Obligation to register
The new Belgian proposal goes beyond the previous data retention obligation. Under the "old" legislation, a provider was only obliged to retain data they collected anyway. Data that the provider did not have could not be retained. You can’t keep what you don’t have. If, to handle a telephone conversation between two people, records were kept of who was calling whom, then that data had to be saved. But if an email provider didn't log who sent whom an email and when, and therefore there was nothing to keep, that was the end of story. The new Belgian proposal, however, doesn't leave it at that. The new proposed legislation forces providers to record that data on behalf of the government, even if the provider doesn’t see a need for it itself. The proposal therefore is not only an obligation to retain data, but also to record it.