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European Data Retention Rule Could Violate Fundamental EU Law

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the listen-to-the-law dept.

Privacy 61

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the Constitutional Court of Austria objecting to the EU's data retention law. "The European Union's data retention law could breach fundamental E.U. law because its requirements result in an invasion of citizens' privacy, according to the Constitutional Court of Austria, which has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine the directive's validity. The primary problem with the data retention law is that it almost exclusively affects people in whom government or law enforcement have no prior interest. But authorities use the data for investigations and are informed about people's personal lives, the court said, and there is a risk that the data can be abused. 'We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights,' Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement."

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61 comments

What about privacy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345587)

For instance, can we share videos like this ? Video [youtube.com]

EU LAW RULEZ !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345591)

Bow before the EU - the mightiest in the ...EU !!

Data Retention, Bush and Blair (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345605)

It's worth remembering the history of these data retention laws. Basically Blair (as a proxy for Bush) pushed these through when the UK had the EU Presidency in 2005:

http://www.euractiv.com/infosociety/uk-presidency-revive-data-storag-news-214430

UK had a terrorist attack in 2005, the police tracked one suspect by his phone. Blair then insisted on data retention, saying it was necessary to catch this guy in Italy and just happened to have a piece of legislation drafted already. The EU caved and let him push it through when he held the UK EU presidency.

Oh course the logic is faulty, he WAS caught without the data retention directive, so it wasn't necessary. He was caught because he didn't know his phone could be tracked, post data retention, everyone knows it, so he would have thrown away the phone now.

The basic idea that everyone is a future potential criminal to be monitored, is very powerful. Because the police never reveal the millions of times they've poked into people lives without finding anything, only the few times they poke into the lives of people and arrest a terrorist/pedo and occasionally the times they get caught snooping into a celebrities lives for Murdoch, but mostly only the pro-surveillance marketing stuff is ever visible, with the rest kept secret.

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42345931)

Well, Blair was one of the bigger assholes. He was effective and essentially had basically no morals.

I've also been saddened by the public response to such things as terrorist attacks.

I have been deeply impressed by the Norwegian response though. They're not going to let some guy murder a bunch of people and destroy the civility of their legal system. I wish the public in the UK would respond more like that, rather than (in general) "oe noes!!! some one died! Lets spend an arbirtary amount of money trying to prevent this one death! Screw freedoms! Please think of teh children!!!"

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42350279)

"Well, Blair was one of the bigger assholes. He was effective and essentially had basically no morals."

Blair was a direct clone of Bush in disguise.

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about a year ago | (#42345977)

It is also worth noting that some of the shakier democracies in Eastern Europe tried to use these provisions to introduce large-scale spying systems. I have a friend from Bulgaria who told me how the threat from blanket legal monitoring of internet communications by the government was narrowly averted by protests, and how the police beat up some of the protesters during one or two demonstrations a couple of years ago. I think there were similar measures elsewhere.

The directive was bad in form and in spirit, and to my eye caused more harm and damage than good overall. Which happens often if the full implications of a law are not discussed and taken seriously. But we and the children are safe, I suppose.

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (5, Interesting)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#42346147)

My country, too, which is in western Europe, is known for letting wiretapping data fall into the wrong hands. We have had cases of politicians looking for information to use against their enemies, of wealthy people keeping an eye on competitors, employees or even customers, or hackers publishing stolen data which wasn't locked down carefully enough.

Wiretapping is important, the evidence collected through it helped identify many criminals (and save many innocents). But it must be done only under the warrant of a judicial authority, and it should be performed only by trusted (and accountable) professionals. That's what the constitutions of many europen states say, and the reason they do is not because, back in the time when they were written, mass surveillance was not as easy as it is today.

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (4, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about a year ago | (#42346009)

It is also worth considering why our political and financial elite are so keen with data retention laws:

National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2030 report [bloomberg.com], quotes:

"...major trends are the end of U.S. global dominance, the rising power of individuals against states, a rising middle class whose demands challenge governments, and a Gordian knot of water, food and energy shortages, according to the analysts."

"[enormous caches of data] will enable governments to ' figure out and predict what people are going to be doing' and 'get more control over society,'

We (collectively) pose a risk to the power of the 0.1% going forward, and bills like this are being pushed through in "democratic" nations worldwide to "get more control over society".

