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.