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EU Advocate General Says EU Data Retention Directive Unlawful

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the bit-much-fellas dept.

EU 22

An anonymous reader writes "The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice today issued their opinion that the EU Directive covering the retention of data is incompatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In an interim ruling in a case taken by the Irish Digital Rights movement, the AG found the limitation on a persons right to privacy imposed by the EU Directive was not properly laid down in law. The ECR has yet to make a formal ruling and is not bound by the AG opinion, however it is unusual for the court not to follow suit."

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WOW (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45670947)


Re:WOW (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671223)

Such privacy, many liberty. Wow. Very data.

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671309)


Re:WOW (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 8 months ago | (#45671961)


And to be clear; "Wow-wee!"

But I'm unsure if this is the "royal We" or just "I'm having fun like a little girl" "wee!" I'm just taking this into context and I apologize if there has been any misunderstanding.

At this time I'd like to reaffirm that this is a site for geeks about things that matter. And I differ to any English majors who can add to this discussion.

Typical Irish (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45670973)

They're hoping that they can invoke a "right to forget" against the bank's record of their overdraft

Re:Typical Irish (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671191)

Typical Anonymous Coward - blaming the Irish.

helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45671243)

Key to the opinion seems to be that it conflicts with existing EU law to mandate data-retention at the EU level. The opinion however leaves open the possibility that individual member states could choose to adopt data-retention rules in their national law... so it doesn't say that data-retention mandates necessarily conflict with rights guaranteed in Europe, either. One of the things that seems to have particularly discomfited the opinion-writer is that implementing this kind of thing as an EU-wide mandate frustrates the ability of individual member states to issue more narrow mandates that keep data within their borders and have stronger privacy protections.

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671437)

One interesting detail is that the European Commission fined Sweden 3 million euro for not implementing the data-retention law in a timely fashion.
If the EU can't mandate data-retention then this fine was erroneous and should be repaid.
Another side effect is that those in power can't blame the EU for their respective data retention law anymore.

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671527)

The opinion however leaves open the possibility that individual member states could choose to adopt data-retention rules in their national law.

The direct opposite is the case in Germany where the wide reaching information collection by the state has been found illegal by the courts, partially due to historic cases where it had been misused (Gestapo/Holocaust/Stasi). The European mandate was supported by German politicians since that meant they could overrule the courts (no longer a national matter) and tell the voters that they had no choice but to implement the mandate (obviously modifying the constitution would work as well, however no one would want to face the fallout from that).

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45671541)

Yeah, I guess that should read, more precisely: The opinion however leaves open the possibility that individual member states could choose to adopt data-retention rules in their national law, unless their national constitution also forbids such a mandate.

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671869)

The opinion however leaves open the possibility that individual member states could choose to adopt data-retention rules in their national law, unless their national constitution also forbids such a mandate.

Both the EU as an institution and the individual EU member states are bound by the EU Charter, and since the opinion says that the current data retention directive runs counter to said Charter, I don't think that's the case. The opinion does reportedly leave open the option of modifying the directive so that it does become compatible with the Charter though, and obviously individual member states could also directly modify their data retention laws in that respect.

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 8 months ago | (#45672221)

Having a national constitution which makes it impossible to implement a charter does not absolve a member state from implementing the charter.

However, the EU can only apply fines or (maybe, theoretically) throw member states out of the union, and it remains to be seen just how large a fine can be without provoking too much dissent. Probably not very large if it is the UK that gets fined...

Re:helpful, though doesn't mandate the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672955)

I just read the press release, but I agree - Instead of saying that people (who are not suspect of any crime) have a right to have their location and call data private, the AG's opinion says the opposite - that the purposes of retaining this data are (to investigate crimes, etc.). The Advocate General says that he has a couple problems with the directive (it should be 1 year instead of 2; it should stay within the EU, i.e., not the NSA; it's too vague), but until the law gets fixed by EU parliament, it can continue to operate.

Digital Rights Ireland (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671485)

Irish Digital Rights != Digital Rights Ireland [] . The latter is the name of the group which have been around for years and took this case. With some editing including dropping the captial D and R the former might have made for a meaningful sentence. As it stands it is like writing USA as American States Union.

Re:Digital Rights Ireland (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45671647)

The Judean People's Front? SPLITTER!

