On the Data Retention Directive

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Data retention is no solution

The feared and invasive Data Retention directive passed yesterday in the European Parliament. So What’s wrong with data retention?

The proposal to retain traffic data will reveal who has been calling and e-mailing whom, what websites people have visited and even where they were with their mobile phones. Telephone companies and internet services providers would be ordered to store all traffic data of their customers. Police and intelligence agencies in Europe would be granted access the traffic data. Various, competing proposals in Brussels mention retention periods from 6 months up to four years.

Data retention is an invasive tool that interferes with the private lives of all 450 million people in the European Union. Data retention is a policy that expands powers of surveillance in an unprecedented manner. It simultaneously revokes many of the safeguards in European human rights instruments, such as the Data Protection Directives and the European Convention on Human Rights.

It will be interesting to watch how ISPs foot the costs on this one.

This and the super-DMCA we got here in Finland are starting to make digital life in Europe quite scary. For years we’ve been able to laugh at the silly legislation the Americans have to live with, but now EU is starting to get to the same level.

I guess it is time to set up a Tor Internet Anonymizer server at the office and start using it. Just like encryption, anonymity works best if used as a general policy instead of just in the occasions where it really is needed.