Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wielki brat

Poland is free. Democracy rules. The state no longer snoops . . . er, actually it does. Poland could in fact be the surveillance capital of Europe on one score.

Polish security organs and others asked for telecom billing records over 1 million times in 2009, according to a European Commission report published on Monday. That is nearly half the reported 2.1 million total for the EU, though many countries did not provide data (such as the UK).

How does this compare to its regional peers? Czech security agencies called for 280,000 records, a lot only when considering the total for Slovakia is 5,200. What about Europe's big boys? France is one of the worst offenders with just over 514,000, but that's still half Poland's total despite the fact France's population is over 20 million people higher. German security agencies are said to have asked for records 35 times less than Polish ones despite having double the population.

Polish regulations on data storage are also harsh. The EU requires telecom operators to store data for at least 6 months. The maximum is 24 months. Naturally, Poland chose to institute a 24-month period.

The daily Gazeta Wyborcza noted Monday that regulations in Poland on who can access these billing records are very loose and pretty much any organ can get them. The EU recommends Poland limit access to the records, shorten the mandatory storage duration, limit abuse of data, as well as other ways to protect our documented selves.

I understand privacy is losing out to Facebook (even dogs are on it these days), but it still bothers me that the Polish state is so keen to tap into people's records. Until we begin having Facebook inserts into our brains in order to "like" everything and finally achieve "world peace" of a sort, I sincerely hope the government makes good on one of its other promises to make the state friendly, not intrusive.

1 comment:

  1. That is the cutest dog I've ever seen.