FECL 12 (February 1993):

COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS AGAINST "FORTRESS EUROPE"

Some hundred computer professionals discussed the effects of European harmonisation on their profession at the annual meeting of FIFF, a German organisation of computer professionals showing concern for peace and social responsibility, last November, in Burg Rothenfels, FRG. The meeting was held under the title: Europe - fortress or democracy?

The participants in particular discussed the increasing role of computerised data processing within such domains as external security policies and armement, internal security and police cooperation, environment policies, and the health and social security systems.

FIFF is extremely preoccupied with the increasing control over European citizens resulting from a rapidly growing electronic information exchange within the EEA. The computer professionals view this development as particularly disquieting, because of the systematic lack of transparency of decision-making in the Community.

The complexity of the legal framework of European harmonisation within and outside the EC increasingly obstructs democratic control of processes and institutions by the citizens. "Pro-active" surveillance is a threat to privacy and civil liberties no longer limited to policing, but also in such areas as health and social security policies.

This was demonstrated in a particular workshop on the role of general computerised registration of personal health and social data in setting up a system of behaviour control (see in this CL: Opinion: The Netherlands - an open door in a Europe without borders; and: Publications and Documents).

Among the important results of the meeting was a projected deepening of cooperation on the European level. The flow of information between organisations critical of the above developments is to be improved, laying the bases for a more active role in the process of decision making. In particular, closer cooperation is planned between FIFF and PFE.

 

Contact: FIFF (Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung), Dagmar Boedicker, Daiserstr. 45, D-8000 München 70, Tel:+49/89 7256547