Re:Data Retention, Bush and Blair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346287)

Ironically, by introducing laws that hamper privacy to gain more control, the governments are agitating the public and provoke more and more hostilities towards the ruling elite. And it's spreading outside the Internet Generation too. I recently had had a conversation with a guy who owns his own company selling window blinds. He's been in business for the last 30 years and the closest he gets to a computer is when he needs to read emails from his customers every time his son is not around to do it for him. This guy has only as much interest in privacy as his window blinds can provide, and yet we talked about how the world is debt and this debt is used to control the masses, how governments are being lobbied into submission by those who have all the money they could imagine. And even though he had no experience with the Internet, he called it the greatest blessing science could bestow upon humanity, and that it should be protected and cultivated, even if blood is to be spilled (his own words).

I think he's right and that one day we might find ourselves in the trenches, fighting for optic cable lines and datacenters agains our own governments, like we used to fight as nations for cities and factories, and like we're now fighting as economies for oil fields and lucrative 'reconstruction' contracts.

And it's likely the national borders will need to be erased to enable us to fight more effectively, and will never be brought back because people will understand that this is what make us 'manageable'. There's only one response to 'divide and conquer' and that is to 'unite and be free'.

More Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42351749)

"Cantennas"

"SATCOM"

Fiber lines are too easy to control and cut off. The whole telecom world is full of control-freak stuff. AT&T was effectively an arm of the government, as much as Deutsche Bundespost and the predecessor of France Telecom. Government has an eternal hate for free flow of information, as it makes their business more difficult. And left and right you will find enough idiots who fall for their codewords such as "child porn" and "electro-smog". For them, it is is "child porn" to unveil the dirty machinations of the government, their buddies in finance and weaponsmaking or their friends in Saudi-Wahabistan. You are a child and the government must control the information you consume, otherwise you might be disturbed, don't cha know ??

there's a precedent (5, Interesting)

terec (2797475) | about a year ago | (#42345629)

There was a similar conflict when the German government wanted to collect information about everybody's religion and communicate that to their employers and churches (ostensibly for taxation purposes). If that isn't a grave violation of privacy in a country that murdered millions because of their religious affiliation, I don't know what is. There was a lawsuit over it. The outcome? The EU declared it legal. Logic apparently goes out the window when European governments or large special interests themselves want to collect data on their citizens.

Re:there's a precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345957)

You are, in fact, supposed to pay tax to your church, if you have one. Despite being an EU citizen, asking someone about their religion would be unthinkable in my home country. But, when I moved to my current location (Switzerland), I also had to state my religion (or lack thereof). Weird concept for me.

Re:there's a precedent (1)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#42345959)

This sort of thing is done in many many EU member states, that it does not violate EU-law is not that strange. However, it is strange that the German constitution does not ban it with respect to the background.

Re:there's a precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346423)

However, it is strange that the German constitution does not ban it with respect to the background.

The german politicians have been doing their best to move more and more power to the EU because it is not bound by the german constitution and any attempt to stop them is hindered by the fact that EU curts can overrule local curts (and they do not care about "local" laws).

Re:there's a precedent (1)

terec (2797475) | about a year ago | (#42348675)

This sort of thing is done in many many EU member states

Really? Which ones? Because, AFAIK, Merkel had to go back to the EU and ask for the EU regulations to be changed specifically so that the German practice remained legal.

Re:there's a precedent (1)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#42349135)

Sweden for example have church tax for church members, this tax is taken out directly on your salary payed to the tax office.

Re:there's a precedent (1)

terec (2797475) | about a year ago | (#42349293)

There are lots of European countries that have some kind of public financing of churches through taxes, that's not the issue. For some of them, you may also have to declare what you want to happen to the money. What's unique to Germany AFAIK is that you have to declare your actual religion both to the government and to your employer.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42351779)

The church is effectively or legally part of the state in many EU countries. Mrs Lizzy is the head of the church of England, for example.

BUT, you can opt-out any time. So it is in my opinion a non-issue.

Re:there's a precedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345979)

There was a similar conflict when the German government wanted to collect information about everybody's religion and communicate that to their employers and churches (ostensibly for taxation purposes). If that isn't a grave violation of privacy in a country that murdered millions because of their religious affiliation, I don't know what is. There was a lawsuit over it. The outcome? The EU declared it legal. Logic apparently goes out the window when European governments or large special interests themselves want to collect data on their citizens.

Logic goes out the window?

Consider yourselves lucky you had logic this long. Logic and common sense left US law decades ago.

Re:there's a precedent (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345981)

That case is far more complicated. The only collect the data for the religious communities that want their church tax collected by the government. And what people need to specify is which church people belong to, not what they believe.
A lot of people even of those still going to church will not specify their religion because they don't want to pay the church tax (in theory that also means they can't get married in church etc. but usually you can just join the church again for a little while if you really want that).
And you forgot that you're also supposed to report that information to your bank, since they too are involved in taxation nowadays.
So to summarize:
1) They do not and never did collect info on one's religion, but only church membership
2) It is only done for some churches (which actually is a part of another lawsuit, more churches want the government to collect money for them).
3) All of the churches on that list are on it because they want to be
4) To my knowledge there is no legal problem with you not specifying this to the government etc. as long as you can reach a different agreement with your church (you likely won't be able to, but that's not the government's fault).
Which all makes this not really a privacy issue, since the only case in which you have to specify anything is if you _choose_ to be part of a church that forces you to do it.

Re:there's a precedent (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a year ago | (#42352275)

That case is far more complicated. The only collect the data for the religious communities that want their church tax collected by the government. And what people need to specify is which church people belong to, not what they believe. A lot of people even of those still going to church will not specify their religion because they don't want to pay the church tax (in theory that also means they can't get married in church etc. but usually you can just join the church again for a little while if you really want that). And you forgot that you're also supposed to report that information to your bank, since they too are involved in taxation nowadays. So to summarize: 1) They do not and never did collect info on one's religion, but only church membership 2) It is only done for some churches (which actually is a part of another lawsuit, more churches want the government to collect money for them). 3) All of the churches on that list are on it because they want to be 4) To my knowledge there is no legal problem with you not specifying this to the government etc. as long as you can reach a different agreement with your church (you likely won't be able to, but that's not the government's fault). Which all makes this not really a privacy issue, since the only case in which you have to specify anything is if you _choose_ to be part of a church that forces you to do it.

Not in Scotland.,.... anything paid to the church by members is volountary such as donations and collections.
i have not heard of a tax being collected for the purposes of giving it to the church happen in Scotland for for a wee while and was in fact officially abolished in think in 2000. in practise though ... in fact just looked it up.

Scotland In Scotland teinds were the tenths of certain produce of the land appropriated to the maintenance of the Church and clergy. At the Reformation most of the Church property was acquired by the Crown, nobles and landowners. In 1567 the Privy Council of Scotland provided that a third of the revenues of lands should be applied to paying the clergy of the reformed Church of Scotland. In 1925 the system was recast by statute and provision was made for the standardisation of stipends at a fixed value in money. The Court of Session acted as the Teind Court. Teinds were finally abolished by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000.

source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithe#Scotland [wikipedia.org]

It was declared legal because not compulsory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346313)

You can avoid decalring yourselgf a religion a escape the tax despite being that religion. It is a volunter tax toward the religion of your choice. You are not punished by lying and saying you are an atheist or whatever. Which is why it was not striken down.

Here comes the lobbying. (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#42345661)

Watch the law get changed in Europe.

Re:Here comes the lobbying. (3, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#42345969)

Well, if this is found to break the fundamental charter, which is part of the treaties, it is not that easy to lobby for it to change. That would require a massive effort which would not be very practical.

Yeah, it's just the Constitution (1)

andersh (229403) | about a year ago | (#42347419)

To translate what you said to American: "Watch the Constitution get changed".

That does not happen often in the US or EU. It's fundamental EU laws we're talking about.

Re:Yeah, it's just the Constitution (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about a year ago | (#42356641)

It only happens when it's in the EU's ( not the people's ) best interest.

Charter of Fundamental Rights (1)

andersh (229403) | about a year ago | (#42357577)

I beg to differ in general and in this specific case. In this case Austria claims the Data Retention Directive is in conflict with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which sets out the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU (including the European Convention on Human Rights). At what point has the Charter or the [non-EU] ECHR ever been changed?

I find that many European citizens that are hostile towards the EU in general make spurious claims regardless of the context and frequently lack objectivity when considering proposed laws and treaties. You may oppose the EU in principle, which is fair, but you cannot deny the progress and benefits it has brought. The recent Nobel Peace Prize rightly recognizes the EU's effect on our continent. A perfectly timed reminder for Europe of what they stand to lose regardless of its imperfections.

Best Place To Live On Earth, Indeed (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345737)

I've been living in Austria for a little while now, and it makes me happy that the government here is not just filled with pushovers when it comes to the EU's lawyers churning out horrible, impractical, technically retarded ideas.

Who knows what will actually be passed, though :-(. Austria is like a little chunk of paradise in the first world; I doubt people here realize how close they're coming to screwing it up. This is, after all, a country where every murder makes the evening news, police violence is completely unknown, people start getting perceptibly nervous when a train/streetcar/subway is 2 minutes late, and everyone likes to complain how tough life is while they're on their 5 weeks of paid vacation, collecting their 14-months-a-year paychecks, and living with dignity (not to mention enough disposable income to buy iPhones etc) even if they're cleaning toilets for a living.

*deep breath*

Point is, I hope that this actually prevents the law (and similar laws) from being passed, but I'm not exactly holding out hope that the Austrian government suddenly understands, on a deeply intuitive level, that these laws are actually dangerous and designed to subtly erode the freedom in a country.

Re:Best Place To Live On Earth, Indeed (2)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about a year ago | (#42345795)

It's not the government putting the european data retention directive in question. They are the same jerks as any gov. It's the constitutional court who do their job which is basically protecting the constitution from the bullshit the gov (or the EU) might come up with.

WELL HITLER WAS AUSTRIAN !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345835)

Not a German, but an Austrian !! And look what that Austrian accomplished !! It's no wonder Austria was the first to surrender in WWII, without firing a shot !! Austria made France look like a real superpower, not the noodle-nation it was !!

You'r a JERK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42351471)

The French army was encircled and cut off from supplies by panzer armies which operated in a very, very different way than in WW1. France expected and trained for a redoing of WW1. What they got was something wholly different.

Encrypted, ubiquitous radio and highly mobile mechanized, armored and airborne units finished off the French, not their unwillingness to fight. Germany needed to poke a single hole into the maginot line and from there they could flood in enormous amounts of soldiers, vehicles and supplies. Germany invented high-speed mechanized and airborne warfare then while everybody else thought of trenches and fortifications. With true German rationality they used these inventions to the limit to slash through the French armies, to encircle and to cut off. They did not wait to destroy or arrest the French, they aimed for partitioning territory for ultimate control. How do you fight if your rear is cut off and you have no supplies ? Tanks don't run on Good Intentions.

Only because Hitler hesitated, he did not collect 300000 British Kriegsgefangene. He got all the British weaponry, when they rowed back to their island. So who is the "noodle" nation here ?

Re:Best Place To Live On Earth, Indeed (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42345937)

Austria is like a little chunk of paradise in the first world;

Because of the kangaroos, right?

I've been living in Austria for a little while now, and it makes me happy that the government here is not just filled with pushovers when it comes to the EU's lawyers churning out horrible, impractical, technically retarded ideas.

You say that, but it's a battle of EU laws, one good, one bad, it would seem. Hard to see the more fundemental one as retarded. Most legal systems will push out bad ideas. Let's hope that the better one prevails.

Re:Best Place To Live On Earth, Indeed (3, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#42346007)

The governments are represented in the Council, they are the assholes that pushed this through in the first place, the leading culprits where the British and the Swedish (previous) government under lead of the Swedish minister of justice Thomas Bodström. The Parliament did approve of it, but only after the Council said that if you don't approve, we will treat it as a matter of "criminal and justice cooperation", an area where the Parliament had no co-legeslative rights with the Council before the Lisbon treaty went into effect. Some MEPs where not happy though, Alexander Alvaro had his name stricken from the EP report on the issue.

The Parliament approving it, did in the end ensure that they could at least water it down a little bit with amendments, even though I am uncertain as to this was a good thing in the end. The EP keeping their hands clean of the crap could have resulted in a real debate of the Council's behaviour and as to how the governments of the member states could be controlled in the EU setting.

In any case, it is not the Austrian government that is fighting the directive (they are after all part of the body that approved it in the first place), it is the Austrian constitutional court and the EU court, and it is about time the EU court seriously evaluate the legality and treaty compatibility of the directive!

CHEROKEE NATION WILL RETURN EU WILLING OR NOT !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345767)

They took the whole Cherokee nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our way of life
Tonmahawk and bow and knife
Took away our native tongue
Taught their Engish to our young

And all the beads we made by hand
Are nowadays Made in Japan
Cherokee people
Cherokee tribe

So proud you lived
So proud you died

They took the whole indian nation
locked us up on the reservation
Though I wear a shirt and tie
I'm still a red man deep inside

Cherokee people
Cherokee tribe
So proud you lived
So proud you died

But wmaybe when someday they've learned
The cherokee nation will return
Will return
Will return in Windows 8 Language Pack !!

