Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009: Committee and Remaining Stages


11:00 am

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Independent)

I am disappointed to hear the Minister of State's response. It is perhaps misleading to suggest everyone has agreed these retention periods as this week the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland has been in touch with us to indicate that it sees the Bill, as currently drafted, as placing Ireland at a competitive disadvantage. It refers specifically to the overly long period for which providers will be obliged to retain data and points to other countries having shorter retention periods. There is significant disagreement. Perhaps I do not have a highly skilled financial brain but the costs mentioned sounded rather large as a burden on the service providers. It is a reasonable point and I am disappointed it has not been considered.

I am told there was a judgment in the High Court last May in a case taken by Digital Rights Ireland challenging aspects of the data retention directive. I am not sure whether the Bill was challenged specifically but the ruling cast doubt about the future of the Bill. I understand Mr. Justice McKechnie indicated the European Court of Justice was the suitable forum in which to deal with any challenges to European data retention law.

I am not clear what, if anything, has happened since, but I wonder whether, given the long delay between Second Stage and now, the court case or the pending challenge was a factor? If so, how is the issue being addressed in the Bill?


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