Leaked EU memo highlights concerns over data retention law

Digital rights groups say the memo reveals a hidden agenda

Digital rights groups in Europe have called for a ban on blanket data retention after a leaked internal memo from the European Commission admitted that there are significant problems with the current E.U. Data Retention Directive.

The German Working Group on Data Retention (AK Vorrat) published the leaked memo, which lists various issues that the Commission believes must be addressed in the 2006 law. It says that because the law is implemented in different ways in different member states, it disrupts the single market.

This is particularly insidious, said AK Vorrat, as the directive was not adopted as a law enforcement tool, but as an instrument of market harmonization. "The Commission has failed to prove the necessity of the data retention directive," said Frank Herrmann of AK Vorrat. "Instead the Commission is asking the E.U. member states for arbitrary examples of benefits of data retention. This obliterates any trust in the impartiality of the Commission."

Indeed, the memo says that the benefits of data retention are difficult to quantify as there is currently no account kept of whether data accessed under the Data Retention Directive would have already been available to authorities, or how many successful cases it was used in. Another problem is that there is no Europe-wide definition of a "serious crime" causing many digital rights groups, including EDRi, to worry about the possibility of mission creep.

However, while the Commission admits that "there is a continued perception that there is little evidence at an E.U. and national level of the value of data retention," it nonetheless presses forward to find ways of "demonstrating the value of data retention."

The Commission is due to present its proposals for the reform of the directive by July 2012.

Meanwhile, the Irish High Court has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the Data Retention Directive respects the rights of the user. The request stems from a case brought by Digital Rights Ireland against the Minister for Communications. Digital Rights Ireland argues that forcing telecoms companies to retain information about how customers use their services breaches individual rights to privacy.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?