Digital Rights Ireland have launched a legal court action to try to overturn the controversial European Union directive which mandates Compulsory Communications Traffic Data Retention for all 450 million European Union citizens. This policy has enormous practical difficulties, and poses huge risks to the privacy and security of the vast majority of innocent citizens who are not under criminal investigation.
Digital Rights Ireland obviously need European wide publicity in the media and financial support. They are appealing to bloggers for help.
Interestingly, the Irish Government is challenging the EU plan, but not on the grounds of civil liberties and freedoms.
The Irish Governement has already passed Data Retention legislation which demands a minimum 3 year Data Retention period, and they have talked of 7 years, whilst the EU plan is to retain data for "only" at least 1 year after there is no further legitimate business use for such data, after which, under normal Data Protection Principles it should have been destroyed.
The Irish Government also wants the scheme to handled under the "Third Pillar" rather than under a "qualified majority voting" Directive.
This type of EU legislation is usually introduced for matters relating to the proper functioning of the European internal market in consultation with the commission and the European Parliament. Instead, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell argued that data retention was a justice issue that should be introduced via a framework decision that would require a unanimous vote by all 25 EU member states.
We hope that the detailed arguments against this evil catch all Data Retention policy will prevail, We hope that the far more sensible narrowly targeted, Data Preservation policy, which has been perfectly adequate to, for example, help track down the Madrid train bombers in 2004 or the July 21st 2005 failed Tube attackers in London, and as far as Italy, will be implemented, with independent judicial authorisation, instead.