Revamp of Data Retention in the EU Council of Ministers

New attempt at data retention in the EU Council of Ministers

Ten EU member states are reportedly planning to introduce new regulations on data retention. A “High Level Experts Group” will be established to define the framework for the new rules, which will be expected to be compliant with the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The previous data retention directive was annulled by the ECJ in 2014, with subsequent national implementations being rejected by the court in seven consecutive rulings.

The new regulation would aim to address the frustrations of criminal prosecutors, who are pushing for greater access to encrypted data. However, the technical nature of such issues is prompting calls for “genuine technicians with profound technical expertise” to be consulted, although some fear that any such experts may not be sufficiently sensitive to issues surrounding data protection and civil liberties.

Germany and Austria, which both use the “Quick Freeze” method for data retention, are absent from the discussions. Experts suggest that the lack of previous agreement regarding data storage regulations in different member states may also slow progress on new EU-wide initiatives.

The new Council initiative on data retention is still in its early stages, with the specifics of any new regulation currently unclear. However, a leaked EU document provides some insight into the aspirations of prosecutors in several EU countries, who are keen for greater access to data.

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