Figures

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Figures and statistics regarding data retention

Retention and access

  • Under data retention schemes, the behaviour of each citizen is registered, on average, 82,000 times a year, 265 times a day and 11 times an hour. source: Danish, English
  • Graphic of total number of requests for retained data in 2008 per country:p. 33. 470,222 requests for retained communications data were made in the UK (highest), whereas only 34 requests were made in Cyprus. In 2009, 1,060,000 requests were made in Poland: source.
  • Data requests by age of data per country: p. 34. Data requests by age of data in Poland.
  • 98% of all citizens whose communications are being recorded under blanket

retention schemes are never even suspected of a criminal offence. In 2009, 1,724,839 of 81,866,000 inhabitants in Germany were suspected of a criminal offence: Federal Crime Agency, http://www.bka.de/pks/pks2009/download/pks-jb_2009_bka.pdf, p. 73.

Effectiveness

  • Crime and crime clearance before and after introduction of data retention:graphics, numbers
  • An independent study commissioned by the German government found that among a sample set of 1.257 law enforcement requests for traffic data made in 2005, only 4% of requests could not be (fully) served for a lack of retained data. source
  • Taking into account the total number of criminal investigation procedures in 2005, only 0.01% of investigations were affected by a lack of traffic data. source
  • About one third of the suspects in those procedures were still taken to court on the basis of other evidence. source
  • Moreover 72% of investigations with fully successful requests for traffic data did still not result in an indictment. source
  • All in all, blanket data retention would have made a difference to 0.002% of criminal investigations at most. This figure does not change significantly when taking into account that in the absence of a blanket data retention scheme, less requests are made in the first place. source
  • In Germany, only 0.5% of criminal investigations rely on traffic data. source

Crime Clearance Rates and data retention (red=blanket data retention scheme in effect)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Austria 40,0% 39,0% 39,4% 38,3% 39,9%
Denmark 14,7% 14,7% 15,4% 17,5%
Estonia 46,8% 46,8% 52,3% 48,5%
Finland 60,2% 60,0% 60,0% 61,5% 59,3%
France 33,2% 34,3% 36,1% 37,6% 37,7% 37,4%
Germany 55,0% 55,4% 55,0% 54,8% 55,6%
Italy 19,4% 19,8% 22,1% 21,3%
Ireland 65,2% 67,6% 67,2% 67,9%
Latvia 15,6% 30,8% 33,8% 31,3%
Lithuania 41,9% 44,1% 45,5% 43,7% 44,2% 46,5%
Poland 58,6% 62,4% 64,6% 65,9% 67,1%
Portugal 37,4% 37,9% 37,7% 40,6% 40,2%
Slovakia 57,2% 57,4% 55,1% 54,6%
Slovenia 43,0% 41,0% 41,0% 44,0% 47,0% 49,0%
Spain 47,6% 45,8% 44,6%
Sweden 32,0% 34,0% 33,0% 35,0% 38,0%
UK 25,6% 27,3% 27,2% 27,7% 28,5% 27,9%

Statistics published by the German Federal Crime Agency (BKA):

German Crime Statistics 2005 (no data retention) 2006 (no data retention) 2007 (no data retention) 2008 (telephone data retention in force) 2009 (telephone and Internet data retention in force) 2010 (no data retention as of 02/03/2010)
Registered crime 6'391'715 6'304'223 6'284'661 6'114'128 6'054'330 5'933'278
Clearance rate 55.0% 55.4% 55.0% 54.8% 55.6% 56.0%
Registered Internet crime 118'036 165'720 179'026 167'451 206'909 223'642
Clearance rate for Internet crime 84.9% 84.4% 82.9% 79.8% 75.7% 72.3%

Statistics published by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic and by The Police of the Czech Republic:

Czech Crime Statistics 2003 (no data retention) 2004 (no data retention) 2005 (telephone and Internet data retention introduced) 2006 (telephone and Internet data retention in force) 2007 (telephone and Internet data retention in force) 2008 (telephone and Internet data retention in force) 2009 (telephone and Internet data retention in force)
Registered crime 357'740 351'629 344'060 336'446 357'391 343'799 332'829
Clearance rate 37.9% 38.2% 39.3% 39.7% 38.9% 37.2% 38.3%
Number of requests for retained data 0 0 [n/a] [n/a] [n/a] 131'560 145'368

An independent study commissioned by the German government found that among a sample set of 1.257 law enforcement requests for traffic data made in 2005, only 4% of requests could not be (fully) served for a lack of retained data.[1] Taking into account the total number of criminal investigation procedures in 2005, only 0.01% of investigations were affected by a lack of traffic data.[2] About one third of the suspects in those procedures were still taken to court on the basis of other evidence.[3] Moreover 72% of investigations with fully successful requests for traffic data did not result in an indictment.[4] All in all, blanket data retention would have made a difference to only 0.002% of criminal investigations.[5] This number does not change significantly when taking into account that in the absence of a blanket data retention scheme, less requests are made in the first place.[6]

Similarly a dutch study of 65 case files found that requests for traffic data could "nearly always" be served even in the absence of compulsory data retention.[7] The cases studied were almost all solved or helped using traffic data that was available without compulsory data retention.[8]

The German Federal Crime Agency (BKA) counted only 381 criminal investigation procedures in which traffic data was lacking in 2005.[9] In view of a total of 6 million procedures in 2005, no more than 0.01% of criminal investigation procedures were potentially affected. In the absence of a blanket traffic data retention regime, German law enforcement agencies have consistently cleared more than 70% of all reported Internet offences, significantly outperforming the average crime clearance rate of about 50%. The coming into force of data retention legislation did not have any statistically significant effect on crime rates or crime clearance rates.

Invasiveness

  • A poll of 1,000 Germans found in 2008 that with communications data retention in place, one in two Germans would refrain from contacting a marriage counsellor, a psychotherapist or a drug abuse counsellor by telephone, mobile phone or e-mail if they needed their help. One in thirteen people said they had already refrained from using telephone, mobile phone or e-mail at least once because of data retention, which extrapolates to 6.5 mio. Germans in total.
  • In a poll of 1,489 German journalists commissioned in 2008, one in fourteen journalists reported that the awareness of all communications data being retained had at least once had a negative effect on contacts with their sources. This extrapolates to more than 3'000 affected German journalists in total. The inability to electronically receive information through untraceable channels with blanket data retention in place affects not only the press, but all watchdogs including government authorities.
  • A poll of 2,176 Germans found in 2009 that 69.3% oppose data retention, making it the most strongly rejected surveillance scheme of all, including biometric passports, access to financial data, remote computer searches and PNR retention.
  • A 2008 Eurobarometer poll found that a large majority of 69-81% of EU citizens rejected the idea of “monitoring” Internet use or phone calls of non-suspects even in light of the fight against international terrorism. Data Protection in the European Union, February 2008, http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_225_en.pdf, p. 48 (32+18+19=69%, 35+21+25=81%).
  • Download six months of real traffic data (anonymized)
  • View six months of real location data on interactive map
  • View location data of one person spending a day in Berlin
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