Legislators and courts have been arguing about blanket data retention for years. The European Court of Justice (EUCJ) has banned general surveillance without cause, but the EU Council is now starting a new attempt and wants to debate with the Member States how they can make a new attempt at mass retention despite the clear guidelines of the EUCJ, at tomorrow’s Council meeting.
Oliver Süme, eco Chair of the Board, warns against renewed discussions on European information and retention obligations for the Internet industry: “Any policy to revive blanket data retention is not an option, in any form whatsoever. The discussions on the implementation of pan-European storage infrastructures alone represent a burden for the Internet industry and an attack on the privacy of citizens, and they also pose an enormous security risk. After all, such collections of personal communications data could be rich sources of data for espionage and abuse of any kind.”
Despite all criticism, the justice ministers of the European Union want to revive the blanket retention of data as an instrument in criminal prosecution. Today they have asked the EU Commission to examine the possibilities of a future legislative initiative, as the draft resolution states. According to the justification, the retention of data should be an essential instrument in the fight against crime. The German federal government also supports this application to the EU Commission. The EUCJ has already clarified several times that the use of data and the duration of storage must be limited to what is absolutely necessary.
“The European Court of Justice has repeatedly clarified that a law introducing a storage obligation and a maximum storage obligation for traffic data violates fundamental European rights. Any renewed debate is an immediate threat to a stable digital single market in Europe and will not bring any discernible benefit to the fight against crime. All EU states should also be aware that the EUCJ will measure any new regulation against the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. According to this, general storage without cause without restrictions on the group of persons or time or place is not justified. The storage of personal data must be the exception, never the rule”, says Süme.