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Stop #DataRetention: Experts find systematic disregard of Court decisions

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

In a panel discussion now available online (quotes [1] and links to specific statements [2] below), six digital rights experts analyse current developments on the issue of mass data retention of citizen’s electronic communications data in the EU. The experts criticise the plans of the EU Commission as well as the way governments of the EU member states disregard the rulings of the EU Court of Justice, especially in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Portugal and the Czech Republic. The experts elaborate on how a new generation of data retention laws threatens citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

Watch the expert panel now
Stop #DataRetention: Exposing a New Generation of Data Retention Law

Experts on the panel:

  • Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net, France)
  • Eduardo Santos (Direitos Digitais, Portugal)
  • Jan Vobořil (Iuridicum Remedium, Czech Republic)
  • Jesper Lund (IT-Political Association of Denmark)
  • TJ McIntyre (Digital Rights Ireland)
  • Patrick Breyer (MEP Pirate Party, Greens/EFA group, Germany)

“The bulk collection of information on non-suspects everyday communications and movements constitutes an unprecedented attack on our right to privacy and is the most invasive method of mass surveillance directed against the state’s own citizens”, comments Patrick Breyer, Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament. “The anecdotal results are nowhere close to the damage this surveillance weapon inflicts on our societies, as a recent survey found. The persistent violation of fundamental rights, circumvention of case-law, pressuring of judges and ignorance of facts is an attack on the rule of law we need to stop!”

Exposing a New Generation of Data Retention Laws

A new generation of data retention laws threatens the fundamental rights of millions of citizens in the European Union. While the EU Court of Justice permits blanket data retention only exceptionally, these laws by their very nature aim to collect communications data from virtually the entire population. This new generation of data retention legislation insists in turning the exception of mass surveillance into the rule. The panel highlights for example what the concept of “targeted” data retention actually means and how dangerous the systematic collection of IP addresses is.

The speakers call on the European Commission and the governments of the EU countries to stopthis concept of mass surveillance throughout the EU, and to respect the Court’s rulings.

[1] Quotes from the speakers

Bastien Le Querrec, Member La Quadrature du Net : “On December 2021, surprise! The French Constitutional Council censored a legal framework that allowed access to metadata in the context of a justice investigation. In February 2022, the Constitutional Council did it again, this time on the issue of metadata retention. Two readings of this February’s ruling are possible: a pessimistic reading and an optimistic one.(www.laquadrature.net Fediverse / Twitter: @laquadrature @BLeQuerrec)

Eduardo Santos, President of D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais The Constitutional Court has recently struck down the Portuguese data retention law, so we are now starting to have a discussion which we should have had in 2014 already. The legislative process is just started, but so far there is no clear indication that the CJUE case law on the proportionality of data retention will be respected.(https://direitosdigitais.pt/ Twitter: @direitosdig @EdSantos754 Mastodon: https://masto.pt/@d3 )

Jan Vobořil, Executive Director Iuridicum Remedium : The Czech government did not reflect on the rich data retention case law of the CJEU. The problem is, further, that the Czech Constitutional court decided on the constitutionality of national legislation in 2019. There is thus a lack of political will to resolve this apparent contradiction between Czech and European law. ” (www.iure.org Twitter: @iure_cz)

Jesper Lund, Chairman of IT-Political Association of Denmark : “With the new law in 2022, the Danish government tried to do the impossible and keep the entire data retention regime intact, while claiming to comply with EU law. This strategy backfired after just six days, and for the time being the Danish police has only very limited access to communications data.” (www.itpol.dk Twitter: @je5perl @itpof)

[2] Links to video statements from the speakers

Country reports

Overview (CJEU and EU Commission): TJ McIntyre (Digital Rights Ireland):

Portugal: Eduardo Santos (D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais)

Czech Republic: Jan Vobořil (Iuridicum Remedium)

France: Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net)

Denmark: Jesper Lund (IT-Political Association of Denmark)

Ireland: TJ McIntyre (Rights Ireland)

Belgium: Patrick Breyer (MEP Greens/EFA group, Pirate Party)
Online map “targeted” data retention explained:
Digital communication services, Signal etc.:
ePrivacy fraud clause:

Germany Patrick Breyer (MEP Greens/EFA group, Pirate Party):
Child protection:
IP data retention: https://media.ccc.de/v/ccchh-extras-4167-stop-dataretention-exp#t=3838
What “targeted” data retention would look like in Germany:
Patrick Breyer’s message to the Commission of the European Union and to EU member state governments:

Quotes / Statements from the panel

“We need to listen to a much wider group of stakeholders.”
Eduardo Santos (D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais)

“There must be political change!”
Jesper Lund (IT-Political Association of Denmark)

“EU Commission must not be an ally to Member states in this fight.”
Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net)

“The European Union has a rule of law problem when it comes to mass surveillance and data collection.”
Jesper Lund (IT-Political Association of Denmark)

“The CJEU constantly repeats that the exception is bulk retention and the principle is the absence of retention. The map made for Belgium really shows, that this principle in the current draft in Belgium is not respected.”
Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net)

“Denmark and Belgium are ahead of other members states in the European Union, I think it is important for civil society to keep communicating and maybe we can create opposition to what is being done in Belgium and Denmark so that other member states may be reluctant to follow that path.”
Jesper Lund (IT-Political Association of Denmark)

“Support your digital rights NGOs, take part in the campaigns against data retention and demand from your political representatives to clearly stand against mass surveillance.”
Eduardo Santos (D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais)

“In France, (…) we have to find new ways to continue the fight (…), because mass surveillance has been legalized.”
Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net)

“We need to talk about data retention (…) about what is stored and what it means.”
Jan Vobořil (Iuridicum Remedium) on the Czech Republic

“It is easy to get used to data retention but it is not normal. The government has no right to know of everyone of us who we are in touch with, where we move. That is our privacy. As long we are no criminals, the government has no right to collect information on the private live of the entire population.”
Patrick Breyer (MEP Greens/EFA group, Pirate Party)

Follow the debate on data retention:
#DataRetention | #Vorratsdatenspeicherung | #Bewaarplicht  | #ConservationDonnées | #MassSurveillance | #QuickFreeze