Swedish Politicians Challenge EU Data Retention Directive

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Sweden is being sued by the European Commission for not implementing a European Union directive requiring network operators to retain details of phone calls and e-mail messages. Instead of hurrying up the implementation process, some politicians view the suit as an opportunity to challenge the directive's consistency with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sweden would show real European leadership if it were to see to it that the data retention directive is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, wrote Camilla Lindberg, a member of the Swedish parliament for the Liberal Party, and Erik Josefsson, a candidate for the European Parliament for the Left Party, in an article for the newspaper Svenska Dagladet.

The two debated whether general data retention is consistent with what is necessary in a democratic society, and say that the current directive is a bad and expensive tool when it comes to protecting citizen freedoms and rights. Lindberg and Josefsson think that the directive goes against the European Convention on Human Rights, and that the European Court of Justice would agree.

The two politicians also underscored the fact that other countries have been slow to implement the data retention law. Austria, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland are also late, they said.

Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask told Svenska Dagbladet that the implementation of the data retention directive isn't her favorite project, but a bill is on the way and will be ready soon.

Anything related to personal integrity on the Internet has in the wake of the Pirate Bay file-sharing trial become a hot-button issue in Sweden. The Pirate Party, which is not affiliate with the Pirate Bay, received about 8 percent of the votes, making it the third largest party, in a recent poll ahead of elections to the European Parliament. The party focuses on Internet-related issues.

Also, on Tuesday Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was criticized for praising the guilty verdict that was handed down against the people behind the Pirate Bay.

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