A group of EU experts is to investigate problems with telecommunications data
The EU Commission has appointed a group of experts to consider the systematic retention of telephone and internet connection data. One of the tasks of this specialist group is to investigate the problems that member states have with implementing the EU Directive on telecommunications data retention. The problems particularly concern the obligation to retain data about email and internet telephony calls.
The group will also consider whether the controversial Directive needs to be amended. The Commission has until September 2010 to present an assessment of the practical application of the EU law to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, on the basis of which further steps could then be decided on. The group of experts will assist the Commission in this process. The decision on its appointment was taken on 25th March, but has only now been announced.
Civil rights groups and professional associations have now appealed to the European European Court of Justice against the Directive. They have asked the Court to find that the EU Directive on telecommunications data retention is incompatible with fundamental rights. In support, they have quoted the petition for nullity brought against the Directive by Ireland in 2006. Besides the formal reasons stated in that petition, the campaigners see the Directive as an infringement of the right to a private life and correspondence, the right to free expression, and the right of operators to protect their property.