Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Karlin Lillington is none too complimentary about the data retention directive.

"Let's set aside the cost implications of storing such data for even six months. The EU allows for up to two years retention, and McDowell has indicated he will challenge the legislation to allow Ireland to keep its period of three years.

You have to ask why we need this draconian method of slipshod surveillance on citizens, this storing of evidence in advance of anyone doing anything wrong, on the anti-democratic assumption that because a handful of us will do something wrong, four million people should have their personal data squirreled away for future scrutiny.

Slipshod - because the directive (and our existing legislation) doesn't necessarily affect the smaller operators that are more likely to be used by terrorists and criminals, as calls are easier to hide. Slipshod - because while the law is supposed to "harmonise" retention across Europe it does nothing of the sort, allowing each state to have a different regime.

Slipshod - because we rush to bring in surveillance that the US would not dare to impose on its citizens...

This is what Gus Hosein, senior fellow of UK-based watchdog Privacy International, told the new Irish privacy watchdog, Digital Rights Ireland: "The EU used to set the standard for privacy protection. Now because of pressure from the UK and Ireland, the EU is 'going it alone' and leading the world in surveillance of all of our interactions and movements in the information society."

Pressure from Ireland. What has happened to us? And why are we allowing our Government to turn us into this disgraceful surveillance nation?"

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