Government plans to force Whatsapp and Facebook to keep metadata

The content of the communications is not concerned, but the data relating to who communicates with whom, when and where

LThe government wants to force communication services like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Telegram to keep user metadata, De Standaard reported on Monday.

Metadata is often crucial for justice, as it helps to reconstruct where suspects and victims were and who they were last in contact with.

Currently, data encryption is authorized “to guarantee the confidentiality of communications and the security of payments”. The new bill confirms this element, but also provides that encryption is not an obstacle to preserving operator identification, location and traffic data.

The new legislation aims to respond to the cancellation of data retention by the European Court of Justice.

The project has already received initial federal government approval. A new set of opinions is expected, after which the bill will be submitted again to the government and then to Parliament. The government plans to finalize the law in the fall.

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