Resistance against watering down of traffic data protection (29 Oct 08)

In a letter to EU Commissioner Viviane Reding published today, 11 German organisations are criticising a European Parliament move that would allow telcommunications providers to collect traffic data for "security purposes".

The civil liberties, journalists, lawyers and consumer protection organisations are warning in the letter that the European Parliament's vote on the telecom package of 24 September contains a "blank cheque" for the collection of more traffic data than is currently being collected even under the directive on data retention, without setting a time limit. The series of data abuses and incidents that have occurred in Germany, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary in recent years demonstrates that only erased data is safe data, the letter continues. The EU Council (where the telecom package will be debated on 27 November) is asked to reject the proposal.

Similar letters were sent to the European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx, the chairwoman of the Committee on the Internal Market Arlene McCarthy and the German minister of economic affairs Michael Glos.

A background paper published today by the German Working Group on Data Retention points out that the European Parliament move is the result of lobbying by the US-based Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA recently sent a hitherto unpublished paper to EU member states, pushing for even more extensive data collection powers and for exempting Internet usage data from data protection law.

The letter sent by 11 organisations (in German):

The Working Group's background paper on the issue (in English):

The Business Software Alliance's lobbying paper (in English):

The European Parliament's vote (in English): (see Amendment 181)

About Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung:

Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung ("German Working Group on Data Retention") is a German association of civil rights and privacy activists as well as regular Internet users that runs a campaign against the complete logging of all telecommunications. Home page: