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Polish controller finds weaknesses in data retention rules

Wednesday 9 October 2013 | 15:58 CET | News
Data retention provisions in Poland do not sufficiently protect privacy and freedom of citizens against excessive interference of the state, according to findings of the Polish Supreme Control Authority (NIK). In Poland there is no independent body verifying the legitimacy of acquiring and usage of billing information. 

The NIK evaluated positively, despite the irregularities, the activity of controlled bodies, services and systems in terms of procedures for the collection and processing of data retention (retained by telecommunications operators identifying information about the owner of a phone number, phone numbers called, phone number owner's location and the location of the owner of an IP address), reports Media2.pl. Rules and procedures in place enable efficient retrieval of data. Authorized employees and officers have access to data, and the circle of persons having such authority was clearly defined in controlled institutions. 

The irregularities found concerned insufficient identification of an authorized officer when requesting data on communication (lacking detail in contracts with operators); requesting data beyond the data retention period (until January 2013 it was 24 months, currently it is 12 months); requesting billing data in divorce proceedings without subscriber's consent (which operators refused to provide to courts); acquiring data beyond the scope defined in the court's decision which was a violation of telecommunications secret by operators (NIK informed the regulator UKE on such cases); not removing redundant data; acquiring data by non-authorised or non-authenticated persons; requesting SMS content by courts in civil proceedings and not informing citizens of courts and prosecutors acquiring billing information. 

NIK recognized that data retention is a valuable tool for law enforcement and criminal justice matters. The findings of NIK, however, show that the current Polish regulations on obtaining phone records do not protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens against undue state interference.


Categories: General
Countries: Poland
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