Emergency law for phone and internet data storage to be brought in

Emergency legislation will be brought in next week to force phone and internet companies to log records of customer calls, texts and internet use. It will oblige telecom firms to retain data for 12 months and companies could be asked to retain data for 24 months. The proposed law has been deemed as necessary so police and security services can access the data they need after a legal ruling which declared existing powers invalid. The new law goes against a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice who removed the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of when and who their customers have called, texted and emailed. The new legislation will also include so-called “safeguards”:
  • The creation of a new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to examine the impact of the law on privacy and civil liberties
  • A review of the controversial RIPA – Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
  • Annual government transparency reports on how these powers are used
  • The law will include a so-called sunset clause – ensuring that these powers will die in 2016 – so there will be a longer and wider debate about what replaces them.
The controversial proposals are being put forward to provide “clearer legal framework” to allow access to the content of calls, texts and emails after a warrant is signed by a senior government minister. The proposed law has the backing of Labour and the coalition parties and a special cabinet is being held to agree the planned laws, which will only last until 2016. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with IT law solicitors in Manchester and across the country.