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NRC Next, 17 February 2015: 'All that data on citizens? Indispensable, say police and prosecutors'

Which is more important: privacy or crime fighting? An interlocutory appeal on telecom data storage is due tomorrow.
Tomorrow, the Dutch Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers, journalists' union NVJ, the Privacy First foundation and some telecoms providers will be hearing the summary proceedings against the telecoms data retention obligation. They demand that the massive storage of location data, internet, e-mail and call behaviour of all Dutch citizens stop immediately. They think they stand a good chance. The European Court of Justice ruled last year that the retention obligation is a heavy invasion of privacy, while it is unclear to what extent it is strictly necessary to tackle terrorism and crime. On that basis, the Council of State stated that from now on it should be precisely defined which data of which persons are retained.

That sounds very different from the current data retention obligation whereby phone data of all Dutch citizens are stored for a year and internet data for six months. Minister Opstelten (Justice, VVD) announced to amend the law, but to continue the massive data storage. And that is therefore not allowed, believes lawyer Fulco Blokhuis, who is conducting the summary proceedings on behalf of the parties. "The importance of fighting crime has already been weighed by the Court. Of course crime must be combated, but the court thought it was going too far to keep everyone's metadata. Moreover, after almost six years of retention obligations, the effectiveness has not been demonstrated."
During the summary proceedings, lawyer Blokhuis will argue that some lawyers, journalists and others are nowadays cautious when communicating digitally, because they know that their data will be stored for a long time. (...) If citizens can no longer communicate unprotected, the source protection of journalists and the professional secrecy of lawyers are under pressure, that too leads to insecurity, the opponents of the retention obligation argue."

Source: NRC Next 17 February 2015.