by Glyn Moody

Filed Under:
data retention, eu, human rights, privacy

European Union's Data Retention Law Could Breach Citizens' Fundamental Rights

from the that's-awkward dept

Back in April 2011, we wrote about the Czech Constitutional Court ruling that the country's data retention plans were illegal. As we noted then, many other EU countries had also run into similar problems trying to implement the European Data Retention Directive. In one of them, Austria, the issue was referred to the country's Constitutional Court, which has now commented on the case, as this story in PC Advisor explains:

"We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights," Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement.
In view of this doubt and its potential implications, the Austrian judges have referred the matter to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), to determine the directive's validity. And they aren't the only ones:
the Irish High Court has also asked the ECJ to rule on whether the Data Retention Directive respects the rights of the user. That request stems from a case brought by Digital Rights Ireland against the Minister for Communications in which the group argued that forcing telecoms companies to retain information about how customers use their services breaches individual rights to privacy.
These referrals are important, because a decision from the ECJ that the EU's data retention approach breaches citizens' rights would affect all countries in the EU -- including those that have already implemented the Directive. Moreover, it would presumably have a big impact on even more intrusive plans to store user data, such as the UK's Snooper's Charter.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2012 @ 3:31am

    trouble is, even if the EUCJ deems this illegal, countries will go ahead and do it anyway, behind peoples backs, just as in the USA. in the EU, the 3 strikes system is totally illegal. however, i bet any money you like, that if it's decided a person is going to be kicked off the 'net, that person will be kicked off the net. he will then have to fight all the way to that court to get justice. the problem? it will take years! that means regardless of what compensation or result is given, there will have been no 'net, end of story. whoever did the kicking off still won! the point is, if it is deemed illegal, it should not still be allowed to happen!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The Real Michael, 28 Dec 2012 @ 4:58am

    Police/governments in the EU are free to sift through people's private info without their consent, but don't you DARE break that DRM on that DVD you just purchased without government consent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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