European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 8 April 2014 struck down the EU Data Retention Directive that forced telecom operators to store private phone and email data for up to two years.
ECJ ruled that the requirement for mobile operators and internet service providers to retain data interfered with the fundamental rights of the citizens. It violated the right to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data.
While the court noted that the law was useful in fighting serious crime, it ruled there was insufficient oversight to prevent abuse and ensure the data’s destruction at the end of the retention period. The 28 member states of European Union (EU) were asked to take the necessary steps to withdraw it.
The court gave the ruling in the backdrop of a petition filed by the Digital Rights Ireland. The petitioners challenged the Ireland’s data retention law arguing that the directive was a breach of the right to privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The Directive was adopted by the EU in 2006. It mandated the EU states to store individuals’ Internet, mobile telephone and text metadata the time, date, duration and destination, albeit not the content of the communications themselves for six months to two years. This was issued with the intention to fight terrorism.
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