Nov 12

Emails and mobile phone text messages would be stored for six months by internet service providers (ISPs), according to a bill presented by the Swedish government on Thursday to bring the country in line with EU data retention rules.

Critics have come down hard on the proposal, which would compel telephone and broadband providers to retain electronic data for six months, the shortest possible time in accordance with EU directives.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask explained that the bill is concerned about privacy when she presented the legislative proposal on Thursday.

“The proposal means that the information can only be disclosed for crime-fighting purposes,” Ask said a news conference.

The government has proposed that the law come into force on July 1st, 2011. It is part of the introduction of the disputed EU Data Retention Directive.

The directive would force member states to legislate the storage of telephone calls, text messages, email and other internet traffic. The aim is to prevent and solve crimes.

The Data Retention Directive has been severely criticised by those who believe that such rules restrict privacy protection and create a surveillance society.

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