The Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has published the Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009.

As drafted, the Bill will require “service providers” (persons engaged in the provision of a publicly available electronic communications services or a public communications network by means of a fixed line or mobile telephones or the Internet) to retain specified data for periods of between 2 years ( in the case of data relating to fixed network telephony and mobile data)(reduced from 3 years which is the current requirement under Part 7 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005), and I year (in the case of data relating to internet access, internet email and internet telephony).

The data must disclose on the request of:

  1. a member of the Garda Síochána (Irish police) not below the rank of Chief Superintendent, where that person is satisfied that the data are required for:
  1. the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of a “serious offence” (one that is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more or an offence which is specifically identified in the schedule);
  2. the safeguarding of the security of the State;
  3. the saving of human life.
  1. an officer of the Permanent Defence Force not below the rank of Colonel, where that officer is satisfied that the data are required for the purpose of safeguarding the security of the State.
  1. an officer of the Revenue Commissioners (not below the rank of Principal Officer) where that officer is satisfied that the data are required for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of a “revenue offence” (an offence under specified provisions of Irish Customs,.Taxes or Finance Act legislation).

The Bill makes it clear that its provisions do not apply to the content of communications transmitted by means of fixed network telephony, mobile telephony, internet access, internet email or internet telephony.

The Bill will repeal Ireland’s pre-existing data retention legislation (Part 7 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005) and will also implement Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data generated or processed by or in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks.