The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has found that the EU Data Retention Directive constitutes a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference 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 ECJ was asked by The High Court of Ireland and the Constitutional Court of Austria to examine the validity of the Data Retention Directive (Directive 2006/24/EC), 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.
By today’s judgment, the European Court of Justice has declared the directive to be invalid.
The ECJ judged that by adopting the Data Retention Directive, the EU legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of proportionality.
In particularly the directive covers, in a generalised manner, all individuals, all means of electronic communication and all traffic data without any differentiation, limitation or exception. It also fails to lay down any objective criterion which would ensure that the competent national authorities have access to the data and can use it only for the purposes of detecting offenses that are sufficiently serious. Furthermore, the Data Retention Directive imposes a period of at least six months, without making any distinction between the categories of data on the basis of the persons concerned or the possible usefulness of the data in relation to the objective pursued.
As the Court has not limited the temporal effect of its judgment, the declaration of invalidity takes effect from the date on which the directive entered into force.