For some time now Karlin Lillington of the Irish Times has been writing and warning about the State’s draconian data retention laws. Under this legislation the State can retain details, but not the content, of every phone, mobile and fax call for three years.
The legislation was, in the best traditions of a banana republic, imposed rather than by open democratic debate and introduced in virtual secrecy.
Now Digital Rights Ireland is challenging the legislation. According to DRI, this type of monitoring is a breach of Irish citizens’ rights to privacy and is a complete reversal of the assumption that people are innocent until proven guilty.
So, should we be worried? Most certainly, under the legislation the Gardai are making an incredible 10,000 requests a year for access to information on innocent citizens.
It would also be wise to remember that the legislation was introduced by a Justice Minister who has no scruples about leaking confidential police files that can destroy the good name of an innocent citizen.