How CJEU's 'Privacy Spring' Construed the Human Rights Shield in the Digital Age
Forthcoming in "European judicial systems as a challenge for democracy", Intersentia, Cambridge-Antwerp-Portland, 2015
11 Pages Posted: 12 May 2015
Date Written: January 11, 2015
This paper analyses two landmark judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), given in April and May 2014, and how they shaped the protection of fundamental rights in the digital age. The judgments can be considered as defining a CJEU “privacy spring”, given the fact that Article 7 – the right to respect for private life, and Article 8 – the right to the protection of personal data, from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, were effectively applied in both cases. The first decision concerns the finding that the Data Retention Directive is invalid in its entirety (the “Digital Rights Ireland” decision) and the second one concerns the applicability of EU data protection law to an Internet search engine provider established in a third country (the “Google v. Spain” decision). The paper analyses the main findings of the Court in both cases. It compiles a grid of requirements that need to be fulfilled by data retention legislation in order for it to be compliant with the Charter, and it explains why the most important finding of the Court in Google v. Spain is not the existence of the right to erasure, but the fact that a search engine is a “data controller”.
Keywords: data protection, data retention, right to erasure, Article 8 of the Charter, Article 7 of the Charter, right to be forgotten
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