In recent years, some governments have imposed or considered imposing legal mandates requiring Internet and other communications service providers to retain certain data about all of their users, so that it will be available when sought by government agents. These mandates threaten privacy, free expression, and business development and innovation. Here are CDT resources on data retention. These are intended to be of assistance to civil society advocates evaluating national proposals for such mandates; these materials may also be of interest to government officials, businesses and journalists.
Resources for Advocacy
Data Retention Mandates: A Threat to Privacy, Free Expression and Business Development  (October 2011) - An in-depth examination of the issue, with case studies from Europe, Thailand and India. The paper explains why data retention mandates violate fundamental rights, why they impose disproportionate costs on businesses, and why they may actually impede law enforcment effectiveness. [doc ] [pdf ]
Basic Overview of Data Retention Mandates - Privacy and Cost  (September 2012) - A 2 page summary of the issue. [doc ] [pdf ]
Data Retention Mandates: Changes in Internet Addressing Technology Affect Cost, Effectiveness, and Proportionality  (September 2012) - This paper focuses on data retention mandates as they apply to data about Internet usage. It explains how changes in Internet addressing technology are rendering data retention mandates for Internet IP addresses increasingly more expensive and less effective and therefore less proportionate as responses to the interests of law enforcement. [doc ] [pdf ]
Data Retention Mandates: Analyzing a Draft Law  (April 2012) - Introduces the concept of a data retention law and offers a hypothetical statute of the type that might be introduced in any country around the world. A set of questions is then used to guide the reader through an evaluation of the law. [doc ] [pdf ]