the group which joined in 2014). Overall assessment has been positive, as improvements in all areas were noted. In spite of some differences between the two cohorts, the most significant effect is that areas involved since 2014 have benefited from the experience gained over the project’s two-year duration.


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ETIAS: a preventive method for security strategies


The internal security of the European Union has consistently been an issue since the beginning of Jean Claude Juncker’s mandate as President of the European Commission. In his speech last September, Juncker announced that in November The European Travel and Authorisation Sytem (ETIAS) would be proposed as a future project. This involves an automated system which will enable its operators to determine who is permitted to fly to the Schengen area.


What is ETIAS? ETIAS will be an automated system created to identify the risks associated with visitors who are exempt of a visa and who travel to the Schengen area. All citizens of third countries exempt of a visa who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation before starting their journey to the EU. The information gathered with the system, completely respecting the fundamental rights and regulations applying to data protection, will allow for the verification of potential security risks to the Union as a whole and its citizens.

The final decision on whether to allow or refuse a third-country citizen entry will be assigned to national border guards, who monitor the borders in accordance with the Schengen border code, having checked that such third-country travellers are exempt of a visa. In a nutshell, ETIAS will identify those who may pose a security risk for the EU as a whole before they enter any of its borders.

At the same time, ETIAS is designed to operate in unison with existing systems, like the Entry and Departure System. It will also be able to operate with information systems to be consulted by the ETIAS, like the Visa Information System(VIS), the database of Europol, the Sytem of Information  Schengen (SIS), Eurodac and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

ETIAS will provide key information necessary for the authorities of the member states to take preventive action before a potentially dangerous citizen to the security of the Union gets to the external borders of Schengen; it will improve the detection of the traffic of human beings (especially in the case of minors); it will address the problem of criminality on the borders and will facilitate the identification of people whose presence in the Schengen area could pose a threat to the Union’s security.

The member states and Europol will have access to ETIAS, under strictly defined conditions such as prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist-related activities or other serious crimes. This access will only be allowed in specific cases and only after consultation of the penal database of the nation and the Europol database. All consultation applications of the data stored at ETIAS will be subject to a process of verification, which will be carried out by a tribunal or an independent authority.

ETIAS is built on the foundations of existing information systems (EES, SIS, VIS, Europol, Eurodac and ECRIS). The development and application of EES and ETIAS will be applied together and parallel to ensure that costs are significantly reduced. The cost of the development of ETIAS is estimated at 212.1 million Euros and the average annual cost of operations is calculated to be 85 million Euros. ETIAS is expected to be completely operative by 2020.


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