EU proposal puts confidential communications data at risk

By EDRi · January 28, 2009

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Civil liberties groups La Quadrature du Net, European Digital Rights (EDRi),
AK Vorrat, and are urging the European Parliament to heed
advice given by the European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx and
scrap plans dubbed “voluntary data retention”.

“A proposal currently discussed in the European Parliament as part of the
‘telecom package’ would allow providers to collect a potentially unlimited
amount of sensitive, confidential communications data including our
telephone and e-mail contacts, the geographic position of our mobile phones
and the websites we visit on the Internet”, warns Patrick Breyer of German
privacy watchdog AK Vorrat. “Apart from the creation of vast data pools that
could go far beyond what is being collected under the directive on data
retention, the proposal would also permit the passing on of traffic data to
other companies for ‘security purposes’. We must not let a potentially
unlimited amount of confidential data be exposed to risks of disclosure or
abuse in this way”, he also said.

“This proposal is lobbied for under the guise of ‘security’, but what it
really means is that users and citizens would have no expectation of privacy
on the Internet anymore,” adds Ralf Bendrath from EDRi. “This is a clear
breach of the European tradition of considering privacy a fundamental human

In a paper published earlier this month, European Data Protection Supervisor
Peter Hustinx joined the critics, warning the proposal would constitute a
“risk of abuse” and “may be interpreted as enabling the collection and
processing of traffic data for security purposes for an unspecified period
of time.” Hustinx reached “the conclusion that the best outcome would be for
the proposed Article 6.6(a) to be deleted altogether” – a view firmly shared
by La Quadrature du Net, EDRi, and AK Vorrat.

“A few months before the elections, citizens will have the opportunity to
see if the Members of European Parliament are willing to protect their
privacy”, declares Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of the citizen’s
initiative La Quadrature du Net. “Every citizen should inform their MEPs and
ask them to massively reject this article 6 (6a) of the ePrivacy directive.
Other crucial issues about content and network neutrality are at stake as
well.We must remind MEPs that they were elected to protect Europeans’
fundamental rights and freedom rather than abolishing them in favour of
particular interests.”

In a letter of September last year, 11 German civil liberties, journalists,
lawyers and consumer protection organisations “urgently” asked the
Commission, the Council and Parliament to scrap the proposed article 6 (6a)
and “maintain the successful regulation of traffic data” which they say has
“proven to constitute the best guarantee for our safety in information

Second opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the review of
Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the
protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on
privacy and electronic communications) (9.01.2009)

Open leter to MEP rapporteurs (8.12.2008)

Resistance against watering down of traffic data protection (29.10.08),en/

Position on the processing of traffic data for “security purposes”