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The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, has today  issued a call for radical changes to the directive which mandates ISPs and phone companies to store users' traffic data.


In a public statement, he says that the Data Retention directive does not meet the requirements imposed by the  rights to privacy and data protection, both of which are guaranteed as fundamental rights under EU law. 


Mr Hustinx was commenting on a report by the European Commission, released in April,  which evaluates the implementation of the directive.  Whilst he understands that retained traffic data is sometimes needed, for example, in criminal investigations, he  says

that  the directive could have been less intrusive, and should have been more clear on the purpose for which the data was to be retained.


He is critical of the vague and imprecise language of the Data Retention directive, which allows for very different implementations in the different Member States. And he argues that this means there is little  harmonisation across the European Union, which  is a problem.


He  also draws   attention  to the failure of the European Commission to demonstate a need for this law.


Mr Hustinx makes three key recommendations for any revision of the directive, or replacement law. The law should be proportionate, and not go further than necessary, it should have a clear and precise purpose which cannot be circumvented, and it should provide for a  consistent implementation across all 27 Member States.


The Data Retention directive was bullied through the European Parliament in 2006 under the British Presidency. Its language is indeed imprecise and was described by experts at the time as being technically nonsense.


The European Commission is considering whether to amend the Data Retention Directive.


Evaluation shows that the Data Retention Directive does not  meet privacy and data protection requirements, says EDPS


Pleae attribute this article: Monica Horten (2011) EU data protection chief slams data retention directive 31  May 2011 .  

 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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