Data retention: Second proceeding expected after advocate general's opinion (14-10-2008)

In an opinion published today, the competent Advocate General at the European Court of Justice considered that the EU directive on data retention was enacted on the correct legal basis.[1]

The German Working Group on Data Retention (AK Vorrat) points out that the Advocate General's opinion only concerns the action brought by the Irish government which is limited to formal issues[2]. It is not concerned with the fact that registering the telecommunications behaviour and movements of the entire EU population in the absence of any reasonable suspicion is clearly disproportionate and violates human rights. If the Court follows the Advocate General's opinion and dismisses Ireland's suit, it will need to consider the compatibility with human rights in a second proceeding. This second proceeding is likely to be initiated by the German Federal Constitutional Court where a suit of more than 34.000 citizens against data retention is pending.[3]

The German Federal Constitutional Court is expected to decide shortly on an application for a preliminary injunction against the German law on data retention. The application is directed mainly against the retention of internet access, anonymizing services' and e-mail data which is to become effective on 1 January 2009. The Constitutional Court's final judgement will probably be passed after the European Court of Justice has decided on the human rights issues.


About Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung:
Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung ("German Working Group on Data Retention") is a German association of civil rights and privacy activists as well as regular Internet users that runs a campaign against the complete logging of all telecommunications. On Saturday, tens of thosands followed its call to take to the streets in Berlin to protest against excessive surveillance. Homepage: