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Communications data

Communications data are records about communications (such as who is calling and e-mailing each other, which web sites are visited, where mobile phones are). Phone companies and Internet Service Providers keep this type of data for short periods of time for business purposes such as billing customers and fixing faults; it must then be deleted under the Data Protection Act.

However, the Home Office is attempting to force these records to be retained for longer periods (up to a year) so that they can be accessed by police and intelligence agencies. This would be done using powers from part 11 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

The Home Office just completed a public consultation over a code of practice implementing retention. A parallel consultation looked at the rules governing access to communications data by a wide range of government bodies, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

> Latest News
> Responses to access consultation: FIPR, GreenNet, Intellect, Richard Clayton, Ian Batten
> Responses to retention consultation: FIPR, GreenNet, Intellect
> Know Your Data Retention Czar
> FIPR meetings on data retention and access (May 2003, October 2003)
> FIPR submission to All-Party Internet Group inquiry
> ISPs reject retention
> Data Protection Commissioners reject retention

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