Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Worried about your privacy being violated in the so-called War on Terror, so are a whole lot of Germans. Yesterday a buttload of Germans took to the street as part of the fight there against legislation that will further destroy the right to privacy there.

The marches in several German cities were in support of a complaint filed Monday against the creation of a vast telecommunications database as part of anti-terror measures to which 35,000 people signed on.

A new German law, which goes into effect Tuesday, requires telecommunications firms to keep detailed records for six months of telephone calls and Internet use including the date and time of use and who contacted whom.

Data from mobile phones are also to include the location of the callers.

Of course, as we all know, this intrusion into the lives of everybody isn't happening in Germany alone.

“Parliaments throughout the world have enacted legislation intended to comprehensively increase government’s reach into the private life of nearly all citizens and residents,” the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the London-based Privacy International said in the report. It called “the fundamental right of privacy fragile and exposed.”

Among the 47 nations ranked in terms of privacy protection, the US and the UK came in near the bottom, in the “black” category, which denotes “endemic surveillance” and also includes Russia, China and Singapore, according to the report. Greece was the top-ranked country, followed by Canada, Romania and Hungary.

The following is from Earth Times.

Germans protest data mining law

Protests coincided with the filing of a lawsuit supported by thousands in Germany in opposition to a new law allowing the retention of telecommunication data.

Protesters rallied in several German cities to support a lawsuit backed by more than 30,000 Germans filed to fight legislation that permits the storing of Internet data and telephone records for up to six months as part of wider counter-terrorism efforts, Deutsche Welle said Wednesday.

Advocates in Hamburg marked "the death of privacy" and the Working Party on Data Retention said the law was "obviously unconstitutional" and struck "at the foundation of our constitutional state."

The law is part of a widespread EU move in response to the Madrid train bombings in March 2004 that killed 191 people. Investigators tracked down the people behind the attacks using mobile telephone data.

The new law permits Internet providers and phone companies to store dialed numbers, dates and length of conversations, IP addresses and e-mail addresses. Security officials may, with a court order, gain access to that information but not to the content of the communications.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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