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  RE: virus: Call for Endorsement of Open Letter to the European Parliament on Data Retention
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   Author  Topic: RE: virus: Call for Endorsement of Open Letter to the European Parliament on Data Retention  (Read 1818 times)

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"We think in generalities, we live in details"

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RE: virus: Call for Endorsement of Open Letter to the European Parliament on Data Retention
« on: 2005-12-12 01:45:16 »
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[Blunderov] "For instance the UK Presidency is proposing a policy that has
already failed in the UK Parliament." That duplicitous bastard Blair again.
If one kind of democracy doesn't get you what you want, then maybe another
kind will.

I can see this grinning mountebank explaining to grave Britons's "Well, yes
WE voted against it, but if we want to be part of Europe we must do as the
Europeans do."

A blight upon his house.

From: owner-ipr@mailhost.soros.org [mailto:owner-ipr@mailhost.soros.org]
PS: Note that the proposed Data Retention will also affect copyright

Open Letter to the European Parliament on Data Retention

To all Members of the European Parliament

We the undersigned are calling on you to reject the Directive of the
European Parliament and the Council on the Retention of Data Processed in
Connection with the Provision of Public Electronic Communication Services
and Amending Directive 2002/58/EC. 

Adopting this Directive would cause an irreversible shift in civil liberties
within the European Union.  It will adversely affect consumer rights
throughout Europe.  And it will generate an unprecedented obstacle to the
global competitiveness of European industry.

A Directive Fraught with Problems

In the Information Society every human action generates transaction logs.
Our movements, our purchases, and our interactions with others can be
routinely logged in public and private sector databases.  In recognition of
this, the European Union led the world in establishing a data privacy regime
to limit the collection, processing, retention, and accessing of this
information.  Now the Council is demanding that the European Parliament
reverse its position and lead the world in introducing mass surveillance of
our activities.

Under existing EU law many of these logs are already available for law
enforcement purposes for as long as the telecom industry service providers
retain them for business purposes.  Justice and Home Affairs officials are
pushing to make available even greater stores of information.

The Directive proposes the collection of information on everybody's
communications and movements. The storage of such "communications traffic
data" allows whoever has access to it to establish who has electronically
communicated with whom and at what time and at which location, over months
and years.

In recent meetings with the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1 and 2
December 2005, it appears that the European Parliament suddenly agreed to
the collection of information on everybody's communications and movements
for very broad law enforcement purposes, in spite of having rejected this
policy twice before.

We call on the Members of the European Parliament to reject this policy for
the following reasons.

1.  This Directive invades the privacy of all Europeans.  The Directive
calls for the indiscriminate collection and retention of data on a wide
range of Europeans' activities.  Never has a policy been introduced that
mandates the mass storage of information for the mere eventuality that it
may be of interest to the State at some point in the future.

2.  The proposed Directive is illegal.  It contravenes the European
Convention on Human Rights by proposing the indiscriminate and
disproportionate recording of sensitive personal information.  Political,
legal, medical, religious and press communications would be logged, exposing
such information to use and abuse.

3.  The Directive threatens consumer confidence. More than 58,000 Europeans
have already signed a petition opposing the Directive.  A German poll
revealed that 78% of citizens were opposed to a retention policy.  The
Directive will have a chilling effect on communications activity as
consumers may avoid participating in entirely legal transactions for fear
that this will be logged for years. 

4.  The Directive burdens EU industry and harms global competitiveness.
Retention of all this data creates additional costs of hundreds of millions
of Euros every year. These burdens are placed on EU industry alone. The
U.S., Canada and the Council of Europe have already rejected retention. 

5.  The Directive requires more invasive laws.  Once adopted, this Directive
will prove not to be the ultimate solution against serious crimes. There
will be calls for additional draconian measures including:
- the prior identification of all those who communicate, thus requiring ID
cards at cybercafes, public telephone booths, wireless hotspots, and
identification of all pre-paid clients;
- the banning of all international communications services such as webmail
(e.g. Hotmail and Gmail) and blocking the use of non-EU internet service
providers and advanced corporate services.

An Illegitimate Process

Proponents of retention policy are sweeping these concerns aside and are
harmonising measures to increase surveillance while failing to harmonise
safeguards against abuse.  European opposition has been high, and the
arguments against reasoned and justified. The continued life of this policy
in Europe is inexplicable save for the illegitimate policy process that is
being pursued by the policy's proponents.

These proponents claim that retention is spreading across Europe.  In fact,
less than five countries have some form of mandatory data retention in
place, and even fewer apply the practice to internet services. 

The Council is demanding that the European Parliament approve a regime that
parliaments in the Member States have already rejected.  For instance the UK
Presidency is proposing a policy that has already failed in the UK
Parliament.  The Council is trying to make the Parliament complicit in this
act of policy laundering.

