Surveillance of communications has been one of the areas where security agencies around the world have pushed the hardest to expand their powers free from judicial oversight in recent years.
Data retention laws would force Internet Service Providers and other communications providers to retain their records of customers' communications for a set period of time in case for police access. The policy has proved a nonstarter in the United States so far, but the U.S. government is pushing European governments to adopt it.
EU Directive on the retention of data processed in connection with the provision of public electronic communication services (Dec. 14, 2005)
Privacy International, Other Groups Call on European Parliament to Reject Data Retention (PDF) (Dec. 6, 2005)
Privacy International report to European Commission on Data Retention (Sept. 15, 2004)
Letter from President George W. Bush to Mr Romano Prodi, President, Commission of the European Communities (Oct. 16, 2001)