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Briefing for Members of the European Parliament on data retention

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In this briefing for members of the European Parliament, we identify the key problems with the policy of communications data retention. The proposals being proposed by the European Commission and the Council require the collection and logging of every telecommunication transaction of every individual within modern European society. Almost all human conduct in an information society generates traffic data. Therefore traffic data can be used to piece together a detailed picture of human conduct. Under the various proposals, this data will be kept for between six months and four years.

There are clear challenges for these proposals with respect to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter on Fundamental Rights and national constitutions. The case still has not been made that retention is necessary in a democratic society. The claimed need for harmonisation is premature at best and challenges democratic process.

As such, we argue that the proposed policy is invasive, illegal, illusory and illegitimate.