Redefining the Relationship Between Security, Data Retention and Human Rights
Under pressure to ensure citizen safety following 11 September and the Madrid and London bombings, the EU and member states pushed through a large number of laws empowering law enforcement authorities, at times seemingly at a high cost for citizens’ fundamental rights. The Commission is now in the process of evaluating and reviewing some of these laws, amongst which the Data Retention Directive. This paper argues that, given the operational experiences with the Directive and implementing laws and the legal and political changes that have taken place in the past six years since its entry into force, it is time to redefine the relationship between security needs and fundamental rights regarding data retention. While arguing for this redefinition, the paper also reflects on the chances that this process of redefinition will actually come about: disagreements between EU institutions may, at best, lead to yet another case of opportunistic pragmatism or, at worst, produce no reform at all.