The surveillance of telecommunications

EU: Data retention proposal: Statement and press release from Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Social Responsibility (FIfF) e.V. and German Organisation for Data Protection (DVD) e.V.and thirteen NGOs: "It is not to late to avert those plans which will not lead to more safety but rather to more surveillance. We urge all democratic forces to help us prevent another step into a state of surveillance." Statement and press release on EU data retention plans (pdf) See also EU surveillance of telecommunications: Statewatch analysis

EDRI (European Digital Rights) summary of the consultation by the European Commission on new EU plans for mandatory retention of telecom traffic data on 21 September: Summary See also: Over 90 non-governmental organizations - including Statewatch - and 80 companies have endorsed Privacy International's call: Invasive, illusory, illegal and illegitimate and EU surveillance of telecommunications: Statewatch analysis

5.8.04: EU: European Commission DG Information Society and DG Justice and Home Affairs have launched a public consultation on the issue of traffic data retention. A public workshop is planned on 21 September 2004, in Brussels. See:

i. Consultation document (pdf)
ii. Proposal from UK, France, Ireland and Sweden (pdf)
iii. Statewatch analysis of the proposal

29.4.04: EU/Surveillance of telecommunications: Data retention comes to roost - telephone and internet privacy to be abolished:
see Statewatch analysis of proposed EU Framework Decision:

- proposal broader in scope than 2002 version; grave gaps in civil liberties protection remain;
- data to be held for between 12 and 36 months, though member states can opt for longer if they choose;
- data to be retained extended from "traffic data" to traffic and "location data";
- scope extended from 32 specific offences to any crime;
- scope extended from specific investigations and prosecutions to "prevention and detection" of crime;
- "This is a proposal so intrusive that Ashcroft, Ridge and company can only dream about it, exceeding even the US Patriot Act"

Italy: Data retention – not only a privacy issue: Civil rights and ambiguity of crime “prevention”. A statement by ALCEI – January 24, 2004: Statement

Italy to retain communications data for five years: Report

EU: Mandatory retention of telecommunications data would be unlawful: - Legal opinion says that under the ECHR mandatory data retention is disproportionate, contrary to the rule of law and cannot be said to be necessary in a democratic society: Report

UK: Government trying to slip through "voluntary" data retention rejected by consultation process: Report and documentation Government leaves the communications industry open to legal challenge if they retain traffic data for the purpose of "national security" and then pass it over for other purposes, for example, for crime, public order or taxation

EU: Major commercial associations express strong concerns about plans for data retention: Report

Ireland - Court threat for state over privacy: Report

UK: Home Office consults on data retention and access to communications data: Report

EU: Majority of governments introducing data retention of communications: Report

UK: Surveillance of communications goes through the roof - doubling under the Labour government: Special Report

Making up the rules: Interception versus privacy from buro jansen & janssen: Report

European Conference of Data Protection Commissioners opposes proposed EU Framework Decision on data retention: statement

EU Presidency issues statement on data retention: - statement does nothing to refute the existence of a draft Framework Decision: Report

EU surveillance of communications: data retention to be "compulsory" for 12-24 months - draft Framework Decision leaked to Statewatch - revised 21.8.02 with press coverage: Special report

EU surveillance of telecommunications: The vote in the European Parliament to accept data retention and surveillance by the law enforcement agencies: Report & Analysis

European Parliament caves in on data retention: Report

The "unholy alliance" of the PSE/socialist group and the PPE/conservative group - who together have a large majority in the parliament - today, 30 May, joined forces with the Spanish Presidency of the EU and voted to accept the demands of EU governments and law enforcement agencies to place telecommunications under surveillance. The rapporteur (M Cappato), the ELDR (Liberals), Green/EFA group and the GUE (United Left) voted against.

Responses by civil society groups to Ms. Paciotti (PSE MEP, socialist group) letter of 28 May 2002: Responses by civil society groups (updated 31.5.02)

UK government forced to delay new surveillance powers: government withdraws order to extend powers to 1,039 public authorities; Chief Surveillance Commissioner admits: "I clearly cannot carry out any meaningful oversight of so many bodies without assistance": Report

Europol document confirms that the EU plans a "common EU law enforcement viewpoint on data retention": Report

EU surveillance of telecommunications: The vote in the European Parliament to accept data retention and surveillance by the law enforcement agencies: Report & Analysis

European Parliament caves in on data retention
- the PSE/socialist group have joined the EPP/conservative group and accepted the demands of EU governments and law enforcement agencies to place communications under surveillance: Report

"On this issue no "compromise" is possible. Either MEPs vote in favour of maintaining the existing 1997 Directive which only allows traffic and location data to be kept for billing purposes (ie: for the benefit of the customers) or they vote in favour of data being retained so that EU law enforcement agencies (police, customs, immigration and internal security agencies) can get access to it.

To be told by the two largest groups in the European Parliament, the PSE and PPE, that the inclusion of references to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EC Community law makes the EU governments' demand for data retention and the surveillance of telecommunications acceptable is sheer nonsense. The ECHR and Community law automatically apply to all EU Directives and therefore reference to them is simply "window-dressing" " (Statewatch)

Coalition asks European Parliament to vote against data retention: Report

European Parliament committee chair tries to reach a "deal" with the Council on the surveillance of communications: Report

Exclusive: EU governments are secretly drafting a binding Framework Decision to introduce the universal surveillance of telecommunications: Report

EU surveillance of telecommunications: Mystery of the missing minutes which surface nearly a year late: Report

Surveillance of telecommunications in the EU: narrow vote in European Parliament on data retention: Report

UK: Telephone-tapping and mail-opening warrants for 2000 in Britain, plus full figures for 1937-2000: Report

European Parliament and EU governments on a collision course over the retention of data (telecommunications surveillance), text of Council's position: Report (21.11.01)

EU Forum on cybercrime: Discussion Paper for Expert’s Meeting on Retention of Traffic Data, 6 November 2001. An informal Working Paper prepared by the Commission services: EU Forum on cybercrime

UK plans for the retention of data for 12 months: Report (19.11.01)
- UK to introduce data retention for 12 months under "voluntary code"
- Power to introduce mandatory retention available too
- UK derogates from 1997 EU Directive on privacy and pre-empts EU decision on data surveillance

Interception of telecommunications in the EU: Update (2.11.01)
- US calls for EU data protection to be ditched
- Council Legal Services says governments already have powers to combat terrorism
- European Parliament committee re-affirms its report on new directive

EU governments want the retention of all telecommunications data for general use by law enforcement agencies under terrorism plan: Report (26.9.01)
- governments want to use new terrorism measures to put all communications under surveillance
- governments demanding that EU data protection and privacy laws be "revised" to allow for retention
- Statewatch report on "Data protection or data retention in the EU?"

Data retention introduced in UK and USA: Report  (19.9.01)

The surveillance of telecommunications in Europe (the EU-FBI plan)
Special Statewatch report

(26.6.01) EU governments to decide on data retention of telecommunications: European Commission and EU's Data Protection Working Party strongly opposed to move led by the UK

(28.6.01) The "law and order" lobby win the first round on the retention of data: the European Commission says the European Parliament must now reject the Council's position

(5.7.01) The EU-FBI "Requirements" come home to the UK

History and background to the EU-FBI plan for the surveillance of telecommunications: EU-FBI

Updates | Summary | Full report | Documentation - full-text


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