Bulgaria's Constitutional Court Rules Bulk Data Retention Unconstitutional; EU Says No New Snooping Directive Coming
from the surprising-but-welcome-victory dept
Just last week we reported that a Dutch court had set aside the country's national data retention law; now Bulgarian judges have done the same:
Bulgaria's Constitutional Court ruled on March 12 to declare provisions in the Electronic Communications Act mandating the bulk collection of telecommunications data as unconstitutional.
The challenge to the national law came soon after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had ruled that the European data retention directive was "invalid". The assumption has always been that the European Commission would put together a revised version of the directive to deal with the court's objections, but in a surprise move, the EU Commissioner responsible announced that no new snooping law would be proposed:
"On the data retention directive, the European Commission does not plan to present a new legislative initiative," Dimitris Avramopoulos told a news conference in Brussels.
It's worth emphasizing that this does not mean bulk data retention is dead in the EU. As an earlier Techdirt post explained, the EU's Member States can still bring in national laws requiring data retention, but those can be challenged in the courts in the light of the CJEU decision, as is already happening. In practice, this means that there is likely to be a wide range of requirements for data retention across Europe, ranging from the most extreme in the UK, for example, to those countries that accept that such mass surveillance is not just intrusive but also ineffectual.