Friday

Directive on Mandatory Retention of Communications Traffic Data

It's not a catchy title for a blog post but this European Data directive rather worries me. You can check out the details of the data directive on the link below, again not an easy read. I'll summarise what I think it means to me, to you and everyone else in the European Union.

It means that

- data is collected about the entire population of the European Union.
- that electronic data is kept about phone calls including VOIP, who we call and how often.
- that data is kept about which web sites we visit, who we send emails to will be kept.
- all this data will be kept for a period of two years and will be available to police, public prosecutors and foreign states.

So that means that virtually all forms of electronic communication will me monitored, the data stored and will be readily available to lots of 'agencies' in response to this European Data Directive.

Of course this data is primarily for combating terrorism and evil doers on the internet. But lets state this as clearly as possible - the state want to monitor and store all electronic communications by all it's citizens.

Is this acceptable to you?

Well it's not to me! There seems something very wrong about spying on 100% of your population in order to have the chance to catch .0000001% of bad guys up to no good. It's almost as though we are guilty until we prove our innocence.

The increasing invasion of our electronic lives under the guise of catching terrorists is an excessive invasion of our privacy. Our governments have no right to spy on their citizens like this, the reality is that their intended victims will all take countermeasures to avoid detection - so they will not be spied on anyway !

The data will be stored and most states have plans to store centrally on databases, of course many like the UK government have demonstrated their casual attitude to looking after personal details - we all know that departments like the Home Office and Inland Revenue keep losing this information !

I have so many issues with this directive on so many levels yet to focus on one briefly - security of this data.

Lets imagine this is fully implemented and all our emails, web browsing sessions and chat sessions are stored at our local ISP - who controls this data, where is it stored, how is it secured ? There are some pretty small cash strapped ISPs about how do they look after this data? This is happening now - how would you feel about your Web browsing logs and emails being sold to the highest bidder on the internet?

I have worked in IT for over 20 years and security even in the places where it is a priority is usually fairly lax. The more of this data that is stored the more it will be lost, stolen or abused and most Governments are capable of doing these three things.

So next time you visit that rather saucy website imagine it being brought up if you are ever in trouble with the police, or applying for a licence, or adopting a child, or a legal dispute, or in dispute with any of the many agencies who are allowed access not just in your home country but any country in the European Union.

I wonder how many terrorist captures will result in exchange for our forfeit of privacy. This European data directive is another sinister step toward surveillance of European citizens.




At least the Germans are fighting for their freedom and privacy - good on them !!



Jim

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