Press Release [deutsch]
No. 20/2001, Brussels, September 5th, 2001
The European Parliament on the surveillance of communication
Cyber-police state Europe
Today the European Parliament in Strasbourg deals with three reports the content of which is the surveillance of electronic communication: The EP discusses and decides on the final report of the Echelon committee, on a report on data protection in electronic communication as well as on one on the combat against so-called cybercrime. Ilka Schroeder MEP, author of the minority position on the Echelon report and the opinion of the Industry Committee on the data protection report, declares:
The European Parliament tears down with their bottom what they have just constructed with their hands. The noble declarations of intent on the protection of the private sphere in the data protection report are reduced to absurdity by the measures which are planned in the cybercrime report and in the conclusions on the Echelon interception system.
With its proposed directive on data protection, the EP not only promotes snoopers on the net, but also the senders of unsolicited advertising e-mails. Thus, the recipients pay the charge for electronic mail sent to millions.
The report of the Echelon Committee is correct in criticising the five states under the leadership of the USA that have constructed a world-wide interception system. However, behind this criticism lurks an evil intention, Echelon is to legitimise a European secret service. The European surveillance system known as Enfopol will even dwarf Echelon. Over several years, data and content of conversations will be saved in order to be available to secret services and the police at any time. The Cederschiöld report on cybercrime remains silent about this intrusion upon basic rights.
All declarations on data protection are of no use when at the same time a growing catalogue of exceptional cases is created, and when the principal suspects police and secret services are exempt from all regulations in this report. Additionally they are given more and more possibilities of investigation.
Despite the nice words on Europes digital future, the EU is being constructed into a cyber-police state in which people cannot take a single digital step without being under surveillance. The EP is driving forward this development.
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