EU's highest court strikes down mass surveillance under the Data Retention Directive


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I’m waiting to see how the Conservatives and the authoritarian wing of the Labour Party will demand that the UK secures another opt out so that yet another chunk of EC law can’t be enforced in the UK. No doubt we’ll be told it’s all in our best interests and we need the snooper’s charter to protect us all from terrorists and paedophiles and goblins.

Doubtless the likes of Cameron and Farage will use it as another excuse to beat up the EU for imposing laws on the UK - no matter that this one is in the interest of the average citizen. But we’ll be told that it’s a criminal’s charter - worse still some of them might be ‘foreign’!


I am not supposed to tell you, but we on the continent envy your glorious victories in the War on Terror and we decided to hamstring you.


It’d be nice if the companies covered by this court decision would take advantage and delete their retained data.

I think it’s worth reminding everyone that the UK is far from the only country in Europe to be doing this:

(New users can only post two links, so I can’t post the reports I’d like. Instead, have a look at that Wiki article and follow citations 10-15).

Those are all Snowden leaks, detailing how Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands are all either voluntarily sharing mass surveillance data with GCHQ and the NSA, running their own such operations, or a combination of the two. I think that there are very few countries with the technological and economic capacity for mass surveillance that are not attempting it (Czech Republic, a number of Eastern European countries with memories longer than a decade). It was, after all, the EU which passed this directive in the first place.

A slight correction: the directive wasn’t just passed by the European Parliament but by both the Parliament and the Council (representing Governments), as is the case for practically all EU law. See the top of:

Yes, but this decision will have little effect on surveillance by intelligence agencies. It’s primarily about whether to force providers to maintain databases that are available even to normal law enforcement.

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