Preview Montreux conference Data Protection Authorities
European Digital Rights, together with a number of other international digital rights organisations, is organising two panels on data retention and on biometrics, as a pre-event to the annual DPA conference in Montreux, Switzerland on 13 September 2005.
It is widely expected the Chair of the Article 29 Working Party, Peter Schaar, will close the meeting with a vehement statement against the current proposals for data retention. This statement might well follow the lines of a recent opinion written by the Dutch chair of the Data Protection Authority, Jacob Kohnstamm. He specifically addresses the two types of cases which according to the Erasmus study require data retention: International criminal investigations and long-lasting research into organised crime.
Kohnstamm writes: “Where international criminal investigations make very slow progress, streamlining procedures and formalities for obtaining international legal assistance should be pursued energetically. A mandatory extension of the retention period for traffic data does not offer a logical solution to the problem.” And when investigating organised crime “one should first check whether this type of investigation is given sufficient priority by the police and the prosecutor’s office, before deciding on new far-reaching powers.” If the priority is high enough, the police can use many other powers, such as bugging conversations and wiretapping telephone lines, according to Kohnstamm.
Opinion Dutch DPA against data retention (in Dutch, UK will follow soon, 09.08.2005)
EDRI panels on data retention and biometrics