Dutch court urged to strike down national data-retention law News
Dutch court urged to strike down national data-retention law

[JURIST] Privacy advocates in the Netherlands on Wednesday urged the District Court of The Hague [official website] to issue a preliminary injunction and declare unconstitutional the nation’s data-retention law. The law [text, in Dutch], enacted in 2009, allows [WSJ report] the Dutch government to retain telephone and Internet data of citizens for up to 12 months for the alleged purpose of fighting terrorism and organized crime. The government is currently attempting to amend the law in response to last year’s invalidation of an EU-wide data retention policy on which the Dutch law is based. On Monday the government-funded privacy watchdog, the Dutch Data Protection Authority [official website], issued a statement [text] recommending that the bill not be presented to Parliament because “the need to retain all telephony and internet data in the Netherlands is insufficiently substantiated.” The court is expected to rule on the law on March 11.

Governments around the world have sought to bolster data-retention programs in an attempt to more effectively monitor terrorism and other illegal activities. In July former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] Navi Pillay expressed concern [JURIST report] over the widespread lack of transparency in governmental digital surveillance practices. Also in July civil liberties groups sued [JURIST report] the UK Secret Intelligence Service [official website], alleging that the agency unlawfully accesses private data from undersea cables. In April the European Court of Justice [official website] struck down [judgment] an EU-wide law that stipulates how private data must be collected and stored.