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EU Commission gives up blocking TOR and VPN services [updated 18 January 2015]

In February I noticed that I could no longer access the EU Commission’s website using a VPN service. Most TOR servers and VPN services turned out to have been blocked, preventing millions of users from accessing essential official information. The blocking affected even the European Court of Justice’s website which provides access to the Court’s […]

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Human rights complaint on US access to European fingerprint and DNA databases filed [updated 4 Jan 2014]

Press release of 22 March 2012: A German citizen has filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights concerning an intergovernmental agreement which allows an undefined number of US authorities (e.g. law enforcement, border authorities, intelligence agencies) to match fingerprints and DNA with German police databases in real-time. The Court has confirmed reception […]

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Leaked cables: U.S. bullying Europe into transatlatic biometrics matching [updated 1 Mar 2012]

Biometrics matching in Europe In 2003 the German minister of the interior Otto Schily started an initiative that led to the signing of the Prüm Convention in 2005. Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium agreed in that convention i.e. to provide each other mutual on-line access to their police fingerprint and DNA databases. […]


State of play of the revision of the EU Data Retention Directive

On 7 September EU Commission official Cecilia Verkleij presented the state of play of the revision of the EU Data Retention Directive in Berlin. Ms Verkleij is head of the sector „Access to information“ (A.3.002) within the EU Commission’s home affairs directorate general. Her team is dealing with the revision of the EU’s unpopular 2006 […]

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Comparative test of Internet Anonymizers [updated 28/10/2011]

Reports on „“ identifying users to law enforcement authorities have raised awareness of the fact that not all VPN services are anonymizers, effectively protecting your privacy on the web. Your privacy is reasonably safe only with VPN providers that do not log your IP address or other personally identifiable information when signing up for, paying […]

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Protect freedom of speech on-line against private policing by service providers

Contribution to the European Commission’s consultation on the future of electronic commerce in the internal market and the implementation of the Directive on electronic commerce (2000/31/EC): Summary of recommendations The concept of “specific” obligations of intermediaries to “prevent” illegal user action should be given up in its entirety. Intermediaries should only be required to remove […]


New ECJ preliminary ruling procedure to be created

In the context of the proposed EU accession to the ECHR, the Commission proposes to introduce a new procedure that would allow it to seize the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) where a complaint against EU law is filed with the European Court on Human Rights. Some comments concerning the proposal: Although promising, the proposed […]

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EU seeks to demonstrate „usefulness“ of blanket communications logging

The EU Commission is in the process of evaluating a controversial directive 2006/24/EC that requires all Member States to compel service providers to indiscriminately collect information on any phone call, text message, e-mail or Internet connection made in the EU (data retention). An early draft evaluation report was leaked in April. The Romanian constitutional court […]


Enhancing privacy – Proposed amendments to data protection directive

The Commission is currently reviewing the data protection directive 95/46/EC. Here are some ideas on how directive 95/46 should be amended: Recital 26 says: „whereas, to determine whether a person is identifiable, account should be taken of all the means likely reasonably to be used either by the controller or by any other person to […]


Complaint on data retention kept secret [updated 24/02/10]

Even after the European Court of Justice has rejected Ireland’s action against the directive on data retention, the European Commission, the German and the Irish autorities are refusing to release Ireland’s reasoning to the Court. To justify its decision, Ireland writes: If a request for Ireland’s submission to the European Court of Justice was submitted […]


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