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Commission beats UK to the punch with data retention proposal

brussels bureau

Commission beats UK to the punch with data retention proposal


The European Commission has adopted security proposals to log details of all telephone, Internet and e-mail traffic to combat terrorism and serious crime. The EU member states are negotiating a rival plan, but Brussels says there is agreement between parliament, the members and the Commission to approve this bill by the end of the year. Telephone and Internet firms are waiting for possible friction between the two proposals, which differ over how much industry will end up paying to store data longer than it does now.

Commission Vice President Franco Frattini stood up for unity of purpose: “We can not allow in Europe safe havens because now it is possible to escape due to the huge diversity (of laws): we aim at harmonising, at having just one European rule regarding retention of data of telecommunication and internet.” The Commission proposes storing data related to mobile and fixed telephone traffic for a year to allow the police to trace times, places, and numbers used, even for unsuccessful calls. The push for EU-wide data storage intensified after the London bomb attacks in July when Britain took over the rotating EU presidency. Civil rights watchers such as the EDRI group — attracting substantial input from ordinary citizens — have criticised the UK plan saying it goes against conventions protecting privacy.
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