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Ilka Schröder

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Speech delivered to the European parliament
Brussels, May 29th, 2002

Concerning the European Parliament and Council directive on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, Ilka Schroeder, non-party member of the EP (GUE/NGL) declares:

Dear colleagues,

you will also have received the letter by different civil rights organisations dealing with the central point of this directive. It is about the retention of communication data being allowed or not. It is not just about a little more surveillance, but about a new quality in eaves-dropping by the state. Up to know, the police and others could legally access only what was spoken or written after an interception decision. This paper wants to introduce the possibility to get hold of the communication retrospectively – and thereby also to limit Fundamental Rights retrospectively. This is a new quality of the security state, which aims at dismantling privacy itself.

For what will happen to the data the state has collected on you and your surfing habits? The data is collected and stored. It is handed over to the next Government. No one knows whether it will be Le Pen, Haider or Rasmussen who get hold of it, or just plain authoritarian-state oriented Social Democrats. Before September 11th, after all, no one would have foreseen how fundamental rights were going to be reduced with the consent of Western Democrats.

In Germany, there is experience with this kind of Fundamental Rights limitations. When the government issued its decrees against so-called radicals in the sixties, it did not aim at people who had done anything illegal, but simply something considered not desirable by the government. If I collect information on right-wing extremism on the web today and lose my job in civil service for having done so tomorrow, it will be among other things because of this Directive we are discussing today.

This paper is called »protection of privacy«- even though that is not what it contains. We will see what the planned council Directive requiring data retention for the whole EU will be called. In any case, the directive we are discussing today paves the way for that Europe-wide extension of the eavesdropping state.


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