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Where is This Going?


In February the EU finally approved a controversial rule forcing telephone companies to keep all phone and internet records for up to two years, ostensibly for the purpose of fighting organized crime and terrorists: 

The measures will require firms to store:

  • data that can trace fixed or mobile telephone calls
  • time and duration of calls
  • location of the mobile phone being called
  • details of connections made to the Internet
  • details, but not the content, of internet e-mail and internet telephony services

Details of connected calls that are unanswered, which can be used as signals to accomplices or used to detonate bombs, will also be archived where that data exists.

It didn’t take long, however, for other interests to see the possibilities involved:

Music industry seeks access to private data to fight piracy

· Plea to Europe to widen scope of anti-terror laws
· Civil rights fears over phone and email records

Bobbie Johnson
Saturday November 26, 2005
The Guardian

The music and film industries are demanding that the European parliament extends the scope of proposed anti-terror laws to help them prosecute illegal downloaders. In an open letter to MEPs, companies including Sony BMG, Disney and EMI have asked to be given access to communications data – records of phone calls, emails and internet surfing – in order to take legal action against pirates and filesharers. 

And according to an article on yesterday’s, the Panty Sniffer ‘n Chief wants access to the data:

US authorities can get access to EU citizens’ data on phone calls, sms’ and emails, giving a recent EU data-retention law much wider-reaching consequences than first expected, reports Swedish daily Sydsvenskan.

The EU data retention bill, passed in February after much controversy and with implementation tabled for late 2007, obliges telephone operators and internet service providers to store information on who called who and who emailed who for at least six months, aimed at fighting terrorism and organized crime.


The US delegation to the meeting "indicated that it was considering approaching each [EU] member state to ensure that the data collected on the basis of the recently adopted Directive on data retention be accessible to them," according to the notes of the meeting.

I would imagine that this would be something of a two-way street. 

The next time Richard Morin wants to take one of his crap White House-friendly straw polls , maybe in addition to mentioning the war on terra he should ask people how they feel about their phone records being used for prosecution of music downloading or handed over to, say, the French?   

(Thanks to Dave M. and SlashDot

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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