In an effort to reconcile its policy laundering tendencies with the lack of a national law on retention, the Government has succeeded in quietly implementing data retention into its Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) bill (now an Act).
This Bill itself was first introduced in December 2002, and made slow progress. It was introduced to the Seanad in February 2005, and in Committee stage, retention was introduced. The bill was passed shortly aftewards.
The amendments call for data retention at all fixed line and mobile phone service providers for 3 years.
The purpose behind the amendments was to, according to the Minister for Justice, Malcolm McDowell, "give a solid basis in Irish law to the retention of communication data and to protect people in a way that is not done at the moment." He argued that this information "is an essential aid .. in the fight against crime and in combating terrorism and, ... the protection and security of the State."
The Minister argued that this information is generated by phone companies for charging purposes.