back to article EU battles over 'anti-terrorist' passenger records slurper law

Law enforcement agencies just want all the data they can get their hands on, regardless of justification - so said disgruntled MEPs at the European Parliament’s hearing on PNR on Tuesday. The PNR (Passenger Name Records) Directive is a proposed EU law that would force airlines to hand over personal information about all …

Overweening

We're getting to the state where if you've got nothing to hide, the security services will want to know why!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overweening

simples: if you have nothing to hide, this means you are very, very smart at hiding something, so worth of _particular_ attention.

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Re: Overweening

That's what happened in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safford_Unified_School_District_v._Redding :_nothing_ found in her backpack -- so they strip-searched her (it was a hunt for contraband Advil ...)

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Gold badge

Re: Overweening

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safford_Unified_School_District_v._Redding

^ What. The. Fuck. What the fucking fucking fuck. What the fucking fucks of almighty fuckety fucks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overweening

More evidence, as if we need if, that absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

And what do Call-me-Dave/Theresa May et al. want more of?

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Re: Overweening @ Trevor

Yup - basically my reaction when I first read it. When I got to the bit where people were immune from prosecution because the law wasn't clear previously, my head exploded! What a fucked up country ... and it's trying to get us all to go the same way.

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Lesson from Yes Minister

"We should always tell the press freely and frankly anything that they could easily find out for themselves"

And so it so with governments - or their security services (the EU drawing a distinction between them: the governing body and their member states' security strikes me as a little odd and rather clueless). Any terrorists entering the EU should be willing to give the security services a name, an itinery and as many phone numbers and email addresses as they think will make them happy. But our overlords and protectors shouldn't be surprised that if they call the number given to arrange a dawn raid and to make sure the address they were given is correct, that the number turns out to be the head of MI6, or their own mother's.

Giving this sort of information to the spooks will not help them. No self-respecting terrorist (well: one who hopes or expects to walk away from an "incident") would give up the goods that easily and therefore the only data they will collect will be from harmless individuals and private citizens with no nefarious intent.

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Re: Lesson from Yes Minister

"No self-respecting terrorist (well: one who hopes or expects to walk away from an "incident") would give up the goods that easily and therefore the only data they will collect will be from harmless individuals and private citizens with no nefarious intent."

AIUI, the terrorists who flow into the WTC made no effort to hide the identifies. So these measures would have been ineffective anyway as no one joined the dots.

Or maybe they did, and let it happen. /tin-foil-hat

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Why ask?

Surely the security services have all the zero-days and hack in place, they can simply take the data they need.

Or just demand the data under secrecy.

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"British MEP, Timothy Kirkhope"

"I am the Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber"

Just thought his party affiliation was worth noting.

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WTF?

Given how poor data(base) security is these days and that the usual response is credit monitoring, does this mean we get lifelong credit monitoring now gratis?*

*Yes, nothing is ever provided free.

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Yes to harmonisation!

By which I mean the UK should scrap its PNR database

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes to harmonisation!

Kind of difficult to run an airline without one, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes to harmonisation!

... and the TfL one used for Oyster Cards as well.

Even if you pay for your (paper) Rail ticket by Credit Card, the Credit Card number can be determined from the information stored on the magnetic strip of the Ticket and your itinerary is then recorded by the system.

Big Boris is Watching you.

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Silver badge
Stop

Its come to something

When its the European parliament that is standing up for our rights over our own elected representatives.

In fact whenever a Dutch or German MEP talks they usually make perfect, proportional sense, far more regularly than the sorry lot of UK MEP's, never mind the European Commission.

No wonder half the tories want out of Europe. it both satisfies their anti European and authoritarian tendencies.

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FAIL

Re: Its come to something

Yes and it's this sort of thing UKIP will leave us wide open to....

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Shut it down.

The state exists at our pleasure. It has no legitimacy otherwise and should be opposed if it continues to exert authority beyond its mandate. This battle has already been fought and won and our rights were paid for with the blood of our forefathers.

The power of the state has a limit and that limit has long since been passed.

There *must* be some avenue whereby people who disagree with the government of the day can organize, protest and if need be make their wishes plain with civil disobedience. If no such avenues exist, then we exist in a tyranny which does not have legitimate authority over us. The representatives of the state break the covenant whereby they gained their power in the first place. A portion of our fundamental laws are designed precisely to ensure we are still able to regain control of our government.

Our fundamental liberties are not up for negotiation and never have been. Those liberties are (part of) the price the state pays for its right to exist at all. They are essential to the covenant we have all made with one another to allow the formation of a civil society. Without those rights, the covenant is broken and all bets are off.

