Tag Archives: EU

The Politics of the EU Court Data Retention Opinion: End to Mass Surveillance?

Published 13 Dec. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.

The Wall Street Journal headlines: “EU Court Opinion: Data Retention Directive Incompatible With Fundamental Rights”. The Opinion is strong, but in fact not yet an outright victory to privacy and civil liberties. The jury is out: the Opinion is a non-binding, but influential advice to the E.U. Court, that will deliver its final judgment come next spring. Now is a perfect moment to analyze the Opinion, as well as the institutional politics of the E.U. Court — critical in understanding the two-tier approach to surveillance and fundamental rights in Europe. The two-tier approach converges, after 60 years, when the E.U. accedes to the European Convention of Human Rights anytime soon. Amidst the Snowden revelations, these are the fundamental legal developments that will ultimately answer the question whether European law can end mass surveillance. Continue reading The Politics of the EU Court Data Retention Opinion: End to Mass Surveillance?

Data Retention: Figurehead of Our Liberation?

Back in 2010, I wrote a long piece in Dutch for De Groene Amsterdammer about the deplorable state of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive evaluation. My point was that, instead of the prime example of our loss of fundamental rights, data retention might one day become the case in point of digital freedom vindicating over surveillance, once the Directive in one way or another is repealed or its inherent privacy violations seriously limited.   Continue reading Data Retention: Figurehead of Our Liberation?

Data Retention Directive evaluation: expect the unexpected?

This piece was posted on the Bits of Freedom blog on 8 December 2010. I still think it is a quite accurate and informative take on the Data Retention Directive evaluation.

The evaluation of the controversial Data Retention Directive takes an unexpected turn, for the worse. At a crucial one-day conference in Brussels, aimed at gathering input for the evaluation, long-term critic of the Directive Commissioner Malmström (Home Affairs) surprisingly announced that ‘data retention is here to stay’. The statement not only disregards legal developments since 2005, the damage done by telecommunications data retention to 500 million Europeans and lack of evidence that such a measure is necessary and proportionate. On top of that, the Commissioner undermines the entire evaluation process and evidence-based decision making itself. To great risk, because our fundamental freedoms and the very nature of our free and open societies are at stake. Continue reading Data Retention Directive evaluation: expect the unexpected?