December 14, 2005

MEPs vote for mandatory data retention

Tony Blair's use of the EU as a democracy by-pass has worked. The European Parliment has voted data retention through. The EP could never have stopped this proposal, but it could possibly have delayed it or maybe pulled it's teeth.
The European Parliament has approved proposals on data retention that would compel telecom firms to keep customer email logs, details of internet usage and phone call records for between six months to two years.

The plan - designed to assist law enforcement in the fight against terrorism and serious crime - leaves it up to individual governments to decide how long service providers will be obliged to keep data.
I do not think that it will be of much suprise when this winds its way back through Whitehall it will include many many more clauses that the original and be much much more destructive to civil liberties. Without any chance of democratic oversight. Just as was intended.

The large costs of this, one of the reasons that similar powers under RIPA remain inactive, will have to be taken by the ISP's themselves (which could drive small ones under) and from them the customers. Rather than governments and from them the tax payer since:
MEPs decided to drop provisions to make it mandatory for member states to reimburse telecom companies for additional costs incurred in servicing law enforcement requests.
Not normally one to like any government expenditure at least if it had been money coming out of government coffers directly they would have some reason to limit the retention times, and therefore costs. However since it will have no direct effect on government budgets there is no reason for them not to go as privacy erroding as possible. This will, like most unrequired regulations, increase operating costs add financial drag to the economy and therefore decrease eventual tax revenues. But the government will be far to short sighted to see that, blinded by the thought of all that lovely privacy they can invade.

This was not an EU initiative, coming from Blair and New Labour, but it was the EU's structures that let get get past with the minimum of democratic oversight. The sooner we leave the sooner this particular democracy by-pass will be closed.


Post a Comment

<< Home