Latest EU Country With Legal Challenge To Blanket Data Retention: The Netherlands
from the gathering-pace dept
Last week we wrote about how a ruling by Europe’s highest court, the EUCJ, that blanket data retention was “invalid,” had received a further boost from an analysis by the European Parliament’s legal services. That, in its turn, made it more likely that more overbroad data retention laws in EU nations would be challenged, as has already happened in the UK and Sweden. Here’s one such move in the Netherlands, as reported by Computerworld in Australia:
After evaluating that ruling [of the EUCJ] the Dutch government decided in November largely to maintain the national data retention law on the grounds that it “is indispensable for the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offenses.” Only a few adjustments to the law were deemed necessary, mainly tightening who has access to the data and under which circumstances.
By maintaining the law, the government also ignored the advice given by the Council of State, a constitutional advisory body that concluded that the Dutch data retention law should be withdrawn because it violates fundamental privacy laws.
The fact that the Dutch government decided to maintain its data retention law despite advice from experts to the contrary, coupled with the latest report from the European Parliament, means that the legal challenge — from the civil rights organization Privacy First, the Dutch Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Dutch Association of Journalists, the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists, ISP BIT and the telecom companies VOYS and SpeakUp — might stand a chance of being successful. While it would be premature to celebrate, the fact that this is even a possibility is a useful reminder of how the surveillance landscape in Europe has shifted over the last year thanks to the EUCJ ruling.