Thanks to Statewatch for the news of a Draft European Union Directive on Data Retention (.pdf) proposed by France, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which sheds some more light on what David Blunkett pushed for in terms of Data Retention at the EU Summit following the Madrid bombings in March.
The proposal to retain all telephone, mobile phone and internet etc. traffic data , itemised billing etc. (N.B. this includes the communications traffic data of the innocent majority of people, not just specifically of anyone actually under criminal investigation) for at least 12 months is in direct contrast to even the incomplete and ineffective
Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act Voluntary Data Retention Scheme which the UK Home Office produced after dithering for over 2 years in "consultation with industry" (but not, of course, in consultation with the general public).
This "Voluntary Scheme" for Data Retention was the subject of learned analysis and debate at Scrambling for Safety 7 conference.
Time periods for retention of data
1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that >data shall be retained for a period of at least 12 months and not more than 36 months following its generation. Member States may
have longer periods for retention of data dependent upon national criteria when such retention constitutes a necessary, appropriate and proportionate measure within a democratic society.
2. A Member State may decide to derogate from paragraph 1 of this Article, with regard to data types covered by paragraph 2 of Article 2 in relation to the methods of communication identified in paragraph 3(b) and 3 (c) of Article 2, should the Member State not find acceptable, following national procedural or consultative processes, the retention periods set out in paragraph 1 of this Article. A Member State deciding to make use of this derogation at any time must give notice to the Council and to the Commission stating the alternative time scales being adopted for the data types affected. Any such derogation must be reviewed annually."
Are they really now planning to impose the massive cost and administatrative burden involved in say, keeping web proxy server log files for 12 months, when under the UK Voluntary Code of Practice Appendix A (.pdf), on practical and cost grounds, the plan is to keep them for only 4 days ?
Iis the UK Government going to have to derogate annually from an EU Framework Decision that is co-sponsored by the UK Government itself ?
"The problem Gove is forgetting here is that Blunkett has been attacking civil liberties so outrageously and relentlessly that no one trusts him, and the civil libertarians are continuously on the defensive against this that and the other attack Blunkett proposes. There is barely time to catch breath and take stock of one policy that attacks if not removes a civil liberty, before Blunkett throws up another, if not 10 more."