CPJ welcomes court ruling against EU data retention

Phoenix, April 8, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists hails today’s decision by the European Court of Justice invalidating the European Union’s mandatory data retention directive. The court found that the indiscriminate collection of metadata poses a “particularly serious” and disproportional interference with the right to privacy. Mass metadata surveillance is “likely to generate in the minds of the persons concerned the feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance,” the court said.

“The decision by the European Court of Justice underlines the dangers to privacy posed by the mass collection of transactional data,” CPJ Internet Advocacy Coordinator Geoffrey King said. “As the court recognized, by knowing the participants to a communication, as well as time and location data, a government can paint a rich picture of anybody it chooses to target. Journalism is severely affected by such surveillance: if journalists cannot keep their sources confidential, they cannot do their jobs.”

CPJ has repeatedly warned of the dangers that mass surveillance and storage pose to the free flow of news, including with an in-depth report on the U.S. National Security Agency written by King for the 2013 edition of CPJ’s annual publication, Attacks on the Press.