Dutch government upholds data retention law, Greenhost upholds refusal to comply

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Despite the decision of the European Court of Justice that the directive to store personal data is invalid, Dutch Minister Opstelten of Justice sees no reason to follow this decision. The data retention law stays effective in the Netherlands.

The Minister argued in an Orwellian statement: "The retention of certain data of all citizens is necessary, since we can not know in advance which stored data belongs to suspect and non-suspect citizens."

The government made it thus very clear that it sees all citizens as potential suspects and not as citizens with basic rights such as privacy, freedom of association and freedom of expression. Both the European Commission and the Dutch government have never been able to demonstrate that storing the communication of all citizens is needed. There is no oversight on the use of these data and the mandatory evaluation was belated one and a half years. That evaluation shows, however, that the vast majority of stored data is never used.

At Greenhost we use our knowledge and experience to actively counterbalance this line of the Dutch state. We do hold the opinion that people are innocent until proven guilty.

As of May 2010 we have modified our mail servers in such a way that logs of e-mail communication are no longer stored. Greenhost thus proves that providers do not have to follow the retention law. Ever since we have an 'opt-in' policy, whereby customers can choose whether they want to be logged or not.

As long as the Dutch government fails on its duty to protect civilians and demands unnecessary storage of data, with all the risks of leaks and abuse, we call on providers to also adapt their mail servers and stop logging.

At Greenhost we have many associates, customers and friends. Just the idea that we should be logging their private communication is incompatible with our principles and the role of an ISP in society. Mass surveillance is in our view not a solution but a problem that harms the foundations of a democratic society and the rule of law.