Stephen Booth, a researcher for Open Europe, has written a report on this truly scary EU funded spying project. Do you remember the debate over whether we are all happy to be monitored and spied upon in order to catch 'potentially criminal behaviour', nope neither do I ! Even that phrase is scary as the scope is very unclear, and of course open to severe abuse and misinterpretation. I mean frankly, I find the practice of putting Mayonnaise on chips down right criminal, but I guess we can't arrest the population of Belgium in order to stamp it out.
As Stephen Booth rightly points out
"The problem with the EU funding these types of projects is the lack of accountability. Citizens are left completely in the dark as to who has approved them and there is no way to ensure that civil liberties are being duly respected.
Is this an Internet Surveillance System ?
It is in fact just one more initiative in the surveillance that is already happening throughout the Western world. the surveillance is nothing new, what this project brings to the party is the attempt to spot criminal behaviour, innocent until proven guilty anyone. Of course we all want to stop the terrorist before he strikes, but is widespread monitoring and profiling of every single innocent citizen the way forward?
Any project like this should be subject to intense public scrutiny, there must be very stringent controls - they will be gathering data on each and every one of us with the intention on trying to spot likely criminal behaviour or the intention to offend.
Does it sounds like Brussels trying to create a super spy state to you? Goodness knows how they will define this criminal behaviour - it echoes a big brother state in many ways, and in practice sounds very much like the East German Stasi or Russian KGB information gathering efforts. Of course their surveillance systems where nothing compared to what can be achieved on the internet.
There is also a blurring of the lines between predicting a threat – in which case law enforcement officers can be asked to investigate – and simply predicting criminality and penalising an individual on the basis of something they have not yet done.
As the Times pointed out this raises the spectre of a European secret service, with vast databases with the details and profiles of millions of EU citizens. Now I'm fairly resigned to the information being stored and monitored - it's already happening anyway certainly in the US, UK and most European countries, of course non-democratic countries have been doing it for years as well.
I know I'm being monitored now which is why I surf anonymously using Identity Cloaker, no I've done nothing wrong I just value my privacy. An internet surveillance system is practically here anyway, the only questions is the scope, who has access to our information and how it is used. From this project pretty much everyone and anything goes unless we do something fast !