Cyprus/ Supreme Court/ [2019] Civil application No. 3/19

Re. the application of XXX Michael DT and CCC Michael DT.XXX for permit to file for a certiorari order
Deciding body type
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding body
Supreme Court of Cyprus
Decision date
  • Cyprus/ Supreme Court/ [2019] Civil application No. 3/19

    Key facts of the case:

    In 2018 the police applied to the Court for an order against the telecommunication company Cablenet Communication Systems Ltd instructing it to deliver to the Office for combating Electronic Crime the telephone data of a certain IP address belonging to Cablenet of a specific date and time. The application relied on the national data retention legislation and sought to investigate a child pornography case, following information received through Europol. The Court issued the order requested by the police, which was executed a few days later with the disclosure of data to the police and the arrest of the suspect, who is the applicant in this case. The applicant brought this action claiming that the court order of 2018 permitting access to his data was unlawful for infringing article 15(1) of Directive 2002/58, since it is contrary to articles 7, 8, 11 and 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Citing Tele2 Sverige AB the applicant claimed that telecommunication providers cannot retain data arbitrarily without a particular purpose and without the consent or knowledge of the data subjects and that their retention is unlawful even if intended to combat serious crime. He further argued that the law relied upon by the Court permitted the retention of data arbitrarily and indiscriminately for six months without justification and as such it infringes the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Directive 2002/58. He argued that since the testimony against him was unlawfully obtained, the search and access warrant must be invalidated.

    Key legal question:

    The Court found that the police application to the Court for an order to access the applicant’s data had a specified purpose, which was the investigation of a crime for which a prison sentence of over five years was foreseen. The data which the police had asked to access was strictly specified, which was a particular I.P. address on a specific day and time. The six months ceiling in retaining data was not exceeded and the application was supported by a specific permission from the Attorney General. The CJEU had ruled that it is up to the national law to implement the Directive in a manner compliant with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Tele2 Sverige AB case had established that the protection of telecommunications data is not absolute and that the investigation and prosecution of crime is one of the reasons for which deviation from the principle of confidentiality of communications is allowed. In Ministerio Fiscal (C-207/16) the CJEU ruled that deviation from protection must be severely restricted, concluding that in the case at hand which concerned the investigation of a criminal case, the order would be justified. Given the limited scope of the access requested, the principle of proportionality was not infringed.

    Outcome of the case:

    The Court rejected this application, ruling that the principle of data protection is not absolute and that the investigation and prosecution of serious crime is one of the reasons recognized by the CJEU as legitimate so as to justify a deviation. The proportionality principle was not infringed since the data to which access was requested was specific to a certain date and time.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    It is the applicants' position that the Supreme Court, by issuing the contested order, essentially violated Articles 7, 8, 11 and 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (protection of privacy, communication, personal data). This judgment of the European Court of Justice is relied upon because, according to the applicants, it renders the provisions of Articles 3, 4, 6 and 13 of Law 1883 (I) / 2007 unlawful and contrary to European Directive 2002/58 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is fundamental that the CJEU considers that it is up to the national law to implement the relevant Directive in a manner compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is precisely clear from the Tele2 Sverige AB case, above, that the protection of telecommunications data is not absolute. The CJEU did not hesitate to declare the need to protect telecommunications data through the Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, at various points in the decision, equally vigorously, the possibility of circumventing this protection emerges, in the strict framework recorded.


