In the never-ending quest by western governments to root out the bogeyman (regardless of whether he actually exists), data-retention laws are increasingly under consideration. These laws may provide a veneer of privacy because they require companies to collect and store user data instead of government agencies. According to DatacenterDynamics, such laws under consideration in the U.K. could be problematic for Internet service providers and telcos thanks to greater costs and regulatory burdens. “[U.K. Home Secretary] Theresa May said that the new data retention plans would be just a part of the new powers that law enforcement bodies need to combat terrorism and other serious crimes.” As we all know, terrorists pose far more danger to citizens than a jaunt down a Chicago side street.
Data-retention legislation is helpful to governments, which can shove off the burden onto companies while ensuring compliance under penalty of law. But such laws do little to preserve privacy and, furthermore, are questionable at preventing terrorism. As the article notes, “some civil liberties campaigners are against giving the authorities carte-blanche to [collect] vast pools of data which, given previous examples, they will be unable to intelligently interrogate.”
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