The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) in its newsletter of 23 November had a lot of items on crime fighting and fundamental rights:
Expanding the use of tech for countering terrorism – what about considerations for human rights?
The UN and member states are increasingly concerned about the role of emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), biometric systems, and information and communications technology to facilitate terrorism. They are using assumptions about such threats to justify calls for broad and unrestricted counter-terrorism responses, including the use of the very same technologies that can be then abused by authorities.
There is little evidence showing that AI and tech is effective to fight terrorism. In contrast, harm and human rights abuses caused by tech are real and documented. In this Just Security blog, we urged the UN Security Council ahead of its meeting in India to scrutinise how emerging technologies are used for counter-terrorism purposes, and meaningfully involve civil society in doing so.
Are you interested to find out more about the link between technology and civic space? In our new module on ECNL’s Learning Center you can explore how tech is deployed for surveillance for the purpose of countering terrorism and how its different forms impact our human rights and civic freedoms.
Learn more on surveillance tech here!
FinTech: how emerging technologies for financial compliance impact civic space
Over the past decade, new technologies have been expected to increase efficiency in tackling financial crime far beyond human compliance checks. However, the impact on nonprofit clients and marginalised communities are often an afterthought for financial institutions when technologies to fight money laundering or terrorism financing are developed.
In our report, prepared by ECNL, Rita R. Soares, LL.M., Dr. Tasniem Anwar and Dr. Mara Wesseling, we show the real-world impact of these emerging technologies and propose recommendations to improve nonprofits’ access to financial services. Read the report here.
The AI Act should not contain exemptions for ‘national security’
As we argued in this EUobserver opinion, national security means different things to different people, lacking a strict, agreed definition. Therefore, any exemption in the EU AI Act for this sake is vague from the outset, open to abuse and can harm our fundamental rights and freedoms. European citizens recognise this threat: a new poll commissioned by ECNL has exposed public fears over the use of AI by governments. 70% of the respondents said that when governments use AI for national security, the rights of individuals and groups should always be respected, without any exceptions. Read more about the poll results here.
Meet the Global CFT Expert Hub!
ECNL works with over 70 activists and experts from more than 45 countries to rebut attacks on their operations that governments launch under the guise of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. Learn more about the Hub and what it means to our partners.
Join the Global CFT Expert Hub!
Non-profit is harmed by anti-crime legislation
On of the focus areas of ECNL is security and counter-terrorisme (page). The problems of the non-profit with crime fighting (including anti-money laundering, ‘AML’, and countering the financing of terrorism, ‘CFT’) is introduced with:
In the 20 years since 9/11, global bodies and governments across the world have used counter-terrorism/financing, anti-money laundering and national security laws (including most recently emergency related regulation) and narratives to restrict and criminalise the rights to association, assembly, expression, privacy and participation.
Together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, we have documented over 150 security-related measures, including counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws. These have negative impact on human rights and CSOs either because of poor design or intentional misuse to target activists.
Their Global Expert Hub on AML/CFT includes over 80 activists form more than 45 countries.
More ECNL news is to be found on this page.
Dutch example of the way non-profit organisations are harmed by AML/CFT: Doorgeslagen fraudejacht bij banken treft goede doelen, Dirk Waterval in Trouw, 2 December 2022, quote (machine translation):
In their extensive hunt for fraud and criminal money flows among customers, banks also target individual directors of small charities or other foundations. This happens, for example, if such a charity has ever been in the news negatively.
In such cases, board members of charities may be asked about small transactions on their personal bank accounts, such as a €10 investment in crypto coins. Banks may also ask them about their travel movements, which bank employees read from the locations where the customer has made PIN payments.
This is a translation of:
Banken richten zich in hun uitgebreide jacht op fraude en criminele geldstromen onder klanten ook op individuele bestuurders van kleine goede doelen of andere stichtingen. Dat gebeurt bijvoorbeeld als zo’n goed doel ooit negatief in het nieuws is gekomen.
In zulke gevallen kunnen bestuursleden van goede doelen vragen krijgen over kleine transacties op hun persoonlijke bankrekening, bijvoorbeeld over een investering van 10 euro in cryptomunten. Ook kunnen banken hen vragen naar hun reisbewegingen, die bankmedewerkers aflezen aan de locaties waar de klant heeft gepind.