Minister limits retention obligation to identifying data after EU Court ruling

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Ferd Grapperhaus, Minister of Justice and Security, says that the bill for the new data retention obligation will be adjusted as a result of a ruling by the EU Court so that providers only have to keep track of someone using a network based on IP address and number.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the minister writes: “My main conclusion is that as a result of the Court’s ruling, the bill Adjusting the retention obligation for telecommunications data must be radically amended.” He is referring to the bill that was sent to the House of Representatives in September 2016. The adjustment concerns the fact that, according to the proposal at the time, so-called traffic and location data also had to be stored. With this metadata it is possible to see who communicated with each other from which place, without the content of messages being known. This data does not need to be saved after the proposal has been amended.

Instead, providers should only store so-called user data, so that it can be seen on the basis of IP address and telephone number at which time a particular user was using a network. In this way it should be possible to identify people in criminal investigations. The amendment will be made by means of a memorandum of amendment, which the minister intends to present to the Council of State this spring, so that it can issue an advice. The government announcement states that such a ‘balanced retention obligation’ is of ‘essential importance for the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offences’.

“In a growing number of cases, such as child pornography, cybercrime and online arms trafficking, it is often crucial that the police and the Public Prosecution Service can determine afterwards which person has used a telephone number or IP address found in a criminal investigation at a particular time. said the message. Last year, the police said that, among other things, the missing data retention obligation makes investigative work more difficult, because evidence is more difficult to collect.

The measure to amend the bill is the result of a December 2016 ruling by the European Court of Justice. In it, the highest European court said that the storage of data for combating serious crimes is allowed, but that this should not be allowed. lead to massive storage of user data. The bill makes it possible to keep telecom data for a year; a period of six months applies to internet data. Investigative services can request data from a suspect via a request to the examining magistrate.

The minister also mentions in his letter that he wants to discuss at EU level how it is possible to store traffic and location data in the light of the Court’s ruling. Talks about the consequences of the ruling are currently taking place at European level, but they are said to be ‘exploratory in nature’. Member States would be skeptical about a traffic and location data retention obligation limited to a certain area or group of people. The suggestion for such a specific retention obligation could be deduced from the judgment of the Court.

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