In the March edition, we reported on the government’s plans to establish a central database to store the traffic, location and subscriber data retained by Communications Services Providers (CSPs) under the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009. The government has now indicated that it has abandoned plans for such a database and will rely on CSPs to retain the data and hand it over to the authorities on request.
The proposed central database had been heavily criticised by privacy activists and the Information Commissioner’s Office, which had called it a “step too far for the British way of life”. In its consultation paper on the plans, the government says:
“The Government has no plans for a centralised database for storing all communications data. This could be the most effective technical solution to the challenges we face and would go furthest towards maintaining the current capability; but the Government recognises the privacy implications of a single store of communications data and does not, therefore, intend to pursue this approach.”