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Tuesday, 08 April 2014 11:25

European Court nixes data retention plan

Written by Nick Farrell



You can’t treat your citizens as badly as America

Europe’s top court says legislation allowing governments to collect data on citizens' communications for law-enforcement purposes is illegal. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that the so-called data retention directive is too far-reaching and so wide you can land a 747 on it sideways.

According to the judges the law offers too few safeguards to protect people's right to privacy, creating an impression that "private lives are the subject of constant surveillance. The legislation allows the storage of phone calls or online communication records for at least six months to help prevent serious crimes such as terrorism. The data typically reveal who was involved in the communication, when and how often, but not its content.

The court says the 2006 legislation represents a "particularly serious interference with fundamental rights."

So far the only western country to treat its citizens this badly is the United States which is doing its best to store as much data as possible on its citizens. (East Germany would rank second if it were still around. Ed)

Nick Farrell

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