December 19, 2005 | Suw Charman Anderson

What next for data retention?

If you've been following the data retention directive's progress through the EU, you'll have heard long since that the directive was voted in by 378 in favour to 197 against and 30 abstentions - which totals 605 of the 732 MEPs who make up the European Parliament. Spy Blog has a great breakdown of exactly which UK MEPs voted, and how, which is well worth taking a look at. If you contacted your MEP about this issue and they voted in favour, why not drop them another line and politely ask them why? If they voted against, then maybe a nice email thanking them for trying to protect your civil liberties might be an idea. It's very easy to criticise when people do things we don't like, but how often do we compliment them when they do stuff we agree with? I don't think anyone who was involved in campaigning against this directive was surprised at the final outcome, although I'll admit to a bit of disappointment. Deep down, I'd hoped that the MEPs would listen to reason instead of toeing the party line. Once the festive season is over, I'm going to be having conversations with organisations such as Privacy International and Digital Rights Ireland to see what our next steps are, particularly with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal challenges (notably by Ireland). We'll also consider how to further this debate within the UK's own democratic framework. Meantime, as always, keep up-to-date with Data Retention Is No Solution.