This Statewatch-TNI report
examines the development of the security-industrial complex in Europe
and in particular the development of the EU Security Research Programme
(ESRP). Spawned by the military-industrial complex, the security-industrial
complex has developed as the traditional boundaries between external
security (military) and internal security (security services) and
law enforcement (policing) have eroded. With the global market for
technologies of repression more lucrative than ever in the wake
of 11 September 2001, it is on a healthy expansion course. The story
of the EU Security Research Programme is one of "Big Brother"
meets market fundamentalism.
It was personified by
the establishment in 2003 of a "Group of Personalities"
comprised of EU officials and Europe's biggest arms and IT companies.
The GoP's concern was a simple one: European multinationals are
losing out to their US competitors because the US government is
providing them with a billion dollars a year for security research
- it recommended the EU match this level of funding to ensure a
"level playing field". The European Commission has obliged
with a "preparatory" budget for security research 2004-6,
with the full ESRP to begin in 2007, and appointed an EU Security
Research Advisory Board to oversee the programme. This makes permanent
the GoP and gives profit-making corporations an official status
in the EU, shaping not just security research but security policy.
Myriad local and global surveillance systems; the introduction of
biometric identifiers; RFID, electronic tagging and satellite monitoring;
"less-lethal weapons"; paramilitary equipment for public
order and crisis management; and the militarization of border controls
- technological advances in law enforcement are often welcomed uncritically
but rarely are these technologies neutral, in either application
or effect. Military organisations dominate research and development
in these areas under the banner of "dual-use" technology,
avoiding both the constraints and controversies of the arms trade.
of control quickly become today's political imperative; contentious
policies appear increasingly irresistible. There are strong arguments
for regulating, limiting and resisting the development of the security-industrial
complex but as yet there has been precious little debate.