In a landmark announcement issued today, the data protection officials across the European Union found that the way that EU Member States have implemented the data retention obligations in the 2006 EU Data Retention Directive is unlawful. The highly controversial 2006 EU Data Retention Directive compels all ISPs and telecommunications service providers operating in Europe to retain telecom and internet traffic data about all of their customers' communications for a period of at least 6 months and up to 2 years.
The timing of the Article 29 Working Party’s opinion is particularly sensitive because the European Commission is currently conducting an evaluation of the impact of the Data Retention Directive on economic operators and citizens in Europe. One of the possible outcomes of this evaluation is a recommendation that the Data Retention Directive should be amended or repealed in its entirety. The Article 29 Working Party has submitted its report to the European Commission to provide the Commission with vital empirical evidence for its evaluation of whether to recommend the amendment or repeal the Directive.