Article 7 - Respect for private and family life
Article 8 - Protection of personal data
Article 11 - Freedom of expression and information
Article 52 - Scope and interpretation
Key facts of the case:
Ιn 2019 the District Court issued an access order authorising the police to access, inspect and receive all communication content from the applicant’s phone in order to investigate serious crimes. The applicant filed for an order of certiorari, seeking to cancel the access order which the district court had granted to the police and to prohibit the use of his data as testimony in the court case against him before the Assizes Court. The applicant argued that the legal provisions on which the access order relied, namely the national data retention law,18 had been rendered invalid by a 2021 Court decision, which ruled that they infringed Directive 2002/58/EC and the applicable Union jurisprudence.19 The Attorney General challenged the application for certiorari, on the ground that the access order had not relied on the data retention law but on another law for the protection of the confidentiality of private communications20 which has nothing to do with the data retention law. The Attorney General argued that the law on confidentiality of communications provides access to telephone data in a targeted manner, when the telephone equipment is in the possession of the police following a court order to that effect, only when there is reasonable suspicion that a come was committed and the private communication is relevant; as a result the CJEU rulings which invalidated the data retention law do not apply to this law, as they relate only to preventive retention of data.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
Whether the limitations to the right to privacy were necessary, the measures taken were less invasive than other alternatives and there were effective safeguards in place. A measure which affects rights may be justified in the context of combating crime but it must be proportionate and not exceed what is absolutely necessary.
Outcome of the case:
The Court rejected the Attorney General’s argument and ruled that access order granted to the police had relied on both the data retention law and the law on the confidentiality of communications. The data to which the police was given access had been retained by the service provider in accordance with the data retention law and such retention had been found to violate Union law. The Court concluded that the two laws are interconnected and that the aim of the law on confidentiality of communications cannot be served without the data retained under the data retention law.
After an exchange of correspondence with the representative of the Republic of Cyprus, the existence of the contested order was established, the annulment of which is sought, as it violates and contradicts the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Constitution and EU law, as expressed in relevant directives and the case law of the CJEU. It is the applicant's position that the issuance of the order violates privacy, protection of personal data and confidentiality of communications.
Counsel for the applicant argued in favour of the lawfulness of her claim, referring to the relevant EU directives namely Directive 2009/136/EC and Directive 2002/58/EC as well as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Article 8 of which protects the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence. She pointed out that Article 52(1) of the Charter provides that, subject to the principle of proportionality, restrictions on the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised in the Charter may be imposed only where necessary.
Διαπιστώθηκε μετά από ανταλλαγή αλληλογραφίας με τον εκπρόσωπο της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας, η ύπαρξη του επίδικου διατάγματος, την ακύρωση του οποίου επιδιώκουν καθόσον αυτό παραβιάζει και αντίκειται στο Χάρτη Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων, το Σύνταγμα και το Ενωσιακό Δίκαιο, όπως αυτό εκφράζεται με σχετικές οδηγίες και τη Νομολογία του ΔΕΕ. Είναι η θέση του αιτητή ότι η έκδοση του διατάγματος παραβιάζει την ιδιωτική ζωή, την προστασία των δεδομένων προσωπικού χαρακτήρα και το απόρρητο της επικοινωνίας.
Η συνήγορος του αιτητή υποστήριξε το δίκαιο του αιτήματος της, παραπέμποντας στις σχετικές οδηγίες της ΕΕ ήτοι Οδηγία 2009/136/ΕΚ και Οδηγία 2002/58/ΕΚ καθώς και στο Χάρτη των Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της ΕΕ, το άρθρο 8 του οποίου προστατεύει το δικαίωμα στο σεβασμό της ιδιωτικής και οικογενειακής ζωής, της κατοικίας και της αλληλογραφίας. Υπέδειξε πως το Άρθρο 52, παράγραφος 1 του Χάρτη προβλέπει ότι, τηρουμένης της αρχής της αναλογικότητας, περιορισμοί στην άσκηση των θεμελιωδών δικαιωμάτων και ελευθεριών που αναγνωρίζει ο Χάρτης επιτρέπεται να επιβάλλονται μόνον εφόσον είναι αναγκαίοι.