Storage, Gov't Access to Metadata Illegal, Bulgaria Top Court Rules

Society | March 13, 2015, Friday // 09:55|  views

Bulgaria's Constitutional Court has revoked sections of communications legislation allowing for the storage of telecommunications metadata and the access to them by Interior Ministry officials and other security personnel.

Metadata includes information stored by telecoms on calls and messages, including location of users and duration of conversations, as well as IP addresses and browsing history in the case of Internet providers.

The ruling is in line with EU prescriptions. The so-called EU "Directive 24", which allows the retention of such data, was nullified last year by the European Court of Justice.

Konstantin Penchev, Bulgaria's National Ombudsman, referred to the Constitutional Court in April of last year, days after the European court's decision, demanding that the change be applied to Bulgaria's Electronic Communications Act as well.

The Ombudsman then stated that saving and granting access to such information constituted an "unjustified and disproportional interference in private life on behalf of the state".

Texts declared unconstitutional by the court provided for year-long storage of metadata. Government agencies were able to request them in investigations dealing with offenses that correspond to sentences of more than 5 years of imprisonment.

From now on, providers will not bear the obligation to save communications data, and magistrates will not be forced by the law to issue permits for security and intelligence officials who seek to examine it.


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Tags: metadata, European Court of Justice, Bulgaria, Konstantin Penchev


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