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MEPS are being deceived into signing a Written Declaration which they believe is a statement on child abuse and sexual violence against women. In fact, it is a Trojan Horse for extending the Data Retention Directive. It reflects gutter-lobbying of the worst kind.

The Declaration from two EPP members, Tiziano Motti (Italy) and Anna Zborsk (Slovakia) purports to be a call for setting up a European Early Warning System for sex offenders. It is not a policy proposal but is trying to get the European Parliament to establish a policy position, which could be used to pressure the Commission into drafting policy.

However, what it actually wants is for Directive 2006/24 EC to be extended. But it does not provide the full name of this Directive. If it did provide the name, the objective of the Written Declaration would be revealed. Apparently, 324 MEPs have already signed without bothering to check.

Directive 2006/24 EC is the Data Retention Directive which mandates ISPs and telephone companies to collect and retain communications traffic data for

up to two years. ISPs are asked to retain email traffic data - that is, records of all your emails, who they were sent to, time and date, and subject line. The Directive does not ask them to retain web surfing data.

The Motti-Zborska Written Declaration calls for the Data Retention directive to be extended to include search engines - that is, search engines would have to keep records of the web searches of all European citizens for up to two years. A search engine is not defined - the obvious ones are Google and Yahoo!, but it could include for example, peer-to-peer file-sharing tracker sites, depending on the definition used.

The Motti-Zborska Written Declaration makes the call on the erroneous logic that the open and democratic Internet is somehow responsible for a range of undefined sex offences.

The extension of the Data Retention Directive is on the agenda of the copyright industries, who want access in order to increase their surveillance of alleged copyright infringements.

The Motti-Zborska Written Declaration has raised the concern of Privacy International, which has written to Tiziano Motti. And Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikstrm (ALDE) has written an open letter to all MEPs warning them of the duplicity, and even suggests that the two sponsors set up a website to support their Declaration, but did not explain that they were targetting the Data Retention directive.

The Motti-Zborsk Written Declaration has all the hallmarks of a sharp lobbyist. It is a despicable attempt to use two very serious issues concerning child abuse and sexual violence against women, in order to hide an industry demand.

Retaining the search records of millions of European citizens will do nothing to solve these two issues, nor bring any perpetrators to justice.

This is gutter politics of the worst kind, and MEPs would do well to withdraw or refuse their support.

Read the Motti-Zborsk Written Declaration

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) European Parliament duped over anti-porn Declaration http://www.iptegrity.com 8 June 2010

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

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