Council of Europe: more privacy required by privacy violation Secret Service




Countries must introduce stricter privacy rules and lay the secret services curtailed. This is suggested by the Council of Europe, an advisory body. The activities of the secret services are contrary to human rights, says the Council.

There would be regulated, both nationally and internationally, ensuring that human rights are respected, says the Council of Europe – an advisory body which is independent of the European Union and has no legal powers. At present it is not so, the Council notes, the activities of the secret services, according to the organ in conflict with the right to privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to a fair trial. The Board concludes that based on the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Members of the Council of Europe – including the Netherlands, but also the United States and the United Kingdom, center of the Snowden-disclosure – would have to come with legislation that collect large-scale personal information is punishable, advises the Council. Collection would only allowed with the permission of the person in question, or if there is a concrete suspicion on him or her alone.

That would mean that the Dutch data collection by the government can not pass muster. At this time, providers have metadata about their customers – who calls whom, who is where at what time – save six months to a year. Also, Internet and telecom providers to upload their entire customer base every day to the police. The majority of the people whose data is stored, is innocent.

Create backdoors in software would continue ‘should be strictly forbidden according to the Council. The secret services should agree that they treat foreigners the same as citizens of the country; at present it is not so. Netherlands provided data on satellite communications by foreigners for example in bulk to the United States, while that of Dutch had not liked.

According to the Council of Europe have secret services would be able to collect data on suspected terrorists and criminals, but research from the United States that large-scale data collection there not help and may even work against, because money that is intended for the intelligence is inserted into useless data collection. International cooperation with other intelligence is needed, the Council recognizes, while ensuring that human rights should be respected, and that happens in the Council not now.

The Council is concerned that the advanced capabilities of the secret services will be abused by governments who are less fortunate with citizens. It is quite possible that extreme parties coming to power, the Council notes. The authors of the report, led by the Dutch parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt are also concerned about the extensive data collection by businesses. The collected data can indeed be abused by the secret services.

It is unlikely that the recommendations of the European Council will be taken. Especially after the attacks in Paris are calling for broader powers of the secret services. The Netherlands also has been working on legislation that gives the secret services just more powers. So they may soon also unfocused wander in data being sent over the Internet, while that at the moment can only still focused.


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