back to article EU ministers to demand more data access after Brussels attacks

Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, European Union ministers are planning on a new security-driven push for access to communications data – including a dedicated international data sharing platform. This comes after 31 people were killed and roughly 300 others were injured when three suicide bombers attacked Brussel's …

  1. hplasm

    But surely...

    It's not more Info they need, it's more Cops!!!

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: But surely...

      Even that will not help now.

      When you stick repeatedly your p*n*s into the North Arfrican/Middle East macerator you should not complain that half of it will go missing once the macerator activates.

      Democracy works ONLY in places where there is a minimal educational and cultural level of the voters. If you ask a Bedouin tribe to vote, they will vote the local equivalent of Mullah Omar (or whoever their dervish priest points to) and he will declare jihad on all the neighboring tribes. On a good day. On a bad day, both the freshly voted-in democratically elected fanatic and the neighbor will declare jihad on whoever came with the stupid idea of introducing democracy in the first place.

      We have attempted forced introduction of democracy in places which are anything between decades (Eastern Iraq, Egypt, etc) and centuries (Lybia) away from being able to survive as stable democratic states. To add insult to injury (as noted by Obama lately) we could not be arsed to even try to follow up after that and support the fledgling democracies. We will now reap what we sow.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: hplasm Re: But surely...

      "'s more Cops!!!" What is required is better use of the cops they have (Brussels has six mayors that each manage their own police forces and don't co-operate well, and is crippled by internal ethnic tensions between French-, Dutch- and German-speaking groups). Less politicians and bureaucrats would seem a much better idea, especially the masses of unelected and ineffectual ones in the EU offices in Brussels. As to intelligence, it is deeply ironic that the EU leaders that shamelessly chased populist votes by shrieking so much about the GCHQ's and NSA's "intrusive spying" are now asking for more access to those exact tools and information.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: But surely...

      It's not more Info they need, it's more Cops!!!

      Sack half the politicians and civil servants in Brussels/Strasbourg and use the money to hire cops. It would help much more, but eurocrats are as likely to vote for that as turkeys are to vote for Christmas.

  2. b0llchit


    When a bus went off the road a few days ago, in which lots of people died in that terrible accident, there was no single soul crying for adding more cameras and control to the bus, driver and occupants.

    If we look at the regularly occurring accidents in transportation and the few media-saturated bombs, then we should get a hard look at our priorities.

    It is a tragedy that so many people died, but do we really need to be sacrificing our society for the media-circus? Why is nobody yelling to add cameras to the bus-driver's arse? That may actually prevent more tragic accidents than a total surveillance police state, which will not catch one single determined attacker.

    (sorry if this sounds like a rant, but I'm really getting tired of having to give up _my_ freedoms for no additional security)

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Priorities...

      It might be useful to think about what was involved in both cases. I do not have full details of the coach incident though I understand it happened in an area known for such accidents, so action should have been, if not already taken at lest in hand. It was not apparently done. In that regard it does have a very direct parallel with Brussels, with its airport now becoming famous for not doing even basic security checks. In fact doing no checks at all and no training or basic awareness training of any such items as no fly lists.

      Do I feel that we have enough intelligence? Not really, but when the Turks deport a bomber back to Europe and warn that he is incoming and dangerous someone should ask why no action was taken. In fact no action appears to have been taken over a number of others either. The famous open door appears to have had no hinges and to have been left lying by the side of the shack.

      Finally I am doubtful that anyone in the coach company who built the darned thing, who organised the driver(s), booked the trip or built the road thought they were doing it to kill or main. The mad drunks, drug takers misfits and low order criminals of Brussels did what they did exactly to kill and maim. Because a stupid disorganisation let them do what they wanted without let or hindrance.

      Now I can see a difference, can you?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Priorities...

        Brussels, with its airport now becoming famous for not doing even basic security checks.

        What? Which security checks would you expect to see, and where?

        At check-in? At the front door? At the unloading point? In the car park?

        It doesn't matter where you start the security, you will always have a point before it which is vulnerable.

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: Priorities...

          If you look into the real substance you will see that a couple of minsters have offered to resign. They security let anyone IN even if they were on a watch list because no one ever checked the list. Clear enough for you?

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: Priorities...

