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Report shows 21 countries unlawfully retaining personal data

LURKING: Privacy International report finds 21 countries retaining personal data

PRIVACY INTERNATIONAL, a UK-based registered charity that defends and promotes the right to privacy across the world, has warned that EU member states are retaining personal data when they shouldn't be.

PI released a report yesterday (Sep 6) detailing the current data retention regimes across 21 European Union member states and the state of their (lack of) compliance with two landmark judgements by the CJEU which determined that EU law prohibits general and indiscriminate retention of communications data and requires that all data retention regimes comply with the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality.

The report also shows that, out of the 21 states Privacy International examined, zero are in compliance with current data retention standards (notably the e-privacy directive and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights), including: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Privacy International Head of Policy and Advocacy Tomaso Falchetta said: "Blanket and indiscriminate retention of our digital histories—who we interact with, when and how and where—can be a very intrusive form of surveillance that needs strict safeguards against abuse and mission creep."

"Our communications data is no less sensitive than the content of our communications. It is clear that current data retention regimes in Europe violate the right to privacy and other fundamental human rights. In particular the European Court has made clear that general, indiscriminate retention of communications data is disproportionate and cannot be justified, not even on the grounds of fighting crime."

"While some states have recognised the need to reform, there is little evidence that they are moving to change their laws to bring them into line with their obligations under existing human rights law."

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