[ISN] EU to force ISPs and telcos to retain data for one year

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Aug 21 2002 - 23:18:34 PDT

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    Forwarded from: Jei <jeiat_private>
    EU to force ISPs and telcos to retain data for one year
    By John Leyden
    Posted: 20/08/2002 at 11:56 GMT
    European Union proposals on data retention would compel telecom firms
    to keep customer email logs, details of internet usage and phone call
    records for at least a year.
    That's the gist of proposals leaked via civil liberties group
    Statewatch, which says the plans increase law enforcement powers
    without adequate civil liberties safeguards.
    In the name of tackling "terrorism" the EU's Justice and Home Affairs
    Minister decided last September that law enforcement agencies needed
    to have access to all traffic data (phone-calls, mobile calls, emails,
    faxes and internet usage) for the purpose of criminal investigations
    in general. The data would not include the contents of messages - only
    the timing, source and destination of communications.
    A 1997 EC Directive on privacy in telecommunications, which said that
    traffic data could only be retained for billing purposes prior to its
    erasure, stood in the way of this ambition.
    A deal agreed between the Council (the 15 governments) and the two
    largest parties in the European Parliament (PPE, conservative and PSE,
    Socialist groups) pulled the teeth from the 1997 directive on privacy.
    The obligation to erase data was removed and this enabled governments
    to adopt laws for data retention if national parliaments agreed.
    However document leaked to Statewatch show EU governments always
    intended to introduce a law to bind all member states to adopt data
    This draft Framework Decision says that data should be retained for 12
    to 24 months in order for law enforcement agencies to have access to
    it. Records would only become available to law enforcement agencies
    after judicial approval, though Statewatch expresses grave doubts
    about this and argues that the proposals are the 'thin end of the
    Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, said that the framework furthers a
    move from targeted police surveillance powers to "potentially
    universal surveillance".
    "The right to privacy in our communications - e-mails, phone-calls,
    faxes and mobile phones - was a hard-won right which has now been
    taken away. Under the guise of fighting "terrorism" everyone's
    communications are to be placed under surveillance, he said.
    "Gone too under the draft Framework Decision are basic rights of data
    protection, proper rules of procedure, scrutiny by supervisory bodies
    and judical review."
    On August 14, the Danish Presidency put out to all EU governments a
    "Questionnaire on traffic data retention" for completion and return
    "preferably by e-mail" by Monday 9 September, which will form the
    basis of further EU action. 
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