April 11, 2006

YOU MEAN IT'S NOT JUST A MATTER OF W BEING A FASCIST?:

Europeans 'see need' for power to snoop (Victor L. Simpson, 4/11/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Since the September 11 attacks and the terrorist bombings that followed in Madrid and London, authorities across the Continent are getting more powers to electronically eavesdrop, and meeting less public opposition than President Bush has over his post-September 11 wiretapping program. [...]

In Italy, which experts agree is the most wiretapped Western democracy, a report to parliament in January by Justice Minister Roberto Castelli said the number of authorized wiretaps more than tripled from 32,000 in 2001 to 106,000 last year.

Italy passed a terrorism law after the July 7 subway bombings in London that opened the way for intelligence agencies to eavesdrop if an attack is feared to be imminent. Only approval from a prosecutor -- not a judge -- is required, but the material gleaned cannot be used as evidence in court.

Similar laws have been approved in France and the Netherlands or proposed elsewhere in Europe, prompting some complaints that the terrorist threat is giving authorities a pretext to abuse powers.

"There is clearly a legitimate role for surveillance. It's a question of what the safeguards are," said Ben Ward, associate director of the European and Asian division of Human Rights Watch.

People in democracies want to be safe from the terrorists, not from themselves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2006 7:23 AM
Comments

Funny that the group that is approving of these policies is the same group that is complaining about our treatment of the prisoners at Gitmo not getting all their rights and being mistreated. Pot, kettle, black?? The sheer hypocrisy of the Euros never fails to amaze me.

Posted by: dick at April 11, 2006 10:35 AM

We may wonder if the "prosecutor" who approves the wiretaps in Italy is actually a investigating magistrate.

Code-law countries do it very differently. They have investigating/comitting magistrates whose function is to conduct thorough and impartial investigations of crimes before sending a case to the court for trial. They are supposed to be judicial officers, not just cops with a law degree.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 11, 2006 11:51 AM
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