Looking for help with the Online Safety Act - Ofcom consultations? Please get in touch. 

My Masters dissertation considered the debate surrounding the EU data retention directive (2006/24/EC).

I completed the dissertation in August 2006, at the same time as my mother lay dying in hospital. It wasn't an easy time, and to all those whom I have not personally thanked, please accept my gratitude for your help in this research.

For this reason, I have included an abstract of the dissertation here:


ABSTRACT of Dissertation submitted for the M.A. Degree in Communications Policy, University of Westminster

This dissertation examines the debate surrounding Internet data retention during the legislative process of the EU data retention directive, setting out the issues that were raised by its proponents as well as its opponents. Directive 2006/24/EC, as it is now known, was approved by the European Parliament in December 2005. The directive mandated all communications traffic data for phone, Internet access, email and Internet telephony to be stored for periods of between 6 months to 2 years, in case access is needed by law enforcement authorities. It was driven through the legislature in only 3 months.

The proponents were the British Presidency and EU justice ministers, who argued that retained data was needed in the fight against terrorism. The directive was opposed by the Internet industry, who found themselves on the same side as privacy campaigners. The industry raised many technical, business and legal issues, highlighting the high cost of implementation and flaws in the directive's content - it is written from a voice telephony standpoint and ill-fitting for the Internet industry.

However, the view expressed by many of those who participated in the process was that rational debate was buried by a pressured political process, which resulted in an alleged U-turn deal in the European Parliament. It is arguable that the rational justification for the directive as a counter-terrorism measure is difficult to see, and that the fast tracking of the directive was the product of a potent political atmosphere that immediately followed the July 7th London bombings. It is also arguable that the burden it imposes is more disproportionate on the Internet industry than on the voice telephony industry. There are implications for future EU policy-making in the Internet domain.

Copyright: Monica Horten and University of Westminster

Iptegrity moves on!

May 2024: Iptegrity is being re-developed to upgrade the Joomla software.

Please bear with us until the new site is ready.

Find me on LinkedIn

About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.