Department of Justice continues tradition of secrecy on data retention

You might have noticed Karlin Lillington’s story in the Irish Times today about the Department of Justice’s new proposals on data retention. To make a long story short, it turns out that the Attorney General was not impressed with its remarkable plans to change the law to extend surveillance on every citizen in Ireland via a ministerial order – sidestepping the need for the Oireachtas to review these changes. Having been rebuffed on this issue, the Department of Justice has now decided to proceed (as it should have done to begin with) via primary legislation.

An improvement for transparency? It would be, if Justice lived up to their past promises to hold an open consultation process. But they haven’t. Their website still claims that the Directive will be transposed via a statutory instrument – notwithstanding the fact that they have prepared a draft Bill which they have been circulating to industry groups. Nor are they willing to show the draft Bill to the public – consultation for Justice appears to mean a secret process controlled by them and excluding citizens.

We’ve contacted Justice for their comments. In the meantime, we think that the public should have the same right to see the draft Bill as industry insiders, so here’s a copy of what we understand is the latest draft: