German, Dutch goverments seek stricter online rules

The German and Dutch governments have issued proposals that would make the use of false or fake information illegal in opening a Web-based email account and require phone companies to save detailed records, including when customers make calls, where and to whom, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the measures, none of which have yet become law, would not outlaw having false or misleading names on email or other Internet addresses, only providing false information to ISPs.

The aim, analysts say, is to make it easier for law enforcement officials to get information when they investigate crimes or terrorist attacks, the report said.

But Europeans have long cherished their privacy, railing against measures that would see personal information stored for commercial use or government examination, the report said.

The Germans and Dutch are moving well ahead of a 2009 EU deadline to implement its Data Retention directive, which calls for keeping names and addresses of subscribers, including those who use Web-based email accounts, the report added.

The reports said EU directive calls on members to decide on an individual basis how long they will keep the information on file, within a range from six to 24 months.

Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said his country's proposal envisions an 18-month range; Germany is proposing six months, the report added.