Bad European Politics

So, thanks to the Conservatives and Socialists in the European Parliament (the two biggest fractions), a European Directive has been passed for mandatory data retention. It needs to be implemented in national law within 2 years in all of the member states.

This means that information about the e-mails you send and receive will be kept, as well as the time you log on and off from your ISP, for at least 6 months, and up to two years. The same for your telephone records. Of course, this proposal originated with the European Commission, and it was rushed through Parliament in 1 reading. Nevermind the shaky ‘evidence’ for the necessity of this data retention: the whole thing was based on just one study, of which the results were misrepresented. Never mind the 58000+ signatures against the proposal.

All of this, of course, because proponents say it will help ‘anti-terrorism’ efforts. In practice, terrorists will circumvent the logging, and only ordinary people’s data will be stored. Of course, the cost for the retention will be passed on to the people – either through more expensive telecommunication services or through taxes. The EU actually has good data protection laws – but this Directive does not mention data protection at all. So, while the data is supposedly only for government use, expect the IFPI and other private organisations to get their claws on it too, over time.

Be very, very afraid.

Suw Charman explains the issues clearly, from a UK perspective. More background here.

One last thing:

The voting records from the EP will be out soon. I will update this post at that point. If you live in the European Union, please consider what these people have done at the next election. Politicians that pass bad laws need to be removed from power.

Update: the roll-call votes are now available:

Original (word file) : Original (word file)
Analyzed as per the FFII vote recommendations:

Anyone who shows up in red in the FFII files voted bad. Refer to this list when considering who to vote for in the next European election, please. We need to show those MEPs that their actions have consequences.

Welcome to a Brave New World where the government knows about every e-mail you send, every phone call you make, and every website you visit… I’m sorry, but if you’re from the EU, reading this blog will probably put you on your Government’s blacklist. Thanks, European Union!

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