The EU-Court of Justice declares the EU-Data Retention Directive to be invalid.
The EU-Court of Justice takes the view that, by requiring the retention of traffic and location data (generated or processed by providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks) and by allowing the competent national authorities to access those data, the EU-Data Retention Directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, without that interference being limited to what is strictly necessary.
The main objective of the Data Retention Directive 1 [Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliment and the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC] is to harmonise Member States’ provisions concerning the retention of certain data which are generated or processed by providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks. It therefore seeks to ensure that the data are available for the purpose of the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime, such as, in particular, organised crime and terrorism.
Thus, the directive provides that the abovementioned providers must retain traffic and location data as well as related data necessary to identify the subscriber or user. By contrast, it does not permit the retention of the content of the communication or of information consulted. The High Court (Ireland) and the Verfassungsgerichtshof (Constitutional Court, Austria) are asking the Court of Justice to examine the validity of the directive, in particular in the light of two fundamental rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, namely the fundamental right to respect for private life and the fundamental right to the protection of personal data. The High Court must resolve a dispute between the Irish company Digital Rights Ireland and the Irish authorities regarding the legality of national measures concerning the retention of data relating to electronic communications.
The Verfassungsgerichtshof has before it several constitutional actions brought by the Kärntner Landesregierung (Government of the Province of Carinthia) and by Mr Seitlinger, Mr Tschohl and 128 other applicants. Those actions seek the annulment of the national provision which transposes the directive into Austrian law.
By the judgment, the EU-Court of Justice declares the directive invalid.
The Court observes first of all that the data to be retained make it possible, in particular, (1) to know the identity of the person with whom a subscriber or registered user has communicated and by what means, (2) to identify the time of the communication as well as the place from which that communication took place and (3) to know the frequency of the communications of the subscriber or registered user with certain persons during a given period.
Those data, taken as a whole, may provide very precise information on the private lives of the persons whose data are retained, such as the habits of everyday life, permanent or temporary places of residence, daily or other movements, activities carried out, social relationships and the social environments frequented. The Court takes the view that, by requiring the retention of those data 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. Furthermore, the fact that data are retained and subsequently used without the subscriber or registered user being informed is likely to generate in the persons concerned a feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance.
“Grosser Lauschangriff” (MP3, 2’808 KB)
- Urteil des EU-Gerichtshofes vom 8. April 2014 in den verbundenen Rechtssachen C‑293/12 und C‑594/12 betr. Elektronische Kommunikation – Richtlinie 2006/24/EG – Öffentlich zugängliche elektronische Kommunikationsdienste oder öffentliche Kommunikationsnetze – Vorratsspeicherung von Daten, die bei der Bereitstellung solcher Dienste erzeugt oder verarbeitet werden – Gültigkeit – Art. 7, 8 und 11 der Charta der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union
- Pressemitteilung Nr. 54/14 des EU-Gerichtshofs vom 8. April 2014 betr. Urteil in den verbundenen Rechtssachen C-293/12 und C-594/12 Digital Rights Ireland und Seitlinger u.a