June 19, 2014 | Ed Johnson-Williams

Demand your ISP stops retaining your data

In April, the European law forcing Internet Service Providers like BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin to collect our communications data was struck down by the European Court of Justice. The judges said the law interfered with our right to privacy.

But UK ISPs have passed the buck. On the Government's advice ISPs are still retaining your personal data about who you email, text and phone, where you are and the websites you visit. We'll likely have to take legal action to stop this. First though, we need lots of the ISPs' customers to make a complaint.

ORG's new Legal Director Elizabeth Knight and solicitors from Deighton Pierce Glynn have prepared a legal letter of complaint demanding that your ISP stops retaining your data.

This is a really exciting time for ORG. We've just hired Elizabeth as our new Legal Director so we can take on big legal campaigns like this. We still need your help though to make sure we have lots of examples of people who have told their ISP to stop retaining their communications data.

Can you email the letter to your ISP in your name now? It's already written for you so it'll just take a minute.


At the moment we've only set up the action to contact BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. If you use another ISP, you can use this template letter to complain to them.

Dear [ISP name],

You will be aware of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU on 8 April 2014 in the Digital Rights Ireland case Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, which found the Data Retention Directive (Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC) to be in breach of Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is likely to have the effect of rendering unlawful the UK's regulations implementing that Directive, known as the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009. Accordingly, any requirement imposed on you by the Regulations or otherwise by the UK Government is likely to be unlawful as it is in breach of those same fundamental rights.

I ask you as my ISP to confirm to me within 21 days that you shall not store any data relating to me for any period other than as strictly required for the provision of internet services to me i.e. as soon as any data ceases to be necessary for technological reasons only then it shall be automatically deleted. I also ask you to confirm that you shall delete any data already held in relation to me.

If you are not prepared to provide the assurances I seek, then I ask you to state on what authority you continue to retain my data and for what purpose. I also ask you to clarify what arrangements you currently have in place with the UK Government for the retention of my data.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]