Bye Bye, Privacy.
May 31, 2002 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Bye Bye, Privacy. Despite opposition from civil liberties groups worldwide, the European parliament bowed to pressure from individual governments, led by Britain, and approved legislation to give police the power to access the communications records of every phone and internet user.
posted by tpoh.org (17 comments total)
 
America needn't smirk ... don't think Ashcroft isn't licking his lips at the possibility.
posted by tpoh.org at 6:56 AM on May 31, 2002


Read through the spin. Every EU member state must approve it and law enforcement will STILL need a warrant. Despite the typical Guardian freakazoid tone taken in the article, this policy is basically the same one the U.S. *already* has in place.

If you read between the lines of the article, you'll also see that all phone records are wiped out after a couple of months right now. Is that such a hot idea?
posted by Phaedrus at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2002


This is terrible, terrible stuff. And I thought Euro MP's didn't matter.
posted by nedrichards at 7:18 AM on May 31, 2002


Dam, there going to find out how i'm going to extend the length of my middle trouser leg, how katie wants to meet me on her web cam, how i can wipe out all my debts with one single loan. Have fun!

But seriously, I kind agree with this to an extent, seeing as i've got nothing to hide, and if they wanna follow me around i could do with the company. If they going to use this to track down would-be villans and crooks then whats the harm.
posted by monkeyJuice at 7:26 AM on May 31, 2002


this is a shame… and i thought the europeans were more tolerant and flexible…

i think this is blair's government fault. france and germany have to take the lead in the e.u.
posted by trismegisto at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2002


[...don't think Ashcroft isn't licking his lips at the possibility.]
I would be too if I headed the Justice Dept. Wouldn't you?

[france and germany have to take the lead in the e.u.]
My understanding is that France has less privacy protection than Britain. Privacy International has a nice rundown.
posted by revbrian at 7:50 AM on May 31, 2002


The reality is that privacy isn't nearly as much of a concern in Europe as it is in the States. In Germany, for example, if you change your residence address, you are required to report the move to the government. Ironically, if you need an extra key made, you need super special permission to do so. America has a very unique approach in that it calls for privacy, while simultaneously advocating a certain libertarian independence. As Sharon Osbourne said on an episode of The Osbournes, America is the only country in which you can use any credit card without anyone asking questions. It pays to consider the European perspective on this, if it ever translates into actual legislation that the ACLU will most assuredly fight to the bitter end.
posted by ed at 7:56 AM on May 31, 2002


As Sharon Osbourne said on an episode of The Osbournes, America is the only country in which you can use any credit card without anyone asking questions.

I don't understand. What questions could be asked?
posted by Summer at 8:08 AM on May 31, 2002


Despite the typical Guardian freakazoid tone

Paedrus, tell me, I'm not being ironic here, just wondering: what kind of not-freakazoid newspaper do you like?
posted by matteo at 8:16 AM on May 31, 2002


*sigh* This is an article designed to freak you out. Slashdot, yesterday, linked to the EU's parliamentary notes --- with the anti-spam tilt that this bill was originally supposed to take. The Guardian's 'freakazoid' tone has blown a lot of it out of proportion.

To boot, countries are just as free NOT to spy on their people as they are to spy on them. The EU's just saying that it can not only prevent countries from spying on their citizens, they're not going to try to. What was keeping these countries from spying on their citizens BEFORE the EU came to be?
posted by SpecialK at 8:20 AM on May 31, 2002


The reality is that privacy isn't nearly as much of a concern in Europe as it is in the States. In Germany, for example, if you change your residence address, you are required to report the move to the government. Ironically, if you need an extra key made, you need super special permission to do so.

Are you sure? That sounds really odd, especially the key bit. I've always thought that threats to privacy don't come from the govt or police, they come from the various financial institutions and agencies. I realised this when I forgot to pay a store card bill for a year and got myself landed on a credit blacklist. This has severely affected my life. I am unable to get a credit card, cannot buy my own home and, if I wanted one, would have a lot of trouble buying a car. Capitalism runs on credit, and I can't get any. I'm forever being asked the addresses of all the places I have lived in the past five years - not by the govt, but by businesses checking I haven't left a huge mountain of debt somewhere. I don't worry about the police. Nobody in this society cares what I do (within the law) as long as I'm not costing anybody money.
posted by Summer at 8:26 AM on May 31, 2002


summer:

I don't understand. What questions could be asked?

some stores used to ask to see a photo ID such as a driver's license if you wanted to use a credit card. that's now illegal of them (in my state, at least).
posted by moz at 8:32 AM on May 31, 2002


[singing lustily] "Bra-ziiiiiiil....Where hearts were entertaining June..."
posted by alumshubby at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2002


some stores used to ask to see a photo ID such as a driver's license if you wanted to use a credit card. that's now illegal of them (in my state, at least).

Oh. I don't have a credit card but I don't remember any of my friends being asked questions anywhere we've been in Europe or Australia.
posted by Summer at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2002


Summer: When I was in Hamburg a few years ago, I discovered the key thing when a fellow German co-worker had lost the one key that he had been given for the office I was working out of. He was deftly afraid of losing the key and I asked him why. He then laid out the key thing to me, which led into questions about overall security in general. And I confirmed this interesting policy with several other Germans, who didn't understand why I was so surprised. In addition, German locks put American locks to shame. They are meticulously constructed with elaborate springs and multiple cylinders and there are many locks for every door.
posted by ed at 9:31 AM on May 31, 2002


Good lord
posted by Summer at 9:58 AM on May 31, 2002


The internet is the holy grail to law enforcement and now was just the best time to get legislation like this to pass. I think its completely wrong, the real-world version of roadblocks every few miles and telling the authorities where you've been and where you're going. I also don't like how the ISP is expected to pay for this, they're going to pass the "savings" onto their customers.

There are wiretap laws in place applicable for internet traffic, so I can't side with the few posters here who believe nothing really happened or this isn't a big change of policy. The difference is with a warrant, after you get it you can collect information on the suspect. This legislation lets you get a warrant to collect the information the ISP has been collecting on you before the warrant was even issued. Information they would have deleted long ago or never bothered collecting if it was for this legislation.

I half-expecting stuff like to this to make encrypting email and web sessions more of a mainstream activity. The bad guys are certainly using encryption so I really wonder how effective this trade-off of privacy for law enforcement is really going to be.
posted by skallas at 12:44 PM on May 31, 2002


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