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Cyprus

Phone data retention illegal, Supreme Court says

supreme court

The Supreme Court has curtailed the ability of the police to combat crime after it decided that the retention of customer data by telephone providers for six months is illegal.

The court decided by a seven to six majority that data retention is illegal thus preventing police from accessing information collected before a crime had been committed.

The decision would not only affect future cases but also paved the way for appeals by people who were convicted based on their telephone data.

Defence attorney Elias Stephanou told Alpha television that the decision has immediate effect, and it affects all cases currently in trial or under investigation.

It followed an appeal by a group of lawyers against the telephone data retention law for the purpose of investigating serious crime.

This has been an ongoing issue in the EU.

In September, Ireland argued at the EU Court of Justice that curtailing the ability of police to use mobile phone data to combat serious crime would undermine public faith in justice and in European Union law.

The EU Court of Justice heard arguments from 14 EU countries in an appeal over a challenge regarding Ireland’s phone data retention law.

The successful challenge was made by an Irish national, who in 2015 was convicted for the murder of a woman with the help of mobile phone records.

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