Summary data retention workshop 27c3

At 27c3, a workshop took place on campaigning against data retention on a EU level. It was attended by around 50 people, who on an informal basis shared their ideas on strategy for the campaign and concrete actions. At the end, around 35 people gave up their e-mail address in order to get involved in the campaign. 

To all of you, thanks for attending! Here is a summary of the workshop. Please complement to it if it falls short and add new ideas. It consists of a chapter on 
Apart from the summary, we need the fundaments of our campaign to be rock solid. That starts with the following question: what should the name be of our working group? Please share your ideas here:

A. Strategy for campaigning on a EU level

As we need a EU-wide campaign, we need one place on the web where we gather, organize and disseminate information for ourselves and politicians alike. 

We want to follow the AK Vorrat organisation model on a EU-wide scale. So a specific EU  working group, open to every organization and any committed citizen that shares one  common goal: campaign against the principle of data retention. We  already have 106 organizations joined in a first initiative (,en/), so we are convinced the sky is the limit :)

This involves setting up a wiki. The coming days, Bits of Freedom will work on setting up a neutral and public wiki where we gather information, activities, timelines, etc. for the campaign. At the workshop, someone volunteered to help code the wiki. You are very welcome to get in touch with me :)

At a workshop on the 27c3  congress, we all agreed that we need to develop clear and positive  language - name it a political frame if you will - to be effective. That is, to appeal to the public at large, not only to those that already are against data retention. 

Great scientific research is done on success factors for EU activism in the field of law and technology. You are all encouraged to read the absrtact and article on:

B. Concrete actions for the campaign

b1: Shadow report for the evaluation 

As a counter-initiative to the evaluation report of the European Commission, we will work on a shadow report which truly presents the facts and court rulings on data retention. 

Suggestions in the workshop:

- try and get the support of industry for your report. 
- collect abuse cases from all over europe. 
- help with reading the submissions from different member states 
- if your country does not provide a submission, send a freedom of information request to uncover data from your justice ministry.
- help with data visualization
- help translating the report in as many languages as possible
- help with organising media coverage for the report
- pay attention not only to human rights issues, but also to economic consequences of data retention for societies at large. 

b2: Callshop Meeting

A marvelous idea: offline campaigning in a telephone shop, where you meet with other local activists to call politicians, bureaucrats, companies, etc. afterwards, you have a beer. you invite press and explain the message you are conveying as a group. a sort of flashmob, with a message. 

personally, i (axel, bits of freedom) am very enthusiastic about this idea. 

A first test of this Idea is needed. We try to organise this in my hometown Regensburg.

b3: national campaigns in member states

after the commission releases its report and proposal to revise the directive, the european council (governments) and the european parliament will negotiate the final text of the directive. 

in all member states - but especially in the UK, Spain, Italy and France - we need well organized campaigns and lobby activities to get your government  convinced that the general public is against data retention. 

if you want to organize or volunteer, one possible starting point is your local EDRi-member: otherwise, contact axel [dot ] arnbak [at] bof [dot] nl who can help you set up a local campaign or get in touch with other relevant people. 

b4: convince S&D (social-democrats) and EPP (christian-democrats) fractions

Support in the european parliament will be our most important focus point in the EU-campaign. The vote in the new directive will not come anytime soon (perhaps before or even after summer 2011), but we should start preparing a large campaign sooner rather than later. 

Crucial for a majority in Parliament, is support in the S&D and EPP fractions. We need to identify the relevant Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and establish good relations with them. This will enable us to get through to them, as soon as our shadow report is finalized or the vote in parliament is due. 

One way to do this, would be through youth departments of national socialist or christian parties. one attendee at the workshop is a member of the german s&d youth fraction. 

b5: information booths in the European Parliament

Once our campaign get underway, we should remember there are information booths in parliament that we should use. these are well sought after by MEPs, according to MEP Schaake (LIBE). 

b6: send people to brussels

In order to be effective, we should rise from our computers and travel to brussels. it helps being at the spot. 

we should provide/arrange places  to stay for people that are travelling to brussels. 

b7: form alliances with other professionals

we need to get other professions see the impact of data retention on their work. Think of journalists, european students, the religious community and researchers in general (who are joined in international mailing lists)

our first initiative, the letter to repeal the directive that was co-signed by 106 organisations, was  a good start:,en/

b8: media coverage

media can be reached on many different levels and in many ways. at the wiki, we should provide press releases in as many languages as possible. this enables all campaigners involved to contact their local media outlet and get our message in the news.

b9: urgent actions

on the wiki, an urgent actions chapter should have a prominent spot. this way, you can always surf to the website if you have some time to spare and see where you can help. 

b10: police training by hackers

the hacker community could offer web trainings to law enforcement agencies to illustrate how to effectively train cybercrime units, in stead of having data retention schemes in place that effect the freedoms of every citizens.

b11: clear explanation of legislative process in brussels

the wiki should contain a general section on the legislative process in brussels. here we can also post a general idea of the time frame we have to consider. 

b12: hacktivistas has a tool for contacting policitians

the spanish organisation acitivista has a contacting tool, where you can easily see what politician you should contact with what message. does anyone have a link? 

C. Current status of the evaluation of the data retention directive

EDRi Lecture at 27c3 (27.12.10),de/

Bits of Freedoms report from the data retention conference on 3 december in Brussels: