EU Lawyers Confirm 'General And Blanket Data Retention Is No Longer Possible' In European Union
from the take-that,-David-Cameron dept
As we commented back in June, one of the key questions posed by the important ruling of Europe’s highest court that the EU’s current data retention requirements were “invalid” is: so what will the EU’s Member States do now? Will they simply repeal their national legislation that was passed to implement the EU Directive, or will they claim that broad-based data retention is nonetheless still possible, as the UK has done? Although the UK government will doubtless try, it’s going to be much harder to argue that the European Union’s Court of Justice ruling leaves any room for the kind of broad-based data retention that David Cameron’s government wants in the wake of the following news:
civil liberties campaigners AK Vorrat have now obtained internal documents showing that at a recent closed meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers the Council’s Legal Services stated that paragraph 59 of the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the Data Retention Directive “suggests that general and blanket data retention is no longer possible”.
Moreover, whilst seeking to contribute to the fight against serious crime, [the Data Retention] Directive 2006/24 does not require any relationship between the data whose retention is provided for and a threat to public security and, in particular, it is not restricted to a retention in relation (i) to data pertaining to a particular time period and/or a particular geographical zone and/or to a circle of particular persons likely to be involved, in one way or another, in a serious crime, or (ii) to persons who could, for other reasons, contribute, by the retention of their data, to the prevention, detection or prosecution of serious offences.
That admission is likely to strengthen legal challenges to the UK’s new DRIP law. It also undercuts claims by the Australian Attorney General George Brandis that data retention is “very much the way in which Western nations are going”. Since EU lawyers have said that any kind of excessive data retention is illegal in European Union nations, Brandis will find it harder to paint his own extreme retention plans as nothing to get worked up about and simply part of a wider trend. Whether or not they were before, now, they’re certainly not.