E.U. have accepted an amendment to a directive on
accepting data retention and surveillance by the law
enforcement agencies. The 1997 E.U. Directive on privacy
in telecommunications states that data can be retained
by billing purposes and then must be erased. It does
however facilitate the interception of communications
on a controlled level where specific authorization
in the form of a court order (other means such as
secretary of state approval) had been obtained.
has been reported by State Watch website that on May
30th 2002 the conservation /socialist coalition majority
in the E.U. Parliament voted for an amendment of the
1997 directive. The amendments will give national
Governments the power to introduce legislation requiring
all telecommunications and network providers to retain
information for law enforcement agencies to gain instant
access to. In effect it is the end of privacy for
telecommunication. Tony Bunyan: State Watch editor
rights of citizens to privacy and civil liberties.
The people of Europe have had a fundamental right
taken away from them, a right that will never be
re-established. The retention of data and the potential
surveillance of the telecommunications (phone-calls,
e-mails, faxes and internet usage) of the whole
population of Europe is yet another casualty of
the "war against terrorism" and it is
unlikely to be the last.
Parliament and socialist party member Elena Paciotti
stated in response to a letter by the Coalition Against
Data Retention, that all measures would be in accordance
with the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms as interpreted by the European Court of Human
Rights. Furthermore, Paciotti focuses on the idea
that these amendments will safeguard the protection
of data in the internal market. However the European
Convention of Human Rights and community law automatically
have to apply to all E.U. directives, so by making
specific emphasis to this implies simple tactics to
make it more appealing?
directive "is giving the government monopoly
on collecting data. ... It's allowing government massive
power or ability to collect data on EU citizens,"
said Sonia Arrison, director for the Center of Technology
Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.
Internet familiars the new amendment will mean cookies
cannot be placed on your computer without your prior
permission and no more spamming will be permitted.
(Cookies are Internet files that allow a site/company
to keep a record of Internet activity) These cookies
can be used as marketing tools as does the spamming
of advertisements through various techniques used
online, emails, personal instant messages, etc.
US congress have sharply criticized the E.U. privacy
laws stating They will have global effects and
will likely harm U.S. companies seeking to do online
business. Although the initial concept sounds
indeed of protection in return for this the service
provider will also retain information - this creates
new risks for anyone using telecommunications; phone
calls stored, who you communicate with, the duration
and time of calls, exact mobile phone locations, internet
passwords, private emails, chat rooms ids, file transfers,
web pages/sites viewed, time and duration of any contact
made online, records of credit card and banking details.
UK have discussed logging and storing such information,
and all internet traffic for up to seven years to
increase police powers to intercept data. "Police
may be able to get that data simply by authorizing
themselves. Once the authorities have this data, they
potentially have a map of both your private and business
relationships and associations. There is really no
restriction on how this data may be used or how long
it may be kept." The guidelines have "a
chilling affect on freedom of speech," said Cedric
Laurant, policy fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information
Center. In regards to data retention, "people
will always fear that something they said may be used
against them" for law enforcement purposes. (www.statewatch.com)
E.U. nation will be left to devise its own particular
legislation to deal with the amendment so it could
be as long as five years or more before we see this
enacted for E.U. wide usage. Ilka Schroder of the
Green Party (Germany) stated this directive is one
more direction towards a police state.
is a direct consequence of this amendment; our individual
privacy as E.U. citizens will no longer be the same.
Again the rhetoric is spinning, mutterings of safeguards
against terrorism. Strange as there alreadyexisted
provision within the 1997 directive in cases involving
another draconian style power structure - an element
becoming more frequent in government legislation on
a global basis under a guise of protecting its citizens
- it is fulfilling the demands of governments and
Democracy, Freedom and our rights as people are what
the E.U. Parliament should be striving to meet not
fulfilling corporate government demands.
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