Machine translations by Deepl, 12 January 2015: 'Summary proceedings over Telecoms Retention Act'

"On 18 February 2015, the summary proceedings against the State on the Telecommunications Retention Act, already announced in December, will take place at the District Court of The Hague.

In the summary proceedings, a broad coalition of organisations and companies is demanding that the law be set aside. The plaintiffs are privacy advocate Privacy First, the Dutch Association of Criminal Lawyers, the Dutch Association of Journalists, the Dutch Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, internet provider BIT and telecom providers VOYS and SpeakUp. The proceedings are being conducted by Boekx Advocaten in Amsterdam.

According to the plaintiffs, the Telecommunications Retention Act violates fundamental fundamental rights that protect private life, communications and personal data. This was also the opinion of both the Council of State and the European Court of Justice last year. Nevertheless, the Dutch government refuses to disapply the Telecommunications Data Retention Act.

On 8 April 2014, the European Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC invalid in its entirety and retroactively. According to the Court, the long-term recording of communication data of anyone, without concrete suspicion, violates fundamental rights of privacy. According to the Court, objective criteria must be applied to determine the need for collection and storage, and there must be prior review by an independent body or court. The unlimited unfocused collection of metadata as part of so-called 'mass surveillance' is not allowed, according to the Court.

In the Netherlands, regulation in this area is set out in the Telecommunications Retention Act, which largely corresponds to the Data Retention Directive. Under the law, telecom companies and internet service providers must retain various data on internet and telephony use for six to 12 months for the Justice Department to use. The Council of State ruled last year that the law violates fundamental rights that protect private life, communications and personal data. The Dutch government is ignoring the State Council's opinion and refusing to disapply the law. The law will be maintained until an amendment comes into force, which could take more than a year.

According to Privacy First's Vincent Böhre, citizens' privacy rights are compromised by these mass surveillance massively violated. In his view, it is unacceptable that the Dutch government continues to insist on this after the highest European court clearly said back in April 2014 that this privacy violation is not allowed.

Thomas Bruning, secretary of the Dutch Association of Journalists, argues that telecom companies and internet providers are now obliged to keep a large amount of data on the communications of all citizens. Also of journalists and their sources. The government has access to that data. There is no guarantee of source protection, according to Bruning.

Alex Bik of internet service provider BIT says that internet service providers and telecoms providers are in a bind because they are forced by Dutch law to retain data when it clearly violates customers' privacy rights.

"The Dutch regulations are at odds with prevailing fundamental European rights," argues Fulco Blokhuis, partner at Boekx Lawyers. "This is as worrying as it is undesirable. Enforcing this law is unlawful, both towards citizens and towards companies that have traffic data under their control and have to keep it.""

Source:, 12 January 2015.