CJEU rules electronic communication location data can only be used to combat serious crime or to prevent serious threats to public security


On 2 March 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued its decision in Case C‑746/18 establishing that the ePrivacy Directive precludes any national legislation which generally permits public authorities to have access to traffic or location data. In this respect, the CJEU ruled that access, for purposes in the criminal field, to a set of traffic or location data in respect of electronic communications, allowing precise conclusions to be drawn concerning a person’s private life, is permitted only in order to combat serious crime or prevent serious threats to public security.

Moreover, the CJEU found that in order to satisfy the requirement of proportionality, national law should determine the conditions under which providers of electronic communications services must grant the competent national authorities access to the data in their possession, laying down clear and precise rules governing the scope and application of the measure in question and imposing minimum safeguards for the data subjects to prevent abusive interference with personal data.

The press release is available here, and the full decision is available here.