ISPs Forced To Follow European Data Retention Directive As From Today

As per an EU directive, internet service providers (ISPs) from Monday would start keeping records of e-mail details, internet calls, as well as website visits of their customers for a period of 12 months.

The move, which is a part of the data retention directive drafted by the EU in the wake of London bombings in 2005, was announced three weeks back, but the UK government has officially implemented the decision today.

The directive implies that the ISPs would require holding the information that depicts communication between two individuals, but it doesn’t allow companies to record content of the websites and emails.

While ISPs and telecom companies have resisted the new move, some EU member states are even contesting the directive. Incidentally, a directive which necessitates the telecom firms to keep the telephone records for one year has already been in place.

The new directive, along with the existing one, would offer a much broader information database to the authorities in order to deal with crime in a more effective manner.

Quoting the same, UK’s Home Office said in a statement, “Communications data is the where and when of communication and plays a vital part in a wide range of criminal investigations, and prevention of terrorists attacks as well as contributing to public safety more generally”.

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Our Comments

Privacy campaigners will certainly be quite vocal about the decision to keep records of calls, emails and website visits for as long as one year. There are good reasons to believe that the UK government will be using the data collected for its own benefits, including but not limited to fighting terrorism, criminals, tax evasion and benefit cheats.

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