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[P]
Communication privacy to be outlawed in Europe?

By MisterX in MLP
Thu May 17, 2001 at 10:14:24 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The Register is running a story about a proposed EU law which will require the storage of all internet and telephone traffic for seven years.


This is scary. I accept that governments view the internet as a threat, but this proposed law could turn the EU into the internet equivalent of a police state. Anonymity will effectively be illegal.

One particularly frightening quote from the article:

It is impossible for investigation services to know in advance which traffic data will prove useful in a criminal investigation. The only effective national legislative measure would therefore be to prohibit the erasure or anonymity of traffic data.

Fortunately, condemnation of the proposal has already started and I'm sure will snowball. However, the very fact that a proposal of this nature exists is bad enough.

Sure, the Internet can be used by criminals. Sure, these criminals ought to be detected and prosecuted. Surely, this can be done with some sense rather than mass presumption of guilt and elimination of individual freedom. Surely?

Footnote: The Register is a UK-based IT news site loved (and hated) for its quirky style and interesting -- if not always entirely accurate -- reporting.

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Display: Sort:
Communication privacy to be outlawed in Europe? | 54 comments (52 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
this is why written constitutions are good things (2.00 / 3) (#1)
by cory on Wed May 16, 2001 at 07:48:54 PM EST

Yes, the US has tried some stupid things like this before. I'm pretty sure Canada has, too. But we both have articles in our founding documents that should prevent this type of endeavor (not that Washington or Ottawa wouldn't try...) IIRC, the EU has no such protections. Hmm, guess people founding governments learned a thing or two since the 18th century (like how not to restrain themselves from fucking the people over whenever they feel like it).

You have my sympathies.

Cory


No protection in the constitution (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by John Milton on Wed May 16, 2001 at 07:53:43 PM EST

There is no constitutional reason this couldn't be enacted in the US. It wouldn't even be a violation of privacy if the documents were only looked at with a warrant. They're telling people that they have to keep evidence around for a little while. I don't like the idea, but it's not un-constitutional


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Sure there is! (none / 0) (#4)
by ODiV on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:02:08 PM EST

Who's going to try to tell a nut with a gun what to do?


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
*chuckle* (none / 0) (#5)
by ODiV on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:03:55 PM EST

/me waits for the flames.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Things to tell a nut with a gun (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by MisterX on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:16:55 PM EST

  1. Do not load your gun
  2. Do not point your gun at people
  3. Do not fire your gun at people
  4. Do not bring your guns to UFO sightings

If you decide not to follow these guidelines, then perhaps these may be more to your liking...

  1. Acquire a large quantity of plastic sheeting
  2. Place plastic sheeting on ground
  3. Stand in middle of plastic sheeting
  4. Load your gun
  5. Point your gun at yourself
  6. Fire your gun

Now, isn't that more fun than shooting other people?

And dammit! I'm posting an off-topic comment against my own story. The shame...

<g> for those who need it



[ Parent ]
Who's gonna tell a nut... (none / 0) (#14)
by kaemaril on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:18:49 PM EST

Well, if the federal government is anything to go on, the answer to that one is...

An ATF and/or FBI agent in an armoured personnel carrier with a huge machine gun... ;)


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
The Constitution won't help in this case (none / 0) (#3)
by MisterX on Wed May 16, 2001 at 07:58:51 PM EST

According to the article, this proposal was jointly developed with the FBI and calls for the recording of communication traffic from anywhere, by everyone. It could affect you, too.

I agree that a written constitution affords the individual a certain level of protection against malicious acts of government. Thing is, until recently I thought the EU was bumbling along quite nicely without one. Then, all of a sudden...



[ Parent ]
I'm not sure a written constitution makes... (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by SIGFPE on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:06:32 PM EST

..much difference and I'm not sure what existing constitution makes any kind of provision for countering such schemes. For example it's not violating freedom of speech and contrary to what many Americans think there is no protection of privacy in the American constitution.

I think the UK does a pretty good job without freedom of speech, say, written into the constitution. For example the TV channels in the UK have what are called "news programmes". Often at 6pm, 9pm and 10pm as well as at other times people report on various events from around the world and frequently report various different groups interpretations of these events. If you decide to arrange a protest on May 1st, say, to present a point of view to the public at large, then that will be picked up on by these programs and be reported to the public at large. The US seems to have no equivalent so theoretical freedom of speech doesn't actually mean much in practice.

