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October 09, 2009 | Jim Killock

Data retention rejected by Romania’s courts

Members of EDRi, European Digital Rights, and the press are reporting that Romania’s constitutional courts are blocking Data Retention. Their decision could lead to restoration of privacy rights in the UK and across Europe.

The Romanian courts have concluded that retention of data identifying who individuals send email communications to is a breach of their fundamental right to secrecy of correspondence.

Europeans and UK citizens have this right enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

As Romania is a member of the EU, this may mean they have to challenge the Directive through the EU court system, if they wish to defend their court's decision, and if they succeed, the Directive itself would have to be revised or repealed. It is by now law in nearly all EU states, with the notable exception of Sweden. German citizens are also trying to challenge its constitutionality on privacy grounds.

The Directive was challenged by Ireland on a narrower basis, but the door was left open for a human rights challenge. ORG and over forty other civil liberties groups made this case in a joint submission at the time.

Update: campaigners are waiting to see exactly what the judgement says, but warn that Romania may not take a challenge to the EU, but may simply not implement the directive.

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