Dutch telcos build data bonfire after judge nixes retention law

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A ruling from the District Court of The Hague means that Dutch telecoms companies are no longer obliged to retain internet and phone traffic data for law-enforcement purposes.

A coalition of plaintiffs including the Dutch Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Dutch Association of Journalists, civil rights organisation Privacy First and the internet service provider BIT has successfully argued that the retention law was a disproportionate infringement upon the privacy of innocent Dutch citizens.

In his ruling (PDF, 12 pages, in Dutch), the judge declared his concern that insufficient safeguards existed to limit access to the retained data to occasions when access was strictly necessary to fight serious crime.

A new retention law, designed to replace the current law in response to the ruling of the ECJ in 2014, aims to provide safeguards by introducing judicial oversight of access to the data.

The bill is in limbo, however, after the former minister for security and justice who proposed it, Ivo Opstelten, resigned on Monday after misinforming the Dutch Parliament over a compensation deal involving a drug dealer in 2000.

The dealer was paid 4.7 million guilders (€2.14 million), much more than Opstelten originally claimed. ®

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