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Basic information on data retention

What is data retention (DR)?

Data retention means the storage of telecommunication data without any cause or suspicion. This year the evaluation of the EU Data Retention Directive is upcoming. In the context of this evaluation it is once more possible to inhibit data retention as european directive.

What happens during a Callshop Meeting

In order to influence the evaluation of the directive normal citizens will become lobbyists for an afternoon: Together we will phone the MPs of the EU-Parliament and talk with them about the meaning of data retention. With the help of figures and facts we will show them the real effectiveness of the directive: Almost none. Law enforcement agencies often may call data retention a necessary and indispensible tool but they don't have any facts, figures or sources for their claims!

Why should I be interested in this directive - in my country DR has already been canceled

Every country is a bit different. Because of this the EU allows its member states to customise most of its legislation, most laws are passed as so called "directives": The member states get a certain list of requirements which have to be met and every state passes an own law which fits it's individual legal system.

Such a national law can be abolished by the respective member state. Several EU-states already ditched DR because it was not compatible with their own constitutions. But if a member state decides to do so it doesn't change the legal validity of the directive. The member state is still obligated to convert the directive into national law. If they don't do this treaty violation proceedings start and they might have to pay fines. Thus if we want to get rid of data retention in our country once and for all we also have to care about the european directive!

Which telecommunication data will be stored?

  • Telephone: numbers of the participants, date, time, duration
  • Mobile phone: same as "telephone", additionaly: participants of text messaging, radio cell (even when you are not calling) - which gives clues about your location and in big cities even tracking of your movements
  • Internet: IP-Adress and respective connection, date, time, duration of the connection
  • Email: Emailadresses of the participants (also CC and BCC), date and time of transmission.

Arguments pro DR

  • Improved crime detection (especially terrorism).
  • Increased security, criminal acts can be stopped before their execution.
  • BUT: Yet there has been no proof for the effectiveness!

Arguments contra DR

  • Violation of privacy: profile of movement, social networks
  • Violation of presumption of innocence: survaillance treats citizens like criminals
  • High potential for abuse: stored data can be stolen
  • Costs: The storage infrastructure costs more than 300 000 000 €
  • Storage without any reason is disproportional: intervention is disproportionated to its profit
  • Preventable: criminals use other ways for communication
  • Influence on behaviour: Feeling observed leads to changed behaviour (e.g. inhibitions when calling physicians, crisis lines, lawyers)


Quickfreeze: If there's a reasonable suspicion, that someone is planning a severe crime, the responsible authority can force the provider to start saving the data of the suspected. After the decision of a judge the data can be handed out to the authoritiy.

Advantage: No storage of the data of each citizen without any reason. Delivery of the data requires the decision of a judge.

Quickfreeze Plus:
Additionally to Quickfreeze the IP-adresses of all internet accesses are stored for seven days. Disadvantage: Storage withoutany reason.

Interview guide

Introduce yourself

Hello, my name is XXX, i am a participant of the Callshop Meeting in XXX. The Callshop Meeting is a public campaign against the storage of telecommunication data without any reason. Thank you for taking the time for this call.

Record the call

Don't forget to aks for permission, if you want to record the call.

Probe the called Person

  • What means data retention for you?
  • Should the data retention be continued?
  • Should the data retention directive be changed?
  • What conclusion can be made with the saved information?

Wow! That's a raelly neat answer!

MEP who is against data retention

  • We like your position and we hope that you can persuade other partys and groups to inhibit the data retention directive.
  • How would this subject evolve?
  • Is Quick freeze a real alternative?
  • How can we support your engagement?
  • What person should we call next? Who is important?

Additional Questions

  • What are your expectations towards the evaluation of the directive?
  • Which results can be foreshadowed?

Food for thoughts!

  • Statements which state the data retention directive as essential and important against crime could not proof this in a scientific argumentation. There are no facts, which proof that the data retention directive supports the clarification of crime in an adequate magnitude.
  • There are 19 trials against Germany, e.g. for the violation of the stability and growth pact. Why is the data retention directive warned in this big manner?
  • Do you know the tracked movements of Malte Spitz?


  • Ask the parliamentarian to keep us informed. Information should be sent to [enter your central contact email adress].
  • Offer to send our own evaluation report (EDRI & AK Vorrat): around 20 pages, well sounded, not too long

Blocking reactions

  • "Sir/Madam XY is not in charge for this issue. Please contact...." or " Sir/Madam will most likely follow the recommendation of his parlamentary group."
    • It is about the fundemental rights of all people, which xy represents in the congress. At latest at the vote about the directive/ley, Mr/Ms XY has to do his own decision. Therefore he/she is personally responsable towards his/her voters.
  • "For the time being no decision about data rention will be made. A result is not foreseeable."
    • As long as we don't have enough MEPs showing that they reject every kind of data retention there looms the danger of national implementations of the directive which again will empower the european process towards data retention. Now is the time to take a stand for privacy and thus show your parliamentary group that you won't agree on any law which supports data retention."
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