Norwegian politicians in EU Data Retention Directive dilemma / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian politicians in EU Data Retention Directive dilemma. Labour (Ap) is currently the only Party wishing to make the EU’s Data Retention Directive law, but it cannot go it alone. The directive (DRD) obliges telephone companies and Internet providers to store information for an extended period, giving authorities the ability to inspect all data and communications traffic for up to two years. It has its origins in the Patriot Act, introduced by George W Bush’s administration in 2001 as part of the so-called war on terrorism. There has been widespread political and public opposition for over a year, which has seen, amongst other incidents, Labour Deputy Leader Helge Pedersen putting the frighteners on, and security authorities claiming Norway is more exposed to terror without it. None of the political Parties in Norway favours introducing it, except Labour.

data, retention, directive, eu, eea, haakon, haugli, helge, pedersen, hallgeir, langeland, jenny, klinge, jonas, gahr, stoere, janos, herman, surveillance



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Norwegian politicians in EU Data Retention Directive dilemma

Published on Thursday, 2nd December, 2010 at 20:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 10th December 2010 at 16:40.

Labour (Ap) is currently the only Party wishing to make the EU’s Data Retention Directive law, but it cannot go it alone.

A laptop keyboard (illustration photo)
A laptop keyboard (illustration photo)
Photo: Declan Jewell/Flickr


Unanimous opposition

The directive (DRD) obliges telephone companies and Internet providers to store information for an extended period, giving authorities the ability to inspect all data and communications traffic for up to two years. It has its origins in the Patriot Act, introduced by George W Bush’s administration in 2001 as part of the so-called war on terrorism.

There has been widespread political and public opposition for over a year, which has seen, amongst other incidents, Labour Deputy Leader Helge Pedersen putting the frighteners on, and security authorities claiming Norway is more exposed to terror without it. None of the political Parties in Norway favours introducing it, except Labour.

“We are most concerned about personal privacy. Should we really be storing information to innocent people?” asks Jenny Klinge, the Centre Party’s (Sp) political spokesperson on justice.

“The Progress Party (FrP) is against implementing the Data Retention Directive in Norway. Norway is already amongst one of the worst countries in the Europe when it comes to lack of privacy. The annual online publication of tax records to every Norwegian citizen  is an example of how the current left-wing government disregards people’s right to privacy and safety,” Party political advisor Brage Baklien says in a statement.

“We find the DRD a threat to privacy. We have serious concerns, along with political Parties, physicians, journalists, privacy and human rights groups, unions, IT security firms, and legal experts,” says the Liberals’ (V) Information Advisor Jan-Christian Kolstø on the Party’s behalf.

The Socialist Left (SV) and Christian Democratic Party (KrF) also say they oppose the directive.

“The core issue is whether we can accept legislating surveillance of every citizen “just in case” someone commits a crime,” Socialist Left politician Hallgeir Langeland MP says.

Headache

Labour will not be able to introduce the DRD without the key support of the Conservatives (H), Norway’s second largest Opposition Party, who is sitting on the fence.

“The Conservative Party has presented a series of expectations and demands that need to be met in the Government’s proposal. The Party will not make a final decision in this case until after the Government has presented its proposal to Parliament,” it writes in a statement.

It is still unclear when Labour will be doing this, according to the Labour’s Håkon Haugli MP.

Jenny Klinge believes one reason for the Conservatives’ delay is that the Party is trying to ride two horses simultaneously.

“It is complicated for them. As a liberalist Party they are more concerned about personal privacy on the one hand, but cannot veto an EU directive on the other because they are in favour of EU membership,” she says.

A Norwegian veto, which the Liberals support, could also put Norway in an EEA squeeze.

“The EU will, of course, be obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure there is a continued well-functioning internal market. This would be in line with the EEA Agreement’s character and spirit. The decision on what measures should be taken, if any, would involve many actors on the EU side,” Janos Herman, the EU’s ambassador in Norway told Aftenposten last week.

The DRD is just one of many Directives in store for Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre to negotiate on behalf of Norway, which include TV alcohol advertising, and the Postal Directive.

Moreover, Norway’s marginalisation in the EU is increasing. A DRD veto would be the first time Norway has not implemented an EEA-relevant directive, according to Ambassador Herman.

Halfway?

Håkon Haugli says his Party takes privacy concerns seriously, promising that Labour will only introduce the directive if several conditions are met.  

“The data should only be stored for up to 12 months, we require it is handled just by the provider, it will only be disclosed to police in cases of specific and serious crimes, and only following a court ruling,” he says, and continues, “the DRD gives national authorities a lot of room. The various elements will be discussed in Parliament,” he tells The Foreigner.

Jenny Klinge says her Party may be willing to reconsider its stance, but only if the government considers drawing up a national alternative.

“This must also contain national regulations for how to store and process the data. The advantage with this system is that Norway has control, not the EU, especially if the EU decides to expand the directive in the future.”

Meanwhile, Mr Haugli hopes the Conservatives will vote in favour of implementing the directive.

“We have no plan B,” he says.




Published on Thursday, 2nd December, 2010 at 20:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 10th December 2010 at 16:40.

This post has the following tags: data, retention, directive, eu, eea, haakon, haugli, helge, pedersen, hallgeir, langeland, jenny, klinge, jonas, gahr, stoere, janos, herman, surveillance.





  
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