On Tuesday the European Union’s highest court overthrew a rule that required telecoms companies to store the communications data of EU citizens for up to two years, on the grounds that it infringed on basic rights. The court ruled that the directive “exceeded the limits” of proportionality.
“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,” it said.
“Furthermore, the fact that data are retained and subsequently used without the subscriber or registered user being informed is likely to generate in the persons concerned a feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance,” the court added in a statement.
The rule had required telecoms service providers to keep traffic and location data as well as other information needed to identify a user, but not the content of the communication. This directive was introduced by Brussels in March 2006 after bombings on public transport in Madrid and London.
The UK government says it is carefully considering the implications of the ruling so you can guarantee they will take their time and drag their feet.