Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 22:08 UK

Commissioner questioned over data retention laws

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has come under fire from MEPs over delays to revisions to EU laws on data retention.

In April 2011, the Commission said that revisions to the rules governing the retention of personal data would be presented, but addressing MEPs on 23 October 2012, Mrs Malmström said it would not take place this year.

The existing 2006 directive says that national laws of EU countries must require communication providers - such as internet service providers - to retain traffic and location data for a period between six months and two years, in order to allow for the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime.

However, the Commission has identified a number of flaws in the current system, such as a conflict between data retention and data protection laws, and that the directive has been implemented unevenly in different countries.

Mrs Malmström said there needed to be better harmonisation between member states, whilst still respecting the "varying requirements of national circumstances".

However a number of MEPs argued whether the data retention framework was needed at all, citing concerns that it could be in conflict with data protection laws.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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