EU court rules against UK data retention laws

Features Associated Press

The European Court of Justice has ruled that governments must not indiscriminately collect and retain people's emails and electronic communications, dealing a blow to Britain's contentious new cyber-surveillance law.

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Europe's highest court ruled Wednesday that "general and indiscriminate retention of data" by governments is unlawful, and that only targeted retention aimed at fighting serious crime could justify such state interference.

The case originated as a challenge against British laws that require telecoms companies to keep records of customers' web activities for a year. Last month, that law was replaced by legislation — dubbed the "snoopers' charter" by opponents — that gives authorities unprecedented access to the Web histories of everyone in the country.

The case now returns to the Court of Appeal in London.