Metadata Retention Law in European Union

The EU data retention law by the European Union, named as Data Retention Directive (DRD) was passed in 2006 and therefore, it’s considered to be the extrusive law for data reservation.

This law has emphasized the Internet providers to retain user’s personal information such as incoming and outgoing phone numbers, IP addresses, geolocation, and other key telecom and the Internet traffic data for a period of 6 months to 2 years. Although, the people who are not accuse or suspect of any crime are under the Data Retention law.

However, the communication details such as the duration of conversation and the fact that to whom the person is talking is also a Data Retention Directive to the ISPs that is supported by the authoritative governments of UK and US. Yet, the collected data could also be provided to law enforcement authorities.

Law Implementation to National legislation of Countries

Many countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Norway, and the United Kingdom have swapped the laws into national legislation. Also, some of the countries outside the European Union such as Serbia and Iceland have also adopted the data retention Directives.

Whereas, such laws in order to violate human rights, are opposed by constitutional courts of some countries. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, and Romania are among the nations who are fighting against the unfair Directives.

However, in some countries, the law was upheld after being imposed. Those includes Romania where the DRD were announced unconstitutional in 2009, Cyprus has also declared the data retention law unconstitutional in February 2011. The Bulgarian constitutional court had opposed the law and in March 2010, Germany had also declared retention directives unconstitutional.

This law is facing oppositions and resistance by many nations. In March 2011, the DRD was reversed from being adopted by the Czech Republic constitutional court. In Lithuania, the data retention law was declared unconstitutional even before its enforcement. Also, the constitutional court of Hungary is still examining whether to implement Data Retention directives or not. However, some European Union nations have also denied implementing the law into their countries.

With the German execution of delayed adoption of DRD directive, Sweden also shows the same behavior. Therefore, the European commission has handed over the Sweden case to European Court for not implementing the EU data retention law. Also, an NGO, European Information Society Institute is opposing the Slovakian action of implementing EU legislation.

Masses Reaction For The Law

The conflicting directives of DRD are facing extreme opposition and criticism from the masses. The lawmakers of European parliament argue this law as to be the one violating basic human rights and the way towards the creation of surveillance society. Although the Data Retention directives have been implemented as the national law but the dispute remains as it is. The matter of Irish opposition to the law has been referred to European Court of Justice (ECJ) who will also review the legality of the DRD directive.

Influential judgment and probable revision of the DRD directive is announced by the European Commission. However, some of the leaked documents affirm that the Commission has intentions to portray DRD directives as an essential need for EU. Also, some unnamed parties are trying to expand the DRD uses so as to incorporate prosecution of copyright infringement.

An evaluation report was published by the Commission in April 2011 exposing the disparity among how the legislation is implemented by the EU members and the data could be accessed by which authorities. Criticizing the report, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has said that the Commission has not demonstrated the necessity and proportionality of the EU Data Retention law. Yet, the legality of the directives would only be approved if they fulfill both the requirements.

The EDSP has argued that in a less privacy-intrusive way data retention could be implemented but the Commission does not determine that. According to EDSP, the Data Retention Directive gives an extended opportunity to the nations so that they could decide data usage, conditions and who can access the data.

However, the commission is compelled by the opponent to provide the evidence so as to demonstrate the fact that if mandatory data retention law is unavailable, the important traffic data for the investigation of the serious crime wouldn’t be available to law enforcement. They are also demanding the commission to give citizens with the opportunity to monitor the impacts of DRD directives to their privacy.

Whereas, to stop targeted traffic data collection by DRD, European Digital Rights (EDRI), a Brussels-based NGO with organizations like EFF and AK Vorrat are fighting against it.

But, these directives are still implemented and it is not confirmed that what changes these oppositions could compel to incorporate into them in order to protect your privacy. So, you should be vigilant about securing your privacy and must be aware of the Measures To Protect Yourself From Mandatory Data Retention.

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