The European Union governments have accepted Parliament’s involvement in harmonising data retention laws in the wake of the terrorist attacks on London. EU lawmakers and the telecommunications industry are critical of the plan. Following talks in England among the justice and internal affairs ministers, Britain’s Charles Clarke gave this opinion: “As far as my message to the European Parliament is concerned, it is that all European parliamentarians, whatever their party, whatever their orientation, whatever their country of origin, should face up to the fact that the people who elected them want the European Union to have a strong packet of measures to fight terrorism and serious organised crime, and they should therefore work to that end.”
Concerned over civil rights, Parliament is ready to work to a December deadline. Britain, current EU president, said on Wednesday that logging telephone calls, email and Internet use helps trap terrorists. It and other EU states want cost-conscious telecoms firms not only to log completed phone calls but also calls when the line is busy or there is no answer. Clarke wants the records kept for a year. The ministers will meet again next month.