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Telecompaper, 2 February 2015: 'Hearing on data retention delivers few new views'

"The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Security and Justice was updated last week by proponents and opponents of the Telecom (Data Retention) Obligation Act in a round-table discussion on how they view the utility and necessity of the law. On 24 March, there will be a parliamentary debate on the revised bill on data retention. Among other things, XS4ALL advocates a reasonable fee for the retention of traffic data, should the revised bill nevertheless be passed.

At the end of December 2014, the government put online the draft bill to amend the telecommunications data retention obligation. The online consultation drew strong criticism from operators, lawyers and civil rights organisations. The review followed a ruling by the European Court of Justice April last year that the EU data retention obligation violated several fundamental rights and should therefore be scrapped. The Dutch government argues that traffic data retention remains necessary in the fight against crime and terrorism.


Representatives of the Police and Public Prosecution emphasised the importance of data retention at the roundtable discussion on 29 January and warned of a digital free state if data retention is curtailed. (...) Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of privacy regulator CBP, stated that he did not necessarily oppose the data retention obligation. However, he believes that for such a severe invasion of privacy, it must first be demonstrated that the retention obligation is necessary to combat serious crime. He called it reprehensible that despite four years of experience with data retention in the Netherlands, the police and other investigative services cannot prove that data retention has helped fight crime and terrorism.


Among others, internet service provider XS4ALL and digital civil rights organisation Bits of Freedom were present to explain their opposition to a revised mandatory retention law. XS4ALL emphasised, among other things, the already highlighted breach of privacy and went on to discuss how operators and ISPs are being forced into an impossible position. Customers let it be known that they want data deleted - with the European Court of Justice ruling in mind - but Dutch law states that one must keep the data. XS4ALL also pointed to the proportionality principle: are the costs proportionate to the revenue. (...)

Among other things, Bits of Freedom pointed out that, according to the Telecom Agency, there are already regulations in place that require retention of many traffic data for some time already. Furthermore, there are virtually no demonstrable criminal cases showing that traffic data retention played a role in the outcome of a court case. BoF also came up with the example of Vodafone, which lost its database for mandatorily stored traffic data in a major fire in 2012. Police and investigative agencies argued at the time that this did not cause any problems. BoF called that strange because Vodafone did account for about a quarter of the mobile market.

What preceded

In April 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled the EU regulation on data retention for telecom operators violates fundamental fundamental rights protecting private life, communications and personal data. The Council of State came up with a similar ruling. However, in November 2014, the Dutch government determined that the Telecoms Data Retention Obligation would remain in force. According to the government, the existing law is indispensable for the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes. Moreover, the Dutch legislation was validly enacted, based on the applicable procedures.
Internet service provider BIT decided in December, together with Privacy First, the Dutch Association of Journalists, the Public Magazine Group of the Dutch Publishers Association, NDP News Media and the Dutch Association of Criminal Law Lawyers, to file summary proceedings against the State. The consortium's demand includes the abolition of the Telecommunications Retention Act. Business operator Voys later joined the summary proceedings, which are due on 18 February 2015."

Source:–1062794, 2 February 2015.