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That's something that utterly amazes me about the EU, and your comment. A lot of the protections that exist for privacy in the US against authorities mostly don't exist in the EU.

The EU lets every police force in the EU, or in Interpol request data interception. That is a LOT of organizations, and of course, they got caught doing abuse just the same. But, for instance, the default practice in the US is that you get told your phone is tapped (yes, really), unless the police explains to a judge why not (nearly always), BUT in that case you still get told afterwards. This does not exist in the EU. You will never be told you got tapped.

Second, in the US, the provider looks at the order, verifies it with the proper authorities, and decides for itself on scope, reasonableness, ... etc. In the EU, nope. If an order is received the only actions that a provider can take must be technical in nature. In theory an employee that does the actual tapping of the phone can't even tell his manager he's tapping phones, and definitely he can't tell anyone which phones are to be tapped or why (nor is there any obligation on the part of the requesting force to tell him why, but it is a field on the form). In many countries, this can be done without judicial oversight, or in nearly all cases with only very, very light oversight. This, to me, is far more worrying than the situation in the US.

If a local police officer in Latvia wants to tap the phone of anyone in the EU, he just has to fill out a form and fax it to interpol.

This is even weirder given that Europe has actual experience with abuse of surveillance powers, everywhere from Germany Eastward, as well as during WWII. They KNOW what can go wrong, they just have to ask their parents or grandparents to find people who were actually exposed to this. And yet ...

Next we find out that large-scale spying on the own population is done in, at least, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands ... and not a peep. This was barely reported in the local media, in fact. We all know that most other countries are going to be worse than these, not better. And, of course, they cooperate with the NSA as well.

Hell, the US has reporting on how much they spy on their own citizens (in fact, that's the source of most of the outrage). No such stats in the EU. Nobody, not even the police forces themselves, feels the need to have the most banal, basic level of transparency.

Clearly when it comes to spying the EU is of the opinion, them, yes, perfectly allowed. Think of the children ! I mean, clearly these guys do not believe in privacy.

So yes, it is very Orwellian when they just request that you work with them on the privacy of their citizens. Clearly the result they want is not actual privacy and protections for their citizens.

If they believe in privacy protections, they have a lot of state agencies that they need to attack for not having any decent respect for privacy, as well as the fact that what few protections do exist only exist in a vast complex tangled web that errs on the side of violating people's privacy. And that's ignoring the fact that privacy protections have been systematically eroded further and further in Europe (e.g. recently in Germany).




>A lot of the protections that exist for privacy in the US against authorities mostly don't exist in the EU.

They actually do, the german police for example, generally destroys any video or image footage they make after 24 hours if there is no reason to believe they would help solve a crime.

I can't say anything about Latvia but in germany atleast the privacy of letter and remote communication is heavily protected and usually not granted lightly (exceptions being stuff like actual nazis)

People are definitely aware of the past and there is always a lot of outcry whenever a new law attempts to encroach on that territory, politicians have destroyed their careers with such proposals.

>And that's ignoring the fact that privacy protections have been systematically eroded further and further in Europe (e.g. recently in Germany).

Please note that the BND, the german intelligence service, recently shutdown a surveillance program after several thousands of people requested the deletion of their datasets.

>You will never be told you got tapped.

I don't understand why you should be told that the police is trying to get evidence of you doing a crime? Or someone else's crime?

Again, we have different laws and legal systems (!) in the EU up to and including not having the US constitutions. I think it would benefit the conversation if you recognize these differences instead of applying american laws and principles on the EU.


> They actually do, the german police for example, generally destroys any video or image footage they make after 24 hours if there is no reason to believe they would help solve a crime.

Source ? This, to me, seems unlikely in the extreme. I mean this is strict enough that even I would agree they would regularly shoot themselves in the foot with such a policy.

> Please note that the BND, the german intelligence service, recently shutdown a surveillance program after several thousands of people requested the deletion of their datasets.

I doubt it's the only one. Call me when they change the law back so they can't legally do this.

> I don't understand why you should be told that the police is trying to get evidence of you doing a crime? Or someone else's crime?

The idea, in the US, is that you get informed afterwards. How else will you sue the police if it wasn't reasonable at all ? How will abuses be discovered ?

Keep in mind that more than a few police officers have been sued for using surveillance on women they were merely interested in, in some cases then proceeding to beat up and harass other interested parties. I doubt that this behavior is in fact limited to (a few) US cops, we both know the truth is that (some) EU cops simply get away with it.


>Source ? This, to me, seems unlikely in the extreme. I mean this is strict enough that even I would agree they would regularly shoot themselves in the foot with such a policy.

General guidance policy and numerous court cases. Not all footage is 24 hours, most is however. Some exceptions go for 48 hours. [http://timetravel.mementoweb.org/list/2010/http://www.polize...]

Video surveillance, especially when in public spaces, is frowned upon and there is a long rat tail of court cases.

The law is very strict in when, what, who and how long video surveillance is allowed, including the 24 hour limits, though in case a crime is suspected the footage can be kept for 14 days until a crime is confirmed. [https://recht.nrw.de/lmi/owa/br_bes_text?anw_nr=2&gld_nr=2&u...]

>we both know the truth is that (some) EU cops simply get away with it.

Generally, they are reprimanded or even punished when such behaviour is discovered as it is a violation of various laws, including privacy.

>How else will you sue the police if it wasn't reasonable at all ? How will abuses be discovered ?

Generally, any evidence the police brings up in a court case requires that the police has an explanation on how they got to that evidence. That may have been illegal, in which case a second case might be brought up and the involved officers will be punished.

However, unless the evidence they collected is wrong due to the surveillance (the bar is very low on the police being guilty of forcing you to commit a crime), the evidence will be used regardless (a few edgecases but generally evidence is not poisoned if gained by wrong means like in the US IIRC).

>I doubt it's the only one. Call me when they change the law back so they can't legally do this

Already is, which is in part why the BND stopped this too.

The bar is high for someone tapping the phone or otherwise doing remote communication surveillance, [GzBBPF, Section 1, 2, 4 and 7]. Unless there is a very strong suspicious that you commited treason or commited a federal crime and there is absolutely no other way to prove you did it, they can't legally tap the phone.


I can't believe you can be this naive. Your arguments basically boil down to "the state can be trusted".

Basic dependencies of your argument: the police force will never abuse surveillance, then not make a court case out of it.

Second basic dependency of your argument: the court will easily rule against the very forces they depend on if they find violations.

These are reports German police officers that got caught, shall we say, being VERY untrustworthy:

https://www.itproportal.com/2011/09/12/privacy-boss-slams-ge...

https://www.thelocal.de/20161213/cannibal-cop-convicted-of-m...

http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/2142710/dozens...

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/hanover-police-o...

https://www.thelocal.de/20121017/45615

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM1c_58e6jk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juQD0OU6SD8

So I feel like I've provided plenty of evidence that the police cannot be trusted to act correctly, or even just sane. The German police, clearly, is no exception to this rule. Therefore Germany trusting them to do the right thing is just hiding abuse, not preventing it.

You also left the question unanswered: if tapping is so correctly and justly done, then why does it need to be such a big secret ? There is a case to be made that, sometimes, it needs to be kept secret DURING an investigation, but why afterwards ? In many cases, even that is not necessary, when for instance following or tracing someone who was brought in to the police station, it seems to me like there is no reason whatsoever to keep it a secret that the police reads his mail/call logs/... Why do they want this perpetual secrecy, if not to hide abuse ?

The answer is very simple: because Germany hires neonazis, cannibals, violent bullies and worse into their police force, and police officers like those are also trusted with tapping people's conversations.




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