Belgium: Minister of Justice wants 2 years of data retention

By EDRi · August 26, 2009

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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,

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