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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 http://www.iptegrity.com 31 May 2011 .

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.

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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.