[28/02/2006] EU Biggest snooping exercise in history

*** EU ORDERS ALL PHONE, E-MAIL AND INTERNET RECORDS TO BE KEPT FOR UP TO 2
YEARS ... PLANS FOR THE BIGGEST SNOOPING EXERCISE IN HISTORY

An EU directive requiring telecoms firms in Ireland and across the EU to
keep records of all phone, e-mail and internet records of their customers
for between six months and two years was adopted last week by  the Council
of EU Justice Minsters, according to the Irish Times (22 Feb). EU Member
States have 18 months to implement the directive. Each telecoms firm must
keep a record of who contacts whom, and the time and location of calls for
the required time.

The supposed purpose of this biggest snooping exercise in history is
ostensibly to combat crime and terrorism. This drastic new EU law has not
been discussed in the Dail or House of Commons or any other national
Parliament. It is another example of EU-style democracy at work. It is
based on Article 95 of the European Community Treaty which relates to the
approximation of laws affecting "the  establishment and functioning of the
internal market."

This Article makes no reference whatever to crime, justice or terrorism.
Last week's new EU law is a clear example of "creative interpretation" by
the EU Minsters of Justice, legislating behind closed doors, to  give the
EU more powers over us. Slovakia and Ireland queried the legal basis of
this latest EU law, but the only way to stop it coming into force would be
for Ireland to challenge it in the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, AND
TO SUCCEED IN TNAT CHALLENGE. This is very unlikely to happen. Even if
Ireland were to mount such a case,the Court of Justice(ECJ) almost always
backs whatever intepretation of the EU Treaty extends EU powers to the
utmost, and with that the Court's own powers.

*** EU SEEKS NEW POLICE POWERS

As part of the EU's drive for a  pan-EU police force the European Council
is debating proposals to allow police forces to conduct surveillance and
pursue citizens across national borders.  The Austrian EU Presidency has
put forward new amendments to an existing proposal that would allow foreign
police forces to continue surveillance on Irish residents suspected of
committing a crime in another EU Member State, even if the offence is not a
crime in Ireland.  This means that foreign authorities could conduct
surveillance operations or pursue Irish citizens for offences such as
"racism" and "xenophobia", or more imprecise offences such as "swindling",
which are not recognised as offences by Irish or British courts, but which
are regarded as offences under the EU treaties

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