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A group of members of European Parliament is collecting signatures for a Written Declaration that reads: "The European Parliament [...] 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 and effectively".

The Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC requires that details on every telephone call, text message, e-mail and Internet connection be recorded for months, for the entire population, in the absence of any suspicion. As to what is wrong with data retention please refer to DRletter. The Written Declaration even wants to extend data retention to search engines, meaning that your search terms could be tracked for months back.

The proposed declaration has been signed by 371 MEPs (list of names here) - and thus reached the 368 members needed to pass it. Many MEPs signed because of the title of the document ("setting up a European early warning system (EWS) for paedophiles and sex offenders"), not knowing that they are endorsing blanket data retention as well. More than 30 MEPs decided to withdraw their signature, one even on the day of adoption.

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Socialists and Democrats Group letter

It appears that the secretary general of the Socialists and Democrats Group in European Parliament has written to all the MEPs of that group to warn them about Written Declaration 29. Key points are:

  1. It explains that the Declaration would extend the DR Directive to cover search engines.
  2. Search engines are not a way in which abuse material is generally accessed, it goes through more "discrete" [sic] channels
  3. MEPs are asked not to sign or to withdraw if they have already signed.
  4. It points out that several Members from other democratic groups have already announced publically that they have been mislead and have withdrawn their signature.

Motti mail

The author of the declaration sent the following e-mail on 17 June to MEPs "clarifying" his proposed declaration:

To the Members of the European Parliament

Important: clarification on Written declaration 29

Dear Colleague,

Written Declaration 29 is receiving high consensus. Nevertheless, I would like to clarify one paragraph of the text of the Written Declaration 29, related to "search engines". Written declaration 29, still respecting citizen right to privacy, has the target of creating an European Early Warning System in order to make paedophiles punishable when found guilty of using the Internet to lure children and to upload sexual children related content; Furthermore, this initiative calls the Council and the Commission to extend Directive 2006/24 CE, known as the "Data Detention Directive", to the internet users who upload contents, images and videos portraying abuses on children in Internet platforms (such as user generated contents websites).
There is no intention to extend this Directive to the same search engines for internet users looking for any other kind of topic.

For the sake of avoiding technicalities, I have simply indicated in the text of the Declaration the wording "search engines", but it is in no way aiming or identifying the willingness of including "any research made through the search engines". On the contrary: the declaration has the only objective to persecute children related pornography and sexual harassment online. Again, not any research made through search engines.

Whereas Written Declaration is a not a legislative act, I wish that Written Declaration n.29 hits the target of being approved and may become simply a base of discussion in future in order to promote better protection of children rights still by guarantying every citizen right to privacy.

I will be more than happy to be at your full disposal for any further clarification and I thank you in advance for your appreciated and wide adhesion to this initiative.

Best regards

Tiziano Motti

Comment: This is contrary to the wording of the Declaration and wrong.

Pro declaration lobbying

The EP is cluttered with posters, flyers and pamphlets. Photos:

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