EU governments eroding civil liberties at breathtaking rate in name of security

September 11th, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sep 11 (ANI): EU governments and policy-makers are eroding civil liberties and privacy at a “breathtaking” rate in the name of security policy, a damning report has claimed.

Civil liberties watchdog Statewatch slammed the EU’’s post-9/11 security strategy as a “frightening” grab for every aspect of individual information.

The 60-page report - published on the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington - said that the EU now saw data privacy and judicial scrutiny of police surveillance tactics as obstacles to efficient law enforcement co-operation, rather than rights to be safeguarded.

The report, The Shape Of Things To Come, described a so-called EU “Future Group” preparing a new five-year security strategy as “shadowy”, in its plans to co-operate with the US on “extremely controversial” techniques and technologies of surveillance and “enhanced” co-operation.

The group is accused of trying to harness what itself has called the “digital tsunami” to aid law enforcement.

The Statewatch report quotes an EU Council of Ministers documents on justice and security which declared: “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.”

The report goes on: “When traffic data including internet usage is combined with other data held by the state or gathered from non-state sources (tax, employment, bank details, credit card usage, biometrics, criminal record, health record, use of e-government services, travel history etc) a frightening detailed picture of each individual’’s everyday life and habits can be accessed at the click of a button.”

The report adds: “The harnessing of the ”digital tsunami” by public security organisations means that expected behaviour can be assessed by ”machines” on the basis of which directions are given to state officials on the spot.” (ANI)

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