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back to article The EU is out to get you, after all

Apologies - from The Register, no less - for appearing to give the impression that the latest piece of Euro-surveillance was not actually part of an ongoing dastardly plot to have each and every one of us "pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed and, er, numbered". Half an apology, perhaps. We reported recently that …

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks...

for confirmation that any thinktank with "watch" in the name is run by raving paranoiacs.

(See also Migrationwatch, Transportwatch)

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Alert

Of course he voted against it...

But, so what? The EU parliament can't prevent the passage of a directive and the commission can simply ignore any amendments it proposes. I really don't know why anyone is surprised when such a thoroughly undemocratic organisation - instituted on undemocratic principles, if you read the treaties that created it and the words of the people who wrote them - behaves in an undemocratic fashion to preserve itself at the expense of the people living under its thrall.

What gets me is that this didn't seem to become an issue until the US was involved. So, the sharing of all this date between European countries is fine and dandy but the minute the Americans take a peek it's an infringement of civil liberties? It was an infringement of civil liberties the minute it was thought up! Crossing the US border just widens the scope for abuse.

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Black Helicopters

The New World Order...

Nice to know that our shadowy overlords love and care for us so much that they want to keep a constant eye on u where ever we may go... a bit like your loving, caring elder brother...

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Unhappy

Don't drive in Greece...

.. or other countries where manner in which the law is applied depends on your nationality and perceived wealth. There will be a stream of holidaymakers who will come home to traffic violation fines with no practical way to contest them.

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Pirate

Gatherers of Intelligence or User of IT? Only One Leads....

They can gather as much as they will, but there is no Defence against a Stream of Random Coordinated Information XXXXChanges putting a Compilation of Readily Available Public Information Together with a Radically Altered/ Revised Prime Object Picture. ...... which is an Abiding Dilemma of not Invested in ForeKnowledge Notification for AfterCare Modification/In House Trials.

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Unhappy

Frankly terrifying

"Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts."

It's like state sponsered Phorm. Time to break out the tinfoil hats, they'll be implanting (more?) chips in our necks next. And who precisely qualifies as a 'public security organisation'? I cite the recent case of the local council using anti-terrorism legislation to catch those trying to avoid school catchment area criteria.

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Linux

Last time this type of database was kept on civilians

Would someone please take a quick look back over the past 100 years and find out when this type of information and detail was kept about civilians and what was done with that information.

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Alert

not just Orwell's 1984

Let's start by saying that The Future Group's paper seems quite good if you don't look at the points concerning the Internet. Nevertheless, the points about the Internet are disturbing on multiple levels.

Let's begin with using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to limit freedom of speech. The problem with combating terrorist propaganda is that it's not hard to imagine a situation in which the views of political rivals or rival doctrines will be labeled as "terrorist propaganda" and prosecuted as such. After all, it is happening in China right now. It is a sad thing that we consider ourselves better than the Chinese but we're working with them to curb freedom of speech (see http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10040152-38.html?tag=nl.e703). And freedom of speech is just the beginning of this. The endgame is a world-wide Big Brother show for the enjoyment of the governments and the corporations working with said governments (see http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/05/chinas-all-seeing-eye about how that's coming along in China already).

From there, it gets to advocating a complete disregard for personal privacy by storing and sharing personal information between government agencies. I will go out on a limb and even say that, if done right, that could have some benefits. But the problem is that the governments are beginning to stop working for their people and start working for large corporations. As proof of this, see how the US Justice Department just became the enforcer of the content distribution companies (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080911-copyright-bill-blasted-as-enormous-gift-to-big-content.html). From this point forward, we're not talking about justice anymore but about the interests of those with huge amounts of money against those with limited amounts of money at their disposal.

The problem is that the most important stakeholders involved in this are the public, and we are not asked when measures as these are discussed. My opinion is that this is a prime example of a situation when the public at large must be consulted through referendums.

It may be overused, but B. Franklin's "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." is getting more and more true each day.

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Coat

@Thanks AC

I suspect that having paranoid watchers in the mix is quite an acceptable price to pay. When both sides of the 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' coin have a healthy amount of paranoia then society as a whole can rest more easily, with less fear in general.

<--- nice U-Turn on the new icons. I like my old cloak much better. Thanks!

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Boffin

The Stazi

Apparently the Stazi have taken over the EU.

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Pass the Parcel .... Grow a Man ..... a Bitter Sweet Red Pill .... of Toro Rosso Blue Blood

"Would someone please take a quick look back over the past 100 years and find out when this type of information and detail was kept about civilians and what was done with that information." ... By Jamie Posted Monday 15th September 2008 12:11 GMT

Information on a Birth Certificate is the Original Base DNA Code recording the Births/Berthed Beings Environment and Live Circumstances.

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Bronze badge

They are not out to get us

Please don't be so paranoid. All they wish to do is put us all into restrictive little boxes to be productive, consumptive, silent and grateful. Woe betide anyone who steps out of, or critises the box.

Conform, consume, obey

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Coat

Why not just buy Google?

