Please Help Fight EU Search Engine Surveillance

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Just the other day I wrote about the foolishness that was the Gallo Report – which, alas, seems to have gone through with all its excesses. And as if that weren't enough, here's yet another problem that we need to address:

Europe wants to monitor what you search for on the Internet. Under the misleading guise of protecting children against sexual abuse (sigh) Written Declaration 29 calls for the Data Retention Directive to be extended to cover search engines. This would force national Governments to record everything you type into Google, Bing, Yahoo! et al and store that information for years.

The only hope is to write to your MEPs, pointing out that Declaration 29 [.pdf] would not help in the fight against this criminality, but would result in constant, fine-grained surveillance over law-abiding people. Here's what I've sent:

Written Declaration 29 is ostensibly about combatting child pornography and sex offending – a worthy aim. The problem is that the proposed solution – monitoring everyone's use of search engines - won't work, and will cause serious collateral damage to hundreds of millions of people.

It won't work because there can't be many stupid enough to use public search engines for this purpose - and they are easy to catch in other ways.

But the vast majority of citizens, who simply want to carry out innocent, everyday searches, will find themselves under constant and unjustified surveillance. Taken together, search terms can reveal enormous amounts of information about who we are and what we are thinking. And as history has shown, these kind of monitoring schemes are *always* abused by insiders, no matter how severe the penalties for doing so.

If you have signed Declaration 29 under the impression that it will be a valuable tool in the fight against child pornography and sex offending, I urge you to withdraw your signature from what is likely to be instead a measure that would represent a major threat to European citizens' privacy.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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