26 February 2003

Sinn Fein's Aengus O Snodaigh directed a question at the Taoiseach yesterday about the proposed data retention bill and the news that the government already has a secret retention regime in place (since last April, by Cabinet decision). From the SF press release (warning: press release spin ahead). The Taoiseach (prime minister) is clearly wrong in saying such a bill has been published. I hope other deputies will raise the issue as well:

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Taoiseach to make a public explanation following reports that the state has had a secret data retention regime for almost a year, authorised by former Minister for Enterprise Mary O'Rourke.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"This revelation is all the more shocking because we are still waiting for publication of the proposed Data Retention Bill, and the public debate on the proposed measures that would ensue. This Bill is bound to be extremely controversial in that it will mandate retention of all phone, mobile, internet, fax, and email traffic information for three years. It represents a significant infringement of the right to privacy. It will also undermine protections not yet enshrined in law under the Data Protection Bill that is still making its way through the House ...

"But I am perplexed about the Taoiseach's response to my question about the Bill today in the House. When I asked about the status of the Data Retention Bill -- given that the secret regime was reportedly already in place for over a year -- he merely replied that the Bill had already been published. Yet the Dáil deputies have not seen it. To the best of my information, this is not in fact the case. As far as I am concerned, the Taoiseach still owes a public explanation as to the reason for the secret regime, and the status of the Data Retention Bill that is due to be published and debated publicly."

9:59:38 AM  #   your two cents []

From the No Comment Dept (I mean, what can be said about the stupidity of such a point of view coming from the national police force?!? And the ministers that abuse this 'privilege'?!?):

Gardai free to speed when driving the Taoiseach and ministers

The Garda Commissioner has told the National Safety Council that gardaí driving the Taoiseach and his Ministers can break the speed limit at their own discretion in a letter described as "deeply disappointing" by the council, which has been urging ministers to slow down, writes Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent...

In his letter on December 3rd last, Mr Shaw wrote to Mr Byrne saying that while he accepted there were exceptional circumstances that involved gardaí breaking the speed limit, "I do not accept that this includes football matches, election canvassing timetables, delivering a minister's family to their home or other activities."

These were references to the speeding incidents involving the Taoiseach when canvassing in Wexford, the Minister for Health when travelling to a GAA match and the car used by the then Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, which was bringing members of his family home.

9:53:29 AM  #   your two cents []
Rita Rudner. "I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." [Quotes of the Day]
9:43:42 AM  #   your two cents []
Ambrose Bierce. "Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion." [Quotes of the Day]
9:42:52 AM  #   your two cents []
What happened when seven Guardian journalists went busking?. When Badly Drawn Boy went busking in London he made £1.60. Can seven Guardian journalists do better? [Guardian Unlimited]
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Net music gets AOL audition. After a year of delay, the online music service MusicNet finally launches, but is legal Net music ready for prime time? [CNET News.com]
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Not-so-clean cars. President Bush says hydrogen fuel-cell cars guarantee a pollution-free future. But there's a catch: Where's all the hydrogen going to come from? [Salon.com]
9:36:54 AM  #   your two cents []
From Boing Boing Blog: American workers in photos. "Lost Labor is an absolutely beautiful gallery of vintage photos of American laborers from the eary part of the 20th century." Link
9:34:45 AM  #   your two cents []

"Phil Gyford has produced An introduction to weblog terms for weblog readers. It explains RSS, permalinking and trackback - some of the more commonly mentioned weblog-specific pieces of jargon." [Blog.org]

9:31:23 AM  #   your two cents []