European telecoms companies and ISPs will have to keep their data stored for two years to meet security regulations after EU politicians and legislators voted for the increase in data retention.
Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the new rules that will require companies to keep traffic and location information for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years. Law enforcement authorities in the country where data is collected will have automatic rights of access.
The new rules will take effect in about 18 months for telephone data, and three years for internet data.
The British government, which had made getting an agreement on the rules one of the priorities of its six-month presidency, said the agreement sent "a powerful message that
In contrast, civil liberties campaigners claimed the data retention rules were a "green light for mass surveillance, fishing expeditions and profiling," adding that terrorists would escape detection by using foreign internet service providers such as Hotmail and Yahoo, internet cafes, and pay-as-you-go phones.
Of course they will. Sometimes it seems that these and other security rules have been devised for politicians to pay lip service to security. Why, if security is so vital, is it going to take all of three years for retention rules on internet data to come into effect?