EU Court of Justice rules against Data Retention Directive

8 Apr 2014

The Data Retention Directive that allowed governments and mobile operators to store users’ data and locations for a maximum of two years is invalid, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.

“The court takes the view that, by requiring the retention of those data and by allowing the competent national authorities to access those data, the directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data,” the ECJ said in its ruling.

The Digital Rights Ireland organisation originally brought the case to court in 2006, after it had perceived the country’s current data-retention legislation as an infringement on a person’s right to privacy.

According to the ECJ, the original ruling targeting persons engaging in illegal activities was too vague.

“The wide-ranging and particularly serious interference of the directive with the fundamental rights at issue is not sufficiently circumscribed to ensure that interference is actually limited to what is strictly necessary,” the ECJ said.

The Irish High Court referred the case to the ECJ in 2012 and, as from this ruling, the State will now re-engage with Digital Rights Ireland in the case.

Data storage concept image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic