Data Retention: The Presumption of Innocence

For people looking for an introduction to one of the most pernicious aspects of Data Retention, The Midnight Court has posted what it promises will be the introduction to a series of essays on the consequences of Data Retention in law.

A small extract from an eloquent article:

I’d like to consider data retention from a number of perspectives, the most fundamental of which is what it means in the context of the presumption of innocence. As pointed out by Dr. TJ McIntyre to The Irish Times (no subs needed), it is, ultimately, the entitlement of every accused person to a presumption of innocence which data retention policies compromise. Data retention, in fact, extends the violation of the entitlement to the as-yet unaccused, that is everyone in the general population. We are all at all times in a state of de facto criminal investigation and, therefore, subject at all times to the intrusions on our privacy by the agents of the State which that entails. What’s important about that is the less than minor point that the presumption of innocence, guaranteed by Article 38 of the Constitution no less, forms the absolute bedrock of democratic (and pre-democratic) freedom here and elsewhere, stemming as it does from the ancient proposition that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than it is to convict one innocent man for a crime he did not commit.

For anyone trying to find their way to understanding what Data Retention really means, this is a good start.

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