Data Protection vs Data Retention

One of the oddities of the Data Protection legal framework is the relationship between Data Retention and Data Protection and the (wrong) notion that when the retention period has expired, the retained data must be deleted.

Let’s start from scratch: as soon as the services work properly, an ISP has no need to preserve the traffic data, but since we don’t live in a perfect world, problems happen so it is necessary to retain some information for troubleshooting and traffic shaping; furthermore, customers’ claims, billing and legal issues strongly support the need to save some more information. Thus, ISPs – though on a voluntary basis – do collect and retain traffic-related information as long as these information are useful to pursue legitimate goals.

Enter the Data Retention. With a questionable motive, ISPs are now forced – forced – to retain for a limited time some traffic data for the sake of the law enforcement community. In other words, what before the Data Rention Era was voluntary, now is mandatory.

But what happens when the mandatory retention period expires? The answer is (supposed to be) easy: the ordinary Data Protection legal regime comes back into force, so the ISPs are – or should be – free to either continue keeping those data (for legitimate purposes) or deleting it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *