Feeds

Data retention law makes little difference to telcos, says trade body

Move along. Nothing to see here

High performance access to file storage

UK telecoms firms must keep phone call logs for a year under legislation which comes into force today. But an industry trade association said the new rules will make "little practical difference" to telecoms providers that already store such data for billing purposes.

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2007 are intended to ensure that security services have a reliable log of mobile and fixed-line phone calls to be used in investigations. They are also designed to ensure a uniform approach across the industry.

The content of calls should not be retained under the new regime. Instead, the law requires companies to keep certain communications data, including the number from which a call is made, the customer's name and address, any number dialled, the date and time of a call and the telephone service used. Additional data for mobile calls must also be retained, including geographic location data.

The regulations say telecoms firms must keep the details necessary to identify the caller or sender and recipient of every telephone call made for 12 months. The data must be stored "in such a way that the data retained can be transmitted without undue delay in response to requests".

The new law implements most of the EU's Data Retention Directive. That directive was passed to ensure that valuable data is available across Europe as a tool to prevent, investigate, detect, and prosecute criminal offences and in particular organised crime.

The new rules do not apply to internet activity, so details of websites visited, emails sent and received, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls need not be kept. That will change, though. The directive requires that member states extend their retention rules to internet data by 15 March 2009.

The Federation of Communications Service (FCS), a trade association for the mobile and telecoms services industry, said the regulations are unlikely to disrupt a telco's business.

Members of FCS include many small communication service providers, as well as a few bigger providers, notably Kingston Communications plc. Heavyweights like BT and the major mobile networks are not members.

FCS manager Michael Eagle told OUT-LAW: "We are advising our members that they are unlikely to have to keep any information that they don't currently keep. They should not be talked into buying expensive new data storage systems as the industry already requires a certain level of sensible due diligence.

"The reality is that nothing much has changed. The new legislation will make little practical difference as most telecoms providers keep certain information for billing purposes and customer records," he added. "That information would be enough to meet the requirements of law enforcement agencies. There is no need to keep more data that you are ever likely to be asked for."

The law provides that the Secretary of State may reimburse any expenses incurred by a public communications provider in complying with these Regulations. According to ComputerWeekly.com, the Government has budgeted a total of £6m to meet these costs.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.