French Government Decree on data retention - another Big Brother act
(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)
The French Government, during this election period, is preparing a decree for the application of the law on the confidence in the numerical economy (LCEN) of 21 June 2004, which requires webmasters, hosting companies, fixed and mobile telephony operators and Internet service providers to retain all information and on Internet users and telephone subscribers and to deliver it to the police or the State at a simple request.
The present text requires the data retention for a year, and according to the digital rights associations, such as EDRI-member IRIS, this goes even further up to retaining the passwords supplied when subscribing to a telephone service or an Internet account or payment details such as amount, date or type.
It apparently imposes the identification of anyone in France who has made any modification in a blog, a chat room or on the web and the systematic recording of anything put, modified or erased online which is practically impossible from the technical as well as economical point of view. Further more, chapter 2 of the draft decree establishes that the data retained by the ISPs and hosting companies and obtained by the police can be kept by the latter for a period of three years in the automatic processing systems provided by the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. And this comes at a time when the police have already been given wider prerogatives while no data protection measures are provided for the data retained.
Concerns are also expressed in relation to the vagueness of the text. "We would like some clarifications on the nature of the data that operators have to retain, considering their risk of penal responsibility in case of a legal decision regarding the violation of privacy" said Dahlia Kownator, general delegate of AFA-France (French Association of ISPs), who also believes that a harmonization of the regulatory texts should be achieved at the national and European level.
The costs involved by this process would also be extremely high. During a meeting organised by the Ministries of Domestic Affairs and Finance on 8 March 2007, professionals have estimated their costs in human resources and storing capacity could reach up to several millions euro per year.
The sanction for non-compliance or passivity would also be very high, the French Internet ISPs and websites facing fines of up to 375 000 euros and their managers one-year imprisonment and up to a 75 000 euros fine, besides the closing down of their business and the interdiction to practice any commercial activity.
According to IRIS, besides these obvious negative results, this action would lead to discouraging the French Internet providers to the advantage of the international players.
Retention of identification and connection data: more and more and over
longer time periods - IRIS press release (only in French, 20.04.2007)
Debate on the information data retention (only in French, 20.04.07)
Does the State want to kill the Internet in France (only in French,