Similarly Britain has no separation of church and state and yet it is clear that the religious right has far more influence on American policy making than any religious group in the UK.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

It *is* a free speech issue (none / 0) (#21)
by sigwinch on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:03:58 AM EST

The people have the right to speak freely, not the right to speak freely unless they refuse to make recordings. The U.S. Constitution is plain and unconditional on this fact.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

there is a foundation for privacy in the const. (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by TigerBaer on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:45:25 AM EST

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

As you can see from amendment 4 of the bill of rights the basic right of privacy from the government is assured. This right focuses on protecting citizens from rampant police states (ahem.. EU?). That program the FBI was creating (carnivore?) basically gave them a groundwork to violate this right by filtering emails of people who were not suspect of any crime and did not have warrants given.

imho the reason government organizations violate the rights of citizens (especially in the US) is because these days the vast overwhelming majority of citizens are apathetic, and could care less. Less than 40 percent of the population votes, even less write to their representatives informing them on what their personal opinions are (thereby enabling the representative to represent individuals, not corporate contributions).

[ Parent ]

That's one type of privacy (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by SIGFPE on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:27:24 PM EST

But it's not at all clear that it should cover data that you hand over to a corporation eg. your voice when you phone someone. I know that there are some legal protections in this case but I don't know whether they come from the constitution (oops...I mean Constitution).

The British system works differently. The government leaks details of potentially unpopular schemes and then gauges public reaction. Britain has a fairly strong tradition of protest and it often works well (sometimes the protests come a bit late eg. the 'Poll Tax' riots). As a result I doubt that the proposed recording of all electronic communications will actually happen even without the protection of a written constitution. Occasionally bad things do slip through - eg. Britons no longer have the right to silence and that opened the way to the government forcing people to reveal encryption keys - but then I don't think this has been tested in the courts yet (and I don't believe that the right not to reveal your keys has been tested in US courts yet either).

All in all I don't think that a written constitution is a bad idea but in practice I don't believe it makes all that big a difference because any consitution (or lack thereof) is always goes through a layer of interpretation.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

interpretation (none / 0) (#48)
by TigerBaer on Thu May 17, 2001 at 09:41:35 PM EST

The interpretation of a written basis for laws is unavoidable, yet the foundation and clear purpose of the law still holds. In the case of privacy in the Bill of Rights, I agree with you, the Bill of Rights only guarantees the privacy of the most basic personal information (houses, papers, and effects), and can be extended to include, or retracted to exclude information posessed by a corporation. Yet the clauses that must be examined are actually the agreement between the corporation and the consumer. Another interesting question is whether the government has the right to violate that contract without violating the Bill of Rights guaranteed privacy of the citizen.

Once again it seems interpretation has entered the field of play. To abstract and diverge for a moment, I think the history of law and human society is very interesting. Human society, in all recorded history, has established a system of laws. Immediately after laws were established, people found that there was always a grey area no matter the law. "Thou Shalt not Kill"? What if the killing was unintentional? How about if it was just?

To interpret a law or set of laws is human nature, and in fact, the goal of many foundation laws (such as a constitution) is to provide a flexible basis (similar to a programming language provding a flexible basis) upon which to expand, so in other words laws cannot really exist without interpretation and expansion. Wow, anyway.. i think this stuff is really interesting.. and i hope this starts a tangent thread discussion..

[ Parent ]

Hmmm...is the American Constitution like this (none / 0) (#52)
by SIGFPE on Fri May 18, 2001 at 06:46:42 PM EST

and in fact, the goal of many foundation laws (such as a constitution) is to provide a flexible basis
I'm not an expert on it but I'd hazard a guess that much of the American Constitution was created to be the exact opposite of this. It was a way for people to provide a limit for what laws could be laid down. In fact I think that is a major part of many Constitutions.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Consitution-fixated (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by caine on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:36:40 PM EST

I've replied to someone else bringing this up in some other story. The lack of something called "constitution" doesn't mean we don't have laws to prevent stuff like that. I know Sweden has "grundlagar", laws that are very, very hard to change. And I believe EU's basic laws has privacy clearly declared as an individuals right.

