The European Commission has published its long awaited evaluation of the Data Retention Directive today.
”This evaluation makes clear that the EU data retention directive is completely disproportionate, allowing for the far-reaching retention of telecommunications data with no real justification. Under the directive, EU member states and telecommunications authorities can store masses of data based on unclear and ill-defined criteria, with no requirement to prove the retention is necessary for combating terrorism or organised crime. This far-reaching and groundless data retention is a clear infringement of the basic rights of EU citizens. The only proportionate response to these damning findings is to scrap the directive and we call on the Commission to take immediate steps to this end.
”The data retention directive was and remains an excessive knee-jerk response to terrorist attacks in Europe. There is no evidence that the far-reaching retention of data has led to any concrete results beyond compromising civil liberties. Following on from clear rulings by constitutional courts in Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic, it is now high time that the directive is revoked.”
In the press conference she presented anecdotal evidence that there have been at least some cases where the police have found Data Retention data useful, but in response to a direct question from a journalist she admitted that there is no systematic data on in how many cases the data has been used, or if the costs for implementing the directive in member states have been justified.
She also glossed over the fact that the Directive has been found unconstitutional by the courts in Germany, Romania, and the Czech Republic, and that Data Supervision Authorities and citizen’s rights groups are very critical.
It appears that Commissioner Malmström cares neither about protecting the fundamental rights of European citizens, nor even about making efficient use of the money that is spent on law enforcement activities.
All she wants is to push ahead with the Directive, to prove that it is the Commission that is the real centre of power in Europe, and that it has the capacity to punish Member States (such as Sweden) that do not do its bidding. This is a very disappointing attitude.