            The bombs were set off by people before they had reached the security checks, so it made sod-all difference how lax the checks may have been. In fact, had the checks been more onerous the queues would quite likely have been bigger and so more people killed. And if the security check point had been moved to the airport entrance, there would have been queues of people there and so that's where the bombs would have been detonated.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: b0llchit Re: Priorities...

      "When a bus went off the road a few days ago...." Road use is already one of the most heavily legislated and monitored activities you can do. Laws already control who can drive, how they can drive, the vehicles that can be driven, and when and where, and under strict control of the police with powers to stop you as they see fit. For example, the police in all European countries can pull you over and charge you with their versions of dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention crimes; give you points for such bad behaviour that can be added up to remove your right to drive by suspending your licence and even send you to prison; enforce you to register the vehicle you use and monitor your use of the road at any time; and you have to undergo rigorous training and qualify to become a driver. Introduction of the same level of monitoring and enforcement of civilian life (just imagine the liberal shrieking if you had to undergo training and pass an exam on "good citizenship" before being allowed out of your home or onto the Internet!) would probably have you shrieking about "Fascists".

      1. Roo

        Re: b0llchit Priorities...

        Not taking anything away from your comments on monitoring & enforcement...

        "just imagine the liberal shrieking if you had to undergo training and pass an exam on "good citizenship" before being allowed out of your home or onto the Internet"

        These days our kids are getting taught about using the Internet "safely" & "responsibly", and their parents are being told not to let them use the Interwebs until the kids & parents have signed a pseudo legal form saying they're fit to do so. Oh and you can get a GCSE in "Citizenship Studies" too, so I think the nanny state is already well on the way to implementing your Straw Man scenario.

        One of the primary purposes of (state) schools is to prepare kids to be good citizens...

    3. scrubber

      Re: Priorities...

      Locks on cockpit doors.

      That was all that was needed in response to 9/11.

      1. Vic

        Re: Priorities...

        Locks on cockpit doors.

        That was all that was needed in response to 9/11.

        Locks on cockpit doors are widely seen as causing far more problems[1] than they solve.

        The hijackings in 2001 could only occur because people had been conditioned to do as they were told during a hijacking - the assumption was always that the hijackers were fairly keen on surviving. Because of that, those aircraft were hijacked by men who were very close to being unarmed[2].

        But things have changed; we're all now aware of the possibility of a suicide-hijacker. Anyone trying the same thing today would get flattened in short order.


        [1] The Germanwings crash, for example, would not have happened if there were no barricade door to the cockpit.

        [2] My usual point about "what constitutes a weapon" notwithstanding.

  3. Alister Silver badge

    Not more data, better analysis

    They should be concentrating on dealing more effectively with the data they already have, not trying to add to it.

    The haystack is big enough already, they need more people with magnets to sift through and find the needles.

    And then, they need to use that information appropriately, not keep it secret. Once again, it appears, the security services were aware of at least one of the Brussels attackers, but they didn't release that information to the people that mattered.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Not more data, better analysis

      And then, they need to use that information appropriately, not keep it secret. Once again, it appears, the security services were aware of at least one of the Brussels attackers, but they didn't release that information to the people that mattered.

      Isn't that exactly what this story reported ministers wanting?

  4. Eponymous Cowherd

    Known risks

    Apparently, yet again, the filth that did this were known to the authorities.

    What we need is better monitoring of the current data on the known persons of interest.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Known risks

      Therein lies the rub. It is a story of latency and too much data.

      the more data they have then the less likely they will be to react in a quick and effective way.

      They need less data and not more.

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Known risks

        It was NOT too much data it was too little action on any data, have you read about the highly critical report on the untrained staff who had no guidance training or support?

    2. scrubber

      Re: Known risks

      Maybe we should monitor the authorities to ensure they act?

      Make a nice change from them actually benefitting (assuming they want more powers and access) from their own failures.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Known risks

      The problem is also one of "what do you do when you know someone is intent on evil"? Intent isn't a crime, yet. Thinking isn't a crime, yet.

      The concept that the police/authorities will protect you from evil doers is misguided. They can't arrest someone for what they haven't done. If they could, we'd all be in trouble since we "might". Should they physically tail people 24/7? Stand outside their front door like the Assange Watch in London?

      So to call for better monitoring is fine, but can anyone define "better monitoring"? And what happens when they mis-connect the dots and come knocking on your door? We techies and the informed populous are already screaming about electronic surveillance. Think of the uproar if you're required to "show your papers" anytime you go anywhere.

