Xavier Tracol, The judgment of the Grand Chamber dated 21 December 2016 in the two joint Tele2 Sverige and Watson cases: The need for a harmonised legal framework on the retention of data at EU level

Xavier Tracol, The judgment of the Grand Chamber dated 21 December 2016 in the two joint Tele2 Sverige and Watson cases: The need for a harmonised legal framework on the retention of data at EU level, Computer Law & Security Review, Available online 23 May 2017

Abstract

As a follow up to the Digital Rights judgment of 8 April 2014 in which the Grand Chamber invalidated the data retention directive, the Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm and the Court of Appeal in London both referred questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. On 21 December 2016, the Grand Chamber rendered a landmark judgment in which it interpreted Article 15(1) of e-privacy directive 2002/58/EC dated 12 July 2002 in light of Article 7 on the right to privacy, Article 8 on the protection of personal data, Article 11 on freedom of expression and Article 52(1) on the principle of proportionality of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Grand Chamber ruled that EU law does not allow a general and indiscriminate retention of all traffic and location data. It also ruled that access of competent national authorities to retained data must be restricted solely to fighting serious crime and subject to prior review by a court or an independent administrative authority.

Keywords

  • European Court of Justice;
  • Tele2 Sverige and Watson;
  • Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger;
  • Article 15(1) of e-privacy Directive 2002/58/EC of 12 July 2002;
  • Telecommunications metadata;
  • Retention of personal data;
  • Legal validity;
  • Articles 7, 8, 11 and 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
  • Access to data;
  • Prior review by a court or independent administrative authority

 

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