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June 19 2014

ECJ Declares Data Retention Directive Invalid

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has declared the Data Retention Directive invalid. The Court's decision was grounded on its conclusion that, by requiring the retention of the data falling within the scope of the Directive, 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 judgment was rendered in response to questions posed to the ECJ by the national courts of two EU Member States. The Irish High Court posed questions regarding the legality of national legislative and administrative measures concerning the retention of data relating to electronic communications. The Austrian Constitutional Court posed questions arising from an action by 11,130 individuals in Austria questioning the compatibility with the Federal Constitutional Law of the Austrian provisions transposing the Data Retention Directive into Austrian national law. The ECJ's decision will trigger a rethink of both EU and EU Member States' laws on government surveillance.