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Europe Moves To Track Phone and Net Use

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the et-tu-Allemande? dept.

Privacy 120

An anonymous reader writes with a NYTimes piece on the early moves by European governments to implement an EU data retention directive. The governments of Germany and the Netherlands are initially proposing much more stringent programs than the EU directive requires. For example, the German proposal "would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal." The Times notes that, early days as it is, nevertheless some people involved in the issue are "concerned about a shift in policy in Europe, which has long been a defender of individuals' privacy rights."

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Great... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18087828)

we're back to Nazi Germany again.

Re:Great... (3, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088284)

From article post to first comment - Godwin's Law invoked in 3 minutes. Is that a record here?

Re:Great... (3, Funny)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088404)

not even close. you must be new here...

OMG!! T3H PARRALLELLLZ!!! (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089824)

Come on. All Germany is proposing is the email law. Where exactly are the parallels between this and Nazi Germany huh?

Re:OMG!! T3H PARRALLELLLZ!!! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093316)

They, uh, .... make laws? Have a democratically elected government?

That'll be real popular around here... (2, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18087832)

...would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.

Slashdot posters TubGirlFan and IHeartGoatse adamantly expressed their opposition to the plan.

Re:That'll be real popular around here... (5, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088058)

That's ridiculous. I don't trust any free e-mail service provider with my information. In fact, I never provide real information unless I have to make a payment or something. I just don't trust Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, or any website with any real information.

I feel so tremendously sad and frightened. (1)

I)_MaLaClYpSe_(I (447961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088204)

There will be no place where one can hide when all privacy has been abandoned in europe. I for one will apply for the citizenship of Switzerland which is less then 500km away from me now.

Re:I feel so tremendously sad and frightened. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088752)

Switzerland? You poor, sad, fool.

They've had mandatory data retention laws and the like for some time now. They aren't as bad as what Germany is proposing, but give them time.

Re:That'll be real popular around here... (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18092802)

I have 3 fake emails, I am not a terrorist planning to bomb europe, and I hope I will never be. Why do I have fake emails? Do I want to hide from the government ? No, it is just that I am not stupid.

Heck, you want to signup for SOME internet service, forum , whatever. IT WILL ASK YOU FOR A DARN EMAIL ADDRESS! , yes, they almost always do, but even assuming that the company/group holding the service is totally legit and won't use your email for the 50 different BAD things they can do with it, they are most likely vulnerable to an information leak. So anyone will be able to get your email address pretty easily... Do you want that to happen? No, you don't. For starters, you don't want your own email address to get filled by the darn "M4K3 YOUR PEN1S LARGER" emails, you don't want to get spam or phishing. You really don't want to put your email address in peryl just to access some site for whatever reason (among other things it could be porn, support forum for your printer, a place where you can share experiences about dog training, some collaborative thing, etc. (in other words using the internet!).

I would really pity anyone living in a country in which a government forces you to use your own email everywhere, whatever the excuse they use. Notice how terrorists do not need email addresses to bomb your train station, and they don't have much trouble finding fake IDs, no reason it would be anymore difficult for an illicit organization to do illicit things in the web because of this.

Re:That'll be real popular around here... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093332)

I think they mean that you have to give your real name and address to the email service, not that you can only have one email address in total.

Re:That'll be real popular around here... (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088450)

So I guess those of use with very common names are just screwed then. Or I suppose I could get my name leagally changed to john_smith_no_not_that_one_the_other_one....

Re:That'll be real popular around here... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090208)

Perhaps they can say that this new email tracking will provide us with "enhanced privacy" like the other press release that's just shown up on Slashdot.

The same way DRM has given us "enhanced usability" of media files.

The only thing that's getting "enhanced" is the power of the people in power.

Fictitious Email Accounts (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18087856)

How about an out-of-EU mail forwarding service that receives and forwards emails between senders and recipients.

So for example if Mr. EU wants to send an email to "us@hotmail.com", he would email to "us__hotmail_com@mailservice.com".

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (4, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18087988)

I think finding ways around this is all well and good, but the question is why is our society moving so intently towards a system when the citizens NEED to do it, in order to feel safe.

I have said on several occasions, that we will find ourselves in trouble, when technology finally allows for constant surveillance of every member of society everywhere, all the time. Given historical and current precedents, it's logical to assume that once such capacity exists, it will be rapidly implemented.

I have this cold chill down my spine, telling me that perhaps Hitler was right about the 1000-year-Reich, but was just off by a few decades. After all, total surveillance will finally allow the government to fulfill what seems to be its chief purpose anyway - maintaining the status quo indefinitely.

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088028)

the question is why is our society moving so intently towards a system when the citizens NEED to do it, in order to feel safe
With respect to these transitions (eg. increased surveillance) it is not our society. It is the society of those who write the laws. The need to feel safe is an alibi.

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (0)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088260)

With respect to these transitions (eg. increased surveillance) it is not our society. It is the society of those who write the laws. The need to feel safe is an alibi.

