Panoptykon called on MEPs to stop mass surveillance

By EDRi · September 24, 2014

On 11 September 2014 digital right activists and advocates around the world commemorated the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks on the WTC as the Freedom not Fear Day. It reminded decision makers and society as a whole that “absolute security” is a fallacy that can never be achieved, even in return for giving up all citizens’ rights and freedoms. EDRi-member Panoptykon Foundation used this opportunity to remind the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about their promises to end the mass surveillance.

On 12 March 2014, after a series of public statements made by politicians, activist and experts (including Edward Snowden), the European Parliament adopted strong resolution against mass surveillance, and MEPs called both Member States and European institutions to take political measures and adopt stronger legal guarantees in order to end mass surveillance programmes carried out by European and American agencies. Now that the summer holidays are over and the newly elected MEPs have moved to Brussels, it’s time for the European Parliament to follow up on recommendations adopted in the previous term. Panoptykon came up with a list of concrete steps that could be taken by Members of the European Parliament and called Polish representatives to get active.

The list of recommended actions that MEPs found in their mail boxes on 11 September included:

  1. Exerting pressure on the Council and national governments to speed up the reform of the data protection regime.
  2. Ensuring that the “umbrella agreement” between the EU and the US on data protection for law enforcement purposes does not allow broad national security exemption.
  3. Pressing for constant evaluation of the Safe Harbour, PNR and SWIFT agreements in order to find out whether data protection safeguards are respected in practice.
  4. Including mass surveillance as an issue in the hearings of the candidates for new Commissioners.
  5. Continuation of the LIBE committee investigative work on the basis of new disclosures.

Freedom not Fear – 11 September we celebrate the International Day of opposition to surveillance (only in Polish, 07.09.2010)

European Parliament: there is no consensus on mass surveillance, you need to increase oversight of special services (only in Polish, 12.03.2014)

Appeal to the European Parliament: Time to fulfill your promises and stop mass surveillance! (only in Polish, 10.09.2014)

(Contribution by Katarzyna Szymielewicz and Anna Obem, EDRi-member Fundacja Panoptykon, Poland)