Interim ruling? (2)

pr100 (653298) | about 8 months ago | (#45671809)

I'm not sure that the Advocate General's opinion is properly described as an interim ruling - that suggest a court ruling which has some legal force pending a full trial. The AG's opinion is there to help the court make its decision, but doesn't have any legal force of itself.

As the summary says, its usual for the court to follow the opinion of the AG, but it doesn't always happen.

The Ultimate Privacy Violation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672373)

A big deal has been made of the NSA spying on internet users, but in the EU such spying was passed into law in 2006 in the form of the EU Data Retention Directive. They retain data on every website you visit, every email you send, every phone call you make and every text message you send/receive. This information can be accessed without a warrant and it seems access is available to pretty much everyone in the public sector.

What the NSA has been doing in secret, the EU has been doing very publicly for seven years. The EU Data Retention Directive is what drove me to start browsing the web using an anonymous encrypted VPN service. The downside of using a VPN is that it's probably enough to get you flagged as a terrorist, when in reality all I'm doing is protecting my privacy from over-reaching governments who are intent on controlling every aspect of my life.

Re:The Ultimate Privacy Violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45678663)

I'm in the same boat, and I'm continually frustrated by all these stories about how eeeevil companies like Google and Facebook are spying on me when I can just opt out of their services. I'm much more concerned about what my own government is doing to me largely through EU directives.

Tony Blair howls with laughter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672533)

When Blair rose to power, replacing every significant person in power in the UK with a Blair loyalist was trivial and didn't come close to being a major goal. A root and branch change of how Brits would live their lives in a post-Blair world (by which I mean when Blair could move to the next stage of his plans, leaving his lieutenants behind to oversee 'virtual' control of the UK under various sheep-fooling labels) was a little more difficult. But Blair's bigger challenge was throttling the last vestiges of decency to death in the European Union, and empowering vicious, hyper-corrupt, Blair loyalists through-out the EU power structure and leadership of key European nations.

Since Blair's visible rise, the European Court of Human Rights, for instance, has ruled repeatedly in favour of every aspect of Blair's war mongering agendas, anti-muslim agendas, pro-Israel agendas, and full surveillance agendas. Once the ECHR was famous for rulings like that which ended state sanctioned BDSM rape of children in UK schools under the guise of 'corporal punishment'. After Blair, the ECHR has rubber stamped the 'Rights' of nations like Italy and France to pass national laws, at the behest of zionists, that specifically target the rights of muslim citizens. Indeed, after Blair, the ECHR has specifically stated that the right of Freedom of Conscience, universally recognised in the UK, and UK derived nations like Canada, the USA and Australia, does not exist as a universally recognised right in the EU. After Blair, individual EU states have been given free reign to discriminate against citizens on the basis of their religious/spiritual beliefs.

Now, people like this AG can spout what they like- but Blair ensured the over-arching power in the EU lies with ministers from the member nations and NOT with any form of EU official or politician, whether elected or appointed. In other words, these national ministers are ABOVE the other branches of the EU government (including the various supra-national courts), which wasn't the case before Blair made fundamental changes to how the EU functions.

This does not mean things always go Blair's way. Blair has to counter-balance his power with potential backlashes from the people if they sense what is really going on. Blair won absolute political support from ever major leader in the West for his plan to GENOCIDE Syria with one of the largest air attacks ever witnessed in Human History, but the plan fell apart when the people made it clear to too many apolitical war planners that the burning of Syria would be seen by the greater populace as an absolute act of evil.

The ECHR, stacked with judges that adore Blair and his rolling program of wars across our planet, actually (sort of) objected to Blair's massive UK DNA database built using DNA forcibly removed from innocent people in the UK. However, these minor set-backs are 'the cost of doing business' for Blair. His allies sometimes need to convince themselves they are "good Nazis", and so will occasionally stand up the the Rights of the little people. But the greater trends move entirely Blair's way. Full surveillance programs are accelerating in the EU at an astounding rate, and the only concern of Tony Blair's allies that rule in every major European state is ensuring that THEIR sheeple are put 'back to sleep' with reassuring propaganda lies about roll-back and regulation of surveillance and data collected this way.

where'd the blog go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672619)

softwar schlapschtick like berlin

moderation is really censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672677)

who'd have guessed that would never work either

Only as it is designed now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45672975)

They'll just store data for a shorter time and that'll make it A-OK.

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