“IIA Legal Working Group Against Data Storage Legislative Proposals”
The Irish Internet Association (IIA) Legal Working Group is against a proposed legal measure that if enacted would require telco operators to store all communications traffic data. The measure, entitled the Telecommunications (Retention of Data Traffic) Bill, proposed by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (but as yet unpublished), has already received widespread publicity and criticism. The proposed legislation is understood to oblige operators and ISPs to store all traffic data e.g. telephone/email/location/etc. data. The measure if implemented would:-
Ø Raise significant privacy and data protection concerns;
Ø Impose significant cost burdens on operators and ISPs as a consequence of having to store vast amounts of communications traffic data;
Ø May encourage foreign investment to locate elsewhere;
Ø Go beyond what is currently being proposed by other EU Member States; and
Ø Ignore recent UK recommendations on data retention.
It is clear from debates both in Ireland and abroad that there is a clear business case against data retention, particularly a measure imposing retention obligations of up to 3 years as is currently proposed. A number of EU States are currently recommending a period of only 6 months. A UK parliamentary group recently considered the issue in detail and recommended against data retention. Instead it favoured a policy of “data preservation” i.e. once law enforcement authorities identify particular data to which they legitimately require access, operators will store it. The Data Protection Commissioner has also raised a number of concerns with data retention and the lack of transparency surrounding the measure. An influential EU body (the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party) has also raised concerns in relation to the global storage of traffic data.
Operators will face significant cost burdens from:-
Ø Increasing storage costs year on year as the amount of data multiplies;
Ø Purchasing software and hardware to store traffic data; and
Ø Configuring software to ensure particularised data can be retrieved if and when requested by law enforcement agencies.
Note to Editors
The IIA Legal Working Group comprises Don McAleese (Chairperson) (Matheson Ormsby Prentice); Rob Corbet (Arthur Cox); Paul Lambert (Matheson Ormsby Prentice); and Pat Ryan (Kilroys).
Queries in relation to this release can be directed to the IIA Legal Working Group through legalworkinggroup@IIA.ie.