On Tuesday the German Working Group on Data Retention endorsed the Czech Constitutional Court’s decision to annul a Czech data retention law. The Czech court held that the law, which included a blanket obligation on telecommunication companies to retain Czech citizens’ telephone, mobile phone, e-mail and Internet access records, was incompatible with Czech citizens’ fundamental right to privacy. The Court also cast a skeptical eye over the claimed benefits of blanket data retention policies, saying that it was not convinced the policy would be an “effective tool” and that the retention had “little effect on reducing the number of committed serious crimes”.
The German Working Group says the decision is further evidence that the data retention directive could be “annulled” by the ECJ. National laws have already faced challenges in Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic to date.
In May last year an Irish court allowed the EU directive to be referred to the ECJ – that case is still ongoing and, as the German Working Group suggests, the outcome of that case could potentially threaten the directive.