E-mail and chat data to be stored 'within a month'

作者:Karlin Lillington 来源: The Irish Times

Records of e-mails and internet chat messages sent and received by Irish residents - and the times they log on and off the internet - will have to be stored for three years. The scheme will be implemented within a month.

The Irish Times has learned the Department of Justice intends to effect a controversial EU data retention directive affecting e-mail and web usage "within a month", according to a department spokeswoman.

Due to the short timescale, the department will need to use a statutory instrument rather than use primary legislation.

The content of messages will not be retained, but information specifying who sent and received all e-mail and chat messages, the date and time, and the size of the message would have to be retained.

Internet protocol addresses, which define individual users or computers on the net, will also be retained. The directive would likely affect individuals and small to medium businesses, and not private business networks used by large multinationals.

Industry observers and privacy advocates have argued the new EU directive is so vague that internet service providers remain uncertain of what information they need to retain, or how they are to retain and manage it.

Despite the short timetable for implementation, industry bodies had not been told yet that the Government planned to bring forward the statutory instrument.

Ireland received warning letters from the EU last month because it is now three months overdue to implement the directive.

Paul Durrant, director of the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI), said: "The ISPAI is disappointed that such an all pervasive measure . . . should be enacted without being subjected to the full rigours of Dáil debate and the public exposure that brings."

Ireland will be among the first to bring the directive into force in Europe, despite the fact that it has also challenged it in the European Court of Justice.

The challenge does not relate to the substance of the directive, which the Government has championed in the EU, but the fact that it was introduced by vote of the larger EU members, a precedent that worries the State.

Privacy advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) is challenging the existing call data laws in the High Court in a case that is expected to be referred to the European courts.

Edward McGarr, principal of McGarr Solicitors, who are representing DRI said: "At the very least the transposition of the directive should be by primary legislation and following a debate in the Oireachtas."