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article imageEU court rules that data collection rules violate privacy rights

By Jeannie Stokowski-Bisanti     Apr 8, 2014 in World
On Tuesday, a data communications collection requirement was struck down in the European Union and declared invalid, on the grounds that it infringed on basic privacy rights.
The EU's highest court overthrew a rule that required telecoms companies to store the communications data of EU citizens for up to two years.
Brussels introduced the data-retention directive in March 2006. But some countries like Germany, where privacy is an especially sensitive issue, did not implement the directive. If the court had upheld the rule requiring companies to store data from six months to two years, they could have faced penalties.
The Court said that it, "takes the view that, by requiring the retention of those data and by allowing the competent national authorities to access those data, the directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data."
In a statement the court added, "Furthermore, the fact that data are retained and subsequently used without the subscriber or registered user being informed is likely to generate in the persons concerned a feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance."
Because of the surveillance by the Gestapo in the Nazi era and by communist East Germany's Stasi secret police, the topic is sensitive in Germany . Germans were outraged over last year's reports of large-scale spying on German and European citizens, institutions and politicians by United States intelligence agencies.
Reuters reports that Austrian and Irish courts had asked the European Court of Justice to rule if the law was in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
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