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Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the compatibility of (a) his Department's programme of intercepting communications data and (b) the proposed Interception Modernisation Programme with the requirements of the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009. (313534)

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 completed the transposition of Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of communications data. Since 2005, when the directive was negotiated, there has been continuous and innovative development of communications services and applications, many of which are not covered by current data retention legislation. This has already started to undermine the capabilities of our law enforcement and national security agencies to protect the public.

Last year a public consultation, “Protecting the public in a changing communications environment”, sought views on proposals to maintain investigative capabilities in the face of these challenges. In response to that consultation the Government are developing its proposed approach, continuing to work closely with communications service providers to minimise as far as possible any impact on them, and ensuring that any new proposals include strong safeguards to minimise the potential for abuse, and to maintain the security and integrity of the data.