Feeds

EU data retention laws 'too costly' for telcos

Flack over anti-terror tax

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

EU laws that mean service providers will need to retain communications data for the purposes of possible criminal investigation will place a huge burden on carriers, market watchers warn.

The controversial measures, enacted to aid the fight against terrorism, would compel telecom firms to keep customer email logs, details of internet usage and phone call records for up to two years.

The content of messages isn't covered by the directive, which is designed to harmonise European laws. EU member states have until September 2007 to apply the directive into national laws.

Opposition to the measures has thus far centered on privacy concerns. Critics argue that existing voluntary data retention provisions are sufficient.

But cost, and who pays, is also a factor. The directive doesn't oblige member states to reimburse telecom companies for additional costs incurred in servicing law enforcement requests, a factor highlighted by market analysts Frost & Sullivan in a recent report on the impact of the directive on the telecoms sector.

Service providers and operators need to adapt their systems by the time various national governments implement the European provisions on data retention as law. For example, call detail record (CDR) systems will need to be revamped to cope with the increase in communication and traffic data to be stored and managed. Importantly service providers not previously obligated to retain data will now be governed by the EU Directive stipulations, Frost & Sullivan notes.

"Implementing solutions compliant with the EU Directive on Data Retention will result in an onerous burden on communications service providers and operators," said Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Fernando Elizalde. "The provisions of the EU Directive will apply not just to mobile and fixed telephony, but also to Internet telephony, e-mail services and messaging services."

Service providers will be obliged to respond to lawful requests from law enforcement agencies "without undue delay", however the legislation fails to clarify what this might mean in practice.

"The EU Directive introduces the idea of 'without undue delay' as a criterion to measure service providers' responsiveness to requests from law enforcement agencies. However, it is not clear how long the delay can be- interpretations of this criterion vary from minutes to a few hours," Elizalde added.

Marie-Charlotte Patterson, vice president of corporate marketing at records compliance management firm AXS-One, said the need to keep records of millions of private emails or phone calls is hardly a new concept. Although the directive goes much further than keeping records purely for billing purposes, careful planning should help carriers to make the project as painless as possible. There might even be the possibility of using the data to market new services to customers, she added.

"Telecommunication companies need to approach the new legislation in the right manner to ensure that the project meets the new regulatory directives, but also provides some potential value-add to both the customer and carrier. Key to this is, understanding that accurate and timely access of historical records and the ability to securely destroy records at the end of their retention period are as important as retention. So only considering the retention and storage aspects of the requirements are not sufficient," she said. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.