ECJ Hearing: eco and SpaceNet AG Seeking to Finally Overturn German Blanket Data Retention

With the support of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, SpaceNet AG wants to put an end to blanket data retention. With this in mind, the company had already filed a lawsuit against the act at the Administrative Court in Cologne in 2016. In September 2019, the German Federal Administrative Court submitted several fundamental questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for clarification.

Now, on 13 September 2021, the European Court of Justice will hear oral arguments on whether Germany’s obligation to retain traffic and location data without cause and across the board is in accordance with Union law – including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Advocate General will deliver his opinion on the basis of the oral hearing. The ECJ ruling will then follow a few months later.

Oliver Süme, Chair of the Board of eco – Association of the Internet Industry

“I sincerely hope that the ECJ will rule in favour of data protection and the privacy of users. Blanket digital surveillance is not what we need; rather, we require trust in the integrity, security and privacy of digital communication. The next German federal government should also immediately take this into account and finally abolish the act on data retention – if necessary, even without a signpost from Luxembourg.”

Sebastian von Bomhard, Board Member, SpaceNet AG

“Five years after the start of the proceedings, the ECJ can finally give an unequivocal answer to the question regarding admissibility of data retention. For the entire Internet and telecommunications industry, this would be an important milestone, and the sluggish compromises would be behind us. In the future, the conflict must also not be waged at the expense of Internet users, who also happen to be our customers.”

Dr. Matthias Bäcker, Professor of Public Law, University of Mainz, Attorney-at-law

“A national regulation that provides for general and indiscriminate data retention is and remains inadmissible. Already in October 2020 and in March this year, the ECJ challenged regulations from Belgium, France, the UK and Estonia that were very similar to the German data retention.”


Technical background to blanket data protection in Germany is available in the Fact Sheet: What is Traffic Data?

Expected ECJ Rulings on Blanket Data Retention: eco Association Warns Against Across-the-Board Digital Surveillance 

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