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Europe Moves To Track Phone and Net Use 120

Posted by kdawson
from the et-tu-Allemande? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a NYTimes piece on the early moves by European governments to implement an EU data retention directive. The governments of Germany and the Netherlands are initially proposing much more stringent programs than the EU directive requires. For example, the German proposal "would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal." The Times notes that, early days as it is, nevertheless some people involved in the issue are "concerned about a shift in policy in Europe, which has long been a defender of individuals' privacy rights."
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Europe Moves To Track Phone and Net Use

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  • ...would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.

    Slashdot posters TubGirlFan and IHeartGoatse adamantly expressed their opposition to the plan.

    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:40PM (#18088058)
      That's ridiculous. I don't trust any free e-mail service provider with my information. In fact, I never provide real information unless I have to make a payment or something. I just don't trust Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, or any website with any real information.
      • There will be no place where one can hide when all privacy has been abandoned in europe. I for one will apply for the citizenship of Switzerland which is less then 500km away from me now.
        • by chill (34294)
          Switzerland? You poor, sad, fool.

          They've had mandatory data retention laws and the like for some time now. They aren't as bad as what Germany is proposing, but give them time.
      • by Vexorian (959249)
        I have 3 fake emails, I am not a terrorist planning to bomb europe, and I hope I will never be. Why do I have fake emails? Do I want to hide from the government ? No, it is just that I am not stupid.

        Heck, you want to signup for SOME internet service, forum , whatever. IT WILL ASK YOU FOR A DARN EMAIL ADDRESS! , yes, they almost always do, but even assuming that the company/group holding the service is totally legit and won't use your email for the 50 different BAD things they can do with it, they are mos
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          I think they mean that you have to give your real name and address to the email service, not that you can only have one email address in total.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Itninja (937614)
      So I guess those of use with very common names are just screwed then. Or I suppose I could get my name leagally changed to john_smith_no_not_that_one_the_other_one....
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
      Perhaps they can say that this new email tracking will provide us with "enhanced privacy" like the other press release that's just shown up on Slashdot.

      The same way DRM has given us "enhanced usability" of media files.

      The only thing that's getting "enhanced" is the power of the people in power.
  • How about an out-of-EU mail forwarding service that receives and forwards emails between senders and recipients.

    So for example if Mr. EU wants to send an email to "us@hotmail.com", he would email to "us__hotmail_com@mailservice.com".
    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:37PM (#18087988)
      I think finding ways around this is all well and good, but the question is why is our society moving so intently towards a system when the citizens NEED to do it, in order to feel safe.

      I have said on several occasions, that we will find ourselves in trouble, when technology finally allows for constant surveillance of every member of society everywhere, all the time. Given historical and current precedents, it's logical to assume that once such capacity exists, it will be rapidly implemented.

      I have this cold chill down my spine, telling me that perhaps Hitler was right about the 1000-year-Reich, but was just off by a few decades. After all, total surveillance will finally allow the government to fulfill what seems to be its chief purpose anyway - maintaining the status quo indefinitely.
      • the question is why is our society moving so intently towards a system when the citizens NEED to do it, in order to feel safe
        With respect to these transitions (eg. increased surveillance) it is not our society. It is the society of those who write the laws. The need to feel safe is an alibi.
        • With respect to these transitions (eg. increased surveillance) it is not our society. It is the society of those who write the laws. The need to feel safe is an alibi.

          Agreed, but I'm loathe to not put at least some of the responsibility on the general public. If you can't be arsed keeping up with current events and reacting accordingly instead of screaming foul after the fact, you deserve what you get.
          • put at least some of the responsibility on the general public

            I felt the same way at one time until I began to think in terms of a business m0del [slashdot.org].

            you deserve what you get

            The technique is diversionary. The taxpaying public is saddled with debt which they had no opportunity to opt out of. The taxpaying public is then distracted with vaporous issues. With the assent of popular opinion (which can be completely manufactured if necessary, eg. the Iraq war) money can be allocated. The allocation of that (tax) money serves to maintain social relationships and funnel money to preferred social g

            • When I see stories like this it really make me wonder what goes on in the heads of these so-called "World Leaders." As an Amercian I'm just glad this law isn't being proposed here, but this law effects my fellow human beings living in Europe and that is in a way just as bad.

