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EU Debates Data Retention

New data retention laws in Europe could, if passed, open fresh markets to storage networking firms.

In an emergency meeting of the European Parliament on Wednesday, Britain's home secretary Charles Clarke urged members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs to reconsider objections to data retention mandates.

At issue is whether the EU will order telecom service providers and ISPs in Europe to save email and call detail records for at least one year. Last month, the committee rejected a similar request sponsored by the U.K., France, Ireland, and Sweden.

In a press conference late yesterday, EU president Jos Manuel Barroso told journalists the EU will have a plan ready by September. "More than ever, this is the moment to overcome reticence against closer cooperation," Barroso said.

Back in June, members voting on data retention felt they were on shaky legal ground, a view backed by civil liberties groups. And European telecom firms complain that saving large amounts of data would mire them financially and legally. What's more, service providers say that searching the data is problematic even if it can be stored.

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