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Data Retention- Something you can do

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 99 ✭✭✭ theking

    Hello there
    I was wondering if people here might be willing to send a fax/letter/ email to all their MEPs regarding Wednesday's Draft Directive announced by the Commission.

    As a starter, I've drafted a sample text which you can change or improve as suits you. The aim here is just to put the MEPs on notice of the headline concerns we might have about the Directive. I cribbed a portion of it from EDRI, and cobbled the rest together myself.

    Dear XXXX
    As you may be aware, the European Commission published a draft Directive On Wednesday 21st September 2005 which provided for a mandatory Data Retention regime, including tracking the physical location of all citizens carrying a mobile phone EU-wide and holding that information for a period of at least one year.

    The provisions of the Directive allowed for the terms of the directive to be varied through Comitology. This EU procedure means representatives of the member states form a special committee. The European Commission can send proposals to such a committee. In the case of data retention, the Commission has chosen the form of a 'regulatory committee'. If a qualified majority of members agrees, the
    Commission can send a proposal for drastic expansion of the kinds of data, or the length of time it is held, to the Council. Within 3 months they have to decide by qualified majority to reject or adopt the proposal. If they don't agree within 3 months, the Commission may continue and adopt the proposed measure

    In this procedure, the national parliaments are completely excluded and the European Parliament only has a so-called right of scrutiny. If the EP feels a proposed measure "would exceed the implementing powers provided for in the basic instrument", the Commission must re-examine its proposal, but can completely ignore the protest from the EP.

    In effect this turns the Draft Directive into a blank cheque for member states to increase the level and forms of data retained on all the citizens of the EU into the future.

    The directive also provides for the unspecified (but estimated at in excess of €100m annually) costs to be bourn by the public purse- reimbursing all private telecommunication companies who are obliged to act as agents of the state in holding this data. There is no mechanism specified or proposed for ensuring that these monies are paying for a secure, value for money holding of citizen’s data.

    Beyond bare assertion, no evidence has been presented for a need to retain data of the sort proposed. Given the very significant alteration and extension of the security powers, and the consequent creation of an effective database on all citizen’s movements (given the prevalence of mobile phone ownership) it would be particularly vital that absolute evidence of necessity would be presented before such a legal change would be considered.

    I would therefore wish to urge you, as a constituant, in the strongest possible terms to vote against this proposal, which runs contrary to the principles of civil society and civil liberties, which will impose additional burdens on the EU taxpayer at national and tran-national level and which has not been demonstrated using objective evidence to be of any use whatsoever in the detention of crimes.

    Yours faithfully,


    Obviously, the more personal we each writer makes their letter, the more effective the overall campaign, as it is easier to ignore a sheaf of identikit letters than a pile of real letters from real people. So the more, respectful, personality and opinion you can add the better.