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EU data retention agreement an infringement of civil and human rights - Mary Lou McDonald

14 December, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has today expressed her disappointment in the 'undermining of the civil rights of citizens across the EU'.

Ms McDonald made her comments after the European Parliament voted to agree measures requiring telecommunication companies to store and retain telephone and internet data for between 6 and 24 months. MEPs voted 378 to 197 with 30 abstentions in favour of the proposals.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"This long running debate on data retention has finally come to a head today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Both I and my colleague Bairbre de Brún voted against the proposals. Sinn Féin has made it clear on numerous occasions that we oppose further moves towards national governments having access to the personal details of citizens by storing and accessing all telephone calls, SMS or Internet connections used during previous months.

"Neither do we believe that such access will make us any safer but will increasingly lead to further infringements of the civil liberties of citizens in the EU. Neither the European Council or Commission have presented tangible evidence that serious crimes can actually be solved more successfully by storing enormous and diverse quantities of communication data.

"Today's decision represents an increasing encroachment upon the civil rights of citizens. From data retention to biometric passports to a 'fortress Europe' we are moving inexorably closer to a big brother Europe." ENDS

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