Europe’s top court ruled on Tuesday that an EU law that forced firms to store customer data for up to two years is illegal
The European Court of Justice said the law seriously interfered with Europeans’ fundamental right to a private life and the right to protect their personal data.
The ruling follows recent leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, which have angered both European politicians and public alike.
Sophie Int’Veld, a Dutch liberal MEP and a longtime critic of US snooping, hailed the decision by judges in Luxembourg as “a big victory for the rule of law and the fundamental rights.”
“The necessity and the usefulness of this law has never been proven,” said Int’Veld. “(EU) member states always failed to provide any material that this contributes to greater security.
“And yet it’s a very expensive law, because it puts al lot of financial burden on companies, and violate the privacy of citizens”
The European Parliament last month agreed a draft bill that toughens data protection rules.
However, any potential legislation will need the agreement of EU governments before it can become law.
British Labour MEP Claude Moraes said the 2006 data retention directive, imposed after terror attacks in New York, Madrid and London “has many flaws.”
“The European Court of Justice has done today, what the European Council has not done for many years,” he said.
The European Commission said it had taken note of the court’s decision and that it would now assess how it can best address judges’ concerns.
The EU executive “will now carefully asses the verdict and its impacts,” said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malstroem in a statement.