HC Deb 16 July 2001 vol 372 cc30-1W
Mr. Allan

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's policy (1) on the change in wording in recital 10 of the revised telecommunications data protection directive (com2000/189); and if she will set out the reasons underlying the case for this recital; [3234]

(2) in respect of the introduction of mandatory data retention on communications service providers. [3239]

Mr. Alexander

At the Telecommunications Council on 27 June, member states and the Commission agreed to clarify that the proposed Communications data protection directive should not alter the existing balance between individual rights to privacy and the possibility for member states to take measures necessary for law enforcement. Recital 10 of the proposed directive now makes it clear that member states will be able, but will not be required, to introduce data retention requirements provided that these are proportionate and in accordance with the general principles of Community law. The position will therefore be essentially the same as it is under the existing telecommunications data protection directive.

The UK Government welcome this outcome, although there are no plans to introduce legislation mandating the retention of communications data here. Such a move could be considered only in the context of detailed consultation with all relevant law enforcement, industry and civil liberties interests.