Electronic civil liberty down to a vote in Europe

Governments have in recent times stepped up their monitoring of electronic communication in light of some terrorist organisations using the Internet as a means of communication. Today the 1997 Telecommunications Privacy Directive is up for debate and the result could be an open license for governments in Europe to snoop on all electronic communications.

The amendments being considered will allow governments to have more rights when it comes to snooping, and they will also allow consumers more protection for the data stored in cookies. Analysts are seeing this as an important moment for civil rights and the director of Information Policy Research has stated: "It is very important MEPs reject this. If not, it's the end for civil liberties in Europe, it's game over."

"This is the crux of the argument, and could signal the biggest sea change in surveillance in a generation."

According to supporters of the amendments none will go against the European Convention of Human Rights but the changes will allow a far more widespread use of captured electronic data in court proceedings. The UK has already seen a change in their policy following the US terrorist attack last year and many of the proposed changes are already in operation there. Privacy groups from 15 countries have campaigned for a vote from MEPs to not make these changes.

Today represents a milestone in the campaign for more control and less freedom in cyberspace and while this may be a useful step in combating crime it moves against some of the great advantages of the Internet as a form of communication: the freedom to talk and communicate without too much worry of big brother listening. If anything this could just lead to more advanced techniques of hiding the identification of users world-wide.

News source: Silicon.com

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