              Anyways, back onto my point before a digress, I propose the time for civil change is now in America (and indeed the world) is now. We, the People, must revolt against our governmnet. We must let them know that they cannot steal our livli
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I have this cold chill down my spine, telling me that perhaps Hitler was right about the 1000-year-Reich, but was just off by a few decades. After all, total surveillance will finally allow the government to fulfill what seems to be its chief purpose anyway - maintaining the status quo indefinitely.

        Unlike the US the German Constitution is designed to keep the status quo and prevent people from overthrowing the government or the system it's based on. If someone were to overthrow it while the government is go
  • Inevitability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:36PM (#18087984) Homepage Journal
    Mankind has demonstrated, again and again, that if something can be done then it will, eventually, be done. Whatever justification is supplied for these directives the bottom line is: the bottom line. Information (eg. network logs) creates data. Data can be made to say anything. There is money to be made in making data say what the people with money want it to say. If justice is ever enforced it is a secondary consequence. The primary goal is always to allocate money to promote someone's bottom line.

    The common users in Europe will simply need to accept that there are now new sets of standards by which authorities can meddle in the affairs of the public. Either initiate a revolution or adjust behavior accordingly.
    • by l3v1 (787564)
      Either initiate a revolution or adjust behavior accordingly.

      We have quite nice examples of the latter coming from the west. And as we can see lately we take and follow all the examples of the west. Add the two together and check the result. The IYHNTH (i.e. if you have nothing to hide) policy will conquer Europe as well.
       
      • Yeah, and it's that attitude that's going force us all to live in glass houses. At least no one will be able to through stones...
    • Whatever justification is supplied for these directives the bottom line is: the bottom line. Information (eg. network logs) creates data. Data can be made to say anything. There is money to be made in making data say what the people with money want it to say.

      Or it could be quite genuinely to fight terrorism or some such crap. I guess, if you really wanted to smear politicians unnecessarily, you could say the purpose is to get them good press by exploiting the terrorism problem. I don't know why you default

      • > it could be quite genuinely to fight terrorism or some such crap

        Or it could be some crap.

        > Vote 'em out

        Polls [wikipedia.org] do not include the option of "no candidate".
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          This isn't the US, we have plenty of different candidates and not all think we should immediately surrender our rights.
          • > we have plenty of different candidates

            Power is increasingly being consolidated at the federal level. While there are a plethora of candidates for local titles the major money movers are ted by Democrats and Republicans which are essentially two arms of the same body.

            > not all think we should immediately surrender our rights

            Those are the ones who never receive enough corporate or political backing to make their campaigns viable against the extremely well-funded Big Two.

            It's either Coke or Peps
            • by KDR_11k (778916)
              Power is increasingly being consolidated at the federal level. While there are a plethora of candidates for local titles the major money movers are ted by Democrats and Republicans which are essentially two arms of the same body.

              Noone votes for the Republicans. Can't blame them, who wants Neonazis as their government? Which democrats do you mean, social democrats or christ democrats (i.e. conservatives)?

              Didn't I say this is NOT the US? This country, for example, has two big (social democrats, conservatives)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Comen (321331)
        Um, the reason we dont simply Vote Them Out! is because that would mean that you would be voting someone in that would stop whatever actions you feel are not right.
        Right now those people simply dont exist.
        What makes you think that you will always be given a choice, sure you can pick A B or C but what if all the choices are just the same choice?
        In a system like that, revolution might be the only way, and even then you have to wait till things are so bad, people just wont take it any more, things have to reac
        • Short of running yourself, there really isn't anything you can do to fix the situation then, huh? Then again, maybe the situation doesn't need fixing, and democracy is fulfilling the needs of the people (as demonstrated by the lack of politicians who see these as political leverage). Perhaps the system, in which we continuously try to find problems, is not at fault, rather the fault being with our unpopular opinions. Maybe we're just some insignificant niche whining about a world that simply does not care.

