[JURIST] The District Court of The Hague [official website] on Wednesday struck down a Dutch data retention law, holding that it violates privacy rights of EU citizens. The law [text, in Dutch], enacted in 2009, allowed [WSJ report] the Dutch government to retain telephone and Internet data of citizens for up to 12 months for the alleged purpose of fighting terrorism and organized crime. The court found that the law violated Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU [text, PDF], as the law did not subject data access to review by a court or administrative agency. As a result of the ruling, the law will remain inactive indefinitely pending a potential appeal [press release] by the Dutch state.
Governments around the world have sought to bolster data-retention programs in an attempt to more effectively monitor terrorism and other illegal activities. In July former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] Navi Pillay expressed concern [JURIST report] over the widespread lack of transparency in governmental digital surveillance practices. Also in July civil liberties groups sued [JURIST report] the UK Secret Intelligence Service [official website], alleging that the agency unlawfully accesses private data from undersea cables. In April the European Court of Justice [official website] struck down [judgment] an EU-wide law that stipulates how private data must be collected and stored.