Taxing and woolly data retention laws will discourage new business – The Irish Times – Fri, Apr 15, 2011


The cost and complexity of new data legislation creates difficulties for new investors

AS THE implications of our recently enacted data retention legislation sink in, internet service providers – defined broadly – are beginning to express concern.

The Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011, signed into law in January, does not merely target telecoms companies or conventional ISPs, say legal experts. Operators of cyber cafes, and any hotel or hostel that offers internet access to customers, are likely to fall under its remit.

Handlers of internet and e-mail data – including those who operate data warehouses – may now have obligations to store user data under this Act. Even people who run internet discussion boards fall into a grey area, depending on how they manage e-mail services for board members.

Data handlers must not only store, but maintain and manage data in such a way as to make it quickly accessible to law-enforcement agencies upon request and – in a move that has been questioned by privacy advocates such as Digital Rights Ireland – the Revenue service.

Doing so will generally involve software, employee and hardware costs. These could prove crippling to smaller service providers and cause hotels to question whether to offer internet access at all.

Another excellent piece by Karlin – see an earlier piece by her, linked here.