ISPs to drown under data retention legislation?

I was astonished to hear that the European Parliament has passed a new set of data retention laws for the telecoms and Internet industries across Europe.

Under the new arrangements, telcos and ISPs will soon have to keep full records on their customer interactions for anywhere between six and 24 months.

For telcos that means keeping call records, which is no big deal, as billing services usually require that sort of information.

For ISPs, though, it means keeping logs and copies of all emails sent and received for at least six months. Is that a load of data or what?

The new legislation, says the EU, help trace serious criminals and terrorists through their communications records.

It's also going to put an intolerable load on the ISPs, many of whom are already creaking at the seams owing to falling Internet broadband prices and reductions in profit margins.

One ISP told me recently that, unless a customer only downloaded less than 10 GB a month on their Internet connection, that customer would not turn a profit for the ISP concerned...