Civil Liberties

EU top court backs “right to erasure” in Google case

The European Court of Justice has backed the so-called "right to be forgotten" in a landmark judgement today, ruling that individuals should be allowed to request that "irrelevant" and outdated search results be erased on request. The case was brought by a Spanish man against Google, who complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google's search results was an infringement of his privacy.


Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP for London and European justice and home affairs spokeswoman Sarah Ludford said:


Sarah's speech to Parliament the European Court of Justice judgement on data retention

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, the Court judgment is a landmark one for data protection and privacy law in the EU and, undoubtedly, beyond. It sets limits on what is acceptable in the restrictions on liberty in the pursuit of security. We have been debating this for the entire time – the 15 years – that I have been in Parliament, and it has got more complex in an era of online data and communication. article: European court strike-down of illiberal Data Retention Directive welcome

In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice this week declared 'invalid' the highly controversial EU Data Retention Directive. This law requires telecoms companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to store for up to two years traffic and location data on the communications - calls, emails, texts and web browsing – of all 500 million EU citizens. Access to the data is regulated by national rather than EU law.

Landmark EU judgement throws a spanner in the works of increased state surveillance

The European Court of Justice has today declared "invalid" the Data Retention Directive, an EU law requiring telecoms firms to store citizens' communications data for up to two years.


Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP and Home Affairs Spokesperson in the European Parliament Sarah Ludford said:


"It is a vindication of the Lib Dem rejection of this pernicious Directive in 2005 that the EU's highest court finds the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of our calls and emails for access by national agencies an unjustified invasion of privacy and breach of human rights.


Parliament Magazine Article: New EU data protection rules must ‘safeguard privacy’ and research

The debate surrounding medical research, health data and privacy is far from over, says Sarah Ludford MEP in an article for the Parliament Magazine.


As the European parliament prepares to adopt its plenary position on the proposed new EU data protection regulation, the debate around privacy, health data and medical research has intensified. On the one hand, medical research organisations warn that some of the provisions could have serious repercussions on research. On the other, the public and health bodies are rightly concerned about who is collecting their data, how it is being used and whether it is being passed on to unknown third parties.


LibDems push for safeguards in new EU privacy rules

The European Parliament has today agreed its position on proposals for updated data protection rules for businesses, public authorities and police throughout the EU. Once the 28 EU governments reach their common position - hopefully by June - negotiations can take place to enshrine these in EU law.


Sarah's Speech to Parliament on the new EU Data Protection Regulation

Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Madam President, I think it is a real achievement for the European Parliament to adopt its position on the regulation before the end of the mandate. This takes us one step closer to securing reform to guarantee one set of substantive privacy rights across Europe. I thank Jan Albrecht, the rapporteur, for his very energetic steering of our work. We had a few battles, but I think that we all stayed friends.

Sarah's speech to Parliament on state surveillance

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, Mr Kirkhope’s stance against this report shows why the coalition government in London has been unable to do what President Obama has done – to instigate a review of the surveillance practices, legal framework and oversight of the intelligence agencies, and in particular GCHQ. I am therefore delighted that at least the smaller party in the coalition, the Liberal Democrats, is acting.


Letter to Daily Telegraph: Misrepresentations in the debate on EU legal developments

The Editor, Daily Telegraph

Dear Sir,

Tory attempt to block Snowden EP evidence foiled

MEPs from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee today voted to invite video testimony from whistle-blower Edward Snowden to the European Parliament's inquiry into mass surveillance. The evidence session is expected to be held in coming weeks, possibly as early as the week commencing January 20th.


British Conservative MEPs strongly opposed Snowden giving testimony, but were heavily defeated with 36 MEPs voting in favour and only the two Tory MEPs in the committee voting against.


Liberal Democrat MEP and European justice and human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford commented:


Speech to LibDem conference on Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000

Conference, Julian Huppert and Nick Clegg expended a huge amount of energy last year to block the Communications Data Bill, the Snoopers’ Charter. But the revelations in the Guardian – and let’s hear it for Alan Rusbridger and his colleagues! – suggest that they wasted their breath.


Sarah’s speech to LibDem conference on Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000

Conference, Julian Huppert and Nick Clegg expended a huge amount of energy last year to block the Communications Data Bill, the Snoopers’ Charter. But the revelations in the Guardian – and let’s hear it for Alan Rusbridger and his colleagues! – suggest that they wasted their breath.


LibDem Voice Article: Emergency Motion 6 will promote Schedule 7 reform and protect civil liberties

The last time I wrote a piece for LibDem Voice I asked for the assistance of conference voting reps to ensure that party conference debates the detention of David Miranda and the reform of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism 2000 – Labour legislation - under which he was detained.


Emergency Motion 6: Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000

Emergency Motion 6: Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000

40 conference reps

Conference affirms its strong support for effective counter-terrorism powers and its appreciation of the crucial work of the police, border force and intelligence services in responding to terrorist threats and protecting the public.


However, conference firmly believes:


1) that these powers must be framed and applied in strict compliance with the principles of necessity and proportionality, with appropriate respect for civil liberties and the rule of law and subject to robust parliamentary as well as legal accountability, so as to ensure continued public confidence;


LibDem Voice Article: Conference must debate Miranda detention

I was not initially planning to get particularly involved on the David Miranda Schedule 7 issue except as a concerned, nay horrified, spectator. After all, I’m an MEP not an MP nor (at present) able to be active as a peer, and I have plenty on my plate in Brussels.


But from early Monday morning, as I read the admirably vigorous response from the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson QC – and the immediate if deeply hypocritical reaction from Yvette Cooper – I did start to wonder who from the party was going to be vocal. So I tweeted cautiously:


Sarah Ludford        ✔ @SarahLudfordMEP

British victims of crime to get EU-wide protection


An estimated 75 million people fall victim to a crime every year across the EU. The European Parliament has today adopted the first European-wide law on the protection of crime victims, to improve support for them.

European complicity in the CIA rendition programme: inpunity is a violation of EU values


INTVELD_90.pngThe European Parliament voted today on an updated report into alleged European collusion with CIA 'extraordinary rendition' (kidnap and secret illegal detention) developed as part of the Bush "war on terror". The report, five years after Parliament's own inquiry, calls once again on Member States to assume their responsibility, on the Council to support the truth-finding and accountability process and on the Commission to adopt within a year a framework for supporting the national accountability process.

EU states complicit in CIA led rendition and torture must be held accountable


Speaking at a debate of the European Parliament yesterday on her follow-up report into alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford criticised Member States for failing to meet their obligations to carry out full, independent inquiries to investigate human rights violations.

Sarah Ludford commented:

“It’s vital that Member States support independent inquiries to ascertain and secure accountability for their complicity in rendition and torture, without which we risk eroding citizens’ trust in the democratic institutions of the EU to protect and promote our human rights.”

Religious freedom must be safeguarded

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford spoke about her work as a Euro-MP to members of WIZO UK, one of the largest Jewish women’s organisations in the UK, at the invitation of Holocaust survivor Gena Turgel.  The lunch assisted WIZO's fundraising for projects in Israel caring for vulnerable families and children.


Sarah Ludford, who is also vice-President of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, commented:


EU anti-trafficking plans must target local action

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has urged the European Commission to support local as well as international action in its new strategy, due for publication tomorrow, to combat trafficking of people for labour and sex purposes. 

Sarah Ludford commented:


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