Agreed, but I'm loathe to not put at least some of the responsibility on the general public. If you can't be arsed keeping up with current events and reacting accordingly instead of screaming foul after the fact, you deserve what you get.

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088432)

put at least some of the responsibility on the general public
I felt the same way at one time until I began to think in terms of a business m0del [slashdot.org] .

you deserve what you get
The technique is diversionary. The taxpaying public is saddled with debt which they had no opportunity to opt out of. The taxpaying public is then distracted with vaporous issues. With the assent of popular opinion (which can be completely manufactured if necessary, eg. the Iraq war) money can be allocated. The allocation of that (tax) money serves to maintain social relationships and funnel money to preferred social groups.

I can't really hold the general public responsible anymore. They're trapped in the banker's game. I can't honestly expect everyone to quit their jobs and hold the fort against the eviction/foreclosure notices served by paid public servants.

Preemptive [bombs-away.net] Strike [djshadow.com] lyric [google.com] : "There's a game out there and the stakes are high. And the guy who runs it figures the averages all day long and all night long. Once in a while he let's you steal a peek. But if you stay in the game long enough you've got to lose. And once you've lost there's no way back. No way at all..."

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (1)

faolan_devyn_aodfin (981785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18092912)

When I see stories like this it really make me wonder what goes on in the heads of these so-called "World Leaders." As an Amercian I'm just glad this law isn't being proposed here, but this law effects my fellow human beings living in Europe and that is in a way just as bad.

Anyways, back onto my point before a digress, I propose the time for civil change is now in America (and indeed the world) is now. We, the People, must revolt against our governmnet. We must let them know that they cannot steal our livlihood, they cannot poision us with their vitrol, they cannot remove us from our liberties. They may fight us, they may jail us, they may try to take everything we have including our lives, but they will not steal from us our freedom. Nor can they our æternal souls.

In this movement we have nothing to fear because should we fail it will have been better to fight and lost than to have never fought at all. I propose now a new movement! One in which the Republic belongs to the People and not to the whims of Special Interest and Corporations. We, as Americans of the Twenty-First Century must revolt in order to escape the pending threat of the right-wing Fascist threat the is consuming our government and we must act upon this soon.

America has been stolen from us, the People... and in it's place a "New World Order" of Fascism and neo-feudalism is being slowly indoctored into the heard and minds of our nation. I ask you as countrymen, that we must crave forward a new destiny for our great nation before it is too late.

Re:Fictitious Email Accounts (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093354)

I have this cold chill down my spine, telling me that perhaps Hitler was right about the 1000-year-Reich, but was just off by a few decades. After all, total surveillance will finally allow the government to fulfill what seems to be its chief purpose anyway - maintaining the status quo indefinitely.

Unlike the US the German Constitution is designed to keep the status quo and prevent people from overthrowing the government or the system it's based on. If someone were to overthrow it while the government is good he'd most likely make it worse (i.e. military dictatorship), if the government went bad they'd do everything in their power to stay in power, no matter what the laws say now. Therefore we don't want laws that enable people to overthrow the government since any government worth overthrowing won't let these laws intact anyway.

Honestly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18087908)

who cares, fuck europe since they switched to the metric system! they can kiss our american asses! all european men pee sitting down!

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18087948)

Sir, this is Slashdot. Here, we hate Americans (USians, if you want to be specific in hating them), not Europeans. Please get on with the program.

Wrong, wrong, wrong... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090668)

Slashdot doesn't hate Americans for being Americans. Slashdot hates knee-jerk fascists. It's just seems like we hate the US because, most of the time, it beats out the rest of the world in the quality & quantity of our K-JFs. But somedays the EU feels the need to get back into the race...

Inevitability (4, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18087984)

Mankind has demonstrated, again and again, that if something can be done then it will, eventually, be done. Whatever justification is supplied for these directives the bottom line is: the bottom line. Information (eg. network logs) creates data. Data can be made to say anything. There is money to be made in making data say what the people with money want it to say. If justice is ever enforced it is a secondary consequence. The primary goal is always to allocate money to promote someone's bottom line.

The common users in Europe will simply need to accept that there are now new sets of standards by which authorities can meddle in the affairs of the public. Either initiate a revolution or adjust behavior accordingly.

Re:Inevitability (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088358)

Either initiate a revolution or adjust behavior accordingly.

We have quite nice examples of the latter coming from the west. And as we can see lately we take and follow all the examples of the west. Add the two together and check the result. The IYHNTH (i.e. if you have nothing to hide) policy will conquer Europe as well.
 

Re:Inevitability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089210)

But why, I *do* have a lot of stuff to hide. My belly, for one. And my hairy d... let's not go there. Even my pr0n collection is not something I'm quite proud of. Not that I don't delete all of it every now and then, just to keep it fresh.

