The Irish Times has an leader article today on Data Retention.
A small extract:
Perhaps because such legislation deals with electronic data, and the surveillance happens unseen in the background, it has not provoked significant public debate. But electronic monitoring is potentially far more invasive than the “real world” equivalents noted above, as it carries greater possibilities for abuse and misuse, ranging from blackmail to faulty “profiling” to identity theft. Such large-scale surveillance reverses many tenets of democratic society.
It is legitimate, of course, that law-enforcement agencies should have access to some call data. Such information has helped in several high-profile prosecutions, including the Omagh bombing case. But access must be proportional to the threat posed. In particular, there should be clear evidence of a need to move beyond the six months of storage for these data already mandated for billing purposes. Neither the Government nor Garda has come up with a case in which they needed call data from earlier than this six-month framework.