          J
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Mankind has demonstrated, again and again, that if something can be done then it will, eventually, be done.
      Ah, so you're saying that everyone uses PGP, since they can? :-)
    • by giorgiofr (887762)
      Doea "adjusting my behaviour" mean that I have to start using only encypted communication channels, onion routing etc? That seems to be the most logical thing to do now.
      Long live the EU, I suppose.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:38PM (#18088010)
    Pro corporate and pro-fascist extremists want to make the EU into the same ultra-right regime in place in the US.

    They had a problem though, National constitions and common law throughout much of Europe is simply too "liberal" to allow this.

    The solution, of course, is to make a new "supranational" government for europe which is designed from the ground up to be accountable only to the moneyed elite like Rupert Murdoch.

    The solution for the people is to either resign themselves to the institution of a new tyrrany, or to pull their support for the EC and let them sit and sputter.

    If i were european, i'd go for the latter.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:53PM (#18088238) Homepage
      Well.. the EU parliament is elected and the EU Commission is appointed from elected officials in each country. The EU is not in itself a government - it only has the power granted to it by the member states, so if it's trying to make more restrictive laws it's because *your* elected government wants them to.

      Note also that it's the EU that successfully blocked software patents despite lots of lobbying from vested interests (well, the commission - remember, your government - wanted them, and the parliament - directly elected - sad get lost.. multiple times).

      It's got a long way to go before it's nearly as sold out as the US system is.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:55PM (#18088270) Homepage
        Should have read TFA also. This is clear that the EU is *not* trying to implement this it's the *individual governments* that are going the draconian route - so your argument goes out of the window completely.
        • by Halo1 (136547)

          This is clear that the EU is *not* trying to implement this it's the *individual governments* that are going the draconian route - so your argument goes out of the window completely.

          No, it doesn't. These laws are merely the implementation of a European directive [ffii.org] which was approved earlier on. Further, the article is plain wrong when it claims that the Netherlands is going further than what the directive requires by recording where you are during a mobile phone call, because that's literally required b

      • You do not understand.

        politics is a 3 edged sword, your side, their side, and the truth.

        with every level of indirection they add to the electoral process, they further blunt your side and the truth until their side is the only one left standing.
      • they blocked software patents because the legislation which would have been passed had been so neutered as to make software patents useless for the big boys to use as a weapon... what would have been passed would have been software patents that actually required a real inventive step and a true "technical effect" instead of just an idea that could be rubber-stamped through by a body paid by the volume of patents they passed... When Microsoft and the others realised what was about to happen (in that the ant
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by trenien (974611)
        You must remember (know ?) one thing: the EU current political system has been carefully designed to allow people who shouldn't have that power in the first place - the Commission - have the first and final say in crafting EU's laws (the 'directives').

        The Commission mostly present itself as a legislative power, and when they make the various countries' legislatures pass laws that never would had gone through on the local level, the Executive branch moan that it's not their faults but that of big bad ol' E

    • Being fascist has nothing to do with which side of the economic scale you are on. You need not look far to find a fascist of liberal or conservative persuasion. The main difference between the two is why they demand control. A liberal would propose such measures to keep corporations from engaging in consumer fraud or astroturfing. A conservative may do so to allow corporations to better keep tabs on employee whistleblowers. When doing it in the interest of national security, left or right doesn't matte

      • no, fascism is characterized by greater and greater corporate power until you suddenly have a police state.

        communism is characterized by greater and greater state intervention in the economy until you suddenly have a command economy.

        stalin was marxist, not fascist
        • That would depend on who you ask. Among the accepted (well, widely debated) definitions of fascism, the common ground is an authoritarian government. Anything beyond that, the word has no universal definition and is really becomes just a political football. Some even say Fascism is not a generic term that can apply to anything but the Benito Mussolini regime. Since it was being used in a general sense, I'd say the only common definition would be to assume it is synonymous with authoritarianism, and the
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by plasmacutter (901737)
            exactly, which is why it makes reasonable sense that marxism, the "dictatorship of the proletariat", is the polar opposite of any reasonable definition of fascism.

