03/10/2017

Proposals For Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2017 Published

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has unveiled details for a Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2017.

The new proposals, which respond to recent judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), will update the law in Ireland and give effect to the ECJ ruling in the Tele2 case including by:

• requiring prior judicial authorisation for disclosure of retained communications data to the Garda Síochána and other agencies; and

• providing for the data concerned to be held for up to a 13 month period in the European Union.

Minister Flanagan said: "It is important that Ireland’s Data Retention laws remain robust and are updated in line with evolving case law coming from the ECJ. The ECJ has identified difficulties with the model that EU Member States use to manage law enforcement access to communications data. We are now responding to the changed legislative landscape with the General Scheme of the Communications (Retention of Data) Bill, 2017.

"In particular, I am proposing the introduction for the first time of a system of prior judicial authorisation for access to the communications data retained by service providers in respect of all users in Ireland. It is important to stress that communications data in this context essentially means billing data, not the content of any communication.

"Access to communications data is vital in combating crime and terrorism and I am committed to putting in place as a priority, the most effective laws possible to provide for this and also to protect fundamental rights, including privacy. All EU states will have to have regard to the evolving legislative landscape and I want Ireland to be in the vanguard."

(LM)

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