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CJEU Joined Cases C‑203/15 and C‑698/15 / Judgment

Tele2 Sverige v. Post och telestyrelsen and Secretary of State for the Home Department v Tom Watson and Others

Policy area:
Information society
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
21/12/2016

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Electronic communications — Processing of personal data — Confidentiality of electronic communications — Protection — Directive 2002/58/EC — Articles 5, 6 and 9 and Article 15(1) — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Articles 7, 8 and 11 and Article 52(1) — National legislation — Providers of electronic communications services — Obligation relating to the general and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data — National authorities — Access to data — No prior review by a court or independent administrative authority — Compatibility with EU law

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. Article 15(1) of Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009, read in the light of Articles 7, 8 and 11 and Article 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which, for the purpose of fighting crime, provides for general and indiscriminate retention of all traffic and location data of all subscribers and registered users relating to all means of electronic communication.
  2. Article 15(1) of Directive 2002/58, as amended by Directive 2009/136, read in the light of Articles 7, 8 and 11 and Article 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, must be interpreted as precluding national legislation governing the protection and security of traffic and location data and, in particular, access of the competent national authorities to the retained data, where the objective pursued by that access, in the context of fighting crime, is not restricted solely to fighting serious crime, where access is not subject to prior review by a court or an independent administrative authority, and where there is no requirement that the data concerned should be retained within the European Union.
  3. The second question referred by the Court of Appeal (England & Wales) (Civil Division) is inadmissible.