Minister shrugs off internet privacy concerns

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 December 2004, AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has dismissed a plea to oppose a European plan that would require all internet providers to retain records of their customers' data traffic for a year.

2 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has dismissed a plea to oppose a European plan that would require all internet providers to retain records of their customers' data traffic for a year.

Several Dutch internet service providers published an open letter to Donner to voice concern about the plan. They say it has three major flaws: it would impede innovation, infringe privacy and entail high costs.

The providers called on MPs and Senators in the Lower and Upper Dutch Houses of Parliament to block the government from agreeing to the plan "until such time as it is clearly shown to be necessary".

European justice ministers are meeting this week to discuss the proposed plan under which all telephone and internet traffic data for all customers would have to be retained for at least one year.

The internet providers said the Dutch government seems determined to force the proposal through before the end of the Dutch EU Presidency at the end of December.

Donner told Parliament on Thursday he would not argue the providers' case at the Council of Europe meeting on Friday.

The minister said he wanted police to be able to trace at all times who sent what email to whom and what websites an individual surfed to. This will be of great benefit in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, Donner said.

But he also said he does not want European states to make a definite decision on the plan at this stage. Instead, he wants EU ministers to agree on a common "line of thought" on the issue.

The various Dutch political parties are split on the issue. Labour PvdA, green-left GroenLinks, the Socialist Party and Democrat D66, the smallest of the three coalition government parties, want more information on the usefulness of preserving phone and internet data.

The Liberal VVD is worried about the costs it will impose on service providers, while its coalition party, the Christian Democrat CDA supports its own minister, Donner.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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