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
I am sure everyone has heard by now that the European politicians digged deep
and managed to find some intelligence and common sense–the directive on
“harmonisation of the patent rules”, which would allow software patents, was
voted down. Legally we seem to be back where we began. FFII has managed to
reach farther than what was thought possible and a lot of knowldege has been
gained. FFII is now very well equipped to meet the next attempt by the
patent cartel to introduce software patents.
A few days ago I didn’t hold much hope about the outcome of today’s vote and I
wrote the following:
I’d like to express my thanks to the European politicians who have decided
to finally introduce software patents in the EU. This means that European
software developers have finally become men. No longer are we nerds and
geeks sitting inside, slowly turning more and more gray in front of our
screens. Thanks to the MEPs we have now become men. We are no longer second
rate compared to our American cousins, but we have taken our rightful place
next to them as real, manly software programmers. Manly? Yes of course!
Thanks to our enlightened politicians software development has now become an
extreme sport. It can be found right up there with sky diving and rock
climbing in the list of dangerous passtimes. As a matter of fact software
programming offers dangers on several levels, raising the bar for all
extreme activities! For the first time there is a hobby that offers all of
the following dangers:
- losing your livelyhood simply by realising one’s ideas and distributing
- several years of being dragged to court
- navigating a minefield of obvious ideas and solutions forcing the use of
complex and error-prone algorithms
I’m sure all rock climbers are envious and are considering taking up
programming by now.
Thank you European politicians!
Luckily the world turned out to be a better place than I tought it was.
I’ve long suspected that the EU politicians inhabit a different world
than the rest of us. My suspicions have been confirmed during the last
week. How they can expect to be taken seriously when they clearly aren’t
taking the European voters seriously is beyond me.
Believe me, I understand that they all had a lot riding on the
constitution. Just the fact that there was no plan B is proof enough
that all of them had invested heavily in it. But please, and this goes
out to all the EU politicians and bureaucrats, try to save a bit of your
dignity and let the EU constitution die.
After living the last five years in Holland, where EU hardly ever is questioned, I find it great to be back in a country where most peopleseem to have a healthy level of scepticism to what happens in Brussels.
The latest thing here in the UK is the attempt to remove the opt-out scheme John Major negotiated for the 48-hour working week. Besides labelling EU the “nanny super state” they do bring up some quite good arguments against removing it. The flexible labour market being the strongest, I think. Personally I find it interesting that instead of addressing the rigid local markets in France (touted the source of all evil in EU here and Germany they instead try to impose the same rules on the rest of the member countries. (According to a French colleague I have this is the strategy France has followed all along in EU.) The British are also worried about the costs of enforcement, something that the other EU countries don’t seem to mind–could it be because they don’t enforce it? (I have to admit I’ve never heard anything about enforcement of this when I was working in Sweden or Holland.)
Apparently this is introduced by unionists. They think that by removing the opt-out it will increase the health and well-being of the British. What they seem to miss is the trends you find in the EU countries. As always people will find ways around this. In all countries where it’s hard to fire people you can see an increase in consultants. It makes more economic sense to hire an expensive consultant and know for sure that he can be let go, rather than hiring someone permanently and pay through the nose when you have to bring out the axe. Talk about a decrease in job security! Forcing a 48-hour week upon the British whould probably have a similar effect, since self-employed people are exempt we would see a dramatic increase in self-employed consultants. Job security would take another hit!
Well, there is some hope since the new member states don’t seem too keen on creating a rigid labour market making it harder for them to catch upwith the older members.