Romania’s Constitutional Court Rules Data Storage Law Unconstitutional

Romania's Constitutional Court Thursday ruled unconstitutional a controversial law compelling telecom operators to store data on people’s calls, emails and short messages and provide them to investigators on request.

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Romania’s Constitutional Court Rules Data Storage Law Unconstitutional

The law was challenged before the Constitutional Court by an NGO which argued, during a trial involving telecom operator Orange Romania, that the law infringes article 28 of Romania's Constitution, which guarantees the secrecy of correspondence.

Several other NGOs called on the ombudsman to notify the Constitutional Court regarding this law, which they say breaches citizens' fundamental rights and liberties.

The law, which became effective in January, sets that telecom operators are compelled to store certain data on calls, short messages and emails, information that can be accessed by the Ministry of Interior, prosecutors, the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service, on request.

However, such data may only be provided to investigators if criminal investigations have been initiated, with the authorization of a court and the request of the prosecutor unfolding or overseeing the respective criminal investigation.

The Romanian government decided in March to adopt by the end of the year a government decision setting the application norms for the law, to have the norms enforced by end January 2010, at the latest.

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