This morning, the European Court of Justice-the EU's top court- will give its judgement on whether the EU's data retention directive is compatible with the Charter on Fundamental Rights. We'll update this page as the day unfolds. In the meantime, here is our client's description of how we got here and what today's judgement will mean.
Digital Rights Ireland
Dermot Ahern recently opened an extension of the Ballymun CCTV system. The report on it from the Irish Times saysMINISTER FOR Justice Dermot Ahern has said a Garda CCTV system in Ballymun, north Dublin, will help reduce and solve crime rather than push illegal activity into areas not covered by the new cameras.
Judge Charlton's judgement in the EMI and Ors -v- UPC case has provoked a number of comments. For the moment, I'd recommend Rossa McMahon's post Strike One? as the quickest and most painless path in to the issues at the heart of the matter. More later, if permitted by circumstance.
Danny O'Brien had an article in the newly opened up Irish Times where he dreamed of an EU decentralised by technology so that power was scattered on the four winds to the edges of the Union. Failing that, he admitted, it would be nice if our magic boxes and invisable signals could be used to bring more of the centre to the edge. Well, yesterday I spoke to a German lady who was doing exactly that.
As some of you will have seen in today's Irish Times a laptop containing 171,324 blood donor records was stolen in New York. " donor records would include details such as name, address, date of birth, gender, blood group and contact phone number. The records on the laptop included any donor details that were updated between July 2nd and October 11th, 2007.
Digital Rights Ireland are represented by McGarr Solicitors (where I hang my scarf of a workday). They're currently in litigation with the Government about the introduction of Data Retention across Europe. Recently, the Irish Times reported that a government order to keep details of internet use by everyone in Ireland was imminent.
As insomniacs will know, a deal has been done amongst member states on the wording on the reheated EU Constitution, now branded more modestly as a Reform Treaty. We don't have the details of exactly what is agreed to hand yet. But reports of some of the novel inclusions which were under discussion (see the EU Observer's Personal data protection under threat in EU treaty draft) are not very heartening.
It was brought to my attention yesterday that the Sunday Times front page (reproduced as pdf here with permission) ran last week with the story that Gardai have been accessing the information held under Data Retention, without oversight, at a rate of 10,000 queries a year. When the measure was brought in, it was described as being intended to be used for investigating serious crime and terrorist offences.
Like Fingerbobs, but made with facts, instead of digits. Factbob1: Speaking in UCC at the student Law Society Law Conference, Seamus Dooley of the NUJ conceeded that standards in newspapers have fallen in recent years. Factbob 2: At the same conference Gary Davis, the Deputy Data Protection Commissioner said that (a) Gardai were accessing telecommunications data at a rate of 10,000 requests a year.