British Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, highlighted emerging consensus from EU interior and justice ministers yesterday from the meeting in Luxembourg. "We are saying that data should be held for periods of between six months and two years depending on the form of data. Mark Donkersley, managing director at records compliance management vendor AXS-One says:
The ministers' decision to ensure that data is stored to support anti-terror investigations will hopefully be the prescription needed to support anti-terror intelligence. However, the key focus needs to be on helping ISPs to get the practicalities right delivering appropriate storage and retrieval capabilities hand-in-hand."
"Retaining the data is not really the issue - technology has existed for years to be able to do this. However in order to fulfil the expectations of the proposed legislation, the data - and we're talking terabytes and growing - has to be quickly and accurately searchable and destroyed at the end of the six or twelve month period. And with the capability of proving the fidelity of the record."
Data capture and delivery can seem a daunting and expensive task, so it has been no surprise that ISPs have been resistant to this decision. But todays technology has moved a long way since having to spend huge sums of money on the technology to store all data in a data warehouse, which made basic maintenance of data difficult and not always reliable.
Data can now be stored, in its original format, in a single repository which retains and manages the data using a global directory, making the ability to sort the vital information from the irrelevant to seconds, rather than days. There is also the ability to 'audit the auditors' and monitor exactly who has access to the information and how it is used - used in the right way this will hopefully allay any concerns from human rights organisations.