European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström finally presented her devastating evaluation of the data retention directive transposition in the European member states. She wants to move on with a review of the directive via stakeholder consultation, a move to win time.
We pointed out the shortcoming that she did not accompany a legislative proposal for a reform of the data retention directive (Directive 2006/24/EC of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC).
Former rapporteur MEP Alexander Alvaro (FDP/ALDE) proposes radical measures: EU data retention directive should be scrapped. That would be a less beneficial move, because that leaves the ball in the court of the member states how to proceed with data retention. The better move is a fast legislative reform proposal to let the European legislators fix the directive. Cecilia Malmström’s approach seems to be to muddle through and delay, and escalate the public debate. She even wrecks the support of member states as she threatenes certain member states with EU infringement procedures.
Watch her nervous upbeat press conference. It is also insightful to watch the Dec 2005 plenary debate (part 1, part 2 wmv) again which demonstrates how clueless members of parliament were about data retention in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings.
The burden of proof in order to justify the massive interference with fundamental rights that comes with blanket telecommunications data retention lies with the Commission. From its evaluation report, it becomes clear that the statistics provided by the Member States do not prove the necessity of data retention. Remarkably, many Member States were unable to provide any relevant statistics to the Commission at all. Those that did indicated that the vast majority of data used by law enforcement authorities would be available if the Directive did not exist at all. Sound analysis of independent statistics must point to the fact that indiscriminate data retention is superfluous to the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime.