UK government introduces emergency law over data protection

The UK government will push through an emergency law that requires telecoms operators to protect and retain data that flows through their networks for a year.

The move is deemed as essential to protect national security, despite the Europe Court of Justice scrapping a law, which is dated back to 2006, that stipulated communications companies should retain data for 12 months.

According to the UK government, Europe’s move could deprive intelligence agencies and police access to vital information of its users.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain’s defiance on the matter would help investigations and also gives telecoms companies’ protection against any legal challenges.

Cameron did however add that the measure would not give authorities any new power over user data.

“No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave,” said Cameron.

“I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – this is not for this parliament. This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”

The emergency legislation includes a termination clause that will expire in 2016.