So, there's a Written Declaration 29 making the rounds in the EU Parliament.
First, let me explain how Written Declarations work.
It's kind of like those shitty "If X people join this group I'll wax my balls" groups on Facebook. If more than 50% of the MEPs press the Like button, then that written declaration becomes official parliament policy - not a law, but the parliament's official opinion on something.
For example, Written Declaration 30 wants to limit the use of trans-fatty acids in food, and Written Declaration 34 wants to make May 22 the European Day Against Obesity. The parliament doesn't like fatties, it seems.
And then there's Written Declaration 29. Ye gods.
It is, of course, about child porn. On the surface, at least. When you scratch below the surface, the thick, vile ichor of politics
starts oozing up, forming slimy tentacles reaching for the nearest bodily orifice to rip your soul from your quivering body.
There's a site with the ominous name Smile29
about the WD, complete with a picture of a child perfectly chosen to look vulnerable and tug at heart strings.
Here is the text of WD29
(PDF). Right then, let's start ripping it apart!
A. whereas it is essential to ensure that the internet continues to afford a high level of virtual
democracy, which does not present any threat to women and children,
B. whereas, however, improper use of the opportunities provided by technology may
facilitate child pornography and sex offending,
C. whereas the internet also allows paedophiles and sex offenders to enjoy freedom of action,
putting them on the same footing as honest citizens and making it difficult for the
authorities to trace them,
We start by establishing that pedophiles aren't people
. In fact, they need to be traced at all times, even at the suspicion of being sexually attracted to children, whether or not they have actually ever acted on this attraction. Innocent until proven guilty should not apply to these ab-people.
1. Calls on the Council and the Commission to act on Communication COM(2007)0267;
2. Asks the Council and the Commission to implement Directive 2006/24/EC and extend it
to search engines in order to tackle online child pornography and sex offending rapidly
3. Calls on the Member States to coordinate a European early warning system involving their
public authorities, based on the existing system for food safety, as a means of tackling
paedophilia and sex offending;
4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the
signatories, to the Council and the Commission.
Point 1 is a document titled "Value added tax VAT: common system, treatment of insurance and financial services (amend. 'VAT Directive' 2006/112/EC)", which doesn't sound all that relevant - further analysis pending from my sources and contacts.
Point 2. Oh boy.
Directive 2006/24/EC is the Data Retention Directive
. It's already getting sneaky here, by referring to it by its ID number instead of its name, so the unwary MEP might just sign it without thinking further, because hey, it's "for the children", right?
Wikipedia has the following paragraph about it:
According to the directive, member states will have to store citizens' telecommunications data for six to 24 months stipulating a maximum time period. Under the directive the police and security agencies will be able to request access to details such as IP address and time of use of every email, phone call and text message sent or received. A request to access the information will be able only with a court order.
The Data Retention Directive has sparked serious concerns from privacy groups, IT security firms and legal experts.
This directive is already in effect, though not yet implemented by all EU nations. Sweden opted for the maximum 24 months of data retention, in spite of heavy protests.
In addition to logging the sender and receiver (but not actual contents, if you believe them) of all emails, all phone calls (number of caller and receiver), text messages sent and received, as well as the position of your cell phone, making your phone a tracker for the state, all search engine queries will under this WD be saved, together with the IP address doing the search.
All in order to "protect the children".
Hands up, everyone that thinks the hardcore pedophiles go to Google Image Search and type "hot pics of young boys with a dick up their ass".
The Data Retention Directive itself is already under heavy fire from all directions, among them an official query as to whether it intrudes on personal rights and freedoms and the EU constitution itself.
MEP Cecilia Wikström from the liberal group ALDE has written a letter to all fellow MEPs explaining how she was misled into signing the declaration:
Both of the two e-mails sent to MEPs focused on the early warning system and neither mentioned the data retention Directive. The website set up to support the written declaration also does not mention data retention, at least not in an obvious way. Even the written declaration itself does not mention the Directive by name, but only refers to its reference number.
Bearing in mind the fact that data retention is not relevant to an early-warning system and that none of the material made available to MEPs on the subject mentioned data retention, it seems very likely that MEPs signed the Written Declaration unaware of this aspect of the text, just like I did.
Honor and respect to MEP Wikström for standing up for her ideals and not blindly signing anything that says "protect the children" on it.
Then we have wankers like Alf Svensson (Swedish Christ Democrats), who said something along the lines of "This is such a colossal abuse of the children. Then you need to take a step back and not be afraid of your personal interests being revealed. Even if you can't find all material you have to try."
My official opinion is that Alf Svensson is the very definition of a useful idiot
. Fuck you, Alf Svensson. You're only being used as a sock puppet to ram this through the Parliament.
By Alf's very definition you need to "accept" this and "take a step back" and accept the fact that you are a potential pedophile in need of constant monitoring, both on the internet as well as in your physical life, by constantly tracking your location.
So, who came up with this pile of crap? Why, MEPs Tiziano Motti (Italy) and Anna Záborská (Slovakia).
Anna Záborská has the following opinions documented:
No crime is disgusting enough to validate the dismantling of the system of justice.
- Opposed to gay rights
- Opposed to discrimination laws
- Thinks AIDS is god's vengeance against homosexuality
- Thinks abortion should be illegal, including in rape cases
Storing search engine queries for 6-24 months will accomplish absolutely nothing
to prevent child abuse and the dissemination of child pornography. Undercover agents have already documented the rings that swap CP - they're at the very forefront of cryptographic technology. They don't fucking Google it.
There are other equally disgusting crimes - murder, rape, assaults. In these cases we don't accept the total restructuring of our personal integrity in order to prevent these crimes. Yet when it comes to child porn, it suddenly seems acceptible to start lobbying for this.
This slope is already plenty slippery. As soon as search engine queries start getting stored, you'll have a long queue of "special interests" demanding access to it.
Stopped smiling yet? I have. But the record industry is probably grinning like the Cheshire Cat right now. After all, they like child pornography, because "politicians understand child pornography", and with it they can be manipulated.
Remember what I started this post with? If 50% of MEPs press the Like button, this becomes official policy.
There are 736 MEPs. Half of that is 369.
This written declaration has 324 signatures.