British, French Spies Risk EU Curbs on Telecom Data Snooping


British and French spy and security agencies shouldn’t be given unfettered access to phone and internet users’ data, according to an adviser to the European Union’s top court who warned that mass interception of private communications is only allowed in a “limited and discriminate” manner.

A U.K. law that obliges telecommunications companies to provide security and intelligence agencies “with bulk communication data, which entails the prior general and indiscriminate collection of that data” is invalid under EU rules, Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona of the EU Court of Justice said in a non-binding opinion on Wednesday.

A French law which, for reasons of “serious and persistent threats to national security, in particular the terrorist threat,” obliges such companies to retain all traffic and location data of their subscribers, is also invalid, the adviser said. The obligation under the French law is “general and indiscriminate and therefore is a particularly serious interference in the fundamental rights” of EU citizens.

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Source: Bloomberg