            The fact that both end up as a police state is merely poetic irony.
          • by Björn (4836)
            the opposite of anarchism

            Fair enough. I think we agree on that the authoritarian - anti-authoritarian dimension has nothing to do with the left - right dimension. I was just reacting against the use of the phrase fascist of liberal or conservative persuasion. Here is a relevant quote from the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].

            In the mid-20th century, liberalism began to define itself in opposition to totalitarianism. The term was first used by Giovanni Gentile to describe the socio-political system set up by Mussolini

      • by Björn (4836)
        Almost as confusing a term as fascism is liberalism. It carries different meanings in different countries. In the US liberal mean left leaning. In Germany the Liberals are are a far right wing party. In England the Liberals are somewhere between the Tories and Labour, that is somewhere in the middle. If you look in Wikipedia it defines liberalism as: "Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value." and that would place it as th
    • Hey!

      The US Constitution firmly guarantees many freedoms and rights. It does so in plain indisputable language that any teenager of average intelligence could understand. It has provisions for change, where necessary so that it never would be need outlandish interpretations, and always be relevant to the times.

      -sigh-
    • Pro corporate and pro-fascist extremists want to make the EU into the same ultra-right regime in place in the US.
      Except that you don't see the government trying to pull this in the US, so I'm not sure what argument you're trying to make here.
    • i agree, it's called "novus ordo seclorum" http://www.wealth4freedom.com/dollarbill.html [wealth4freedom.com] new world order....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    to the fact that the internet gives a voice to those that dissent, and that can't be allowed to go unchecked else the powers that be might be upsurped. Doesn't matter who it is or where it's at, Governement is Government.
  • Odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by faloi (738831) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:39PM (#18088026)
    I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address. Why'd the pseudonym get bigger billing, as it were?
    • well, this is slashdot, its on the internets, and ted stevens himself was telling the EU how extra fake names clog the tubes.

      I for one welcome our tube unclogging overlords, as this will inevitably make my aim conversations, which i use more than my wireless, much faster.
    • I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address. Why'd the pseudonym get bigger billing, as it were?

      Because it plays to a wider audience. Everybody hates spam and thus can easily relate to why someone would want to use a bogus email address. Most people don't care about being tracked by their cell, most have yet to figure out that, "you have nothing to fear if you have nothin
    • by ChristW (18232)

      I find the monitoring of citizens location during every moment of a cell phone call to be a bit more frightening than not being able to use false data to register an email address.
      Because I can still choose to turn my GSM off. I cannot choose to turn off the data logging that the phone company and ISP are doing. I also cannot choose to unhook the black box we're all going to get in our cars that record every road we drive (for 'tax purposes'...)
  • People need to get involved early on to make sure things like this don't become exactly what the fear. The article shouldn't be suprised that privacy advocates are getting involved early. Glad to see it, personally.
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:46PM (#18088128)
    There's the million-dollar phrase. I wonder if these EU legislators really understand how the Internet works. Those who wish to use emails, telephones, etc. for nefarious purposes will find a work-around. In the end, this legislation will only punish the grandmothers, kids, e-novices, and clueless users who simply tried to sign up for a junk email account. Joe Terrorist will be using encrypted communications and the like - stuff that already requires a team of specialists to track. So even if this legislation passes, you'll still need special enforcement units to track the real bad guys - exactly where we are now. Sounds like a lot of time, money, and hassle for a false sense of security.
    • Those who wish to use emails, telephones, etc. for nefarious purposes will find a work-around

      Maybe some didn't notice yet, but such measures - as well as the passenger-nagging measures at airports - never seem good enough to be considered being able to stop anyone with bad intentions. But, maybe they'll just put off their plans when they see that how much hassle is to get along, even when staying clean. Of course I'm not serious. Terrorists and co. will probably find a way around any measure. This doesn'
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RichPowers (998637)
        Any legislation that controls the Internet will probably deter small-time hackers and the like. But is dealing with fewer script kiddies and spam really worth giving up more of our privacy?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Joe Terrorist will be using encrypted communications and the like - stuff that already requires a team of specialists to track.''

