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Controversial data retention report adopted

Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group - Brussels, 24 November

The Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament today adopted a controversial report on data retention. The Greens voted against this report as they are not convinced of the necessity of the proposals. Commenting on the vote, Dutch Green MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg, Member of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, said:

"Today's vote has brought the EU a step closer to the massive retention of the telephone and internet habits of its citizens. The big political groups in the European Parliament want internet providers and mobile operators to store the data of all their customers for a period of between six months and one year. This concerns data on the phone numbers people call, from where and for how long they make calls and also on the amount of time they spend on the internet.

"These measures are very expensive and form a serious breach of the right to privacy. Violation of this fundamental right has to be extremely well justified. This means: absolutely necessary, proportional and effective. We're far from convinced that the proposals meet these conditions.

"The massive retention of internet and telephone data will cost the member states millions of euros. It would be better to invest this money in targeted investigations and better cooperation between security services. The retention of a massive amount of data makes the filtering of it almost impossible.

"Initially the views of the Greens were shared by a large majority of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee. The liberal rapporteur Alvaro was in favour of restricting the retention of telephone data to three months. He was also against the retention of internet data. Many Euro-MPs however gave in to heavy pressure from national governments."

For full background, see Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

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