April 08, 2008 | Glyn Wintle

Fighting the data retention directive

The Open Rights Group is proud to be one of the 43 civil liberties NGOs and professional associations based in 11 European countries today submitting a brief to the European Court of Justice (PDF).The amicus brief asks the Court to annul an EU directive ordering the blanket registration of telecommunications and location data of 494 million Europeans.

As the document lays out, data retention violates the right to respect for private life and correspondence, freedom of expression and the right of providers to the protection of their property:

"While it threatens to inflict great damage on society, its potential benefit appears, overall, to be little. Data retention can support the protection of individual rights only in few and generally less important cases. A permanent, negative effect on crime levels is not to be expected... [With data retention in place] citizens constantly need to fear that their communications data may at some point lead to false incrimination or governmental or private abuse of the data. Because of this, traffic data retention endangers open communication in the whole of society."