The end of privacy in Europe ?

European law enforcement agencies were given sweeping powers to
monitor telephone, Internet and email traffic in a move denounced by
critics as the biggest threat to data privacy in a generation.

The measure, which will be approved by the 15 EU member states,
will allow governments to force phone and Internet companies to retain
detailed logs of their customers’ communications for an unspecified
period. Currently, records are kept only for a couple of months for
billing purposes before being destroyed.

From mobile
phone records, police will also be able to map people’s movements
because the phones communicate with the nearest base station every few
seconds. In urban areas, the information is accurate to within a few
hundred meters, but when the next generation of mobiles comes on stream
it will pinpoint users’ locations to within a few metros.

While the American and North Europeans democracies will try to
defend the the right to privacy by limiting the access to these
records, the Adevarul newspaper asks what will happen with Eastern Europe democracies where abuses will certanly exists.

Will 2002 be known as the year when privacy ended ?