Independence day. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345791)

I love Europe (as I am a european), but I HATE the EU from the bottom of my heart.

It's the most vile, undemocratic, selfish, autocratic, idiotic, useless entity in the entire western hemisphere.
It's main purpose : being the bogeyman for governments for unpopular laws ("Sorry, we must do that. Ze EU said so.") while making sure that bureaucracy is growing ever larger for the bureaucracy's sake so that more and more people can stuff their pockets. More than 40000 people ^H^H^H^H^H^H assholes are leeching tax payers money for doing nothing important or worthy (except defining the exact radius of the curvature of a banana and how a cucumber should look like. Reeeeeaaallly important stuff). EU parliament members are notoriously lazy, taking money for nothing. They are not even present most of the times.
EU commissars are not elected, yet can do whatever they want and every government has to say "SIR YES SIR! Thank you for violating our laws." Little dictators.
The mantra is : Give us money, moar money, a lot moar money so we can screw you even moar.

FUCK YOU EU!

F-U-C-K Y-O-U.

I applaud Britain for standing up for themselves and against the EU. I applaud them for resisting the ECtHR and the EU court of justice.
I applaud them for giving their citizens a referendum about Britain's future within (or outside) the EU.. I applaud them for saying NO to waste even more money on the EU.

FUCK THE EU.

Re:Independence day. (5, Insightful)

arcade (16638) | about a year ago | (#42345813)

Yes. I dislike lots of stuff about the EU.

But at the same time, I love it. It has knit Europe together so that it has a shared destiny. This prevents wars.

It has knit Europe together, so that we don't have shitloads of border controls. We can travel between countries without passports (Well, at least between the schengen members).

Now - there are plenty bad things about the EU - but there are so many good things too.

Re:Independence day. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345861)

You don't need a fucking EU to travel between countries without passports.
You don't need a stinking EU for peace.

We got all that before the EU.
The Schengen agreement dates back to 1985. 7 years before the EU came into power.
A stable peace between european countries was archieved since WW2. Decades before the EU.

There is NOTHING good about the EU. NOTHING.

Re:Independence day. (5, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about a year ago | (#42345913)

You are an idiot. Whenever I travel to the US or even Canada, I am remined of how horrible the passing of borders can be (the Canadians are nice and polite about it, but the concept of some guy asking me where I am going without having any cause tu suspect me is highly disagreeable).

Also, you misunderstand History: the Treaty of Rome in 1957 is the treaty that started it all. The ECSC became the EU, eventually. and the EU is nmot the end point. It is a unique experiment in the History of the world to create a nation from countries with thousands of years of war behind them. It makes sense economically: 30 sets of norms are a clear hindrance to commerce, and a common market without this makes no sense. Nor does it make sense without union-wide supervision.

More importantly, it ensures my freedom to go wherever I please in Europe and work there. It ensures that no citizen is SOL when their government goes bonkers: higher norms must be obeyed. To me, the guarentee of fundamental freedoms is more important that the guarentee that my government can be arbitrarily dickish to me without external interference. People moaning about "sovereingty" really mean "I don't like them foreigners" and "why can't we be horrible to people we don't like?".

Re:Independence day. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42346193)

More importantly, it ensures my freedom to go wherever I please in Europe and work there. It ensures that no citizen is SOL when their government goes bonkers: higher norms must be obeyed. To me, the guarentee of fundamental freedoms is more important that the guarentee that my government can be arbitrarily dickish to me without external interference. People moaning about "sovereingty" really mean "I don't like them foreigners" and "why can't we be horrible to people we don't like?".

If that's how you feel, why not let the UN run a world government? People don't want to be governed by far away places that don't really care about the local opinion or have their best interests at heart. The idea that we need the EU to be civilized democracies is rather absurd, there are very many equally free independent countries. What is happening in the EU is in many ways stronger than in the US where you have state law and federal law, in the EU you don't create law directly you pass directives that require national laws to change. Over time less and less is free for the national legislature to decide until all the meaningful decisions happens in Brussels. Maybe that's how you like it I'm glad Norway values its independence, even though our politicians don't.

