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Recent Developments in EU Data Retention proposals

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Presentation and Discussion of the EU proposals for mandatory data retention, proposed individualy by the EU council and the EU comission. The proposals for harmonized Data Retention within the EU have changed significantly since being introduced as a proposal by four member states in early 2004. Various versions have emerged over time, spearheaded by either the council under i.e. its Dutch presidency in late 2004 or the UK presidency in 2005, as well as the commission version in September 2005. The session is intended to give an introduction into data retention in general, its meaning and implications for both the individual as well as the communications industry at large. It will discuss the various proposals introduced by the council as well as the commission, highlight the differences and discuss the different approaches and intended goals. A “historical” overview will map the developments against existing legislation prior to the proposals as well as today, its moving evolution over time taking into account the real-world developments influencing political opinion. While some countries have already adopted similar legislation, some vehemently reject retention as of today. Which impact will harmonized data retention have for these countries? Why is it that some societies are willing to adopt strong diminishments of personal freedom while others are not? A look “over the fence” into non-EU countries and their approach – or non-approach – to data retention will be included. Very recent developments including the proposal for amendments to the commission proposal by the EU parliament, the so called “joint” version released by the council on 29th of November 2005 will be introduced to the audience, as well as possible future developments: Driven by the UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke - currently responsible for the council as the UK heads the EU council until the end of the year - heavy pressure is put on the EU parliament to adopt a variant of this joint proposal by mid December 2005, a development strongly opposed by the parliament reporter Alexander Alvaro. The session will highlight the outcome of this development and take a look at the most recent changes, which might unfortunately even be adopted by either the parliament or the council by the time of the congress.

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