The question is not deeper than what is articulated in its title

  • 1
    Perhaps, but a) not confidently, b) with no reference given, and c) it isn’t asked there. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 10:19
  • D) if anything only as a sidenote Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 10:19
  • The question is not deeper than what is articulated in your other question. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 16:04
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    Does this answer your question? SARing received text messages from a lost phone
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


If you mean the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (aka RIPA), it doesn't provide for mandatory retention of communications data. Broadly speaking, RIPA is about interception as opposed to mass surveillance or retention just in case.

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 obliged "public communications providers" to retain what is commonly known as 'metadata', i.e. information about the communication - the originating phone number, the receiving phone number, the date, time and duration (if relevant), the type of call or message - not the content of the communication. See Schedule 1.

In April 2014, in the case known as Digital Rights Ireland the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the EC Directive invalid.

In response, the UK made the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) - sunsetted on 31 December 2016. This provided for the Secretary of State to issue a data retention notice to a communications services provider (CSP), requiring it to retain the data types set out in the Schedule to the 2009 Regulations. DRIPA's Explanatory Notes support my claims above with a summary of the history.

This was replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA), Part 4 of which deals with the retention of communications data. Here too the retention is of the metadata not the content (see s11(87) and the Explanatory Notes).

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