Monday, April 18, 2011

Another intrusive Labour law queried by EU

The European Commission is due to publish today an evaluation of the EU data retention directive, which was passed five years ago and obliges telecoms companies and ISPs to keep the details (although not the content) of all e-mails, phone calls, faxes and text messages sent and received on their networks.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford, a long-time data protection campaigner, said:

"I opposed this directive from the very start, when the then Labour Home Secretary Charles Clarke managed to push it through, ostensibly in the name of counter-terrorism. It gave the green light for mass surveillance and possible profiling of the general public.

"The constitutional courts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Romania have all ruled that the national laws implementing the directive were unconstitutional as they breached privacy protection.

"The law needs to be tightened up so that searches can only be conducted for the purpose of combating terrorism and other really serious criminality, and the current maximum data storage period of 2 years must be significantly reduced."

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