Data retention law provisions declared unlawful in Cyprus

By EDRi · February 9, 2011

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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

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)$file/65-09.pdf

Constitution of the Republic of Cyrpus