Data retention law provisions declared unlawful in Cyprus
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Deutsch: Vorratsdatenspeicherung in Zypern für rechtswidrig erklärt
The Cyprus Supreme Court decided on 1 February 2011 that some of the provisions of Law 183 (I) / 2007 on disclosure of telecommunications data are unlawful, as they breach the Cyprus Constitution and its jurisprudence, as revealed by the daily Cyprus Mail.
Law 183 (I) / 2007 (Retention of Telecommunication Data for Purposes of Investigation of Serious Criminal Offences Law of 2007) was adopted by Cyrpus on 31 December 2007 as the national implementation of the EU Data retention directive.
In the case brought to the Supreme Court, four people claimed that Articles 4 and 5 of the national law, that provided police forces access to the retained data, were unlawful. The court considered that the articles in question go beyond the provisions of the EU Directive which does not address the issue of access to the retained data. Therefore, the court considered it may check the constitutionality of these articles, especially in relation with Art 15 of the Cyprus Constitution (right to privacy) and article 17 (confidentiality of communications).
Based on the Cyprus Constitution, and jurisprudence from itself and from the EctHR, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling regarding the legality of court orders issued for the disclosure of telecommunications data by the district courts of Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca at the request of police investigating serious crimes. The orders concerned the four complainants that claimed a breach of privacy and confidentiality of their communications.
The court considered that three of the four court orders for disclosing telephone numbers and calls were illegal and should be annulled. In the case of the fourth person the case was rejected, since the person was imprisoned and banned for using a mobile phone.
It is unclear how this decision will affect the law and its application. According to a statement of police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos to Cyprus Mail, "the decision will be studied in depth by the assistant police chief and all under investigation or criminal proceedings will be identified for which a court order was secured for the disclosure of telecommunications data, so that in consultation with the Attorney-general, a decision can be taken on the further handling of them."
Big blow to police powers (3.02.2011)
Case file at the Supreme Court of Cyprus
Ruling on the case of the Law 183 (I) / 2007 on disclosure of
telecommunications data (1.02.2011)
Constitution of the Republic of Cyrpus