15.01.2020

eco Comments on EUCJ Proceedings on Blanket Data Retention: “All resuscitation attempts will fail”

Blanket data retention is disproportionate and incompatible with EU law. This is the clear message emerging from the opinion delivered today by Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona. The Association of the Internet Industry welcomes the fact that the Advocate General is thereby upholding the judgment of the European Court of Justice (EUCJ) against general and indiscriminate blanket data retention.

On this topic, eco Chair of the Board Oliver J. Süme has the following to say: “A general retention of data is always discriminatory and contravenes any presumption of innocence. From the totality of the data retained, very precise conclusions can be drawn about the private lives of individuals. Retention of data serves to create a sense of constant surveillance of private life. As expected, the EUCJ will again follow the Advocate General’s opinion and once again reject the retention of data. All attempts at resuscitation will fail!”

In September 2019, three appeals from Belgium, the UK, and France were submitted to the EUCJ. The appeals were directed against various aspects of the essentially identical surveillance practices: police and intelligence services are looking for private telecommunications providers to make their users’Internet and telephone data available to the security authorities. In so doing, the countries want to make it easier for the secret services to access the data. In a landmark decision on blanket data retention, however, the European Court of Justice had already ruled in 2016 that a general retention of data without cause is fundamentally inadmissible. The Directive on privacy and electronic communications, as interpreted in accordance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, stands in the way of such retention.

German blanket data retention before the EUCJ

A case from Germany is also pending before the European Court of Justice concerning the compatibility of its legal regulation on blanket data retention. In September of last year, the German Federal Administrative Court suspended the eco-supported proceedings against blanket data retention, and referred the question of compatibility of German blanket data retention with EU law to the European Court of Justice in a preliminary ruling procedure. The EUCJ will decide whether the German rules are compatible with the ePrivacy Directive and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and thus make a decision on the fate of blanket data retention in Germany.

Some background information:
The company SpaceNet AG took action against the highly controversial monitoring instrument by filing a lawsuit with the Administrative Court of Cologne on 25 April 2016. eco – Association of the Internet Industry has supported this lawsuit from the outset.

eco comments on Decision on EU Copyright Law: “The Internet will be Filtered to Death”
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