Re:Inevitability (1)

faolan_devyn_aodfin (981785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18092924)

Yeah, and it's that attitude that's going force us all to live in glass houses. At least no one will be able to through stones...

Re:Inevitability (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089934)

Whatever justification is supplied for these directives the bottom line is: the bottom line. Information (eg. network logs) creates data. Data can be made to say anything. There is money to be made in making data say what the people with money want it to say.
Or it could be quite genuinely to fight terrorism or some such crap. I guess, if you really wanted to smear politicians unnecessarily, you could say the purpose is to get them good press by exploiting the terrorism problem. I don't know why you default to the more corrupt/paranoid/unlikely possibility.

Either initiate a revolution or adjust behavior accordingly.
Here's a novel suggestion: Vote 'em out! Encourage others to do so too! If you can't seem to manage that, then I don't know how you'll manage to initiate revolution.

Re:Inevitability (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090360)

> it could be quite genuinely to fight terrorism or some such crap

Or it could be some crap.

> Vote 'em out

Polls [wikipedia.org] do not include the option of "no candidate".

Re:Inevitability (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093898)

This isn't the US, we have plenty of different candidates and not all think we should immediately surrender our rights.

Re:Inevitability (2, Interesting)

Comen (321331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090530)

Um, the reason we dont simply Vote Them Out! is because that would mean that you would be voting someone in that would stop whatever actions you feel are not right.
Right now those people simply dont exist.
What makes you think that you will always be given a choice, sure you can pick A B or C but what if all the choices are just the same choice?
In a system like that, revolution might be the only way, and even then you have to wait till things are so bad, people just wont take it any more, things have to reach a tipping point.
The government knows this, so they keep people just happy enough with the little things people are afraid to lose, house, cars etc... that you dont mind giving up the little things till its to late.
Dont make it sound so simple as just vote them out! it really not that easy.
This is the exact reason why so many people get so fustrated with out government today.
There is not a politician that represents many of the things, many of us feel strongly about, and even if there was, you either would not get the financial backing you would need from corporations, or you would be brushed aside by media ready to cover Anna Nichole Smith, or they would just make you look like you on the side of terorists or some such nonsense.
Either way right now it seems like you either play ball, or you dont play, giving us the same smucks every year and nothing really changes unless they want it to. this is how it is setup to work. If that makes you think you are changing things and are in control then its working.

Re:Inevitability (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18091332)

Short of running yourself, there really isn't anything you can do to fix the situation then, huh? Then again, maybe the situation doesn't need fixing, and democracy is fulfilling the needs of the people (as demonstrated by the lack of politicians who see these as political leverage). Perhaps the system, in which we continuously try to find problems, is not at fault, rather the fault being with our unpopular opinions. Maybe we're just some insignificant niche whining about a world that simply does not care.

Just a thought.

Re:Inevitability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18092800)

Fuck You, Sir!!! Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You

You sir are so right it fucking hurts and it pisses me off.

Re:Inevitability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093274)

Maybe we're just some insignificant niche whining about a world that simply does not care.

Exactly. Get over it.

Re:Inevitability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18092240)

Mankind has demonstrated, again and again, that if something can be done then it will, eventually, be done.

Exactly. Take hugs for example. No really, you need one.

Re:Inevitability (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093276)

Mankind has demonstrated, again and again, that if something can be done then it will, eventually, be done.
Ah, so you're saying that everyone uses PGP, since they can? :-)

The EC is there to undermine national constitution (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088010)

Pro corporate and pro-fascist extremists want to make the EU into the same ultra-right regime in place in the US.

They had a problem though, National constitions and common law throughout much of Europe is simply too "liberal" to allow this.

The solution, of course, is to make a new "supranational" government for europe which is designed from the ground up to be accountable only to the moneyed elite like Rupert Murdoch.

The solution for the people is to either resign themselves to the institution of a new tyrrany, or to pull their support for the EC and let them sit and sputter.

If i were european, i'd go for the latter.

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088238)

Well.. the EU parliament is elected and the EU Commission is appointed from elected officials in each country. The EU is not in itself a government - it only has the power granted to it by the member states, so if it's trying to make more restrictive laws it's because *your* elected government wants them to.

Note also that it's the EU that successfully blocked software patents despite lots of lobbying from vested interests (well, the commission - remember, your government - wanted them, and the parliament - directly elected - sad get lost.. multiple times).

It's got a long way to go before it's nearly as sold out as the US system is.

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (3, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088270)

Should have read TFA also. This is clear that the EU is *not* trying to implement this it's the *individual governments* that are going the draconian route - so your argument goes out of the window completely.

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093908)

This is clear that the EU is *not* trying to implement this it's the *individual governments* that are going the draconian route - so your argument goes out of the window completely.

No, it doesn't. These laws are merely the implementation of a European directive [ffii.org] which was approved earlier on. Further, the article is plain wrong when it claims that the Netherlands is going further than what the directive requires by recording where you are during a mobile phone call, because that's literally required by the directive.

The German proposal could be interpreted as going further, although the directive does say that the sender and recipient of all emails must be logged, and what good does this logging do if you can't identify these people? It's therefore very much "in the spirit" of the directive.

That said, you can't just blame this on "the EU" either, since one of the reasons the directive is so bad as it is, is because the Council of Ministers (which consists of ministers of the various national governments) pushed through the adopted "compromise" text (which was not a compromise at all) through Parliament (together with the leadership of the EP's Socialist and Christian Democrat groups).

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088444)

You do not understand.

politics is a 3 edged sword, your side, their side, and the truth.

with every level of indirection they add to the electoral process, they further blunt your side and the truth until their side is the only one left standing.

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088916)

they blocked software patents because the legislation which would have been passed had been so neutered as to make software patents useless for the big boys to use as a weapon... what would have been passed would have been software patents that actually required a real inventive step and a true "technical effect" instead of just an idea that could be rubber-stamped through by a body paid by the volume of patents they passed... When Microsoft and the others realised what was about to happen (in that the anti-software lobbying was actually working) was not in their long term interest, then they had the bill killed. Killing the bill allows them to sneak what they want in again...

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (2, Interesting)

trenien (974611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18091844)

You must remember (know ?) one thing: the EU current political system has been carefully designed to allow people who shouldn't have that power in the first place - the Commission - have the first and final say in crafting EU's laws (the 'directives').

The Commission mostly present itself as a legislative power, and when they make the various countries' legislatures pass laws that never would had gone through on the local level, the Executive branch moan that it's not their faults but that of big bad ol' EU.

They conveniently forget that the Commission is made-up of people designated by the various Executive powers and from then on are mostly unnaccountable for whatever they do. The 'check and balance' with the parliament is mostly a joke.

Confusing terms (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088356)

Being fascist has nothing to do with which side of the economic scale you are on. You need not look far to find a fascist of liberal or conservative persuasion. The main difference between the two is why they demand control. A liberal would propose such measures to keep corporations from engaging in consumer fraud or astroturfing. A conservative may do so to allow corporations to better keep tabs on employee whistleblowers. When doing it in the interest of national security, left or right doesn't matter, both can be overly militaristic.

See Hitler and Stalin. Hitler was right-wing, Stalin was left-wing. Both were as militaristic and both were fascist.

Re:Confusing terms (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088502)

no, fascism is characterized by greater and greater corporate power until you suddenly have a police state.

communism is characterized by greater and greater state intervention in the economy until you suddenly have a command economy.

stalin was marxist, not fascist

Re:Confusing terms (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088732)

That would depend on who you ask. Among the accepted (well, widely debated) definitions of fascism, the common ground is an authoritarian government. Anything beyond that, the word has no universal definition and is really becomes just a political football. Some even say Fascism is not a generic term that can apply to anything but the Benito Mussolini regime. Since it was being used in a general sense, I'd say the only common definition would be to assume it is synonymous with authoritarianism, and the opposite of anarchism.

Re:Confusing terms (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088808)

exactly, which is why it makes reasonable sense that marxism, the "dictatorship of the proletariat", is the polar opposite of any reasonable definition of fascism.

The fact that both end up as a police state is merely poetic irony.

Re:Confusing terms (1)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090432)

Almost as confusing a term as fascism is liberalism. It carries different meanings in different countries. In the US liberal mean left leaning. In Germany the Liberals are are a far right wing party. In England the Liberals are somewhere between the Tories and Labour, that is somewhere in the middle. If you look in Wikipedia it defines liberalism as: "Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value." and that would place it as the opposite fascism.

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (1)

happy*nix (587057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088474)

Hey!

The US Constitution firmly guarantees many freedoms and rights. It does so in plain indisputable language that any teenager of average intelligence could understand. It has provisions for change, where necessary so that it never would be need outlandish interpretations, and always be relevant to the times.

-sigh-

Re:The EC is there to undermine national constitut (1)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090636)

Pro corporate and pro-fascist extremists want to make the EU into the same ultra-right regime in place in the US.
Except that you don't see the government trying to pull this in the US, so I'm not sure what argument you're trying to make here.

Guv'ment is waking up (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088022)

to the fact that the internet gives a voice to those that dissent, and that can't be allowed to go unchecked else the powers that be might be upsurped. Doesn't matter who it is or where it's at, Governement is Government.

Odd... (4, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088026)

I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address. Why'd the pseudonym get bigger billing, as it were?

Re:Odd... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088080)

well, this is slashdot, its on the internets, and ted stevens himself was telling the EU how extra fake names clog the tubes.

I for one welcome our tube unclogging overlords, as this will inevitably make my aim conversations, which i use more than my wireless, much faster.

Re:Odd... (0)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089372)

I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address. Why'd the pseudonym get bigger billing, as it were?

Because it plays to a wider audience. Everybody hates spam and thus can easily relate to why someone would want to use a bogus email address. Most people don't care about being tracked by their cell, most have yet to figure out that, "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" is totally bogus.