--

[ Parent ]

And yet again... (none / 0) (#11)
by caine on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:37:59 PM EST

I have to apologize for my spelling. *Preview preview preview*.

--

[ Parent ]

argh... (none / 0) (#47)
by Shren on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:40:43 PM EST

If the US Government ever somehow were restricted to ruling only with the powers in the constitution, they'd just amend the constution through the constutionally described processes. You can bet your bottom dollar there'd be a second constutional convention, as well. That simple. But they arn't restricted by the constution, no matter how it's supposed to work, so they don't bother.

I can sympathise with libertarian goals. Our government wastes a phenomenal amount of money. The constution is not a magic carpet to ride in and save the day on, though. It can be and has been reinterpreted, and it can be and has been changed.

[ Parent ]

all internet and telephone traffic for seven years (4.00 / 2) (#8)
by enterfornone on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:18:49 PM EST

YOu mean all voice conversations must be recorded, all tcp/ip packets must be saved to disk?

How much storage would that need.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Storage requirements (none / 0) (#10)
by MisterX on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:37:24 PM EST

How much storage would that need.

I can't even begin to conceive how much storage would be required. This is the one thing I think will stop this proposal dead in its tracks. For now.

Storage capacities are increasing at one heck of a rate. I can buy a single HD which will store over 70GB of data for relatively little money these days. And this is consumer-level stuff.

Even if the storage requirements can be achieved, accessing such a vast datastore would be a problem without accurate indexing. Hence the requirement in the proposal for the identification of the data originator (at the very least).



[ Parent ]
Right, but (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by delmoi on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:34:54 AM EST

Storage capacities are increasing at one heck of a rate. I can buy a single HD which will store over 70GB of data for relatively little money these days. And this is consumer-level stuff.

So is bandwidth usage : )
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Its interesting to note that... (none / 0) (#45)
by pallex on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:06:02 PM EST

...only the stories about this thing mention having to keep stuff for 7 years - not the articles themselves.

[ Parent ]
The BBC is covering this now... (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by MisterX on Wed May 16, 2001 at 08:51:42 PM EST

EU condemned over planned snoop laws



one up them (4.50 / 4) (#13)
by Seumas on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:02:59 PM EST

Why take baby steps, then?

The only solution to crime is, obviously, to lock everyone up and only let them out once they've proved their intentions and their decency. After all, police can't know in advance what people are or are not criminals.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

Uh, 'fundamental laws' make this illegal. (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by Surial on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:07:40 PM EST

I think most countries have a 'fundamental law', such as the grundlagar in Sweden and the grondwet in holland (grund/grond = ground, as is base).

These laws define general behavior; a standard fundamental law is something which states that racism is unacceptable, etc.

Any article that is in violation of the fundamental law set is thrown out.

While the dutch laws will get changed to accomodate EU laws, I seriously doubt that they will much about with the grondwet.

Still, the EU, which is making otherwise very sane laws, is really doing Bad Things with computer law.
--
"is a signature" is a signature.

Questions :) (1.50 / 2) (#17)
by darthaya on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:04:26 AM EST

Would you elaborate on what "grundlagar" and "grondwet" are in the context?

[ Parent ]
Perustuslaki (none / 0) (#42)
by evvk on Thu May 17, 2001 at 09:42:03 AM EST

> I think most countries have a 'fundamental law', such as the grundlagar in Sweden and the grondwet in holland (grund/grond = ground, as is base).

You mean constitution? (Perustuslaki in Finland. Also, perustus=base,foundation; laki=law.)


[ Parent ]
Stocks (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by br284 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:04:52 AM EST

Now looks like a good time to spend a bit of money on Maxtor, Quantum, and Seagate stocks.

FBI and EU, you have my thanks.

-Chris

I'd put my money... (none / 0) (#31)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:12:18 AM EST

...in 3M and other companies that make data tapes, storing this much data on hard drives would be ridiculously expensive.

[ Parent ]
Seagate Stock (none / 0) (#51)
by marimba on Fri May 18, 2001 at 05:45:32 PM EST

Well, Seagate went private late last year, so there is no stock, and they just laid off about six hundred people, so they may not be so healthy.

