France's administrative court walks data retention tightrope. A thread on today's decision.
In a mixed assessment of national rules, the Council of State rejected the French government’s call to blatantly ignore the EU top court ruling. In October, the CJEU said that the French data retention scheme is illegal.
The Council of State backed indiscriminate and bulk data retention to fight national security threats. It said that since France is currently under a national security threat, holding on to data is justified.
However, the government needs to re-write the rules — and has 6 months to do so — to make it clearer that data is kept for national security. The government will also have to re-assess the threats regularly.
Large-scale data retention is not legal for battling crime, the CJEU ruled. The Council of State therefore recommends to rely on the Budapest convention, an international treaty signed by France that allows authorities to require companies to "freeze" data for up to 90 days.
In practice, the ruling does not change much for telecom operators, who will still have to keep people's data, a Council of State official said during the press conference. What will change is how data will be accessed for criminal investigations, he said.
When it comes to access to data by intelligence services, the Council of State said the current law was “incomplete” and should include a binding opinion from an independent authority to authorize it.
Overall, the Council of State tried to stretch the EU ruling as thin as possible to allow intelligence services and judicial authorities to do their jobs, while somehow staying within the remit of EU law.
Here's the Council of State's press release in English (who said French institutions were obsessed with Francophonie). And thanks to @saimsaeed847 for bearing with the dry copy. Ok, bye now! 👋 https://www.conseil-etat.fr/en/news/connection-data-the-council-of-state-conciliates-the-implementation-of-european-union-law-and-the-effectiveness-of-the-fight-against-terrorism-and …
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