EC releases evaluation of Directive on data retention

The European Commission (EC) released an evaluation report on the Data Retention directive adopted in 2006, in response to urgent problems concerning security in the wake of the major terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005. The report concludes that the retention of telecommunications data plays an important role to protect the population against harm caused by serious crimes, as this information facilitates the obtaining of key evidence in solving crimes and ensuring that justice is done.

The report also reveals that the Directive was adopted differently by each Member State, resulting in different laws in this area, thus creating difficulties for suppliers of telecommunication services. Moreover, the Directive alone does not ensure that the data are store, consulted and used in full respect of the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, leading to the courts cancelling the legislation implementing the Directive in some Member States.

Based on this evaluation, the Commission's next step will be to prepare a proposal amending the Directive. To this end, the EC will consult the authorities responsible for law enforcement, judicial authorities and authorities responsible for data protection, industry and the civil society about option for a future legal framework. The results of this consultation will be incorporated in an impact assessment as a basis for a future proposal.

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