Thursday, November 24, 2005

LIBE waters down data retention directive

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) has adopted a raft of amendments to the Commission's draft directive on data retention. These will slightly limit the scope for which data can be accessed; impose an upper limit of 12 months; prevent the Commission from changing the types of data stored; clarify that transit networks do not need to store data; and require the publication of detailed statistics on use of the data.

Most interestingly, a further amendment requires judicial authorisation before retained data can be accessed. This would be a major change to UK law, where government agencies can currently self-authorise access to communications data.

The LIBE rapporteur commented:
"Surely the Council will not be happy with this. On the other hand you really have to consider how much the Parliament has already moved, how much people - including myself - have moved away from what they were initially up to, how much they have done to achieve a compromise. The Council has not moved at all for the last half a year. We are now expecting them to demonstrate that they want a compromise."

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