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A year ago: EU agrees on Net bugging

Penalties will be severe in the extreme

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A meeting of European justice ministers led by our own frightful home secretary, Jack Straw, agreed last week to consider allowing police to eavesdrop on Internet traffic. Unsurprisingly the ministers agreed that police should be given new powers, but they don't seem to have come up with any suggestions as to how the plod will actually be able to do it. If this one runs, then we reckon the US government could find itself with some useful European backing for encryption controls. "We are using 19th century procedures to pursue 21st century criminals," says Straw. By which we presume he means the penalties for Netcrime are going to include transportation and public floggings ® From The Register Number 66

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