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back to article Data retention law makes little difference to telcos, says trade body

UK telecoms firms must keep phone call logs for a year under legislation which comes into force today. But an industry trade association said the new rules will make "little practical difference" to telecoms providers that already store such data for billing purposes. The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2007 are …

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UK Escalates Intent of EU Directive

The OUTLAW summary of the purpose of the Statutory Instrument (which was scooted through Parliament with no effective scrutiny) omits a fundamental point. There is a distinction between the limitations on purpose of the original EU Directive which specified "Serious" crime and the wider liberties now granted to the Authorities in the UK.

The related paragraph should perhaps be rewritten.

"The new law implements most of the EU's Data Retention Directive. That directive was passed to ensure that valuable data is available across Europe as a tool to prevent, investigate, detect, and prosecute SERIOUS criminal offences and in particular SERIOUS organised crime." The British Statutory Instrument does not provide for any limitation on the usage of such data.

The EU Parliament may well have failed to argue to protect fundamental rights or privacy, but the Directive was not the catch-all power which is now available to investigating UK authorities under the provisions of the The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000). That gives the Police authority to get such information without warrant. Informal arrangements already exist with a number of Telephone Service Providers where such data can be electronically accessed by the authorities without having to trouble the Telecoms staff. There are no effective safeguards.

The shift towards population monitoring in EU thinking is worrying enough. That the British Government has chosen to extend the intended range of the EU Directive illustrates their contempt for any residue of rights or of personal liberty.

If you want to know more, try looking around the Statewatch DOT org site.

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Anonymous Coward

war on terror

list (probably partial) of nosy parkers who can trawl your phone bill:

Relevant authorities for the purposes of ss. 28 and 29

Police forces etc.

1 Any police force.

2 The National Criminal Intelligence Service.

3 The National Crime Squad.

4 The Serious Fraud Office.

The intelligence services

5 Any of the intelligence services.

The armed forces

6 Any of Her Majesty’s forces.

The revenue departments

7 The Commissioners of Customs and Excise.

8 The Commissioners of Inland Revenue.

Government departments

9 The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

10 The Ministry of Defence.

11 The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

12 The Department of Health.

13 The Home Office.

14 The Department of Social Security.

15 The Department of Trade and Industry.

The National Assembly for Wales

16 The National Assembly for Wales.

Local authorities

17 Any local authority (within the meaning of section 1 of the [1999 c. 27.] Local Government Act 1999).

Other bodies

18 The Environment Agency.

19 The Financial Services Authority.

20 The Food Standards Agency.

21 The Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce.

22 The Personal Investment Authority.

23 The Post Office.

plus any yank from NSA plus anyone who can blag their way in.

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RE: war on terror

Tin foil hats at the ready!

A little paranoid there? They can all do that already, if investigating a crime. No change for them then. Almost all of them will have access to this data for fraud prevention, and have to show why they need it if they request it.

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Bronze badge

So the terrorists and crooks...

...just need to sign up with VOIP services outside the EU to avoid such monitoring.

Also, if they use a SIM also purchased outisde the EU, they can access the Internet within the EU without the likelehood of identification.

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re: UK Escalates Intent of EU Directive

So what would you do in Tony's shoes (since Fuhrer Blair was in power when this went through) ? Do you a) implement what you have to, or b) implement what you can get away with whilst being able to 'blame europe' ?

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul

I've got my tinfoil hat ready for when that well known investigative body, The National Assembly for Wales, comes after me.

If The National Assembly for Wales can trawl my phone bill already, why pass another law to let them do it?

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