Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Behind closed doors

The clock is ticking on data retention policy for the EU, and the good folks at EDRI (along with many others) are miffed at the process, which they question as being less than democratic and transparent. Not to mention that the entire exercise is almost certainly pointless and counterproductive. Point five of the letter to European MPs, being delivered just about now, is particularly insidious:
"5. The Directive requires more invasive laws. Once adopted, this Directive will prove not to be the ultimate solution against serious crimes. There will be calls for additional draconian measures including:

-the prior identification of all those who communicate, thus requiring ID cards at cybercafes, public telephone booths, wireless hotspots, and identification of all pre-paid clients;

- the banning of all international communications services such as webmail (e.g. Hotmail and Gmail) and blocking the use of non-EU internet service providers and advanced corporate services.

EuroTelcos will scream about the compliance costs, but if the long-term by-product is degradation of user experience for third party communications tools (as well as crushing financially weaker small upstarts), I very much doubt they will drown in their own tears. As with all these attempts at centralized control, however, I'm skeptical - every action invites a reaction, and this is just the incentive for a truly plug-and-play Tor.

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