And Another One Bites The Dust: Mass Surveillance Ruled Unconstitutional In Slovak Republic

from the time-to-take-the-hint dept

As we noted a few weeks ago, data retention laws continue to fall in Europe. Then it was Bulgaria, following in the wake of Netherlands. Now we learn that the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic has similarly struck down the country's data retention provisions, as reported by the European Information Society Institute:

An act, which ordered large-scale mass surveillance of citizens (so called data retention) is now history. Today the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic proclaimed the mass surveillance of citizens as unconstitutional. The decision was rendered within proceedings initiated by 30 members of the Parliament on behalf of the European Information Society Institute (EISi), a Slovakia based think-tank.
Those judgments are all in line with the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the over-arching EU Data Retention Directive was "invalid." Even the European Commission seems resigned to the fact that there will be no new data retention laws at the EU level.

However, that still leaves the possibility of national laws, provided they do not fall foul of the CJEU judgment, which implicitly offered guidelines how that might be achieved. Germany still seems determined to try, while legal action in the UK will determine whether the recent Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) has managed the trick.

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Filed Under: mass surveillance, slovak republic, surveillance, unconstitutional


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  • identicon
    Michael, 4 May 2015 @ 4:06am

    The United States of America should follow in the footsteps of such forward-thinking and freedom-loving countries as the Slovak Republic.

    Wait, what!?

    Oh, yeah, now that we are the only super-power left, it's way easier to be a military dictatorship.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 6:16am

      Re:

      Its been a while since the US was a "sole super power". Even Syria was laughing when Obama talked about red lines.

      But another point of view is that the US is the only country left whichs foreign policies rely on violence and threats.


      Meanwhile, Slovakia does something? Wow thats a surprise, what is it election time?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 4:36am

    I think SOME data retention with very limited scope and lifetime can be achieved and will suffice regarding law enforcement if law enforcement is doing their investigative work along with having that limited data. In fact, most ISPs already maintain such data as part of their operational routines so there's very little need for a data retention law unless it aims to LIMIT such data retention which is something some commercial entities seem to be in dire need out there.

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

    • icon
      Chris-Mouse (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      Why? An ISP has no business reason to every track what web sites you visit, or who you send email too. At most they need to track aggregate data usage, and that is only needed long enough for the billing to be settled.
      If law enforcement needs more than that, they can go to a judge and make a case for obtaining a warrant.
      While they are there, it should be made very clear that evidence too secret to be revealed to the defence at trial is not evidence at all, and will not be accepted by the courts. It should also be redundant to point out that any material errors in the evidence presented should automatically invalidate the warrant, and make any evidence collected under that warrant inadmissible in court.

      Police and security organizations have been abusing the trust placed in them for decades now. It's high time police should be trusted no more than the defendants they bring before the courts. At best, the sworn word of a police officer should not be given any more weight than the sworn word of a witness who has nothing to gain from the outcome of the case.

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

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 6:35am

        Re: Re:

        You misunderstand me. I said SOME data retention. Like which IP you were assigned, when you were using it, basic info that's needed to run the network.

        If law enforcement needs more than that, they can go to a judge and make a case for obtaining a warrant.

        That's it. And do the investigative work, wiretap the target or whatever.

        The data I mentioned would be used under such warrants to help build the case. And I think they shouldn't be stored for too long. I think they should be stored for no longer than 5-7 days and kept longer if a judicial order asks for it but always with a clear limit. The time limit can be debated of course, I just took numbers out of my head.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 7:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I disagree. I think zero mandated data retention is called for. It's one thing for a service to provide data that they collect normally when presented with a valid court order. It's another thing to require them to keep more data, or data for a longer time, than they would have done for business purposes.

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

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 9:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's the thing, we know that some companies keep the data much longer than they should so an official time frame would stop that. When I think data retention I mean putting clear limits both to the Govt and to the private actors mandating the destruction of said data after the deadline imposed. Anything older than that would be automatically tossed out in the court unless it was clearly authorized by a warrant.

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

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 10:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I see where you're coming from, but I still think that it would do more harm than good.

              "When I think data retention I mean putting clear limits both to the Govt and to the private actors mandating the destruction of said data after the deadline imposed."

              We could have limits for how long companies can retain data without having a data retention law. Mandatory destruction would be extremely nice, but it doesn't address the problems with mandatory data retention.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 7:52am

    Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Slovakia - these are all countries with a living memory of the uses that comprehensive data collection on civilian populations can be put to. Yes, that's a Godwin, but do note - Godwin's a cliche because it's been true enough times to become a cliche.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 11:14am

    the countries with the greatest 'love' of data retention, outside the USA, that is, seems to be France and the UK. now i wonder what the attraction towards that makes these two countries want to go completely against what the EU has ruled and then make the laws even worse for citizens. there has to be something the governments want to hide, because they are going to great lengths to make sure that they know when a citizen starts digging away at the dirt piles.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      Don't forget Australia is tagging along for the data retention ride against the terrorists & kiddie fiddlers.
      It's for our own good, you know. /s

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 9:52pm

      Money, power and control

      Know where all the bodies are buried, all the dirty little secrets or embarrassing things that people would rather keep private, and have a system in place to spot 'trouble-makers' early enough to keep them from becoming effective, and you can pretty much do whatever you want, and take as much power as you can get your hands on.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 12:27pm

    Europe ain't United Fascists of America.

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


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