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Communications Data Retention in an Evolving Internet

Published on
21 Nov 2010
Written by
Professor Ian Brown

The International Journal of Law and Information Technology has just published my new article, Communications Data Retention in an Evolving Internet. I hope this will prove useful for the debate coming any day now as the UK government relaunches its Intercept Modernisation Programme, as well as for the reviews being carried out by the European Commission and Court of Justice:

The 2006 Data Retention Directive requires EU-based Internet Service Providers to store information on customers and their online communications. The Directive is being reviewed by the European Commission, and has been criticised in a number of recent national constitutional court judgments due to its impact on privacy. Its compatibility with the Charter of Fundamental Rights is now being considered by the European Court of Justice. This article describes the likely impact on data retention of further developments in Internet usage, technology and law. It outlines the increasing use of private networks and member community sites that are not subject to the Directive, and the changes in surveillance technology and practice that some member states have proposed in response. It concludes by analysing the key factors to be taken into account in the EC and ECJ reviews, and suggests more proportionate and effective mechanisms for preserving appropriate law enforcement access to communications data.