Digital Civil Rights in Europe

Daniel writes about the implementation of the data retention directive in Bulgaria and its main problem related to the word serious crimes :

“There is a little bug in the Bulgarian transposition of the community law: the word ’serious’ was omitted before the word ‘crime’ and thus data retention is applicable to any forms of misdemeanour, for instance, blogging about a flash mob that was not recognized by the Bulgarian authorities as a lawful political demonstration.”

But is that just Bulgaria ? Is that an omission or rather a new trend ?

Unfortunately, the answers to both questions are actually worrying than the initial comment and will just point out to some of the articles published in the EDRi-gram.

First, let’s underline that in the early talks about the Directive, there have been a lot of debates regarding the purpose of the retained date. Some wanted to be used just for serious crimes, some to include IPR-related offences…

Even though the directive is clearer now, the implementation in several countries (let’s just note that most of the EU members states have been very slow in implementing the new directive) came back to the same issue.

UK decides to implement the directive provisions through a “Regulation that will replace the current “voluntary” Code and does not seem to have taken into consideration any risk related to the privacy of personal data.

Moreover, the government says that the EC Directive covering serious crime can be used for any crime and that there is no need for public or parliamentary discussion on privacy, civil liberties or human rights issues as these have already been discussed at the EU level.”

Germany has took a smilar path, but its Data retention act was quickly challenged to the Federal Constitutional Court. Luckily or wisely, the Court took some weeks ago an interim decision in reducing the access to the retained data only in serious crime cases.

And let’s face it – the directive will be useless on the Internet from a technical point of view and from an architecture point of view.

Or as the Romanian State Secretary on ITC explained : We will have better chances in asking the bad people just to add to their emails CC or BCC the EU Authorities every time they plan a new terrorist attack.

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  1. Nice roundup! I guess that activists could easily challenge such transpositions in other constitutional courts also in the European Court.

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