European court rules in favour of Graham Dwyer in mobile phone data challenge

European court rules in favour of Graham Dwyer in mobile phone data challenge

Graham Dwyer, 41, from Foxrock in Dublin

MOBILE data retention practices used in the case against Graham Dwyer, who was convicted of murder, breached European law, Europe’s top court has ruled.

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that EU law precludes the general and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data relating to electronic communication for the purpose of combating serious crime.

Mobile phone data was used prominently by the prosecution in Dwyer’s trial for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara in 2015.

Dwyer pleaded not guilty to the charge but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The case was referred to the CJEU by the Irish Supreme Court, following a successful challenge by Dwyer to the retention and accessing of his mobile phone data.

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) confirmed it is settled case law which holds that EU law precludes such national legislative measures.

It means that Ireland’s system of retaining and accessing mobile phone metadata breaches EU law.

The court said the EU’s privacy and electronic communications directive “enshrines the principle” of the prohibition of the storage of traffic and location data.

The court went on to say that the retention of mobile phone data is an interference with the fundamental rights to the respect for private life and the protection of personal data.

The court also said that any limitations on those rights must comply with the principle of proportionality.

It added: “Thus, the court has already held that the objective of combating serious crime, as fundamental as it may be, does not in itself justify that a measure providing for the general and indiscriminate retention of all traffic and location data should be considered to be necessary.”

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