      We have the same issues here in the States. Calls for more surveillance, more protection. Exactly how does one do that? The cops here know they can't protect and all they can do is clean up afterwards by arresting the perps.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    "Hastily arranged" meetings and civil liberties

    Go together like ice cream and clam juice!

    (And they'll probably charge you extra for the clam juice in this case!)

    1. BugabooSue

      Re: "Hastily arranged" meetings and civil liberties

      @Marketing Hack - "Go together like ice cream and clam juice!"

      Oh crap! Don't give Blumenthal any more ideas!! :)

      1. Vira

        Re: "Hastily arranged" meetings and civil liberties

        Or that Nigella woman...

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: "Hastily arranged" meetings and civil liberties

      But not you can believe by the euro spookocrats.

      You can believe the European equivalent of the unelected cabal in the Home Office who've pushed for all this BS have been patiently waiting for something like this

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dedicated Platform?

    Sounds like the birth of yet another IT Project Fail in Europe's future.

  7. Matt 94



  8. Commswonk Silver badge

    Oh no not again...

    Ministers had drawn up a draft statement at a “hastily arranged meeting”, which was seen by the Financial Times, which reported that the EU's security politicians will soon call “for a European legislative blueprint to be drawn by June to enable government to obtain easier access” to what is being termed “digital evidence”.

    As good an example of a knee - jerk reaction as is likely to be found anywhere. And when it is found not to work nothing will convince them that a proper analysis of the problem must just have identified a better approach.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Sound like the Madrid bombing when the UK got the Data Retention Directive through

    Despite the Spanish not asking for it.

    Let's hope other European nations have greater respect for civil liberties than the British.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Kneecap Erdogan: Controversy-friendly

    The controversy-friendly Turkish President, Recep Erdogan

    That's the guy who orders a major newspaper to turn from Erdogan-critic to Erdogan-friendly overnight (not even announcing a change of board) while its archives are being "purged", menaces reporters and tells the constitutional court that it is unconstitutional and unpatriotic and should take care what it says. Did I mention that he ordered an attack on his own kurdish.speaking people for no good reason?

    I would say "looking after his popularity level" is a better description than "controversy-friendly".

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Kneecap Erdogan: Controversy-friendly

      Erdogan is only interested in himself, I'm fairly certain he sees his next position as the Grand Sultan of the new Ottoman Empire.

      He is as likely to have sent the guy deliberately to blow up an airport as he is to have warned about him.

      Interestingly, the illegal oil from Iran, Iraq and Syria and being sold to Japan is being tankered out and shipped by a company controlled by Erdogan's son.

      The bus crash in Catalunya was on the AP7, I was there a couple of weeks ago, the section where it crashed has good armco barriers, the police there think the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the winner is........................the terrorists!

    Oh dear - here we go again.......and, once more, the terrorists have won again with the help of our lovely politicians - and here I include the arrogant, self-opinionated, condescending and patronising, the one and only, yes - your own, your VERY own toy politician, the lovely Theresa May! My goodness, she can't wait to get stuck in to the snoopers charter on this excuse!

  12. John Munyard

    Typical politics

    This is nothing more than a piece of track covering by the EU, to distract everyone's attention from the fact that they knew all about these men, knew they had been arrested and extradited to Turkey before returning back ot Belgium.

    They knew all about these people! What bloody good is more data sharing going to do FFS!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tinfoil hat time.

    There is a part of me, that recently, wonders if the sacrifice of 31 lives is sufficient of an outcry to make people demand more surveillance. If not, lets see if the next (orchestrated?) incident does! Then the one after that....Ad nauseam.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Tinfoil hat time.

      As I've been saying a lot - the small numbers killed and injured in these target-rich environments show just how little we have to worry about.* It is still a hugely small chance of being near, let alone involved in, a terrorist incident.

      The key lesson that isn't being learned by those in power is that the information they need already existed in each of the recent incidents. More powers aren't going to alter that.

      * I know it sounds callous put like this, but we are talking about what actions need to be taken in response to this type of incident. If I knew any of the people involved, I would be mourning, just as I would if anyone else I knew had died. However, I don't, so I am no more affected than I am about the thousands of other people who die every day.

  14. jonfr

    Burner phones

    It seems that the attackers in Paris and Brussels where using pre-paid burner phones. No amount of data access can stop that. This demand is just a security theatre and does nothing but infringe of rights of people.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021