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European Court of Justice Shreds EU Data Retention Program

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The Court of Justice of the European Union halted an EU program on retaining user internet data on Monday, citing privacy and human rights concerns, the court said in a statement.

MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – The Court of Justice of the European Union halted an EU program on retaining user internet data on Monday, citing privacy and human rights concerns, the court said in a statement.

“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,” the court 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 statement added.

The Data Retention Directive granted police and security agencies the opportunity to request permission from a court to get access to users' activity from internet providers, including IP addresses and access times of all emails, phone calls and text messages sent and received by the user.

The High Court of Ireland and the Constitutional Court of Austria had asked the court to examine the validity of the directive, taking into consideration user rights provided for by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The court said that although the retention of data might be in line with the objectives of the directive, the wide-ranging interference into personal privacy is not sufficiently circumscribed to ensure that it is actually limited to what is strictly necessary.

The directive was issued by the EU in 2006. Aimed at fighting serious crimes, it allows member states to collect citizens' data generated or processed by providers of publicly available electronic communications services and networks for a period from 6 to 24 months.

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