UK GOVERNMENT plans to retain communications data do not sit well with the European Court of Justice, which has warned that such plans should not be rushed through.
Advocate general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe and his peers have issued their opinion on British and Swedish plans to make communications providers sit on customer data for an extended period of time.
In the UK this relates to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, which is a slap that precedes the Investigatory Powers Bill.
The Court of Justice of the European Union said that it was turned on to this by some UK people, including Tom Watson MP, who is a vocal opponent of surveillance overreach.
Øe's gang agreed with concerns, noted previous decisions on this kind of thing, and decided that the plans are contrary to "fundamental rights". TL:DR = not good.
AG Øe: obligation on e-comms providers to retain data may be compatible with EU lawhttps://t.co/B0sMPtNgss— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) July 19, 2016
"Tom Watson, Peter Brice and Geoffrey Lewis brought actions against the British data retention rules, which authorise the home secretary to require public telecoms operators to retain all communications data for a maximum period of 12 months, it being understood that the retention of the content of those communications is excluded," said Øe in a statement (PDF).
"In references for a preliminary ruling made by the Kammarrätten i Stockholm (Administrative Court of Appeal, Stockholm, Sweden) and The Court of Appeal (England and Wales) (Civil Division) (UK), the Court is requested to indicate whether a general obligation to retain data is compatible with EU law (in particular the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications and certain provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights)."
This means that the move would be a no-no rights-wise. The advocate general's opinion is just that, and no-one is bound to act on it. The government probably isn't listening anyway. Which is ironic given the circumstances. Some of the government, Watson, for example, and David Davis MP are listening and vocal.
Court overturns #DRIPA. We won the case!— tom_watson (@tom_watson) July 17, 2015
"The advocate general is of the opinion that a general obligation to retain data
may be compatible with EU law. The action by member states against the possibility of imposing such an obligation is, however, subject to satisfying strict requirements," added the court.
"It is for the national courts to determine, in the light of all the relevant characteristics of the national regimes, whether those requirements are satisfied.
"The general obligation to retain data must be strictly necessary to the fight against serious crime, which means that no other measure or combination of measures could be as effective while at the same time interfering to a lesser extent with fundamental rights." µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday