A NUMBER OF PRIVACY GROUPS have written to European ministers and urged them to rethink controversial data retention plans.
In a very long missive, repeated on Privacy International's web site and with around forty co-signatures, the authors call for caution in the re-writing of data retention rules, which they add were created without full and proper consideration.
The rules would require ISPs and other businesses to retain information for submission to the police and other agencies. Because this can be requested on a case by case basis the data presumably must be personally identifiable.
"We remain convinced that a comprehensive impact assessment will definitively show that data retention is neither necessary for market harmonisation nor for the fight against serious crime and is, therefore, illegal," they wrote as they called for more thought from EU ministers Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding and Commissioner Malmström,
"The European Commission should analyse whether it considers that circumstances exist where the advantages of centralised data storage outweigh the security and privacy risks that such an approach inevitably entails. If such circumstances do not exist, this approach should be explicitly excluded by the Directive."
The data retention directive requires that telecoms companies must retain data on their users, something that has always caused controversy. There is no need for this, according to the authors, which include Digital Rights Ireland, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the European Federation of Journalists, and they expect that their input will encourage more thought.
"We trust that this constructive input will assist you in preparing the impact assessment and reviewing the Data Retention Directive. We remain at your disposal as a constructive partner in this process." µ
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