    In that case, the Spanish Court referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Art. 15 (1) of Directive 2002/58, in light of Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter (protection of private and family life). The request was made in the context of the Spanish Public Prosecutor's case against the judicial decision which rejected a request towards the provider for disclosure of telecommunications data. Having emphasized the validity and scope of the Article 15 (1) above, it held that any derogation from protection should be strictly limited to Art. 15(1) of the Directive, concluding that in the present case concerning a criminal investigation, the order would be justified. Importance was also given to the principle of proportionality which is inextricably linked to the seriousness of the crime investigated and to the "breadth" of disclosure. That is to say, the issue of the principle of proportionality as inextricably linked to the discretion of the Court which has also been mentioned in the cases Re. the application of xxx Evdokas, Civil Appeal No. 219/2015, 29.12.2016 and in Re. the application of Evdokas, Civil Appeal No. 51/2017, 14.11.2018.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)

    Είναι η θέση των αιτητών πως το Δικαστήριο εκδίδοντας το επίδικο διάταγμα παραβίασε κυρίως τα άρθ.7, 8, 11 και 52 του Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της Ευρωπαϊκής ΄Ενωσης (προστασία της ιδιωτικής ζωής, επικοινωνίας, προσωπικών δεδομένων). Γίνεται δε επίκληση της ως άνω απόφασης του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαστηρίου η οποία, κατά τους αιτητές, καθιστά τις πρόνοιες των αρθ.3, 4, 6 και 13 του Ν.183(Ι)/2007 παράνομες και αντίθετες με την Ευρωπαϊκή Οδηγία 2002/58 και τον Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων.

    Θεμελιακό είναι πως το ΔΕΕ θεωρεί ότι εναπόκειται στο εθνικό δίκαιο ο τρόπος εφαρμογής της σχετικής Οδηγίας ώστε να είναι συμβατός με τον Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων.

    Ακριβώς προκύπτει από την υπόθεση Tele2 Sverige AB, πιο πάνω, πως η προστασία των τηλεπικοινωνιακών δεδομένων δεν είναι απόλυτη. Το ΔΕΕ δεν ήταν φειδωλό στο να διακηρύξει την ανάγκη προστασίας των τηλεπικοινωνιακών δεδομένων δια του Χάρτου των Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων. Όμως σε διάφορα σημεία της απόφασης, εξίσου δυναμικά, διαγράφεται η δυνατότητα παράκαμψης της προστασίας αυτής, στα αυστηρά πλαίσια που καταγράφονται.


    Στην υπόθεση αυτή, παραπέμφθηκε στο ΔΕΕ εκ μέρους του Ισπανικού Δικαστηρίου προδικαστικό ερώτημα αναφορικά με την ερμηνεία του άρθ. 15(1) της ως άνω Οδηγίας 2002/58, υπό το πρίσμα των άρθρων 7 και 8 του Χάρτου (προστασία της ιδιωτικής και οικογενειακής ζωής). Το αίτημα έγινε κατά τη διαδικασία του Ισπανού Δημόσιου κατήγορου εναντίον της απόφασης Δικαστή να αρνηθεί διάταγμα αποκάλυψης τηλεπικοινωνιακών δεδομένων εναντίον παροχέα. Αφού τονίστηκε η ισχύς και η εμβέλεια του ως άνω άρθ. 15(1) επισημάνθηκε ότι όποια παρέκκλιση εκ της προστασίας θα πρέπει να περιορίζεται αυστηρά στο άρθ. 15(1) ως άνω, καταλήγοντας πως για την κρινόμενη υπόθεση που αφορούσε διερεύνηση ποινικής υπόθεσης, το διάταγμα θα ήταν δικαιολογημένο. Σημασία δόθηκε και στην αρχή της αναλογικότητας που είναι άρρηκτα συνδεδεμένη με τη σοβαρότητα του διερευνώμενου αδικήματος αλλά και το «εύρος» της αποκάλυψης στοιχείων. Υπεισέρχεται δηλαδή το θέμα της αρχής της αναλογικότητας ως άρρηκτα συνδεδεμένο με τη δικαστική κρίση, κάτι που έχει αναφερθεί και στην Αναφορικά με την αίτηση του xxx Ευδόκα, Πολ. Έφ. Αρ. 219/2015, 29.12.2016 και Aναφορικά με την αίτηση του Ευδόκα, Πολ. Έφ. Αρ. 51/2017, 14.11.2018.