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More taxpayer-funded handouts for big business in the guise of EU project spending, writes Stephen Gardner. Defence giant BAE Systems is sharing in £33 million of funding for research projects. BAE undoubtedly needs the money, having seen its 2008 profit of £1.8 billion plunge last year, partly because it had to pay enormous fines to settle corruption cases.

Of particular interest is EU cash for BAE to develop new technologies that will have Big Brother rubbing his hands in anticipation. One project, SCIIMS, for "strategic crime and immigration information management system", will create “a secure information infrastructure in accordance with EU crime and immigration agencies' information needs,” by allowing multiple systems to be scanned in order to "predict, analyze and intervene" in crime before it can even happen.

Another project, catchily named ADABTS, or Automatic Detection of Abnormal Behaviour and Threats in crowded Spaces, is about teaching CCTV to "make inferences about the acceptability of human behaviour."

The European Commission said that the projects were put through "rigorous ethical review" before the cash was handed out (somehow they missed the dubious record of the leading participant). The Commission added that the projects were not linked to any particular EU policy. The new systems will, however, neatly fit with some of the ideas contained in the new EU internal security strategy, as detailed previously by Eurocorrespondent. And any new technologies will be the property, not of the taxpayers that paid for them, but of BAE and its chums, meaning bonanza time when BAE sells them back to Brussels.

A version of this article was previously published in Private Eye.

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