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Belgium: Minister of Justice wants 2 years of data retention

26 August, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Belgien: Justizminister will zweijährige Vorratsdatenspeicherung

Belgium is starting again to discuss the implementation of the data retention directive, suggesting a 2-year retention period for electronic communication traffic data, according with the Flemish newspaper De Tijd. The initial discussion in 2008 did not passed the criticism received from the Belgian Data Protection Authority and from the public comments submitted by an ad hoc alliance of civil society and industry.

The draft was presented these days in the media by the Minister of Justice, Stefaan De Clerck. He asks for a two year period for data retention, claiming that the Police and the Prosecutors Office need the data for that long. The draft foresees that the prosecutor or the magistrate in a case has to submit a written justification for every query.

The Belgium ISP Association claimed that a period of six months should be enough, asking the Government to support the costs for a longer period. Otherwise the cost might be passed to the user, therefore an increased cost for an Internet connection.

The Belgium Data Protection Authority (DPA) has also considered a two year period as excessive. In a comment sent to the Government on this topic, the Authority has suggested a one year period. After that period, all the stored data needs to be deleted immediately.

The DPA has stated that a public report needs to be made public each year in order to assess if the data retention is necessary and in what conditions it was used. The Authority made also several comments on the text - for a better clarification of the "public networks" definition or the "exceptional circumstances" when the data can be kept more than 24 months.

Comments from the Belgium DPA on the data retention draft law (only in French, 1.07.2009)

Emails kept for 2 years, Internet user might pay (only in French, 12.08.2009)

Belgium wants to go for 2 years in data retention (only in Dutch, 12.08.2009)



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