A sad day in the EU!

I just received an email saying that the data retention directive was passed today. 378 votes to 197. It’s a sad day in the EU! The future is filled with work for our brilliant politicians, both EU and national. They will have to deal with a few issues as this directive is passed into laws.

  • How to get a national laws adopted in each country that live up to this new directive, while still not breaking other laws. This should prove interesting since data retention laws has been up for discussion in several EU countries before. They’ve always been rejected. It’s even been said the data retention directive violates the EU human rights directive. Oh, so much fun!
  • They have to somehow sell the idea to the ignorant public. All of a sudden prices for communication will go up just because the companies are forced to start storing more information. It will also be expensive to keep that information secure.
  • Given the higher costs small communication businesses (local ISPs etc) will be forced to close.
  • The politicians will have to make a law that covers the specifics of internet traffic. Especially VOIP data retention will be an interesting subject to follow. How to deal with VPNs.
  • There will most likely be a drop in EU support among the public once it sinks in just how moronic and expensive this directive is. The anti-EU camp can just sit back and watch. The EU politicians have done the job for them.
  • There is a project within EU to make the union more competitive, and I guess the most attractive region for high-tech industry. AFAIK they should be done with this project in 2010. Not much has happened, after all it’s EU. I’d love to read a report on just how far back this directive pushes this project!

I hope the European people won’t accept this. I think the EU sceptics have been handed a sharp and shiny weapon today. It would be disappointing indeed if this doesn’t reach the public so they can see just how distant Brussels really is. They might as well be living on the Moon!

I still have hope in the national politicians. I don’t think this directive will fly on a national level. The “laws of Europe” may say that every member country must pass a law based on the directive within 18 months, but how can they? It’d be a gross invasion of privacy and the technical hurdles are daunting. IP just isn’t designed for this sort of surveillance.

I think it’ll get worse before it gets better. These are indeed interesting times. I need to make some preparations.

  • I need to get tor working properly on my machine at home.
  • I need to get my muttng at home to use an anonymous remailer rather than sending email over my ISP’s SMTP server
  • I will start turning off my mobile phone (I have a PAYG card, but I’m sure I’ve but my name next to my number somewhere and that means I’ll be trackable)

That will actually be rather fun :-)

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