A judge in The Hague has recently scrapped the local data retention law, claiming that it breaches the privacy of phone and Internet users, though admitting its usefulness in preventing crimes.
This court ruling followed a similar decision by the European Union’s top court. The latter also wiped out EU data collection law, claiming that it was too broad and failed to offer enough privacy safeguards. In respond, the Dutch Security and Justice Ministry said it was considering an appeal.
According to the Dutch law, phone companies had to store data about all fixed and mobile phone calls for 12 months. ISPs had to store data on their clients’ broadband use for 6 months.
The Hague judge GP van Ham pointed out that scrapping the data storage could not justify the privacy breaches the data retention law entailed, and he didn’t set a deadline for disposing of the data. Consumer privacy outfits that took the government to court claimed that the ruling might bring to an end privacy breaches in the country.
In respond, the Dutch government after the first court ruling promised to amend its legislation and even issued a written statement saying they regretted the court’s decision. The statement said that providers don’t have to store information for investigations anymore, because the authorities show concern about the effect this may have on fighting crime.
As you can understand, data retention has been a heated issue following Snowden’s leaks about the activities carried out by the NSA in the United States and its peers in other countries. In the meantime, the Australian government is also considering its own data retention package at the moment. New package is supposed to store certain types of the local phone and web information for 24 months.
Recently, privacy concerns have been raised, along with the beginning of a lengthy political debate amid confusion within the Australian government over how far the data retention law would extend. It is known that the bill will soon pass due to efforts of a parliamentary committee that involves both major parties. In addition, the Australian government has agreed to hold a separate hearing to review the issues of law enforcement agencies access to journalists’ metadata. It is scheduled that the news outlets will appear before a parliamentary hearing in the next few days.