05 December 2010

EU - Taking on the Data Retention Directive

Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission responsible for Home Affairs, European Commission conference, Brussels, 3 December 2010. The evidence the Commission has collected so far suggests that the data retention Directive has made a substantial contribution to security in the EU, and provided a more level playing field for telecom operators. The costs for operators have not been unacceptably high. Valid concerns over the impact of data retention on privacy remain, although there is no evidence that it has led to serious abuse in any concrete cases. Building on the evaluation report, which I expect to be published early next year, I intend to prepare a proposal to amend the Directive. That proposal should cover all relevant issues. To name just a few: We must reflect again on the purpose of data retention, including the types of crime that the Directive covers; We may need to agree on more harmonised, and possibly shorter, retention periods; We should consider defining who may access the data and according to what procedures. Should there be a central contact point in each Member State? Should judicial authorisation be compulsory? What about cases of urgent need for access? We need to agree on whether operators should be compensated by the State for the costs incurred. We need to ask what types of data to retain.