Privacy advocates make plea to Echelon committee

Cyber-Rights lists objections to Echelon and European snooping plans

Privacy organisation Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties has submitted its objections to Internet surveillance ahead of a meeting in the European Parliament today.

A European parliamentary committee is due to discuss the controversial global surveillance system Echelon and the involvement of European countries. The UK has always refused to comment on allegations that it is involved with the surveillance network.

According to Cyber-Rights, the UK would be in serious breach of the Treaty of the European Union if allegations of its involvement in Echelon are found to be true. "Secret surveillance and interception of all forms of communications including Internet communications, cannot be acceptable in democratic societies," the submission reads. While Cyber Rights welcomes the investigation into Echelon it also calls for accountability in the global interception of communications.

The organisation is worried that European proposals for surveillance against cyber criminals is at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights and reminded the committee that the mission of the Council of Europe, according to one of its own judges, is "to prevent the establishment of systems that would allow 'Big Brother' to become master of the citizen's private life".

It is also concerned that the Cyber Crime Convention is breaking privacy rules. "We note a serious lack of commitment to data protection principles within the draft Cyber Crime Convention," the submission states.

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