Feeds

Sweden postpones EU data retention directive, faces court, fines

But Austria finally swallows it after court battles

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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). ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.