UK Government Ignores European Court Ruling On Data Retention: Tells Telecom Companies To Carry On Spying

from the who-needs-laws?-just-do-as-we-say dept

One of the interesting issues arising out of the important ruling from the European Union Court of Justice that the EU’s Data Retention Directive was invalid, is what the member states will now do as a result. The UK government, one of the principal cheerleaders for storing all this data in the first place, has no doubts about what it should do – it will completely ignore that judgment for the moment, as the Guardian reports:

despite the fact that the directive which mandated the creation of the [Data Retention (EC Direction) Act of 2009] was struck down, the UK government has not yet moved to invalidate the Act. Answering a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert the Home Office minister James Brokenshire revealed last week that the government had explicitly notified telecoms providers that “they should continue to observe their obligations as outlined in any notice”, despite the ruling.

Here’s why the UK government has told them to do that:

The Home Office added that “the retention of communications data is absolutely fundamental to ensure law enforcement have the powers they need to investigate crime, protect the public and ensure national security”.

Of course, it offers absolutely zero evidence that this is true, and also ignores admissions by the Danish police that it is not. But then, the UK government always was a big fan of dogma-based policy, as the awful Digital Economy Act made so painfully clear.

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Comments on “UK Government Ignores European Court Ruling On Data Retention: Tells Telecom Companies To Carry On Spying”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Between a rock and a hard place

So companies comply, and risk being sued by people/groups that believe that the EU Court of Justice’s ruling makes such actions illegal or at least of questionable legality, or they refuse, in which case they’ve got the UK government breathing down their necks and threatening them.

A ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation to be sure, and one I expect will only really get tested once the matter is brought to court.

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