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Date: 2001-11-14

31 NGOs gegen Datenspeicherung

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Mit 31 NGOs aus 14 Ländern hat der Offene Brief an Guy
Verhofstadt zum Bush-Begehren nach Datenspeichrung seitens
der EU eine der größten Reichweite an Unterzeichnern erreicht,
seit es Global Internet Liberty Campaigns gibt [1996]. Neben vielen
"usual suspects" sind diesmal auch NGOs u.a. aus Rumänien, der
Ukraine, Dänemark, Finnland und Südafrika dabei.

Siehe Liste ganz unten.
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12 November 2001

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt President, EU Council of Ministers
Rue de la Loi 16, 1000 BRUXELLES

Dear President Verhofstadt:

We write to you on behalf of a wide range of civic organizations in
the United States and Europe to express our concern regarding the
request of President Bush that the proposed EU directive on the
protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector
(COM(2000)385) be altered to allow for data retention regarding the
communications of Europeans and consequently of Americans.
While we support the President's efforts to take appropriate steps
to reduce the risk of terrorism and to work with government leaders
to protect public safety, we do not believe that this proposal is
appropriate or necessary.

First of all, under United States law there is no similar obligation for
data retention by telecommunications companies. US federal law
recognizes a need to preserve data once a particular investigation
is underway, but it does not create a general obligation for
communication carriers to retain records on customers that are no
longer required by the carriers. President Bush is asking European
governments to impose obligations on European companies that
would not be imposed on US companies.

Second, the European Privacy Commissioners and Members of the
European Parliament have opposed efforts to create new data
retention obligations. In the letter of 7 June 2001 to Mr. Göran
Persson, President of the Council of the European Union, the
Chairman of the Article 29 Working Group wrote that "systematic
and preventive storage of EU citizens communications and related
traffic data would undermine the fundamental rights to privacy, data
protection, freedom of expression, liberty and presumption of

In a July 2001 report by the European Parliament Committee on
Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs,
Committee Members made clear that restrictions to safeguard
public security and conduct criminal investigations should be
appropriate, proportionate and limited in time and that general or
exploratory electronic surveillance on a large scale should not be
allowed. The Members also noted that Member States should not
have a general right to request whatever traffic and location data
they wished without the authorities stating a specific reason as to
why such information was needed, and that information should not
be stored longer than was necessary for the transmission of data
and for traffic management purposes.

Third, because communications data often moves between the
United States and Europe, European data retention requirements
would directly and adversely affect the privacy rights of Americans.
There is a significant risk, if this proposal goes forward, that US law
enforcement agencies will seek data held in Europe that it could
not obtain at home, either because it was not retained or because
US law would not permit law enforcement access.

Fourth, the retention of personal information that would otherwise
be destroyed upon the completion of its intended use creates new
privacy and security risks for citizens. Vast databases of personal
data now include sensitive medical information as well as data
revealing political opinions, religious and philophical beliefs. These
new retention requirements will create new risks to personal
privacy, political freedom, and public safety.

Further, the privacy commissioners have recognized that one of the
best privacy safeguards is to minimize the collection of personal
data where possible. They have consistently affirmed that
confidentiality of communications is one of "the most important
elements of the protection of the fundamental right to privacy and
data protection as well as of secrecy of communications", and that
"any exception to this right and obligation should be limited to what
is strictly necessary in a democratic society and clearly defined by
law." A blanket retention of all traffic data for hypothetical criminal
investigations and for a long period of time would not respect these
basic conditions.

We note also that governments on both sides of the Atlantic have
sought to make secret public information that would otherwise
assist the public in understanding the threats it now faces. We do
not believe it draws the proper balance in a democratic society for
the activities of government to be concealed from public scrutiny
while the private activities of citizens are made open to government.

Finally, we believe it is inconsistent with well established
international norms for communications privacy, such as Article 8
of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 12 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for governments to compel
the retention of private information for surveillance purposes.
Confidentiality of communication is a central tenet of modern
democratic society. Proposals to reduce the privacy of citizens will
undermine the strength of the democratic state.

We have contacted President Bush regarding our concerns. We
respectfully urge you not to take any steps at this time that may
reduce the privacy of citizens.

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Bien sincèrement / Sincerely,

American Civil Liberties Union New York, USA

The Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania - The
Helsinki Committee Bucharest, Romania

Association for Progressive Communications Johannesburg, South

Bits of Freedom Amsterdam, Netherlands

Center for Democracy and Technology Washington, USA

Center for National Security Studies Washington, USA

Chaos Computer Club Hamburg / Berlin, Germany

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Palo Alto, USA

Digital Rights Copenhagen, Denmark

EKPIZO (Consumers Association The Quality of Life) Athens,

Electronic Frontier Finland Finland

Electronic Frontier Foundation San Francisco, USA

Electronic Privacy Information Center Washington, USA

Essential Information Washington, USA

Foundation for Information Policy Research London, UK

Irish Council for Civil Liberties Dublin, Ireland

The Multiracial Activist and Abolitionist Examiner Alexandria,
United States

National Consumers League Washington, USA

NetAction San Francisco, CA

Privacy International London, UK

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse San Diego, USA

Privacy Times Washington, USA

Privacy Ukraine Kyiv, Ukraine Vienna, Austria

Sighisoara Durabila Sighisoara, Romania

Statewatch London, UK

StrawberryNet Foundation Bucharest, Romania

Swiss Internet User Group (SIUG) Zürich, Switzerland

VIBE!AT - Association for Internet Users Austria

XS4ALL Internet Amsterdam, Netherlands

ZAnet Internet Services Witkoppen, South Africa

cc: President George W. Bush

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Proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (COM(2000) 385 - C5-0439/2000 - 2000/0189(COD)) CALEND&LANGUE

Letter from Article 29 Data Protection Working Party to Mr Göran Persson, Acting President of the Council of the European Union, June 7, 2001

EU Data Protection Working Party Article 29, Opinion 7/2000 on the European Commission Proposal for a Dir. of the Eur. Parl. and of the Council concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector of 12 July 2000 COM (2000) 385 (2 Nov. 2

Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, Report on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, July 13, 2001.

EU Forum on CyberCrime, Discussion Paper for Expert's Meeting on Retention of Traffic Data, November 6, 2001 wpapnov/index_en.htm

EU Forum on CyberCrime, Plenary Session, November 27, 2001 forum/index_en.htm

terror und ueberwachung sind geschwister
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edited by Harkank
published on: 2001-11-14
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