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European Net libertarians unite

Ten civil rights organisations for the Internet from seven different countries in the European Union have formed one organisation to lobby on European issues.

The European Digital Rights (EDRi) will be based in Brussels and focus on the European Union and the Council of Europe, said Maurice Wessling, EDRi president and director of Bits of Freedom in Amsterdam, one of EDRi's founding members.

"The need for co-operation among European civil liberty organisations is increasing as more regulation for the Internet is originating from the European Union. The individual organisations are quite busy in their own countries and do not have the means or the time to be active in Brussels," said Wessling.

"Especially since 11 September we see acceleration in the pace of civil-rights threatening rules and regulation coming out of Brussels," he said. Some examples are data retention requirements for Internet service providers (ISPs), tapping rules and the international cyber crime treaty, he said.

EDRi is open to privacy and freedom organisations from other European Union countries.

The founding members are: Bits of Freedom (Netherlands), Chaos Computer Club (CCC, Germany), Digital Rights (Denmark), Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFi, Finland), Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR, United Kingdom), Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG, Germany), Imaginons un réseau Internet solidaire (IRIS, France), Privacy International (United Kingdom), Quintessenz (Austria) and Verein für Internet-Benutzer (VIBE!AT, Austria).

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