Call on MEPs to vote against data retention

Sent the following e-mail to MEPs:

Dear …,

on Dec, 12th, the European Parliament will vote on a draft directive on data retention (COM(2005)0438). Whereas current EU legislation permits the storage of telephone and internet data only where it is needed for billing purposes, the new draft’s aim is to indiscriminately collect information on everybody’s communications and movements for law enforcement purposes.

Please note that systematically storing all communications data, as proposed, would create the most comprehensive records in history of the private and professional lives of all 450 million citizens in the EU.

It appears some MEPs are considering rushing through a „compromise deal“ with the Council (source). However, any kind of systematic collection of communications data

- is too invasive to personal privacy,

- obstructs professional activities (e.g. in medicine, law, religion, journalism) as well as political and commercial activities that rely on confidentiality,

- does not prevent terrorism or other types of crime and is easy for criminals to circumvent,

- violates the human right to privacy and control of personal information,

- is expensive and burdens the economy,

- discriminates against users of telephones, mobile phones and the Internet.

You can read more about these facts at

What makes sense is to introduce a common regime for the storage and preservation of communications data in specific cases (data preservation), as successfully practised in the U.S. and in a number of EU member states. To that end, the articles 14-20 of the European Convention on Cybercrime could be transposed into EU law. The European Parliament’s report on data retention (A6-0174/2005) rightly concludes: „It should be pointed out that the proposal’s objectives could be achieved simply by implementing the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime and improving crossborder cooperation in the area in question.“

On the other hand, for the reasons pointed out above, compelling providers to indiscriminately retain communications data on everybody would be disproportionate and excessive.

In the interest of your constituents and all citizens in Europe, I urge you and the … group to reject the proposed blanket collection of information on all citizens‘ communications.

Yours sincerely,

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