Freedom not Fear 2010 – Stop Surveillance Mania!

By EDRi · September 22, 2010

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Deutsch: [Freiheit statt Angst – Stoppt den Überwachungswahn! |]

For the fourth consecutive time, this year the International Action Day took
place on 11 September under the motto “Freedom not Fear 2010 – Stop
Surveillance Mania”.

The events that took place in several European towns such as Berlin,
Stockholm, Warsaw, Helsinki, Paris, Venice, Vienna and Luxembourg were
organised and supported by a coalition of more than 150 organisations,
including political parties, professional associations, trade unions and
freedom activists.

What were the organisers asking for? Mainly, a cutback on surveillance
measures including data retention laws and the collection of biometric data,
“no European wide standardized state run collection of information”, no data
exchange with the USA without proper data protection laws, no blank
registration of PNR data, “no systematic surveillance of financial
transactions data or similar mass data analysis in the EU (SWIFT)” and no
secret searches of online or offline PC systems.

In Berlin at the largest action of the Freedom not Fear 2010, about 7500
people demonstrated for better data protection and less intrusion on
privacy. One of the main concerns expressed was related to the
centralization of health, financial, telecommunications and employment data.
The demonstrators were carrying banners such as “Freedom is dying with
security”, “I have something to hide: my privacy” or “my data belongs to

During the rally, Frank Bsirske, head of the trade union Verdi, called for
the cancellation of the ELENA database introduced in Germany at the
beginning of 2010 that covers employee income information. He said that
during the last 80 years in Europea many cases have showed that data
collection could be used for “insane purposes.” He also called for the
cancellation of data retention laws.

Although in Germany the Constitutional Court decided against data retention
in March 2010, Rosemarie Will, National Chairman of the Humanist Union
stated during the rally that the victory was not complete as the court left
an open back door for a come-back of the law. The court did not annul the
legislation but only suspended it asking for its modification in order to
ensure stricter and safer conditions for the storage and use of the
collected data.

Thilo Weichert, state data protection representative from
Schleswig-Holstein, expressed his opinion that the authorities should act
more professionally when pursuing criminals using the internet. “The
population needs freedom of information and opinion, not total control,” he

The demonstrators also criticized systems, such as the SWIFT agreement or
PNR systems, that allow the transfer of personal and bank data to the US
authorities without proper data protection measures.

Protestors take to the street to call for better data protection

Thousands in Germany rally for data privacy – PressTV (11.09.2010)

Large rally on Potsdamer Platz closes successful demonstration (11.09.2010)

Colourful rally moves through the centre of the German capital (11.09.2010)

Demonstration “freedom instead of fear!” (15.09.2010)

Freedom not Fear 2010 in Poland (only in Polish, 9.09.2010)

EDRi-gram: German Federal Constitutional Court rejects data retention law