Statewatch News online: EU Data Protection working party criticises CoE convention in cyber-crime

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EU data protection advisers issue highly critical report on draft Cyber crime Convention

As the Council of Europe seeks to conclude discussions on the draft Convention on cyber crime the EU's data protection advisory group recommends that "the public debate be prolonged" and that it include "all parties concerned (human rights organisations, industry, etc.)," and not just the police and law enforcement officials (including the U.S. Department of Justice) who have dominated the drafting process. In their report, adopted on 22 March 2001, they also oppose any attempt to force network and service providers to keep data to meet the demands of the law enforcement community - who want all data (phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, internet usage) to be retained for at least seven years.

The Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) has already decided that its member states should sign up to the Convention when it is adopted. The European Commission is proposing that the Convention be amended to allow for the European Community to accede to it without the need for further legislation. This is through what the Commission paper calls: "the "forward-looking" EC participation clause" (see below for full-text).

The EU data protection report says:

"The position proposed in the current draft convention (public version 25) not to oblige signatories to compel service providers to retain traffic data of all communications should in no way be revised.

The Working Party regrets the very late release of relevant documents. The Working Party considers it highly desirable that the public debate be prolonged involving all parties concerned( human rights organisations, industry etc.) before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe debates and decides.

The Working Party is of the view that a large number of the deficiencies highlighted before in this opinion, apparently result from the fact that the Council of Europe has not made the best possible use of the available expertise in data protection matters. The Working Party therefore invites the Council of Europe, and especially the EU Member States, to consult their data protection experts before finalising their position on the draft Convention, and to make the best possible use of their contributions.

The Working Party invites the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States to take into account this opinion. The Working Party reserves the possibility to issue further comments."

Full-text of report: Report (pdf)
Statewatch report: Commentary
Draft Council of Europe Convention on cyber-crime, 9 March 2001: Cyber-crime  
CoE explanatory memorandum: Explanatory  (Word 97)
Commission staff working paper: Accession of the EC and disconnection clause: Paper

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