A Key Moment

As the EU embarks on this unprecedented policy, we are facing a momentous
decision as to whether we wish to set in motion a chain of events that will
lead to a surveillance society.

Once a surveillance regime begins it always expands.  As the European Data
Protection Supervisor has stated in his opinion, the mere existence of data
might lead to increased demands for access and use by industry, law
enforcement authorities, and intelligence services.  Already, restrictions
agreed on in the Committee for Civil Liberties were pushed aside in secret
negotiations with the Council.

Though the Council claims retention will combat terrorism, for years it has
rejected limiting the legislation to such investigations.  Even if access to
this data were limited by the Parliament to a list of serious crimes nothing
prevents the expansion of this list: already the Copyright Industry has
called for access to this data to combat file-sharing online.

Any reimbursement of costs to service providers, like most other
surveillance cost-recovery experiments, will likely be temporary.
Eventually the costs and burdens generated by this policy will be seen as
'the cost of doing business' and will be passed on to individual consumers
as 'the cost of communicating in Europe'.

The only way we can prevent this chain of events is by following the example
of other countries around the world and rejecting this policy in its

Promises are Not Enough

The European Data Protection Supervisor and the Article 29 Working Party of
European Privacy Commissioners, as well as the European Parliament itself,
have repeatedly stated their convictions that the case for retention has not
been made.  And their calls for standards and necessary safeguards have gone
unheeded.  The concerns of civil society and the telecommunications industry
have also not been adequately addressed. 

This policy continues only due to secret processes, agreements established
without scrutiny, and through fast-tracking of debate because the Council
fears open and democratic discussion on these matters.  This is evidenced by
the lack of similar policies in Member States where Parliamentary scrutiny
is constitutionally required. 

The EU should follow the example of open and democratic countries that have
instead chosen to implement a preservation regime where data is collected
and retained only for a specific investigation and then is accessed through
court orders. 

We, the undersigned, call on Members of the European Parliament to recognise
the significant threat to European civil liberties, consumers, and industry
and to therefore reject the Directive on communications data retention.

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My point is ...

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Re: virus: Call for Endorsement of Open Letter to the European Parliament on Data Retention
« Reply #1 on: 2005-12-12 09:07:14 »
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Blunderov wrote:
> [Blunderov] "For instance the UK Presidency is proposing a policy that has
> already failed in the UK Parliament." That duplicitous bastard Blair again.
> If one kind of democracy doesn't get you what you want, then maybe another
> kind will.
> I can see this grinning mountebank explaining to grave Britons's "Well, yes
> WE voted against it, but if we want to be part of Europe we must do as the
> Europeans do."

The terrorism card...

"The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has voted to raise
the data storage time from three months to up to a year in an effort to
crack terrorism."

Corporate greed as an antiterrorist force...

"In a move a digital rights group is calling 'a gross affront to civil
liberties and human rights', media firms want to amend the proposed data
retention directive so they can bring criminal prosecutions for
copyright violation."

The right to privacy
There is established law in Europe which forbids keeping people's
personal data which are not absolutely necessary for your business with
them. If you want to keep personal files you have to get approval from a
privacy authority for what data you keep and why.

A few days ago, following a discussion about a Swedish file-swapper site
called "Pirate Bay", an older article came up about how this established
practice is now under attack:


"The Swedish branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic
Industry (IFPI) and the games and film industry body Antipiratbyran
(APB) have won the right to collect the IP addresses of Swedish citizens
found to be sharing copyright-protected material and report them to
officials. Both organisations no longer need prior authorisation from
the Swedish Data Inspection Board (DI)."

A burden not only to civil rights
"Jan Sjoberg, the press officer at Telia Sonera Sweden, told The Local
this week that 'we will not send out warning letters to our customers on
anyone else's behalf'."

Sony Betamax vs Universal Studios reopened?
It seems the media companies have enough financial muscle now to reopen
a "Betamax case"


and -- who knows? -- maybe make VCRs and photocopiers illegal?

Copyrights, an odd animal...
Had Thomas Jefferson heard of memetics?

Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson
13 Aug. 1813


"It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an
individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and
stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than
all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power
called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as
he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself
into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess
himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the
less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an
idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he
who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That
ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the
moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition,
seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when
she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening
their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move,
and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive


"Considering the exclusive right to invention as given not of natural
right, but for the benefit of society, I know well the difficulty of
drawing a line between the things which are worth to the public the
embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not."

So... not much is "natural" in property. Property is (with good reasons)
a social construct. In these days of the "market society", it should not
be forgotten that an unnatural legal construct such as intellectual
property, even when it is justified for serving a purpose, absolutely
relies on paid enforcement mechanisms.

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