Denmark must change data logging practice after EU ruling

An EU ruling means Denmark must change a recent rule change allowing authorities to broadly log the telecommunications data of the population.

a telecommunications mast.
File photo of a telecommunications mast. Danish companies can no longer log general, undifferentiated data from customers for potential police use, following an EU ruling. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Ministry of Justice confirmed in a press statement on Tuesday the impact of an EU ruling on the Danish data logging law.

The EU ruling, passed on April 5th, relates to data logging rules in Ireland and means that the Danish rules must be changed to comply with the EU court, the ministry said.

Minister of Justice Mattias Tesfaye said that a new bill on the area would be tabled after the summer parliamentary break. Tesfaye noted his dissatisfaction with the situation.

“Let there be no doubt that the government would have liked to see the EU court reach a different decision,” Tesfaye said in the statement.

“And that is was possible to use information that was logged generally and without differentiation for the purpose of protecting national security and also to prosecute serious crimes like murder and rape,” he said.

The Danish law, which gave authorities greater reach in logging data from private individuals, took effect on March 30th, under a bill passed in parliament by the government and conservative parties on March 3rd.

The new logging rules allowed “the option of general and undifferentiated logging of data if there is a serious threat to national security which is genuine and actual or predicted,” the Ministry of Justice said in a statement as it confirmed the new rules were effective on March 30th.

The ministry said that an assessment based on intelligence service reports had found that those conditions were currently met.

As a result, the law means that telecommunications companies are obliged to log “general and undifferentiated” data from all users, rather than to conduct targeted logging of persons suspected of serious crime. They are also required to register customers with authorities, including users of prepaid services.

Telecommunications companies have stored data from customers for several years despite repeated EU rulings against this in other countries.

The Danish law was passed in part to bypass the earlier rulings, allowing the Danish companies to mass-register data for “national security” purposes.

But data collected in this manner may not be used for investigation of serious crimes, in accordance with the latest EU ruling.

However, general data stored by telecommunications companies may still be used by police during a limited period in which it is stored for reasons other than the logging rules, the Ministry of Justice has concluded.

“In the situation we are in, I think that, overall, we have ended up with something we can live with,” Tesfaye said.

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World War II bombs destroyed on Danish island

Two bombs from the Second World War were destroyed on Danish island Als on Wednesday, with bomb disposal experts investigating a third object.

World War II bombs destroyed on Danish island

Evacuated residents in the area are unable to return home at the time of writing as the Danish military bomb disposal unit, EOD, checks for a third bomb in the area of southern island Als where two explosive devices were neutralised earlier on Wednesday.

The first two bombs were destroyed in controlled explosions, local police confirmed in a press statement.

A wider area is being inspected by police after the discovery of the two bombs.

Work on the third object could take several hours, police said early on Wednesday afternoon.

The two bombs which were destroyed earlier on Wednseday were found on a field near the town of Sønderborg and come from an RAF bomber that crashed in the area in 1943, news wire Ritzau reports.

Around 500 residents have been evacuated from a security zone around the two bombs during the last day due to work on the controlled explosions, although the bombs were initially detected at the end of October.

Residents returning to their homes once the security zone is lifted could find bomb fragments in their gardens, police said.

“Fragments from bombs may have fallen in the security zone.They consist of cast iron and steel and can contain heavy metals,” police stated.

“To have them remove, residents are advised to wear gloves, pick up the fragments and dispose of it in metal waste containers,” they said.