Internet providers no longer have to keep their clients phone, internet and email details because privacy is more important, a Dutch court ruled on Wednesday.
Lawyers, journalists and three small telecoms firms went to court in a bid to get the legislation set aside. They argue that internet firms should not be keeping information about the communications of everyone in the country, whether or not they are suspected of a crime.
Companies have been required to keep the information for a year since 2009. The EU found in 2014 that the mass storage of information is a serious breach of privacy and put its data retention legislation on hold.
This put Dutch telecoms firms in a difficult position. They were required to keep the information under Dutch law even though it was not allowed in European legal terms.
‘Dutch law conflicted with European law and that has now been put right,’ a lawyer for the complainants told broadcaster Nos.
‘The law infringes on the right to a private life and the right to the protection of personal details,’ the court said in a statement. ‘The court finds this infringement goes beyond what is strictly necessary.’
The justice ministry said it would study the ruling closely before making any comment.