Europe Seeks to Tighten Some Online Laws

The German and Dutch governments have taken the lead on crafting legislation that would make it illegal to provide false information to ISPs and require phone companies to save detailed records on customer usage. The aim is to make it easier for law enforcement to access information when they investigate crimes or terrorist attacks. Europeans have, however, long cherished their privacy - personal information stored for commercial use or government examination isn't exactly acceptable. "The people of Europe have a long record of fighting for their personal freedom, and are unlikely to accept such regulations being imposed upon them," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with London-based Sophos.

The Germans and Dutch are moving well ahead of a 2009 EU deadline to implement its Data Retention directive, which calls for storing names and addresses of Internet subscribers, including those who use Web-based e-mail accounts. Countries will be able to decide individually how long to keep the information on file, within a range of six to 24 months. Certain details of the new proposals, such as e-mail services that only need a user name and password to sign up or the fact that the person who pays an ISP does not have to be the person who uses a provided e-mail account, have yet to be worked out.

News source: Physorg

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