Monday 22 January 2018

Surveillance judgment is a victory for democracy

The European Court of Justice has declared invalid the European Data Retention Directive
The European Court of Justice has declared invalid the European Data Retention Directive

TJ McIntyre

The European Court of Justice has declared invalid the EU Data Retention Directive following a challenge brought by Digital Rights Ireland, finding the directive to be "an interference with the fundamental rights of practically the entire European population".

Ignore for a moment the bureaucratic term "data retention". Concealed behind that dull language the directive established a type of mass surveillance which requires internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies to record details about your location, your text messages, your emails and your internet use.

The information stored is almost everything bar the actual content of a phone call, email or text message. For every citizen there is a database of who called who, when, and for how long; the sender and recipient of every text message and email; and (by recording mobile phone locations) the movements of every person at all times. This information is then stored for up to two years and can be accessed by gardai without a warrant, subject only to an internal rubberstamping procedure.

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