[Sinn Fein]

20th August 2002

EU plans for communications monitoring Orwellian in scope

Sinn Fein spokesperson on European Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has described plans to compel European Union member states to retain records of personal communications, including telephone calls and emails, as ``Orwellian in scope'' and ``a clear attempt to subvert EU citizens rights to privacy''.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments following reports that officials in Brussels had drawn up the plans to be put to EU governments next month. Under the plans all telecommunications companies will be compelled to retain the numbers and addresses of calls and emails sent and received by EU citizens.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said ``These plans by the EU to monitor and store the details of all telecommunications by the European citizens are Orwellian in scope and are a clear attempt to subvert peoples rights to privacy. If these plans are allowed to be introduced it would be absolute folly to suggest that they would not be expanded upon or abused. This is simply another case of Big Brother bureaucrats introducing more and more draconian measures by stealth and without reference to the citizens that they are suppose to serve.

``It again highlights the lack of accountability and openness that the EU is infamous for and is another reason for people to vote No to the Treaty of Nice and to put a halt to the drive towards a centralised European superstate.''

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