The European Union limits its government's ability to monitor citizen data
The European Union limits its government's ability to monitor citizen data

The European Union's Supreme Court has dealt another blow to governments trying to spy on citizens with controversial espionage techniques.

The European Court of Justice, the European Union's highest legal entity, ruled on Tuesday that member states cannot collect collective data on citizens who use cell phones and the Internet.

In its ruling, the court stated that the obligation of Internet and telephone operators to implement "the public and blind transportation of traffic and location data" violates European Union law.

The court stated: “However, when a member state faces a serious national security threat (which appears to be real, present or foreseeable), the member state can waive its obligation to ensure the confidentiality of the data. With regard to electronic communications. Even in these emergency situations, certain rules must be followed.

The court said, "This infringement of basic rights must be accompanied by effective preventive measures and its review by an independent court or administrative authority."

This decision has been eagerly awaited by civil rights activists and is a response to several cases brought by Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net.

The campaign group has argued that surveillance practices in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium cross national borders and violate basic human rights. In particular, these groups are opposing the UK Investigative Authority Act, the Special French Intelligence Services Act of 2015 and the Belgian law on the collection and storage of communications data, which came into effect in 2016..

The ruling came after a counselor at the European Court of Justice argued that the monitoring by the United Kingdom, France and Belgium was inconsistent with European Union law. The European Court of Justice ruling is the latest in a series of cases aimed at restricting the government's power to monitor citizens.

In July last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that the US National Security Act does not protect the privacy of European Union citizens.

The court found that EU citizens did not have an effective way to challenge US government oversight, and the court restricted US companies' ability to send European user data to the United States. US authorities like the National Security Agency could theoretically require internet companies (such as Facebook and Google) to provide data about EU citizens.

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