TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: EU Executive Wants Phone Logs for One Year

EU Executive Wants Phone Logs for One Year

Lisa Minter (
Wed, 1 Jun 2005 14:19:04 -0500

A bill for mandatory logging of emails, phone calls and other
electronic communications to combat terrorism and fraud will limit
data storage to a year at most, the European Commission said on

Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said a
similar proposal put forward by four member states in 2004 wanted data
to be stored for three to four years, which she said would impose a
costly burden on phone and internet companies.

France, Ireland, the UK and Sweden made their proposal in April last
year in the aftermath of the Madrid train bombings, which killed 191
people. The seizure of phone records was credited with helping police
make quick arrests.

Under the member states' proposal, the actual content of
conversations, text messages or emails would not be kept. Records are
currently kept for three months by telephone companies for billing

"It will certainly not be three to four years but a maximum of one
year and I hope even less," Reding told reporters.

Reding said legal advisers for the member states have concluded that
such a bill should be proposed by the Commission rather than member

For bills proposed by the Commission, joint agreement between member
states and the European Parliament is needed for it to become law, a
process that would be more transparent and consider issues wider than
fighting terrorism, Reding said.

"We have to balance the security issue and the issue of privacy and
commercial considerations," Reding said.

"That is why it's essential to start with a solid impact assessment
before the Commission will put the proposal on the table," Reding

On Tuesday, EU diplomats said justice and interior ministers may agree
their own proposal when they meet in Luxembourg this week if they
agree on some outstanding issues such as how long data should be

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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