Re:Odd... (1)

ChristW (18232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093570)

I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address.
Because I can still choose to turn my GSM off. I cannot choose to turn off the data logging that the phone company and ISP are doing. I also cannot choose to unhook the black box we're all going to get in our cars that record every road we drive (for 'tax purposes'...)

early days as it is (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088068)

People need to get involved early on to make sure things like this don't become exactly what the fear. The article shouldn't be suprised that privacy advocates are getting involved early. Glad to see it, personally.

Time for me to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088106)

Time to make my own internet. (or a 'sub net' to the existing internet) There must be enought dark line around here somewhere to start one up?!?

"It's totally unenforceable and would never work." (4, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088128)

There's the million-dollar phrase. I wonder if these EU legislators really understand how the Internet works. Those who wish to use emails, telephones, etc. for nefarious purposes will find a work-around. In the end, this legislation will only punish the grandmothers, kids, e-novices, and clueless users who simply tried to sign up for a junk email account. Joe Terrorist will be using encrypted communications and the like - stuff that already requires a team of specialists to track. So even if this legislation passes, you'll still need special enforcement units to track the real bad guys - exactly where we are now. Sounds like a lot of time, money, and hassle for a false sense of security.

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (1)

RebelSponge (1065066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088398)

So even if this legislation passes, you'll still need special enforcement units to track the real bad guys - exactly where we are now. Sounds like a lot of time, money, and hassle for a false sense of security.

I always love it when the government uses the "it'll help prevent terrorism" line. Umm, hello, they're terrorist, they don't exactly give a rats ass what laws you pass. In fact, all it does is piss them off more and make them develop new ways of hiding so it is even harder to track them. Surely we all realize by now that the government (just pick one, US federal, state, EU, whatever) uses the terrorist tag to get crap passed that otherwise wouldn't be allowed. This would also mean that even more personal info is available (obviously no way for it to be 100% secure) to the terrorist for identity theft purposes.

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088534)

Those who wish to use emails, telephones, etc. for nefarious purposes will find a work-around

Maybe some didn't notice yet, but such measures - as well as the passenger-nagging measures at airports - never seem good enough to be considered being able to stop anyone with bad intentions. But, maybe they'll just put off their plans when they see that how much hassle is to get along, even when staying clean. Of course I'm not serious. Terrorists and co. will probably find a way around any measure. This doesn't mean that all current measures should be eliminated (they can at least prevent a drunken angryman hijack a plane), but some people should really spend some quality time on devising some preventive measures which really can stop such people without making the rest feel like radioactive tagged shaven sheep with tattooed barcodes on their necks.

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (2, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088684)

Any legislation that controls the Internet will probably deter small-time hackers and the like. But is dealing with fewer script kiddies and spam really worth giving up more of our privacy?

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089082)

Just like the RIAA isn't really out to stop piracy - but only to control the distribution channels, and hence the artists - these legislators aren't really out to stop terrorists and other evildoers. That's just the convenient excuse on the road to controlling these bothersome citizens and all their pesky rights.

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089632)

``Joe Terrorist will be using encrypted communications and the like - stuff that already requires a team of specialists to track.''

People keep repeating that, but is it actually true? The black hats make mistakes, too. Shouldn't increasing the number of ways in which they can trip up increase our chances of finding them out before they strike?

Re:"It's totally unenforceable and would never wor (3, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18091584)

"The black hats make mistakes, too"

What black hats?

It seems a little 1984-ish to somehow claim there is an enemy "out there" and we need to enact a more draconian central government with more powers to somehow take on this unnamed enemy.

Do you see the problem? As long as no one will name the black hats, you can claim a constant war, and every time some random violence strikes, governments can claim the "black hats" are getting more and more clever and that even more laws need to be enacted.

Meanwhile, are we any safer today than in the year 2000? It appears we aren't. And worse, we keep putting more restrictions on people based on some crazy nutty idea of where a terrorist might or could strike. And every time you do that, you force this mythical bad guy to strike in a different way, which requires more and more restrictions.

It's a flawed way of thinking. You cannot guess even a fraction of the infinite ways to screw up a civilization. And I'm not sure I want to live in a world like that anyway.

Frankly there has never been a government trustworthy enough to give what amounts to unlimited access to our personal lives on the off chance that someone may be a terrorist. Worse, there's no proof that this type of intrusions into our lives has even a small impact on making safer.

The Attack on the internet begins.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088244)

Big Brother had to come for the internet sooner or later. No longer satisfied with locking up Zundel, banning "America Deceived" from Wikipedia America Deceived (book) [iuniverse.com] and arresting demonstrators, the world gov'ts finally get around to attacking the internet. The final war for information has begun.

Re:The Attack on the internet begins.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093318)

The final war for information has begun.