      People keep repeating that, but is it actually true? The black hats make mistakes, too. Shouldn't increasing the number of ways in which they can trip up increase our chances of finding them out before they strike?
      • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @10:43PM (#18091584) Homepage
        "The black hats make mistakes, too"

        What black hats?

        It seems a little 1984-ish to somehow claim there is an enemy "out there" and we need to enact a more draconian central government with more powers to somehow take on this unnamed enemy.

        Do you see the problem? As long as no one will name the black hats, you can claim a constant war, and every time some random violence strikes, governments can claim the "black hats" are getting more and more clever and that even more laws need to be enacted.

        Meanwhile, are we any safer today than in the year 2000? It appears we aren't. And worse, we keep putting more restrictions on people based on some crazy nutty idea of where a terrorist might or could strike. And every time you do that, you force this mythical bad guy to strike in a different way, which requires more and more restrictions.

        It's a flawed way of thinking. You cannot guess even a fraction of the infinite ways to screw up a civilization. And I'm not sure I want to live in a world like that anyway.

        Frankly there has never been a government trustworthy enough to give what amounts to unlimited access to our personal lives on the off chance that someone may be a terrorist. Worse, there's no proof that this type of intrusions into our lives has even a small impact on making safer.
  • At first glance one would think this would open the door quite wide for the internet sale of tinfoil hats, but a savvy consumer would then "enter email address here" and realize...

    They know you know!

  • making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal

    Right. As soon as they solve that whole spam problem and those personal data theft issues, then i'll consider not being able to change addresses at will
  • And OUR noble selves will never misuse or abuse this power.

    Of course, sooner or later, the power, once created, falls into less-than-noble hands...

    "You would rip up every law to get at the devil. And when you have cornered the devil, and he turns on you, where will you hide, all the laws being flat?"
  • Will such a huge amount of data really be useful? Depending on how its organized, if you have the logs of millions of users, will you realistically be able to sort through it all for whatever safety/prevention measures the government claims this is for?

    Either way this is a huge violation of one's right to privacy.
  • by Chas (5144)
    Yep. It's socialism at it's "finest".
  • Red herring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denoir (960304) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @06:34PM (#18088804)
    This proposal is like many other similar ones a red herring. The article shows that the NYT doesn't understand EU politics.

    You see, when you have 27 member states that have a veto right on nearly everything the name of the game is haggling and compromise. It works like this: Member state A wants X that member state B is reluctant to agree upon. A then rallies member state C and D to put forward a preposterous proposal Y that shocks member states A, E, F and G. Then the negotiations begin and imagine that, member state A is willing to give up Y if it gets X. B is now under pressure from A, C, D, E, F and G to agree to X.

    This is more likely a play for reducing fishing quotas or something similar. It is important to remember that the stated proposals are seldom what they seem to be and are always preposterous. Even if a proposed bill is vaguely on-topic, it starts with an extreme suggestion in order to allow a compromise solution. It's just the way it is played and it actually works very well.

    The down side is of course that people not familiar with how things work in Brussels tend to get upset over the first batch of radical proposals.

