Hurrah for the land of waffles, sublime chocolates and "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" for it is the civil liberties groups of this diminutive nation, and they alone, who have so far had the brussels sprouts to stand up and oppose the pernicious EU Data Retention Directive.
For those unaware, the aforementioned DRD is an unnecessarily intrusive piece of EU legislation which came into force on 15th March this year, forcing internet service providers across the continent to store all the communication information they get from customers for 12 months at a time.
Under the directive, details of every email, phone call and text message sent or received - including information such as IP address and time of use - have to be recorded. In addition, police and security forces will be able to request access to the information using a court order.
Well, now several Belgian organisations including the League for Human Rights, the Flemish Association of Journalists and the Flemish Bar, have launched a website petition against the directive. Hurrah.
Last word to the organisers of the petition (approx translation!):
This campaign stems from the sincere conviction of the promoting organisations that a general data retention programme can not bring a solution to the security problem...data retention is a serious violation of the right to privacy...
...there is no need for data retention at either a European or Belgian level and we point to the fact that many experts have demonstrated that a policy of general data retention in is practice no guarantee against terrorism or crime.
By Dylan Sharpe
Hat tip to the fantastic Open Europe