It's not a war. In a war you can fight, and there are at least two sides. Here there's only one side, and they have already won. Don't delude yourself into thinking you actually have a chance.

dammed if you do, dammed if you don't (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088246)

At first glance one would think this would open the door quite wide for the internet sale of tinfoil hats, but a savvy consumer would then "enter email address here" and realize...

They know you know!

Re:dammed if you do, dammed if you don't (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089618)

> dammed if you do, dammed if you don't

"Obstructed" if you do, "obstructed" if you don't. Superb Enlgish, I suppose!

dam1 (dm) n. 1.a. A barrier constructed across a waterway to control the flow or raise the level of water. b. A body of water controlled by such a barrier. 2. A barrier against the passage of liquid or loose material, as a rubber sheet used in dentistry to isolate one or more teeth from the rest of the mouth. 3. An obstruction; a hindrance. --dam tr.v. dammed, damming, dams. 1. To hold back or confine by means of a dam. 2. To close up; obstruct: He tried to dam his grief. See Synonyms at hinder1. [Middle English, probably from Old English *damm.] --dam"mer n.

Pissing-in-his-pants

Preparation for Flase Flag III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088254)

Of course! This is all in preparation for the next false flag operation,
due to occur before the next US Presidentail election. How else can we once
again be under the finger of King George?

quid pro quo (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088360)

making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal

Right. As soon as they solve that whole spam problem and those personal data theft issues, then i'll consider not being able to change addresses at will

Ah, yes. "Only for the public good." (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088490)

And OUR noble selves will never misuse or abuse this power.

Of course, sooner or later, the power, once created, falls into less-than-noble hands...

"You would rip up every law to get at the devil. And when you have cornered the devil, and he turns on you, where will you hide, all the laws being flat?"

it's just politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088668)

Both countries have christian leading parties at the moment. in a few year resonable people will take over and this will go away.

Re:it's just politics (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089510)

Reasonable people are almost by definition less vocal than the completely irrational. Please advise your reasonable people to give voice to their rationality.

Huge amount of Data (1)

JPMaximilian (948958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088702)

Will such a huge amount of data really be useful? Depending on how its organized, if you have the logs of millions of users, will you realistically be able to sort through it all for whatever safety/prevention measures the government claims this is for?

Either way this is a huge violation of one's right to privacy.

So after all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088710)

...the Government's fear of terrorism is justified! They were just a bit early. The transformation of normal citizens into terrorists is just catching up.

Of course, after the first then-law-abiding citizens have no other means of resistance than violence, the fascists will happily come around saying "told you so!"

Germany's minister Schaeuble is begging for a second assassination attempt it seems.

Socialism (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088712)

Yep. It's socialism at it's "finest".

Re:Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089358)

That's not socialism. That's fascism. Get to know the Nanny State. It's far worse than anything the left could come up with.

Red herring (4, Insightful)

denoir (960304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088804)

This proposal is like many other similar ones a red herring. The article shows that the NYT doesn't understand EU politics.

You see, when you have 27 member states that have a veto right on nearly everything the name of the game is haggling and compromise. It works like this: Member state A wants X that member state B is reluctant to agree upon. A then rallies member state C and D to put forward a preposterous proposal Y that shocks member states A, E, F and G. Then the negotiations begin and imagine that, member state A is willing to give up Y if it gets X. B is now under pressure from A, C, D, E, F and G to agree to X.

This is more likely a play for reducing fishing quotas or something similar. It is important to remember that the stated proposals are seldom what they seem to be and are always preposterous. Even if a proposed bill is vaguely on-topic, it starts with an extreme suggestion in order to allow a compromise solution. It's just the way it is played and it actually works very well.

The down side is of course that people not familiar with how things work in Brussels tend to get upset over the first batch of radical proposals.

Re:Red herring (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089880)

Hmmm, that would make it pretty hard to figure out what they're actually doing since some of the proposals are serious and some aren't. I'm glad I don't have to elect anyone to that mess. The sausagemakers in Washington, DC are more than enough for me.

Re:Red herring (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18092572)

If what you are saying is true, and the public discourse in the EU is some byzintine code of double meanings and behind the scenes agendas... well then, it means that the EU isn't a very democratic institution. A democratic institution is transparent, open, and easily understood by the electoriate.

Re:Red herring (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093918)

In this case, pretty much all individual member states sounded almost like the current American government, toting the "think of the children" and "be afraid of the terrorist" lines. This directive was not primarily a result of haggling among member states (and yes, I did follow this directive from nearby).

An obvious power grab (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088854)

You know how they justify things like this because criminals and terrorists are allegedly more saavy and powerful than ever thanks to "technology?" You look at the sort of weapons and tools that the governments of the first world countries have today, and the power disparity is getting greater. Shit, some of the weapons our military gets these days in the United States are just sick. Seriously, the governments of the world are just afraid of the fact that today the individual has some new power that is still largely harmless. They can't have that because it might mean evolution, not revolution. A slow, but steady push away from the powers that be.

