Petition against data retention in Belgium

By EDRi · November 5, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Petition gegen Vorratsdatenspeicherung in Belgien |]

Macedonian: [Петиција против задржување на податоци во Белгија |]

A number of Belgian NGOs representing Internet users, lawyers,
journalists, human rights activists and others on 26 October 2009
started a petition against the Belgian transposition of the EU Data
Retention directive.

In August 2009, the Minister of Justice presented a draft asking for a
2-year data retention. This period was considered excessive by the
Belgian Data Protection Authority, which suggested a one year period.
Considering even this period not to be acceptable, the NGOs took the
initiative to start a petition against the implementation of the
European directive in Belgium, convinced that the retention of traffic
and location data is not a solution to security problems.

Like in other countries fighting the data retention law, the supporting
organizations consider that the law would be in violation of the right to
privacy and that it would interfere “with the professional confidentiality
of doctors, lawyers and clerics, as well as (…) with the protection of
informants from journalists”.

Also, although traffic and location data retention may sometimes be
necessary, the general preservation of data is considered too a drastic
measure, which has not been proven effective in fighting terrorism.

“After all, a general and preventive obligation to retain traffic and
location data represents a serious violation of the right to privacy
and implies that each citizen is potentially dangerous,” says the
press release launching the petition.

Concern is also expressed related to the risks and costs resulting
from a general obligation to retain data. “It will be the citizen that
has to pay for the surveillance that is directed towards him; this
might be through higher subscription prices with service providers, or
it might be through higher taxes with which the government will
compensate the service providers.”

PRESS RELEASE – Launching the website “retain your privacy”: Campaign
against the Belgian transposition of the European directive on the
retention of data (26.10.2009)

Petition – Retain your privacy petition
(French version)
(Dutch version)

EDRI-gram: Belgium: Minister of Justice wants 2 years of data
retention (26.08.2009)