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European Court: Drag Internet Data Only in Exceptional Cases

The non-targeted collection of telephone and internet data is contrary to European privacy rules.


Countries should not ask telephone or internet providers to store or share so-called metadata in bulk, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

The court had to consider the matter because Belgium, France and the United Kingdom do want to give their intelligence services access to this information about, for example, discussion partners and shipping location.

As a precaution, they want to collect them on a large scale so that they can be used later to track down and track terrorists and criminals.

EU law does not allow the general use of such a ‘dragnet’, the court ruled. But if the security of a country is seriously endangered, the government can temporarily order the random collection of this data.

This should not take longer than is strictly necessary. In addition, a judge or independent body must supervise.

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