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    Euractiv: Data retention is the EU’s most invasive tool, Hustinx says

    Euractiv has an interview with European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx and he criticizes the Data Retention Directive.

    The European Commission recently adopted its evaluation report on the Data Retention Directive. Has the Commission delivered sufficient proof of the necessity of such a directive, which you called for in December?

    I stand by the statements I made. […] As for the key question of necessity and proportionality, it seems that the Commission is taking a middle ground. It is saying data retention is valuable, many states think it is necessary but it is not proportionate as it is. This basically is code for ‘there are very serious problems’.

    We are going to analyse the report and the Commission will conduct an impact assessment. This is part of the preparation of the revision of the Directive. Then they will see to it that there is ‘end-to-end’ proportionality.

    There is no proof that the Directive is necessary as it is. It seems that there are strong signs that it has an important role to play. But it needs to be revised, reduced and clarified. That’s a mixed message. […]

    You regard the Directive as the most privacy-invasive instrument ever adopted by the EU in terms of scale and the number of people it affects. Why is such an instrument necessary at all?

    The first is still true. The Council and the Parliament felt it was necessary after the terror attacks in London and Madrid. We have to see what their position will look like now. I see some evidence that it plays an important role. At the same time I see embarrassment that this has led to such diversity in some countries – six months in some to two years in others.

    So this instrument – as it was developed – does not seem to be necessary. The Commission is also going to look at an alternative: quick freeze. They speak about this as a complementary solution. […]

    Considering PNR, a majority of EU member states are rallying behind a UK-led campaign to extend a proposal on collecting air passenger data to people travelling within Europe. Is this in line with EU laws on free movement?

    This is a quite recent piece of news. The Council is in the middle of the discussion. It may well be that a majority would like to extend the scope. This does not change the nature of the measure. EU PNR is also quite problematic. It is a standard collection of data to monitor, to screen and to evaluate all passengers.

    If we keep this limited to traffic to third countries it is still a big thing. If we are going to extend it to intra-EU flights, it makes it worse. All points made before apply here as well. It is crucial that we are clear as to why we would need to do this.

    But it’s too early to draw conclusions. Those who are skeptical should by all means speak up and feed the discussion in the Council. The Parliament is co-deciding and we are in the middle of the debate.

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