[ Parent ]
boohoo (1.75 / 4) (#19)
by rebelcool on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:36:42 AM EST

cry me a river. In reality, every action you take is 'logged' somehow. It's ridiculous to think the internet will somehow become some grand vast sanctuary from the reality of which it is based upon.

Further, I wouldnt be surprised if such a system is already in place (ever heard of Echelon?), you just dont know about it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

point by point (none / 0) (#25)
by MisterX on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:53:46 AM EST

In reality, every action you take is 'logged' somehow.

Indeed. I'm aware of this and I'm sure many of our fellow readers are aware of this. How many people outside the IT arena do you think are aware of this? I don't know, but I'd sure like them to know.

Besides, this proposal goes far beyond tracking IP addresses and web hits. It also calls for passwords, credit card details and a whole host of other personal information to be linked to all communication traffic one way or another. I'll accept being watched a little, but what the EU ministers will be discussing is preposterous.

It's ridiculous to think the internet will somehow become some grand vast sanctuary from the reality of which it is based upon

Maybe I'm just an old idealist, but I always thought the internet was based upon the free sharing of information. Free as in unrestricted. Information as in, well, anything you like really. I know the internet has changed in recent years but to suggest that how it is now is how it was supposed to be is a bit of a stretch.

Further, I wouldnt be surprised if such a system is already in place (ever heard of Echelon?), you just dont know about it.

If such a system is in place and I don't know about it, then it's gonna be difficult for me to discuss it and be outraged!

I think I get what you're trying to say. To an extent, I agree with you. The internet is in a state of constant evolution and some of us are unhappy about where it appears to be heading. We are going to have to accept some loss of freedom I'm sure. We'll adapt too.

However, proposals such as this go way beyond what I would call "reasonable force" and have implications which could be stinging your grandchildren in years to come. If there's a chance I can do something to stop that, I will. So I did.



[ Parent ]
What doesn't happen in "reality" (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Tim C on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:21:04 AM EST

When I go out shopping, I walk along the street, going from shop to shop. When I go web-shopping, I browse from site to site. So far, so similar.

Where the similarity ends, however, is that on the streets, there is no-one following me around with a pad and a pen, noting down where I go, who I speak to and what I say, what I look at, etc and the times of all these events. If this law were passed and implemented, that is essentially what would happen online.



Cheers,

Tim

[ Parent ]
are you in the UK? (none / 0) (#46)
by rebelcool on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:26:36 PM EST

with the recent installments of thousands of government video cameras on public streets, every step you take outside of your home is indeed logged.

Anyways, what you're describing already happens online. I don't know of a single webservice that doesn't log the actions of its visitors. Every page and image request, every form GET or POST where you transmit data is entered into a log (and more than 1, usually) at the webserver you're browsing. Your ISP does it's own logging as well, plus whatever third parties may be inbetween.

You are not anonymous, by any means, and can be traced back to your origins. The main reason i see keeping a central database of logs is to make tracing criminals faster. Rather than having to go site to site to ISP to get log information, it can be gotten from one entity.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

no need to worry... (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by captain soviet on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:32:08 AM EST

The scenario described in the article is not gonna happen anytime soon. There are a couple of reasons prevents the eu from passing such a law. a) current european laws would prohibit acquiring / saving data in the way illustrated in the article. b) many national constitutions do so, too c) this article is not very trustworthy, anyway. The only source seems to be the statewatch journal, - and this is based on some mysterious papers nobody but statewatch has seen. d) Statewatch cannot be considered EU-friendly (not even neutral for that matter) anyway. Matter of fact is, that there are some papers in the EU which cope with that matter, - for example the ENFOPOL98-proposal which has been around for two years now and which is according to the official eu position 'not currently discussed'. ENFOPOL98 (developed by EUROPOL and the FBI) requires any ISP to provide an interface which can be used to tap any traffic. Furthermore police / intelligence would get access to an user's mailbox, any data stored via FTP and to any of the provider's log-files. In addition to the fact that it's not currently possible to log any internet traffic and store those huge amounts of data for seven years, the parliament will not pass such a law, if they do not dare to discuss ENFOPOL98.

Where the heck are they going to put all this? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:15:18 AM EST

It calls for the retention of "every phone call, every mobile phone call, every fax, every e-mail, every website's contents, all internet usage, from anywhere, by everyone, to be recorded, archived and be accessible for at least seven years
That's sure to create a whole heck of a lot of data, where are they going to store it all, and who is going to pay for it? What happens if you run your own server and say "Fuck it, I'm not keeping this shit around for seven years. [rm -r ./website]"? Are they going to run some webcrawler saving every page it runs across? What if you use passwords/encrypt your traffic?

This whole plan just seems unworkable to me.

Payment (none / 0) (#26)
by MisterX on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:05:20 AM EST

who is going to pay for it?

Aw heck, I thought that was obvious. The people being watched of course! The EU taxpayers. Who else? ;-)

This whole plan just seems unworkable to me.

My suspicion also. However, is does seem that they will be discussing it and so that means there is a chance, however slim, that it could be incorporated into EU laws.

Do you think many governments have an excellent track record of implementing truly workable laws? Hmm?

The discussion here is leading me to believe that there's no way these proposals could be made law and I'm happier for that. My belief has nothing to do with the technological aspects - it appears that fundamental or basic laws in the member countries would disallow such a proposal.

I do hope so, because we can't all go live on Sealand!



[ Parent ]
Better Anonymity Through Cryptography (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by moshez on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:28:50 AM EST

Well, this might be a good time to remind you all that this is only a convinience for the goverments -- they could already be tapping your phone lines when you download the e-mails. So this law makes it a bit easier? So what??

GNU Privacy Guard helps me have privacy when I want it.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.

Get real (or informed?) (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by thunderbee on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:20:44 AM EST

The use of heavy crypto is forbidden in many EU countries. Basically, anything over 128bits strong is...

[ Parent ]
Steganography (none / 0) (#28)
by pallex on Thu May 17, 2001 at 05:10:13 AM EST

So? Hide it!

[ Parent ]
But That's Not a EU Law (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by moshez on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:14:41 AM EST

...so theoretically, those of you in such countries can use the democratic system to change the law, right?

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
Really? (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by evvk on Thu May 17, 2001 at 09:48:23 AM EST

Not in Scandinavia at least. Isn't that just some US export restriction? They just lifted the limit from 40 to somewhere, 128? (Hmm... then again, Maybe France...)


[ Parent ]
throwing away the key? (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by straysan on Thu May 17, 2001 at 05:49:36 AM EST

just a thought... i'd guess that if all encrypted traffic is stored in encrypted form for seven years, then this data is a dead weight without storing all relevant keys somewhere.

and with asynchronous cryptography, the whole point is about not transmitting the whole key, so it won't show up in the traffic.

where do i store my keys for the authorities to retrieve the content of the traffic? where do i sign up to hand my passwords in please?

toodles
stray

RIP act (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by Glacky on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:09:47 AM EST

(yes that's it's name, appropriate or what!)

You also have to hand over your encryption keys on demand to 'the authorities' - refusing can mean you face jail time....

shocking is not the word. Of course this has all been pushed through in the name of 'saving the children' and 'preventing terrorism'. Funny how they never propose to restrict their own freedoms for *our* benefit.

[ Parent ]
I forgot to mention... (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Glacky on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:15:56 AM EST

.. the RIP act is our very own British police state measure, the EU are catching us up...

Yet more reason to decentralise and push P2P, or "All Your IP Packet Are Belong To Them"

[ Parent ]
7 years later and no key... (none / 0) (#49)
by DrEvil on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:07:16 PM EST

What if you don't have your keys seven years later? Imagine you have no use for them a couple of years down the road so you just forget about them, then a few more years after that the authorities come knocking looking for your keys, then what?

Sure backing them up is all fine and dandy, but that's not the perfect solution, backups can be destroyed!

It's one thing to ask for the keys days, weeks or even months later, but I think a few years is pushing it!

[ Parent ]
Go to jail (none / 0) (#50)
by marimba on Fri May 18, 2001 at 05:40:38 PM EST

"What if you don't have your keys seven years later? Imagine you have no use for them a couple of years down the road so you just forget about them, then a few more years after that the authorities come knocking looking for your keys, then what?"

