02 August 2005 A leaked European Commission document has revealed new plans to impose strict data retention policies on communication service providers, according to pressure group European Digital Rights (EDRi).
The proposed directive will force telecommunication companies to store logs of all fixed and mobile telephony traffic for one year while internet traffic will have to be kept for six months.
The proposal requires the identity and addresses of both the sender and receiver be stored, although content will not be subject to retention. In addition, mobile operators will be required to keep geographical location of the caller on record.
The purpose of the regulation, according to law firm Pinsent Masons’ website out-law.com is to help authorities prevent, investigate, detect and prosecute criminal offences and ensure that details to trace suspects are readily available.
The proposals, however, do not provide clear reference as to how a telecom provider will be defined. Many businesses currently own telephone exchanges and could be covered by the regulations.
There is also no indication of who is expected to pay for the regime. Set up costs are estimated to be €180 million (£124 m), while annual running costs could be as high as €50 million (£34.5m).
EDRi said it intends to lobby Commissioners to drop the plans, arguing that data retention is an unwarranted intrusion into citizens’ private lives.
The EC is expected to unveil its policy in August. If agreed, member states would then have to implement the laws.