European Court Rules Against Mobile Surveillance

The European Court of Justice has ruled that mobile phone companies cannot maintain details of people’s calling habits as it is an invasion of privacy. The ruling comes after heavy lobbying from Irish group Digital Rights Ireland (DRI).

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The group argued that the data retention directive that was currently in place is a breach of privacy, under European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. DRI, who first took their case against the directive in 2006, claimed that it monitored “almost everything bar the actual content of a particular phone call, email or text message”.

The DRI said:

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.

“This case is a profound statement of European values by Europe’s top court,” added DRI’s legal team. “The court has rejected the principle of mass surveillance of EU citizens without suspicion as incompatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

The onus for implementing these changes now falls on the individual member states. The data retention directive was first put in place by the EU in the hopes of counteracting terrorist activity.

H/T: The Journal