Debate is under way on reinforcing and harmonising data exchange between EU states. The basic idea is that operators should keep records of users’ calls, who they were made to and where, when and for how long. Everything except the content of the call.
This applies to various electronic media, such as fixed and mobile phoning, text messaging and internet sending. The joint British-Irish-French-Swedish initiative coincided with persistent questions raised in Brussels over when the pan-European arrest warrant would finally get pan-European approval. The new European Commissioner for Justice and Interior affairs, Franco Frattini, was asked when Italy would finally approve the law. All the other members already have. Frattini said Rome understood this should happen swiftly and the Commission would keep pushing the Italians to adopt the warrant, and act if there was a further delay — but he hoped there wouldn’t be. The justice and interior ministers are divided over how much data should be retained, in view of the costs and privacy concerns. Sharpening anti-terrorism cooperation moved higher on the EU’s priority list after bombers killed 191 people in Madrid in March, detonating the deadly devices with phones.