G8 and ILETS discussed problems of "data retention and implications of data protection legislation" in 1999

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Both the G8 countries technical group on high-tec crime and the International Law Enforcement Seminar (ILETS) raised the issue of data retention and the problems created by data protection and privacy laws in the EU in 1999. The two reports below emphasise the influence of secret, unaccountable, meetings of officials including those on the EU's Working Party on Police Cooperation. As the ILETS's minutes say:

"Recommendations emanating from the seminar can be put to their respective governments"

ILETS annual meeting 1999

The annual meeting of ILETS in Saint Cyr au Mont dOr, France in November 1999 has as its topic title: "Reconciling data protection and privacy requirements in the 21st century". The European Commission representatives the two EU directives in force: the 1995 Directive on data protection and the 1997 Directive on personal data and privacy in the telecommunications sector - the latter with the remark:

"which orders the operators to erase or to make anonymous historic data upon the termination of a call"

On the issue of "Data retention and implications of data protection legislation" the meeting agreed that: "All delegations to consider options for improving the retention of data by Communications Service Providers".

The ILETS meeting was clearly sensitive to public and media attention. The minutes state that "ILETS must control its documents" and that in future it would not formally submit them to the EU Working Party on Police Cooperation (though, of course, all officials on the working party will have copies). A "chapeau" ("hat") would be created for their "governments for publication".

The media should be told that "ILETS is not a formal group, and therefore has no formal membership" and:

"ILETS does not rely upon a resolution or directive of any international organisation or group of countries for its existence. Attendance at ILETS is by invitation only"

but if questions are asked for example by "national parliaments" such "exposure" should be notified to all members. Later they say: "it was stressed that ILETS must not become political".

Full-text ILETS `99: draft report (Word 97) with thanks to cryptome.org

Background to ILETS

ILETS (International Law Enforcement Telecommunications Seminar). ILETS was initiated by the FBI in 1993. The founding members were Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, United States and the United Kingdom plus Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Representatives from both law enforcement agencies and national security agencies attend.

One of the main issue discussed through ILETS are the International User Requirements (IUR) first put forward by the FBI in 1992 were adopted by the EU on 17 January 1995. These "Requirements" were put out, in the name of the FBI and the Council of the European Union, for other countries to sign up to in November 1996. An attempt in 1998 to update the IURs in the EU ("ENFOPOL 98") to cover mobile, satellite phones and the internet use was put on hold because of adverse public reaction.

ILETS works directly with the Standards Technical Committee (STC) and its semi-public side is organised through the renamed "Policy and Legal Advisory Group" (PLAG).

ILETS meets annually and provides in-between an informal contact network for participants. It has held the following meetings:

1993 Quantico, Virginia, USA

Attended by: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Norway United States, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

1994 Bonn, Germany

Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Norway, United States, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

1995 Canberra, Australia

Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Norway, United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece,<

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