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Proposed Irish data retention laws

Karlin notes this about ‘the extraordinary letter the Department of Justice sent out this week to various parties’.

According to the letter, the Department will hold a preliminary forum to ‘initiate’ a consultation process on its proposed three-year data retention bill … The forum begins at 3pm — clearly making sure no long and unruly discussions will develop! — and starts with a 20-minute address by the Minister, followed by a 20-minute address by the Dept of Communications on the 1997 EU Data Privacy Directive (which, BTW, Ireland STILL has not implemented despite being under legal threat by the EU — and note that there’s no mention of the far more crucial 2002 amended Directive, voted in last May by a spineless and ill-informed EU Parliament, which allows for up to SEVEN YEARS data retention.

Then — and this is the amazing bit — attendees get a 20 minute pep talk by An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) ‘on the contribution of data retention in the fight against crime.’

When you pick yourself up off the floor, remind yourself that this is the Irish government’s formal initiation of a purported public discussion on data retention — brought to you by the Irish police. Amazing. You’d have thought they’d at least *pretend* to be balanced and disinterested, and perhaps ask Joe Meade, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, to contribute as well. …

The Department of Justice itself should have nothing whatsoever to do with ANY consultation process on this proposed bill. Instead, as in the UK, an independent Dail group should hold hearings and get public input into this.