LDH Belgium: the Constitutional Court annuls the Data Retention Act!

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June 11, 2015: Following two independent actions for annulment, the Constitutional Court ruled out the generalised conservation of communication metadata.

In July 2013, the federal Parliament adopted, in the frame of an emergency procedure, a law and a bylaw transposing the European Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC) directive into Belgian law. This law and bylaw of application forced the electronic communications services’ suppliers to keep, for a one-year span, multiple data, such as the phone numbers coming from a cellphone, geographic localisation of the call, the date, the hour and the length of communications, etc., except that the content of the latter would not be used.

In February 2014, the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), NURPA, and the Liga voor Mensenrechten started together a campaign of crowdfunding that aimed at financing a procedure of action of annulment before the Constitutional Court.The greeting received by the campaign  – the objective of 5000 € being achieved in a few weeks – showed, if that was still necessary, how much the citizens were attached to their private life and its respect.

Belgium joins, French thanks to this decision, the long list of member states in which the national transposal of the directive was fought against with success. We may stress that the European Commission does not intend to introduce a new proposal regarding the conservation of communication metadata.

As a conclusion, this decision from the Constitutional Court reminds everyone that private life is still a fundamental right that should not be easily limited.

Read more on the website of the LDH (in French only).

Compte AEDH