Petition against data retention in Belgium
A number of Belgian NGOs representing Internet users, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and others on 26 October 2009 started a petition against the Belgian transposition of the EU Data Retention directive.
In August 2009, the Minister of Justice presented a draft asking for a 2-year data retention. This period was considered excessive by the Belgian Data Protection Authority, which suggested a one year period. Considering even this period not to be acceptable, the NGOs took the initiative to start a petition against the implementation of the European directive in Belgium, convinced that the retention of traffic and location data is not a solution to security problems.
Like in other countries fighting the data retention law, the supporting organizations consider that the law would be in violation of the right to privacy and that it would interfere "with the professional confidentiality of doctors, lawyers and clerics, as well as (...) with the protection of informants from journalists".
Also, although traffic and location data retention may sometimes be necessary, the general preservation of data is considered too a drastic measure, which has not been proven effective in fighting terrorism.
"After all, a general and preventive obligation to retain traffic and location data represents a serious violation of the right to privacy and implies that each citizen is potentially dangerous," says the press release launching the petition.
Concern is also expressed related to the risks and costs resulting from a general obligation to retain data. "It will be the citizen that has to pay for the surveillance that is directed towards him; this might be through higher subscription prices with service providers, or it might be through higher taxes with which the government will compensate the service providers."
PRESS RELEASE - Launching the website "retain your privacy": Campaign
against the Belgian transposition of the European directive on the
retention of data (26.10.2009)
EDRI-gram: Belgium: Minister of Justice wants 2 years of data