EU may monitor searches under guise of child porn prevention

The European Parliament's website urging its members to sign Declaration 29 seems well-meaning enough, with a frightened-looking child and a plea to end sexual harassment, child porn, and pedophilia. However, privacy advocates are concerned over a semi-hidden rider on the declaration that allows EU member states to retain data from search engines, essentially eliminating any privacy EU citizens previously had when surfing the Web.

The stated purpose of Declaration 29 is to set up an early warning system (EWS) to target pedophiles and sex offenders. The statement itself is somewhat vague about how this would be done, but claims that pedophiles currently enjoy "freedom of action, putting them on the same footing as honest citizens and making it difficult for the authorities to trace them."

As such, the EU is calling on members to implement Directive 2006/24/EC—also known as the Data Retention Directive—in order to "tackle online child pornography and sex offending rapidly and effectively." Once the declaration has 369 signatures, it will be adopted—as of this writing, it has 324.

The problem is that the Data Retention Directive makes it simple for EU states to monitor the Internet searches of citizens. This has led privacy advocates to urge parliament members to withdraw their signatures in support of Declaration 29. One member of the parliament, Christian Engström, indicated on his blog that he believes many of those who have signed the declaration were misled and don't realize the full implications of the Data Retention Directive. He notes that the marketing materials don't mention the directive by name (only by number).

Another parliament member, Cecilia Wikström, wrote an open letter to her fellow parliament members saying that she made a mistake in signing the declaration. "The Written Declaration is supposed to be about an early-warning system for the protection of children. Long-term storage of citizens’ data has clearly nothing to do with 'early warning' for any purpose," Wikström wrote. "[I]t seems very likely that MEPs signed the Written Declaration unaware of this aspect of the text, just like I did... The declaration is likely to get all the signature[s] it needs and therefore I urge those of you who may have signed it by mistake to withdraw your signature."

Given the EU's pressure on companies like Google to keep cutting their data retention periods, the attempt to slide this one under the radar seems suspicious. As Engström points out, concerned citizens should contact their parliament members about the issue soon, before the signature requirement is met.

Source: ars technica

Tags: EU, Internet

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Pokemon GO had the potential to net $1 billion a year
The report said that Hon Hai has invested about US$600 million in India
Market research firm IDC reports that in the third quarter of this year
Customers will only have to shell out 50% of the cost of their Galaxy S7 device
New flagship will launch in 2017
Patent hints at name of the upcoming Surface AIO
IBM, Globalfoundries and Samsung have chosen to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light to pattern transistors
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments