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EU Court Advised to Back Data-Retention Directive

LUXEMBOURG (CN) - Advocate General Yves Bot urged Europe's highest court to uphold a European Union directive allowing police to collect and store data from public communications networks in order to fight crime and terrorism.

The European Council adopted the Data Retention Directive on Feb. 21, 2006. Ireland and the Slovak Republic voted against it and later challenged it in court, claiming it had not been adopted on an "appropriate" legal basis.

The European Parliament argued that the need to ramp up security became evident after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the subsequent attacks in Madrid and London. Further, European member states adopted or were in the process of adopting "widely differing rules on the retention of data," the opinion states. The directive was aimed at coordinating these data-retention plans, making it easier for electronic communication service providers to collect and store the data used by law enforcement.

To justify the measure, Bot said the directive must "actually be intended to improve the conditions for the establishment and functioning of the internal market."

He advised the Court of Justice to reject any call for annulment.

"The adoption of (the directive) ... appears to me to satisfy the requirements thus laid down by the Court," Bot concluded.

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