Feeds

Sweden postpones EU data retention directive, faces court, fines

But Austria finally swallows it after court battles

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Sweden is to delay the implementation of the controversial EU data retention directive for a year, risking a heavy fine of up to €68m, whereas Austria has decided to implement the directive after a European Court of Justice ruling in 2010.

The Swedish government this week decided to postpone the implementation of the law for at least a year, although 281 MPs out of 349 – just over 80 per cent – voted in favour of the directive. The Left Party and the Greens want to renegotiate the directive in the EU. The parties used a provision in the Swedish constitution where a sixth of the votes in Parliament can postpone a decision for at least a year.

Sweden is profoundly divided over the directive, which was adopted by the EU in November 2006 after long debates.

Data retention refers to the storage of traffic and location data resulting from electronic communications. Under the agreed draft, the data retained by ISPs and phone companies will be made available only to national authorities in specific cases and in accordance with national law. Records will be kept for up to two years. However, both the Swedish Green Party and the Left Party believe the directive restricts basic rights and freedoms.

By postponing the vote, Sweden is now risking a European court case and can be fined from as much as 150 million kronor (€17m) up to 500 to 600 million (€56m to €68m).

Most European countries have implemented the directive, with France going overboard by adding the requirement that ISPs store passwords and data for the verification or modification of passwords.

Germany already adopted the directive back in 2008. Police and other law enforcement agencies had the option to acquire data in the process of investigating serious crimes, until last year when a German constitutional court struck down the measures on the basis that they interfered disproportionately with fundamental rights.

Austria was in the same position as Sweden back in 2007. It also had major data protection and privacy concerns. The Austrian Chambers of Commerce and Labour both opposed data retention. In the summer of 2007, the famous Vienna Ringstraße – which circles the city centre of Vienna – was partially blocked for about an hour as a 150 strong demonstration organised by the Austrian Pirate Party walked along it to protest against the planned data retention legislation.

In 2009 the European Commission began proceedings against Austria for breaching EU law, and last year, the European Court of Justice ruled against it for failing to establish an independent data protection authority. Just three days ago, the Austrian government announced that it would swallow the directive at long last. The Austrian Internet Service Provider Association estimates the overall costs to the country of the data retention directive to be somewhere between €15m and €20m.

See the directive here (26-page/149KB PDF). ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.