On 8 April, the Court of Justice of the EU declared invalid the EU Directive on Data Retention. The aim of the directive was to harmonize Member State legislation as to what data telecommunication operators are obliged to retain and for how long. Operators of public networks had to, according to the directive adopted in 2006 and respective national legislations, record data such as location, calls, messages and data sent or received of all users and store them for 6 to 24 months, based on the specific national legislative provisions. Although the contents of the traffic (calls, messages) were not to be recorded, the data was intended to serve as a valuable source of information in investigations of the most serious crimes, such as terrorism. However, the Court of Justice ruled, the general collection of all data of every user violates the principle of proportionality. In other words, the Court of Justice conceded that such data is a valuable source and in case of an investigation the intrusion into the right to privacy of a suspect is justified, but the general application to every user is too intrusive. Furthermore, the Directive failed to provide safeguards against abuse, it does not require the operators to store the data inside the EU and some other problems were identified by the Court of Justice. It is important to note that although the directive is invalid, the laws in force in the Member States which were created or amended in order to transpose the directive, remain effective. According to Commissioner Malmström, the Commission awaited such result as it confirms the EC´s conviction, expressed in the directive´s evaluation report of 2011, that the directive provides too generous intrusion into privacy of the EU citizens. The Commission will now take necessary action in order to adopt a new directive.
2nd May 2018