    • by khallow (566160)
      Hmmm, that would make it pretty hard to figure out what they're actually doing since some of the proposals are serious and some aren't. I'm glad I don't have to elect anyone to that mess. The sausagemakers in Washington, DC are more than enough for me.
    • by RexRhino (769423)
      If what you are saying is true, and the public discourse in the EU is some byzintine code of double meanings and behind the scenes agendas... well then, it means that the EU isn't a very democratic institution. A democratic institution is transparent, open, and easily understood by the electoriate.
      • by anduz (1027854)
        Actually it's not that hard to understand is it? The European Union is not a government that has control over it's "states", it's instead an allegiance of indepentent countries who try to follow the same roads. Of course that doesn't mean the individual governments can be forced into doing things they don't first agree too, frankly because noone in Europe wants another country to tell them what to do, in their own. I wouldn't be so sure that laws like this one isn't going to pass however. Because while peo
    • by Halo1 (136547)
      In this case, pretty much all individual member states sounded almost like the current American government, toting the "think of the children" and "be afraid of the terrorist" lines. This directive was not primarily a result of haggling among member states (and yes, I did follow this directive from nearby).
  • You know how they justify things like this because criminals and terrorists are allegedly more saavy and powerful than ever thanks to "technology?" You look at the sort of weapons and tools that the governments of the first world countries have today, and the power disparity is getting greater. Shit, some of the weapons our military gets these days in the United States are just sick. Seriously, the governments of the world are just afraid of the fact that today the individual has some new power that is stil
  • If somebody already has a "falsified" e-mail/IM account, would these new rules force that person to create a new one with the "real" information? Or is this only restricted to people making new ones if these retention laws go through?

    (Just curious, as I may be going to Ireland for a while soon.)
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @07:52PM (#18089770) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that the vast majority of people I talk to don't see the government as a threat. The idea that the government is there to help is completely accepted over here. In fact, people get upset when the government doesn't take care of something (up to the point where they demand the government take action about money people lost on investments, or salaries of top executives perceived to be too high).

    The idea that the government could harm its subjects is completely foreign, apart from quips about the gov't collecting too much tax or the politicians playing their own games, rather than listening to the people. Certainly, if the government says that some programme is intended to protect us from black hats, that's what it will do. Only the opposition and a bunch of paranoid lunatics would tell you otherwise.

    The point is that, even if, and that's a big if, the government has the best interest of its subjects in mind, that doesn't mean the programmes it proposes will have the best effect. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist, you only have to realize that (1) just because someone is a politician doesn't mean they can't put their own interests above other people's, and (2) just because people mean well doesn't mean they're omniscient. In other words, things can go wrong. At some point, they will. Therefore, it is imperative to not just accept whatever the government says is good, but to stay informed, to look at things critically, and to make your own decisions.
    • by Pig Hogger (10379)

      The problem is that the vast majority of people I talk to don't see the government as a threat. The idea that the government is there to help is completely accepted over here. In fact, people get upset when the government doesn't take care of something (up to the point where they demand the government take action about money people lost on investments, or salaries of top executives perceived to be too high).

      The problem is that you are either a bourgeois or an anglo-saxon (or both). Anglo-saxons have had

      • by Magada (741361)
        You provided the first good laugh I had today. Thank you very much, kind sir.
    • by UpnAtom (551727)
      You're absolutely right although, because Britain has escaped totalitarianism, the public think it will never happen.

      Consequently, Blair's Government has passed more totalitarian laws than Hitler ever did and hardly anyone has noticed.

      http://www.waronfreedom.net/ [waronfreedom.net]

      The media rarely cover it for the same reasons and because the issues don't fit nicely into 300 words. The Tories haven't mentioned it for reasons only known to themselves. And the LibDems never get any media coverage.

      There's one going through Par
  • Doesn't surprice me. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yaa 101 (664725) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @07:56PM (#18089818) Journal
    What The Netherlands propagate is their own use for many years to tap each and any phone call by Israeli black boxes while signing contracts that forbid the same government from inspecting what is going on in these black boxes. The Dutch government think this is the best thing to do.

    During WWII the Dutch government was as zealous about these things as they are now and had none whatsoever problem in sharing their records on Jewish and other wanted people with the NAZIS. The current political generation behaves not really different from that time so don't look strange if they sell out their populace again.
  • essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account

    What about using no information whatsoever to create an e-mail account? Last time I checked, you could just up and make an account on a whim. I have dozens on my domain, all of which have no false information, nor any true information. All they have is a username and password.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This idea dates back to begin 2000. At that time the UK national criminal inteligence service argued for it. In a plan that I dont think was intended for publication it concluded: "There is a convergence of issues. Communications data is of crucial importance to Law Enforcement, and the Intelligence and Security Agencies but our needs are in conflict with existing legislation arising from data protection provisions and ECHR. In addition, there is significant commercial pressure to delete data. There are als
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The standard justifications of fighting terrorism and child pornography are total bullshit. The real reason behind creepy and anti-democratic proposals like this are tracking of political dissidents. A simple proof is the fact that such controversial proposals are being discussed by some "representatives" to begin with while the vast majority of citizens are strongly opposed to them.
  • disc: my post is ONLY about this email issue.

    this is rediciolous, bad and unwanted. but calling it fascism is rediciolous also. why? we just experience a normal transition from something "new" into something "standard". email ist mainstream since when? a relatively short time. now govs do notice that email is so common, it has to be reglemented. like old school snail mail. if you want to write a letter, the recipient has to have a real address. there are workarounds like co., postboxes and whatnot, but t
    • by lahi (316099)
      What's next? Outlawing Free Operating Systems on which their trojans won't run? The German government is a bunch of brain-dead idiots.

      To my astonishment though, it seems Brigitte Zypries, the German minister of justice, has shot down Schäuble on this trojan matter. Not that that makes her any better in my eyes, with those EU-wide swastika ban and holocaust-denial-denial ideas of hers. Fucking idiots, all of them. Not saying that we don't have our share of idiotic politicians in Denmark, of course.

      I thi
  • by Tom (822)
    Mod me flamebait, but hear the facts first:

    * Germany used to be very liberal in hacking laws
    * We had (well, on paper we still have), strong privacy protection laws
    * Thanks to CCC and others, German officials used to be somewhat educated in many privacy and general computing matters

    Now it's not much of a secret that our new government, especially Mrs. Merkel, is very much more US-leaning than the previous one (which, for all its failures, at least kept us out of the stupid Iraq war). Ever since the governmen
  • People will be less concerned to be bad things, under their name. It is more civilized anyway. I like it. Eventually, it may be a simple way to completely avoid unsolicited mail.
  • by trifish (826353)
    To set the sensationalistic title right, from TFA (emphasis mine):

    "European Union countries have until 2009 to put the Data Retention Directive into law, so the proposals seen now are early interpretations. But some people involved in the issue are concerned about a shift in policy in Europe,"

    In democratic parliaments representatives keep proposing "something" all the time. Even crazy and unacceptable ideas. The point is that 90% of these ideas are never approved (not enough votes).
  • German politicians will drop this as soon as they realize that
    • data retention can be too easily circumvented (think of public phones, internet cafes, ...) and even if it could not be circumvented, it would only help to solve about 0.006% of all crimes committed
    • this directive does not need to be implemented because it already violates European human rights conventions and rulings by the European Court of Justice (Ireland already sues against it, BTW)
    • the implementation of this directive would be a violatio

  • Isn't it all too obvious by now? We ALREADY live in a police state, which WE built, and it will last FOREVER.

    Think of it this way, americans left england to avoid taxation (on tea), only to create a country where everything is taxed anyways (sales tax, even on tea). We have created what we hated.

    Now, think of modern day, where we are ruled by fear in our everyday lives. Back in the day the fear was simple, no physical pain. Nowadays we are run by different types of fear. Take for example, fear of expression
  • I'd definitely recommend reading the article. The best part concerns Germany:

    "This is an incredibly bad thing in terms of privacy, since people have grown up with the idea that you ought to be able to have an anonymous e-mail account," Mr. Fleischer said. "Moreover, it's totally unenforceable and would never work."

    Ok, now that the thing is incredibly bad and would never work, the article gives Mr. Fleischer's explanation on how to do it:

    Mr. Fleischer said the law would have to require some kind of identi

  • Will he also have to provide his id? He can usually be found at: root@some.host.name.there ;)

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