Yes, why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346283)

Why couldn't all the other countries join together and have representatives of their people decide the course of the governance of themselves?

Are you against democracy for some reason?

Re:Independence day. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year ago | (#42346923)

You should consider the difference in the national governments. Living in Portugal, the European Directives are often much more aligned with our population's interests than our own legislation.

Re:Independence day. (1)

TuringTest (533084) | about a year ago | (#42352591)

The idea that we need the EU to be civilized democracies is rather absurd

Given our millennium-long history, we know that in Europe we need it to be civilized democracies. (This is how the Greeks managed to get along too, BTW).

Re:Independence day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346257)

You realise the only reason the EU "works" is because it is comprised of sovereign nations.

Get rid of all the quarreling voices (i.e. remove their sovereignty) and now we have one unelected government to be dickish to us.

When I "moan" about sovereignty you're a fool to think it's anything to do with anyone else over my right to have my voice.

What you're saying is akin (within a single country) to removing one man, one vote.

I'm British, Pro European, I've personally enjoyed the right to work in any member state, but anyone of us losing our national identy to plecate fears of extreme nationalism is just opening us to future problems.

Re:Independence day. (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#42346277)

unelected government

Source ? This is an absurd statement.

Re:Independence day. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year ago | (#42346995)

I think parent's talking about the fact that the executive body (the European Commission) is not directly elected but appointed by the European Council, and then approved by the European Parliament, so there's a lot of layers between the citizens and the EC members.

Re:Independence day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42347173)

GP is right on the border part. The passport controls are abolished by the Schengen treaty, which is why the UK still has them (EU but not Schengen) and Switzerland doesn't (Schengen but not EU). And on the history part, it just depends how far back you look. Requiring passports is a new fad; it only became a custom after WW I.

Parent otoh confuses the economic cooperation of the ECSC with the personal rights granted by the EU. The initial treaties very much applied to companies and countries, and definitely did not grant rights to individuals. EU Citizenship was only introduced by the Mastricht Treaty, and it's those citizen right which started the story.

Re:Independence day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345919)

Oh come on, it was just the prelude. and to be honest, the has been here in different names ever since the 50's(the european coal agreement between 3 countries was the start of it all).

And really, it has bad things but also good things. You're being a bit extremist here. And you got to admit, there is something nice when realizing that we havent given eachother here a good bash in the head since the 1940's. Quite some time for EU standards!

Re:Independence day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42345929)

Oh dear, learn some history some time. The EU is a descendant of the Montanunion which was founded not that long after WW2, to "not just make war unimaginable but impossible".
If you think it would have served that purpose without ever developing beyond that, fine, but that differs quite a bit from what you say.
But consider a more balanced way of expressing your opinions, coming over like a clueless idiot is unlikely to help your cause, you discredit all those with justified criticism (for which there is enough reason).

Re:Independence day. (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a year ago | (#42352349)

You don't need a fucking EU to travel between countries without passports. You don't need a stinking EU for peace.

We got all that before the EU. The Schengen agreement dates back to 1985. 7 years before the EU came into power. A stable peace between european countries was archieved since WW2. Decades before the EU.

There is NOTHING good about the EU. NOTHING.

Fucking hell!!! it's either Nick Griffin [wikipedia.org] or Nigel Farage! [wikipedia.org] ... wtf ? this is slasdot.. no place for either of you two pricks! :P

Re:Independence day. (2)

chthon (580889) | about a year ago | (#42345925)

Indeed, the big thing to work upon currently (but it seems that this is not only a EU problem) is to instil in the people of the European Commission, that it is their duty to uphold the law, and if they want to achieve something where the law blocks them, the first thing is to start up a debate about why the law is that way, not try to change the law as fast as possible.

Re:Independence day. (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about a year ago | (#42356757)

Yes, there are advantages to the EU.
But's there's also a whole lot done wrong.

I see two problem :
- The EU top is power hungry, and wants to expand no matter the cost ( created a United States of Europe ), making them go way too fast, and thus losing a lot of people, and implementing untested laws ( for example the design of the Euro which has a number of flaws ).

- The people in Europe are not very different from each other, both economically and culturally. We simply see things in other ways.
    The people of Europe also speaks many different languages, meaning that you always have physical borders.

The current situation is somewhere between seperate nations and a unified Europe, and that's causing a number of problems.
What's missing is buy-in from the people : the EU is made in such way that we can't affect the big decisions, so it all looks like a show which no one asked for, just costing a lot of money.

What we need is for the EU to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And that's missing now.

Re:Independence day. (2)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year ago | (#42346095)

And this AC post excellently defines to our non-UK colleagues, exactly how a reader of the Daily Mail [wikipedia.org] thinks. They think that things like the ECtHR do nothing but prevent us deporting scrounging asylum seekers without giving any thought to how it's absence could affect the government's treatment of each and every citizen of the country.

Re:Independence day. (3, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#42346135)

The EU is not just the institutions, it is an idea as well. Governments do indeed blame the Union for things they have been along negotiating in the council, this being quite unfair in many cases.

You complain that the commission is not elected, well firstly, strictly speaking, neither is any government of any member state in the Union. The main problem has been that the commission has not actually represented the parliamentary election results. Will you be happy to know that from the next elections (in 2014), the commission will be appointed based on the EP election results? This is actually a result of the Lisbon treaty.

Further, the commission are not breaking any local laws they prime mandate is to guarantee that the treaties are upheld by the member states. The member states have ratified the treaties, and this means that the treaties are law in the member states. Typically the treaties take president over every law in the member state except for their constitutions, which in turn means that any law that is incompatible with the treaties is an illegal law. Remember, membership in the Union means that your country has ratified the treaty and that the treaty (and accompanying directives) is the law. The commission is therefore strictly say, when they point out errors in member states laws, telling the member states that they do not follow their own laws.

The EU does indeed employ around 40k civil servants, but you should compare this to a medium sized city in Europe. These cities will by themselves often have more bureaucrats on their payroll than the entire Union.

You claim that MEPs are not present most of the time, such claim requires proof, and to be frank a comparison with attendance records for the member states. If you wish to look at different MEPs, research has shown that eurosceptic MEPs produce far fewer amendments, documents and have lower attendance records than main stream or euro centric MEPs. The point of this is that the "lazy MEPs" are in fact, predominately those with eurosceptic tendencies.

The EU does also indeed want more money. But, on the other hand, since the Lisbon treaty, the EU has not received any more money, despite having (based on the treaties negotiated by the member state governments) to set up the european foreign service (including embassies all over the world); and despite having to expand certain areas such as the ECB being given more work to do with the latest treaty. There is only so much you can do in order to optimising the current funds with respect to the job the Union has been given by the member states.

Re:Independence day. (2)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#42346213)

It's main purpose : being the bogeyman for governments for unpopular laws ("Sorry, we must do that. Ze EU said so.")

It's 100% true that governments use the EU as a justification for unpopular laws. But this tells more about the governments than about the EU itself.

More than 40000 people ^H^H^H^H^H^H assholes are leeching tax payers money for doing nothing important or worthy

Wait, until now you've said that the EU has the power to force your government to pass unpopular laws, and now you say they do "nothing important"? If you send, as you call them, assholes to the EU, that's because you elected them (usually, the national parties try to shovel into the EU parliament their members who didn't manage to get elected in some national assembly). Next time be more careful.

(except defining the exact radius of the curvature of a banana and how a cucumber should look like. Reeeeeaaallly important stuff).

They're laws that are used to regulate the import of foreign products, usually in order to defend the local ones through import taxes. Look at the countries outside the EU, and you'll se that they have national laws doing the same kind of stuff that the EU does for its member states.

I applaud them for giving their citizens a referendum about Britain's future within (or outside) the EU...

Now we agree, the britons should decide once and for all what they want to do when they're grown up.

FUNDAMENTAL EU LAW ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346031)

Says who ?? Who speaks for EU ?? Spain ?? Italy ?? Greece ?? Turkey (??) ?? Poland ?? Russia (WTF !!) ?? Luxembourg ?? San Marino and Mohagany Rush ?? Who is this EU ?? Does anyone really know ??

US DEMANDS EU SHARE DATA !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42346315)

Austria protests !! Promises to halt export of cuckoo clocks !! Arnold Schwarzenegger recalled !! EU on brink of collapse !! Set to capitulate on US demands on data retention !!

TOR Everywhere ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42350265)

I am using TOR on a regular basis and I have the source code compiled myself. There is a macro for the hop count which nails that to 3. I have made that a variable and a command line parameter. With HC == 2 I have enough performance to view videos from kinox.to. With HC==7 I have utmost security.

If we all use TOR by default we can stick it to the control freaks. But hell yeah, 99% of people sell their privacy for convenience, so it probably will not happen.

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