By Heini Järvinen

The European Court of Justice ruled on 8 April, in a case brought before the Court by EDRi member Digital Rights Ireland, together with the Austrian Working Group on Data Retention, that the Data Retention Directive contravenes European law.

On 23 April 2014, the Slovak Constitutional Court preliminary suspended Slovak implementation of the Directive as a result of a pending case (PL. ÚS 10/2014) that was launched by European Information Society Institute (EISi). This means that the retention laws are still formally valid, but have no legal effect until the Court decides on the merits of the complaint.

However, only the provisions mandating data retention itself are suspended, while provisions on access to those informations are for now left intact. This means that providers of electronic communication will soon lose any legal obligation to store data about users. Already collected data will not need to be destroyed, and it stays open to interpretation whether providers may or may not disclose these historical data to state authorities upon request. Any storage of the meta-data of users will thus need to be limited to that permitted by data protection legislation (2002/58/EC, 95/46/EC) until the Court finally decides on the case.

Slovak Constitutional Court suspends data retention legislation (24.04.2014)
http://www.eisionline.org/index.php/projekty-m/ochrana-sukromia/74-us-data-retention-suspension

First European constitutional court suspends data retention after the decision of the Court of Justice of EU (28.04.2014)
http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2014/04/first-european-constitutional-court-suspends-data-retention-after-decision-court

Opinion of EISi on the scope of applicability of Digital Rights Ireland C-293/12 & C-594/12 (21.04.2014)
http://www.eisionline.org/images/projekty/sukromie/OpinionCJEU-EN.pdf

ECJ: Data retention directive contravenes European law (09.04.2014)
http://edri.org/ecj-data-retention-directive-contravenes-european-law/

The fight against data retention mandates in Slovakia (10.10.2012)
https://www.eff.org/fighting-data-retention-mandates-slovakia