=>PDF version of this letter in English.
=>Esta Carta en Espanol.
To the presidents of the political groups in the European Parliament
Monday 6 June 2005
We kindly request your attention on the matter of the plenary vote (scheduled for 7 June 2005) on the report from LIBE rapporteur Alexander Alvaro on mandatory data retention, nr. 2004/0813(CNS). We are appealing to you on behalf of European Digital Rights, a not-for-profit association of 17 digital civil rights organisations from 11 European countries, Privacy International, an international non-governmental organisation with members in over 30 countries and Statewatch, an organisation that monitors civil liberties in Europe with correspondents in 14 European countries.
Communications data retention is a policy that significantly expands powers of surveillance in an unprecedented manner. It simultaneously revokes many of safeguards in European human rights instruments, such as the Data Protection Directives and the European Convention on Human Rights.
An Open Letter to the European Parliament on Biometric Registration of all EU Citizens and Residents
To the Members of the European Parliament,
We the undersigned are calling on you to reject the 'Draft Council Regulation on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States'. This is an unnecessary and rushed policy that will have hazardous effects on Europeans' right to privacy. This policy process requires additional oversight, and the eventual systems established will require significant controls and a strong legal framework to ensure that this is a proportionate response to the war on terrorism. In particular, we call for the removal of the requirement for fingerprinting all EU citizens.
In October 2004 the European Commission organised a consultation on the review of EU legislation on copyright and related rights. EDRI sent in an evaluation, together with FIPR (UK) and VOSN (NL). The paper is available at: http://www.edri.org/docs/edri_copyright_consultation.pdf
Privacy International (PI) and European Digital Rights (EDRI) have published their joint answer to the consultation on mandatory data retention. The Directorate Generals on Information Society and on Justice and Home Affairs from the European Commission asked for public comments on a proposed retention regime across Europe between 12 and 36 months for all traffic data generated by using fixed and mobile telephony and Internet.
90 civil rights organisations across Europe, the United States and other countries around the world have responded rapidly in showing their concern about this trend of increasing surveillance in such a disproportionate way. Also 89 companies (mostly specialised in IT) have endorsed the statement.
The response can be found at http://www.privacyinternational.org/issues/terrorism/rpt/responsetoret...
The EU plans the wide-spread retention of personal data resulting from communications, or so-called traffic data. We argue that any such retention is necessarily a hazardously invasive act. With the progress of technology, this data is well beyond being simple logs of who we've called and when we called them. Traffic data can now be used to create a map of human associations and more importantly, a map of human activity and intention.
As technologies become more invasive, and as laws are increasingly reluctant to protect individual rights, the European Union should be fulfilling its role to uphold the rights of individuals. Data retention is an invasive and illegal practice with illusory benefits.
General background information
EDRI campaign at Schiphol airport (Amsterdam).
EDRI and its partners held successful actions on 20 May at Schiphol (Amsterdam), Zaventem (Brussels) and Vienna airport.
At all three airports EDRI members have provided airline passengers with important information about the transfer of their personal data to US authorities. Passengers were given a letter they can send to the national Data Protection Authority in their country to request an investigation of the illegal transfer of their personal data.
The action in Amsterdam was done by Bits of Freedom with Kathalijne Buitenweg (member of the European parliament) and Marijke Vos and Jan de Wit (members of the Dutch parliament).