Wait, does this mean... (1)

Kohaku Nanaya (945240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089152)

If somebody already has a "falsified" e-mail/IM account, would these new rules force that person to create a new one with the "real" information? Or is this only restricted to people making new ones if these retention laws go through?

(Just curious, as I may be going to Ireland for a while soon.)

Protest? (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089390)

Noone marches these days, it seems to be a tradition lost by the ages.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the
  1. United States
world where men were free."

Now I might not be that old but marches over our freedom and privacy is what this current situation needs. Marching on issues seems to be regarded as archaic and improper these days... I refuse to fill in the next UK Census. Bring on the £1000 fine, I dont care. Id pay £10000 in the name of privacy and freedom.

I just hope we dont all sit here saying we cant let our freedoms die and just let them slip past whilst we are debating semantics.

The Problem: The People (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089770)

The problem is that the vast majority of people I talk to don't see the government as a threat. The idea that the government is there to help is completely accepted over here. In fact, people get upset when the government doesn't take care of something (up to the point where they demand the government take action about money people lost on investments, or salaries of top executives perceived to be too high).

The idea that the government could harm its subjects is completely foreign, apart from quips about the gov't collecting too much tax or the politicians playing their own games, rather than listening to the people. Certainly, if the government says that some programme is intended to protect us from black hats, that's what it will do. Only the opposition and a bunch of paranoid lunatics would tell you otherwise.

The point is that, even if, and that's a big if, the government has the best interest of its subjects in mind, that doesn't mean the programmes it proposes will have the best effect. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist, you only have to realize that (1) just because someone is a politician doesn't mean they can't put their own interests above other people's, and (2) just because people mean well doesn't mean they're omniscient. In other words, things can go wrong. At some point, they will. Therefore, it is imperative to not just accept whatever the government says is good, but to stay informed, to look at things critically, and to make your own decisions.

Re:The Problem: The People (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18091174)

The problem is that the vast majority of people I talk to don't see the government as a threat. The idea that the government is there to help is completely accepted over here. In fact, people get upset when the government doesn't take care of something (up to the point where they demand the government take action about money people lost on investments, or salaries of top executives perceived to be too high).
The problem is that you are either a bourgeois or an anglo-saxon (or both). Anglo-saxons have had that cultural thing against the State which actually can be traced back to the magna-carta.

The rest of Europe did not have magna-carta, so they don't think that the State/Government is bad, evil, wicked and self-serving. Since they don't think that, their governments are actually good, nice, benevolent and provide actual good services to the public.

Re:The Problem: The People (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093602)

You provided the first good laugh I had today. Thank you very much, kind sir.

Doesn't surprice me. (2, Interesting)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089818)

What The Netherlands propagate is their own use for many years to tap each and any phone call by Israeli black boxes while signing contracts that forbid the same government from inspecting what is going on in these black boxes. The Dutch government think this is the best thing to do.

During WWII the Dutch government was as zealous about these things as they are now and had none whatsoever problem in sharing their records on Jewish and other wanted people with the NAZIS. The current political generation behaves not really different from that time so don't look strange if they sell out their populace again.

FALSE Information??? (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089828)

essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account

What about using no information whatsoever to create an e-mail account? Last time I checked, you could just up and make an account on a whim. I have dozens on my domain, all of which have no false information, nor any true information. All they have is a username and password.

A post 9/11 world, great for pre 2000 legislation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089914)

This idea dates back to begin 2000. At that time the UK national criminal inteligence service argued for it. In a plan that I dont think was intended for publication it concluded: "There is a convergence of issues. Communications data is of crucial importance to Law Enforcement, and the Intelligence and Security Agencies but our needs are in conflict with existing legislation arising from data protection provisions and ECHR. In addition, there is significant commercial pressure to delete data. There are also significant public policy issues to address. It is an area requiring prompt attention."

Thats "European Convention on Human Rights". It has an article on how invasions upon someones privacy should be proportional. Keeping traffic data on everyone in Europe could be considdered disproportional.

Somehow the proponents forgot to mention that bit when they lobbied for this idea. First at the G8, then at the EU commision. The procedure the commision used for this legislation would have kept the decision out of the EU parlaiment. This is where the accusation of "policy laundering" comes from. The pressure to pass legislation increased after the Madrid train bombings, leading some people to mistake this law for a reaction to terrorism or something. I dont know why the text always had to mention it was directed at "terrorism and serious crime", isn`t terrorism a serious crime? Proponents were fearmongering using very scary crimes that were solved using traffic data. (So why the new legislation if you can solve crimes...?) And everyone was saying that the bill, which would go to the telco`s as NCIS had first suggested, would be that high.

The EU parlaiment argued is should get a say, so its civil liverties commisions got to work and... then the two big party blocks reached a deal behind closed doors. This was done under the threat from the commision to pass legislation without any input from parlainment. They can do that, the procedure is explained in this map of the codecision procedure [europa.eu] . I am not kidding, thats the real thing. And the threat was to stay outside of that map... anyway. The version that was passed allowed national governments some freedom in setting their legislation so some countries will be less bad.

tracking political dissidents (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090474)

The standard justifications of fighting terrorism and child pornography are total bullshit. The real reason behind creepy and anti-democratic proposals like this are tracking of political dissidents. A simple proof is the fact that such controversial proposals are being discussed by some "representatives" to begin with while the vast majority of citizens are strongly opposed to them.

as tough as it may be (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090536)

disc: my post is ONLY about this email issue.

this is rediciolous, bad and unwanted. but calling it fascism is rediciolous also. why? we just experience a normal transition from something "new" into something "standard". email ist mainstream since when? a relatively short time. now govs do notice that email is so common, it has to be reglemented. like old school snail mail. if you want to write a letter, the recipient has to have a real address. there are workarounds like co., postboxes and whatnot, but these workarounds will build up with e-mail just the same. the sender does not need to be identified for snail mail, but that's just a detail.

don't get me wrong, i hate this, i thought THIS time we might adopt a new media/ technique in a free way, but we haven't since thousands of years, why should we now?

now to something different. things ARE going wrong with europe, especially with germany. "our" gov is proposing a law that allows the police to spy our private pc with trojan horses. this is no joke: an interview with the german home secretary (sorry, in german). [www.taz.de] . there is a law proposal on it's way to ban so called "killer games" like counterstrike even for adults, producing and selling those games would be illegal (which is SO damn stupid, since germany is on it's way to establish itself as a good place for game developers, see crysis). in a few years (i think two) our travelling passports WILL contain biometric information, our passports will follow for sure. i could go on and on for a long time, but these few topics should give you the picture.

so, no more "old europe" anymore, we're about to completely abandon our ancient greek legacy (where democracy and the like originally came from). the reconnaissance is over, until the next great breakdown, but when that happens i WILL stand up beeing a smartass and say: "We told you so..."

#e4? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18091636)

It's not just the US and Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18092882)

Human rights groups all over the world are seeing this happening. Folks are connecting the dots. Heard about this on the radio [democracynow.org] today.

US influence (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093188)

Mod me flamebait, but hear the facts first:

* Germany used to be very liberal in hacking laws
* We had (well, on paper we still have), strong privacy protection laws
* Thanks to CCC and others, German officials used to be somewhat educated in many privacy and general computing matters

Now it's not much of a secret that our new government, especially Mrs. Merkel, is very much more US-leaning than the previous one (which, for all its failures, at least kept us out of the stupid Iraq war). Ever since the government changed, we get stuff like this, which 5 years or so ago I would've expected from the US, but never from my home country.

She isn't as bad as Blair, but Merkel is another state leader sitting up and begging at Bush's table. She's the reason I care for US politics, because at most a year later, someone from her following will propose something similar over here. I wish we had a proper chancellor again, instead of this cardbox stand-in.

I think it is good (1)

Inyu (919458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093226)

People will be less concerned to be bad things, under their name. It is more civilized anyway. I like it. Eventually, it may be a simple way to completely avoid unsolicited mail.

Wonderfull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093454)

Now we can force you petty consumers to read our garbage - What youre not interested???

You must be a terorist hippie bent on destroying society!!!

As technological faschism is moving closer and our governments are hellbent to quash all that dare speak out against them and to snoop into every petty detail of your lives these moves should be watched closely.

Under the guise of fighting a holy crusade against terrorists, dangerous file sharers, and the like your rights for normal privacy are being eroded.

Would you like anyone to see a picture of your girlfriend like she has only intended you to do so? I have but one thing to say to you all - BEWARE DEMOCRACY IS IN GRAVE DANGER!!!!!!

This is only the first step!

Um (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093728)

To set the sensationalistic title right, from TFA (emphasis mine):

"European Union countries have until 2009 to put the Data Retention Directive into law, so the proposals seen now are early interpretations. But some people involved in the issue are concerned about a shift in policy in Europe,"

In democratic parliaments representatives keep proposing "something" all the time. Even crazy and unacceptable ideas. The point is that 90% of these ideas are never approved (not enough votes).

Never gonna happen... (1)

dwinter (727870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093788)

German politicians will drop this as soon as they realize that
  • data retention can be too easily circumvented (think of public phones, internet cafes, ...) and even if it could not be circumvented, it would only help to solve about 0.006% of all crimes committed
  • this directive does not need to be implemented because it already violates European human rights conventions and rulings by the European Court of Justice (Ireland already sues against it, BTW)
  • the implementation of this directive would be a violation of at least six German laws and "basic laws" (ie. the German constitution)
  • the government would have to pay for the costs or get sued by Telcos and ISPs otherwise (guess it'll be at least several billion Euros per year)
I guess, this directive will never become law, or only long enough for some constitional court to rule it unconstitutional. As some other poster points out, it's more likely that this is just some politicians flexing their muscles. david
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