Feeds

Data Retention Directive receives rubber stamp

But support not universal

Security for virtualized datacentres

The controversial Data Retention Directive received its final seal of approval on Tuesday, when ministers at the Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted the directive with a qualified majority. Irish and Slovak Ministers voted against the measure.

The terms of the directive

In general terms, the directive aims to harmonise member states' provisions relating to the retention of communications data, in order to ensure that the data, which can identify the caller, the time and the means of communication, is available for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime.

The directive is not concerned with the content of the communications.

Under the agreed draft, the data retained will be made available only to competent national authorities in specific cases and in accordance with national law. They will be retained for periods of not less than six months and not more than two years from the date of communication.

The directive also provides that member states will have to take necessary measures to ensure that any intentional access to, or transfer of, data retained is punishable by penalties, including administrative or criminal penalties, which are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Each member state is obliged to designate a public authority to be responsible for monitoring the application of the directive within its territory, and will have around 18 months in which to comply with the directive after it enters into force. This is due to take place on the twentieth day after the publication of the directive in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Politics

The measure was controversially pushed through the European Parliament in December, following threats from ministers that if MEPs were unable to approve a compromise draft and rejected the proposals – as they had done twice previously – the council would push through its own, more stringent legislation.

But not all members of the council are happy with the result. Both the Irish and Slovak governments would have preferred to adopt the council-led proposals, using a process that requires unanimity in the council and a non-binding opinion from the Parliament. Such a process is normally used in security matters.

Instead, a commission-led process was used, resulting in a directive, which requires the approval of the European Parliament and a majority vote in the Council of Ministers.

The Irish and Slovakian delegates voted against the directive, but the majority support means it is now adopted.

According to reports, the Irish Government, which wanted more stringent measures, is unhappy that it had no veto in what it regards as a security matter, and is considering taking the matter to the European Court of Justice.

See: The Directive (26-page/149KB PDF) 

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.