"EU policy-makers are pursuing "unfettered powers to access and gather masses of personal data on the everyday life of everyone - so we can all be safe and secure from perceived threats"".

Google already has all the data. Why doesn't the EU just buy Google?

[The "Going Through Pockets" icon seems appropriate.]

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Stop

Mass monitoring

We should all - no matter what your business, personal issues or employment status is - be up in arms over things like this. No government in a 'free' society should (or would) entertain this concept; it provides all the tools required to stamp out free speech and the fundamental rights we have to pursue a, well, free and unfettered life.

However, European Government is an unelected body so it doesn't have to answer to anyone and can thus behave as it likes - this has already been proven with their imposition of laws that over-rule our own hard-fought (very literally in many cases) English and Scottish versions.

One problem is that all states in Europe have sufficient numbers of the "well, only the guilty need be afraid" brigade for this to continue un-opposed - but this is slowly changing: thanks to the tremendous loss of personal data in recent months, some of the innocent are starting to see the danger of allowing Governing bodies holding data they don't *need* and would dearly love to see the worms back in the can - no hope of that, I fear, but there's a groundswell of opinion that needs to be milked carefully so those that fear for all our freedoms don't come across as scaremongers and philistines. Who holds public trust and could speak eloquently and accurately for the cause? Does anyone have any personal links to someone such as John Humphrys?

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Black Helicopters

I am not a number...

...I am a free man! (And wish to remain safely anonymous...)

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Anonymous Coward

One hope

At least history suggests that every time someone introduces a dictatorial regime it eventually falls apart.

The only questions are how long it takes, how many abuses happen in the intervening period, and whether you get to put the bastards up against the wall at the end or they just change their tune & stay in their jobs.

I can only see the current schemes ending badly. I just hope they end badly for the right group of people, and not for the population as a whole.

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Alien

@ einMenschvonMars

"They can gather as much as they will, but there is no Defence against a Stream of Random Coordinated Information"

The same techniques used in spam filtering a couple of generations (technologically) from now combined with Our Friend Gordon E. Moore and they'll be able to "calculate the trajectory of every single dust particle throughout a five-week Dangrabad Beta sand blizzard". Keeping tabs on a few billion (relatively predictable) humans will be child's play.

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@ Graham Dawson

"What gets me is that this didn't seem to become an issue until the US was involved."

At least some of us had been aware of and had tried to point out the potential for totalitarianism and the lack of accountability in the EU a good few years ago. Perhaps because of clever manipulation of public opinion, opposition to its growth was at that time unfashionable.

@AC - thanks "[Statewatch] is run by raving paranoiacs."

When I used to read Statewatch's journal regularly, although their political perspective didn't exactly match my own it seemed to be mostly written by genuine people who oppose injustice. That's quite different from being paranoid.

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Black Helicopters

Some animals are more equal than others

so they are allowed to watch each and every second of our lives (for our own safety and good, of course) but we are not llowed to know anything about their, ehhmmm should I say, tresspasses.

It wasn't too long ago (I can't remember exactly when right now) when there were articles about a secret EP report discussing the lifestyles of MEPs, spending loads of european taxpayers' money (and also from the corporations that "sponsor" them-- without asking for anything in return, of course) to lead excessively luxurious lives and answering to noone for that.

The report was locked Swiss Bank style and to read it you had to:

a) be an MEP

b) sign a lot of papers saying that you will keep it a secret

c) then move in a chamber thad held the report, one person at a time, taking any kind of notes was not allowed

A british MEP was by accident presented to sign the wrong papers and so was not bound in any way to keep the secret. This caused some panic but he did not go on to publicise the report findings. As a matter of fact, neither did any other member of the EP, all those who care soo much for the Public Good and stuff...

And we are talking about a total of 785 MEPs in total, if I am not mistaken.

But they are the pigs, after all...in the Orwellian way, of course.

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Paris Hilton

@Jamie

The last database on all citizens in the UK was the Domesday Book.

http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/faqs.html#1

I particularly like the part of the webpage on this that reads;

"The grand and comprehensive scale on which the Domesday survey took place (see How it was compiled), and the irreversible nature of the information collected led people to compare it to the Last Judgement, or 'Doomsday',"

Paris Hilton, because despite the world going back a century at least I can be happy the old icon is back.

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Unhappy

If there is any hope...

it lies in the proles...

But the proles cannot rebel until they become aware, and they cannot become aware until they have rebelled.

Seems that there's more than NuLab who have adopted 1984 as a guidebook.

Orwell's real name was Blair. Coincidence, or what?

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Anonymous Coward

[title removed by the Mental Hygene Police]

Jean Lambert MEP said "Member States should have to prove why data capture is necessary and be very clear about who will have access to that data before they are permitted to use and store it. [...] Once data is held there is the potential for it to be misused by persons not acting in our best interests."

Like Poole council using RIPA to justify wanting to intercept email and mobile phone communications to "prove" someone was living outside a school cachement area, or the (allegedly ) incorrect reports that certain councils wanted to start a 'doggie dna' register to identify "illegal" poopers?

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