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You have the right to retain data

The European Union wishes to legalise the retention of data from telecoms operators and ISPs for the period of one year. We are told that the retention of data will allow governments to conduct counter-terrorist campaigns more successfully and prevent other serious crimes. The retained data could be used in these investigations.

The Creative and Media Business Alliance have lobbied the European Parliament to extend the provisions of the proposed Directive. Data would be used for investigations into copyright infringement and, if other new laws come to pass, infringements of intellectual property.

But the Creative and Media Business Alliance (CMBA), a group of media companies including EMI, SonyBMG and TimeWarner, has lobbied the EU to allow this data to be used to investigate all crimes, not just serious offences such as terrorism.

Opponents have claimed that if this demand was granted, then — combined with the upcoming IPRED2 legislation which could create Europe-wide criminal offences for intellectual property infringement — the entertainment industry would be able to pursue prosecutions against suspected copyright-infringers through the criminal court entirely at the cost of the taxpayer.

Whilst intellectual property is always a tricky and contested subject, the music media is treading that famous path of fighting disruptive technology by lobbying for a secure monopoly. Only Europe is stupid enough to let them.

12 comments to You have the right to retain data

  • GCooper

    I wouldn’t mind the likes of SonyBMG, EMI and TimeWarner having the benefit of this legislation.

    On one condition.

    That every meeting, letter, e-mail, phone call, text, or any other kind communication from any company so benefitting be recorded, held by a third party organisation and immediately handed to anyone who requests it, for any reason.

    As a consequence, it would only be a matter of weeks before the directors and executives of some entertainment industry companies were banged-up behind bars, where many properly belong.

    There is nothing more ludicrous than the spectacle of a music industry executive up on his high horse, pontificating about morality. They work in one of the sickest, most corrupt industries, this side of the cocaine cartels.

  • Mary Contrary

    The European Union wishes to legalise the retention of data from telecoms opertors and ISPs

    Delete “legalise”. Substitute “compel”.

  • The Open Rights Group has been co-ordinating opposition to this, and I do recommend them to Samizdata readers.

  • Record companies should really be in the “Muggigng Thread” below.

  • J

    I went to a meeting of the open rights group yesterday and they seemed relatively organised. That’s relative to other collections of geeks in Soho basements, mind you :-)

    But to most people, copyright legislation is as relevant and interesting as agricultural legislation.

    One of the extra depressing things about it is that it highlights another area where we have ceded control to Europe :-(

  • Whilst intellectual property is always a tricky and contested subject, the music media is treading that famous path of fighting disruptive technology by lobbying for a secure monopoly. Only Europe is stupid enough to let them.

    I take it you’ve not heard of the DMCA, then?

  • Verity

    Phil Hunt – Europe displays a stupidity in every single field that surpasseth all understanding. The entire overladen, creaking 25th-rate bureaucracy and “leaders” quality en masse for the Darwin Award. I watch their self-destruction with awe and glee.

  • John East

    Does this mean that if I downloaded a copyright mp3 file in the past I can expect the Europolice to pay me a visit at midnight?
    A similar scheme whereby personal details are released to private businesses is currently being run by the DVLA. If, as a private citizen, you approach the DVLA for information such as the current registered keeper of your stolen car they cry data protection act and refuse. However, they routinely sell owner details to private companies pursuing parking fines under the new decriminalised enforcement system. All most peculiar.

  • Verity

    All most peculiar. Or sinister … Britain grows more Sovietesque every day.

  • guy herbert

    Careful of the process here. It is the UK presidency that has pressed for data retention against resistence from most quarters. By the tried and tested liberty-destroying method from home of making outrageous demands then “compromising” them, they’re trying to get the principle of a common standard in place, and the police interest can be relied upon to stretch the period.

    If the Commission has adopted the principle, the game is done. Blair & Co can happily impose what they wanted in the first place at home, saying that it is an EU standard with which they must comply.

    There is a technical term for this: “policy laundering”.

  • re: KM

    Samizdatistas should get actively involved in ORG. I’m yet to see the kind of rational clear thinking observed on Samizdata from ORG postings.

    Despite sound and desireable conclusions on many issues, at times they have sounded positively communist in their reasoning.

    Regards

    SJG

  • Simon, do please do so – my understanding of ORG is that is intended as an umbrella group, and will work to bring together those with are expertise and help them get heard.
    I have previously written about the need to frame arguments differently to appeal to different worldviews – on copyright and Digital Rights Management.
    I do think that the kind of campaigning experience that Brian and co have would be very helpful for ORG.
    I know Suw (the ORG Director) has met Adriana and other samizdatistas before, so I hope for a productive partnership.