The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of the retention of the IP addresses of internet users for the purpose of investigating internet crime.

According to a statement from the attorney general’s office, the court rejected a petition by a person suspected of child pornography offences seeking to quash a court order to access retained Internet Protocol Address (IP address) data.

Instead, it sided with the attorney general’s office, which referred to a decision by the European Court of Justice saying that the general and indiscriminate retention of the IP addresses of all internet users is legal, as it is the only means of investigation that makes it possible to identify a person who has committed a serious offence through the internet.

As part of an investigation into a serious child pornography case, the police secured a court order requiring a certain internet service provider to disclose the details of the user of a certain IP address, which was linked to the possession and distribution of the illegal material.

The suspect, through his lawyer, filed a petition with the Supreme Court for the issuance of a privileged writ of certiorari, seeking the annulment of the aforementioned decree.

The applicant’s position was that the issuance of the contested decree was based on specific articles of the “law on the preservation of telecommunications data for the purpose of investigating serious criminal offenses”, which the majority of the Supreme Court plenary had already ruled unconstitutional, since they violated fundamental individual rights.

The court, rejecting the suspect’s request, ruled that the contested articles are not incompatible with EU law, explaining that they aim at combating serious crime such as child pornography, and impose on telecommunication service providers the general and indiscriminate retention of IP addresses for a minimum of six months.