These idiots continue to bring illegal, immoral and illegitimate pressure to bear in their attempts to dismantle the legitimate rule of law. They badly need re-educated and I think that stopping their funding and prosecuting and jailing some of the worst offenders is long overdue.

These continued attempts to undermine the legitimate rule of law indicate that the entirety of the establishment responsible have lost their way and badly misunderstand their relationship to the body politic. They are well beyond any envelope consistent with their legal mandate.

We already have fundamental laws in place that are specifically designed to prevent these types of assaults on society. It is time that we got people into our legislatures and law enforcement establishments that both understand the fundamental laws in place and are willing and able to protect and enforce them.

The requirement for probable cause prior to search and seizure is a constitutional matter and without both a change to the letter of the constitutions *and* ratification by the body politic, no one entity and certainly no one person has any right to ignore this requirement. It is the fundamental law in at least Canada and the United States. Crossing that line is unlawful. If the people in our law enforcement establishment are crossing that line themselves then they need to be relieved of their duties.

The people currently 'horse trading' our rights away are not fit for office. They profoundly misunderstand both the law and their mandate. They should be removed and replaced with people who understand their legitimate mission and are willing to fulfill it appropriately.

A small fraction of the population has mounted an assault on the liberties that our laws are designed to protect. They need to be stopped and our first steps should be to de-fund them, strip them of their power and remove them from their positions. Given how far this has gone, it seems to me that we will not be able to restore order without prosecuting and imprisoning some of the worst offenders.

These miscreants can pass any legislation they please. That does not necessarily make it lawful and being nominally/technically 'lawful' does not necessarily make it legitimate.

The governed at no point gave reasonably informed consent for the current state of affairs. Much of what is happening has no legitimacy at all.

At the end of the day, 'might makes right'. Our political boundaries were all essentially drawn under the force of arms driven largely by economic forces and nominally endorsed by bodies politic. Ultimately, both the legitimate authority and the power to exercise that authority reside inalienably with us. The current state apparatus exercises that power under our proxy, but it is implicit in the covenant that allows that proxy that it is withdrawn if it is abused. We still have the power, by virtue of our numbers, to enforce our will. The easiest way to put this right is to use the ballot box to reclaim the government and then simply shut down funding for offending departments.

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Flame

@btrower

> The state exists at our pleasure.

This must be a usage of the word "pleasure" of which I was previously unaware...

> It has no legitimacy otherwise and should be opposed if it continues to exert authority beyond its mandate. This battle has already been fought and won and our rights were paid for with the blood of our forefathers.

No they weren't. As you say yourself, "At the end of the day, 'might makes right'" - power has accrued among the mightiest, or in more recent cultural parlance, the richest.

> The power of the state has a limit and that limit has long since been passed.

I wish I believed this.

>There *must* be some avenue whereby people who disagree with the government of the day can organize, protest and if need be make their wishes plain with civil disobedience.

Yes - but there are laws against engaging in any and all such activities. These are largely enforced at the discretion of the police, but given that for anyone to notice, such activities would have to happen in London, and therefore the police in question is the Met, it's bound to end badly.

> If no such avenues exist, then we exist in a tyranny which does not have legitimate authority over us.

Well spotted, full marks.

> The representatives of the state break the covenant whereby they gained their power in the first place.

As above - they gained their power in the first place by being bigger and badder (and more recently richer, and therefore able to subcontract bigness and badness out to lowlier grunts), so no convenant applies.

> A portion of our fundamental laws are designed precisely to ensure we are still able to regain control of our government.

No, a portion of our fundamental laws are designed precisely to prevent this (RIPA, Official Secrets, Terrorism legislation, and the tacit understanding that standing in the street holding a placard constitutes a breach of anti-terrorist legislation if the plod on the ground decides it does). There is a second portion of our laws which were designed precisely to make us *think* that we have rights, but these are always secondary to the first portion, and are meaningless in the absence of a proper constitution anyway.

>We still have the power, by virtue of our numbers, to enforce our will.

Depends on whom you mean by "we" - most people think and vote the way they do because the rich people control their world-view in a way which keeps them scared and stupid. So they vote for the lizards because they're afraid that the wrong lizards will get in (pace Douglas Adams).

I, of course, am not stupid - heaven forefend - but since being not-stupid makes me a member of a small political minority in the modern British world, I AM pretty fucking scared.

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Anonymous Coward

If we did not have Isis we would have had to create one

It is wonderful how convenient is ISIS - a Stazi initiative from 3 years back which has been summarily rejected can now be put back on the agenda. If it did not exist we would have had to create one I guess.

