The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity



Declaration29 – EU plan to retain data on all Internet searches

The European Parliament appears to be trying to create a regulation to require search engine companies to retain total information about their user’s searches for a period of years. If you are in the EU area, I strongly encourage you to reach out to fight this.

Declaration29: “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.”


No tags


  • Mario · October 4, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I live in Italy and four months ago I was receiving anonymous calls on my mobile phone from a molester who was tracked down and identified by the police. In Italy, we are applying Directive 2006/24/EC on mobile telephony and any SIM card holder has to provide prior identification. If the molester had bought his SIM card in Belgium or in another State which does not apply the European directive, we would not have been able to identify this person who already had a criminal record. Does this seem right? Tiziano Motti is right: the directive should be applied and expanded because it is not yet possible to identify stalkers who use social forums rather than mobile phones.


    • Author comment by lance · October 4, 2011 at 6:20 am

      I am very sorry to hear about your experience with stalking. This kind of criminal activity has existed since long before the invention of the phone or the Internet. It is certainly the case that crime can be significantly reduced by instituting a draconian police state with unlimited surveillance and police powers. I would argue, and have argued, that the damage from such a change to society far outweighs the damage from the crimes prevented.
      A tremendous number of fatalities could be avoided if no cars ever drove faster than 25 miles per hour, but as a society we find that tradeoff to be unacceptable because of the gigantic collective benefits of rapid transportation. The benefits of privacy and anonymity to free speech, human rights, whistle blowers, abuse victims, and many others far outweighs the limited increase in police effectiveness to capture those few criminals who do not bother to use many of the other inherently anonymous, and sometimes illegal, communications options.


  • Robert Deffenbaugh · November 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I use Search Encrypt, which doesn’t link any identifiable data to my search behavior.

    There are other tools out there, like DuckDuckGo and StartPage that do the same. There are a lot of steps you can take to avoid getting your search data tracked and recorded.


Leave a Reply