Sweden challenges EU data retention directive

Sweden challenges EU data retention directiveSweden challenges EU data retention directive

By Mikael Ricknäs, May 27, 2009 12:08 PM ET

IDG News Service – Sweden is being sued by the European Commission for not implementing a European Union directive requiring network operators to retain details of phone calls and e-mail messages.

Instead of hurrying the implementation process, some politicians view the suit as an opportunity to challenge the directive’s consistency with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sweden would show real European leadership if it were to see to it that the data retention directive is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, wrote Camilla Lindberg, a member of the Swedish parliament for the Liberal Party, and Erik Josefsson, a candidate for the European Parliament for the Left Party, in an article for the newspaper Svenska Dagladet.

The two debated whether general data retention is consistent with what is necessary in a democratic society, and say that the directive is a bad and expensive tool when it comes to protecting citizen freedoms and rights. Lindberg and Josefsson said the directive goes against the European Convention on Human Rights, and that the European Court of Justice would agree.

The two politicians underscored the fact that other countries have been slow to implement the data retention law. Austria, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland are also late, they said.

Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask told Svenska Dagladet that the implementation of the data retention directive isn’t her favorite project, but a bill is on the way and will be ready soon.

Anything related to personal integrity on the Internet has become a hot-button issue in Sweden in the wake of the Pirate Bay file-sharing trial. The Pirate Party, which is not affiliated with Pirate Bay, received about 8% of the votes, making it the third largest party, in a recent poll ahead of elections to the European Parliament. The party focuses on Internet-related issues.

Also, on Tuesday, Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was criticized for praising the guilty verdict handed down against the people behind the Pirate Bay.