Data Retention: Figurehead of Our Liberation?

Back in 2010, I wrote a long piece in Dutch for De Groene Amsterdammer about the deplorable state of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive evaluation. My point was that, instead of the prime example of our loss of fundamental rights, data retention might one day become the case in point of digital freedom vindicating over surveillance, once the Directive in one way or another is repealed or its inherent privacy violations seriously limited.  

In 2014, it still hasn’t been properly conducted. Everybody knows that the evidence for maintaining the surveillance directive is lacking, but vested interests are just too happy to maintain the status quo. All attention has now shifted to the EU Court ruling of Spring 2014 (my analysis of the AG opinion) on whether data retention violates fundamental rights per se. On the one hand, it’s a sobering thought that it takes 8 years from the adoption of the most controversial EU surveillance measure to a final ruling at the EU level. On the other, in the end it does happen. Even though we’re in a totally different reality today – obscured by clouds, revealed by Snowden. The jury is out.

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