Oops... I forgot, we did. By creating the perfect environment for it to grow and gain experience. By sponsoring an insurgency in a region which was guaranteed to yield a fundamental religious militancy one way or another. And putting as many caches of armament in the hands of various boyscouts and sissies across the region so they can be taken once established.

Reminds me of the great works of the master of "enemy within" - Joseph Vissarionovich Jugashvilli. He mastered the "terrorist threat" as an excuse to enforce a police state. When he ran out of "externally assisted terrorist organizations", he invented them. First were the Trotskists (mostly invented until Trotsky was shot), then was "The Trust", then was "The Russian Party". Each and every one of them used to amend the criminal code and the constitution to remove such unnecessary things like the freedom of movement, the presumption of innocense, right to a lawyer in an open trial (instead of a secret one where you cannot see the evidence) and so on.

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Re: If we did not have Isis we would have had to create one

Reminds me of The man who was Thursday

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Silver badge

Why only in Europe?

Most terrorism happens outside europe.

So it would make most sense to share this information with governments where the terrorists are going.

So your credit card, name, address, email and internet traffic should really be given to the Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Cubans etc when you fly there - just as it is given to the Americans.

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Silver badge

Re: Why only in Europe?

It is given if they require it already. The sole difference for the time being is overflights.

USA requires overflights to supply this information as well. This matters little as there is only a handful of flights which overfly USA airspace without landing there - flights to Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

I am not sure if Russia requires advanced passport info on overflights, if it does, avoiding that will make it quite interesting as it is quite expensive (our outright impossible without an extra refuel stop) to fly from Europe to China, Korea, Japan and the rest of the Far East without going through Russian airspace. Ditto for China.

Russia, China, etc (no idea about Cuba) definitely require passenger lists in advance for flights landing there.

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Anonymous Coward

Completely reasonable

Requiring this information for airline passengers is completely reasonable so it's a big gripe over nothing.

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Facepalm

Re: Completely reasonable

> Requiring this information for airline passengers is completely reasonable

Yes, because someone wanting to travel on an aeroplane means that they must be considered to be a potential terrorist...

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The biggest threat to European democracy is not terrorists

The biggest threat to European democracy is not terrorists.

Rather the biggest threat to European democracy is our own secret police and spy agencies; followed by the hegemony of the USA, China and Russia; then American big business and American vote buying (US policy affects us even if we live outside the US); then either terrorists or complacent voters.

How many of us have at some point or another in the past 12 months not posted a political view because of what Snowden revealed? I'm generally pretty outspoken, but I'm sure I'm not the only person to self-censor legitimate criticisms I'd like to make of security services, police and my nation's (Canada's) courts.

How many politicians have voted to support the police or spies because of what they fear police and spy agencies have on their private life. How many journalists and editors have spiked stories out of fear?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The biggest threat to European democracy is not terrorists

As someone else succinctly put it recently:

"Who would have thought the NSA/GCHQ would be the ones to inherit the Stasi mantle?"

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Roo
Windows

"Of course police and security services should get the instruments they need to fight crime, but not more,"

Naw. The fuzz should get the instruments they need to reduce crime and enforce the law fairly, but those instruments require transparent and independent oversight, not only for legitimacy and trust but to ensure they are not misused. The crucial transparent and independent oversight bit hasn't even been discussed let alone offered yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Remembrance Day

The day when we remember that despite the evils of previous generations and consequential catastrophic damage to society, we are doomed, courtesy of our glorious leaders, to learn nothing from history.

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Another unnecessary data grab

If it's not "think of the children" it's "think of the national security" and in both cases little will be prevented by the data mining. British citizens, who may have an email address, phone number, credit card and whatever else, but having all those things isn't going to stop them travelling to Turkey where they will cross over into Syria. In fact many seem quite happy to tweet about who and where they are and what they are doing once they get there.

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Silver badge

Bit of a Loophole?

What's to stop terrorists avoiding these measures by driving across borders, or using trains or ferries?

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Curious name

Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld - 'in the field'.

Seems I'm not the only one who thinks so - from WikiP:

A Washington judge ruled in 2009 that the United States government does not need to explain to Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld why she must undergo additional security checks each time she visits the US

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Unhappy

Re: Bit of a Loophole?

no, that's next on the agenda easy for ferries but they have to put up the fencing to stop most driving across borders and that takes time

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Anonymous Coward

Something that bothers me greatly

> Speaking in favour of the law on Tuesday, British MEP [....]

Is the frequent use of this tactic by British lawmakers: they try to pass in Brussels anything that would be unpopular to talk about at home. When they do get away with it, they whine to their constituents "The Europeans made us do it!" Let us remember the Data Retention Directive for a start.

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