IIRC, as it stands now in Great Britain, you have to prove you forgot your keys. (I think they're working on some kind of brain scan for this.) Otherwise you are subject to jail time.



[ Parent ]
Much of this has been discussed here before (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by imperium on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:41:36 AM EST

I posted an article about British-only plans for a similar system some time ago. In particular, the quantity of storage required was well discussed...

x.
imperium

Perfect (none / 0) (#35)
by MisterX on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:08:36 AM EST

Yup, lots of relevant high-quality discussion there. Thanks for the link.

As an aside, all this talk of storage capacities and how many $100 30GB hard disks it would take leads me to ask this question:

Are the mainframe people laughing their asses off at us right now? ;-)



[ Parent ]
Real life analogy? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by kaemaril on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:42:55 AM EST

There's going to be a lot of people trotting out the old "If you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear" excuse for this one along with a lot of (possibly computer illiterate) people who will say "I don't understand. It's just the internet. It's no big deal, it's not like it's a question of civil rights or anything". So, I'd like to propose an analogy. I think it's accurate, but maybe you disagree? If you should encounter somebody who doesn't see the problem, try this on them:

This is much like the post office opening EVERY single one of YOUR letters (including bank statements, legal papers, letters from Great Aunt Mo, letters from your doctor, bills, final reminders, envelopes with your new ATM card, envelopes with your new ATM PIN etc etc) and parcels - whether they be sent TO you or sent BY you - photographing the contents, and then storing the photos on microfiche somewhere, before resealing the letter/package and sending it on. They don't think you've done anything wrong - they're just storing the evidence in case one day (maybe five or six years down the line) the police should happen to think you've done something illegal.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


Just so you know.... (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Mr Tom on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:47:24 AM EST

UK telcos already archive all CDR (Call detail records) off their switches for 7 years. Well, I /know/ for certain that some of them do - as I work with the files in question!

And yes, it is a lot of data. :-)
-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

Belgium's running ahead o/t pack :-) (none / 0) (#41)
by ZeeDraak on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:53:26 AM EST

All isps, and even universities and libraries, in belgium are already required by law to keep logs of everything that their customers/users do for 1 year. And this crap even got passed unanimously in parliament.

And now the senate is proposing a, mandatory for everyone, dna database to prevent crime; but strangely enough unmanned cameras don't get implemented in the south of the country at all and only in a limited manner in the north, 'cause this is seen by the fat Master/Capitalists as a "violation of basic privacy" :-)).

Greetings from the soon to be 1000year new Reich,

All traffic, not all data (none / 0) (#53)
by BadIvory on Sat May 19, 2001 at 02:11:44 AM EST

Alas, a few not-so- "quirky" news outlets have reported this inaccurately.

The cops don't want all *data* recorded, but all *traffic records* retained. The uh, clue's in the headline.

Check out the links at the end of the article on the new Statewatch/PI site here...

And if you were wondering that recording all data would be prohibitively expensive, you are of course quite right :-)

"The only good endian is a dead endian"

Which could be more dangerous (none / 0) (#54)
by MisterX on Sun May 20, 2001 at 07:36:24 PM EST

First, my use of the term "quirky" was meant as a compliment. The Register is one of my most visited sites. I prefer my news presented with a bit of personality and humour. Also, "not always entirely accurate" simpy lumps El Reg in with most other major news organisations. You already know that, though :-)

To my point. If they're gonna record traffic, I'd prefer that they record everything. At least that would stop presumption of guilt by implication.

For example, if one of my friends turns out to be some major terrorist threat (and, you know, I do wonder about a couple of them :) then if the cops can see exactly what my communications have been they can judge my innocence from that. With only the knowledge that I have communicated, they'll then need to eliminate me from their enquiries and that could involve them digging far deeper than I'd like.

Sure I'm paranoid. I live my life by a strict rule of no harm so no law is required to protect society from me. Unfortunately, I have major disagreements with the laws I'm forced to live by. I know that I'm not doing anything wrong. The law, however, may not agree.

Fine article, btw. Thanks for popping over and commenting.



[ Parent ]
Communication privacy to be outlawed in Europe? | 54 comments (52 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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