The Belgian Constitutional Court is abolishing the data retention framework for electronic communications data

On April 22, 2021, the Belgian Constitutional Court (in French) repealed the framework set out in the Law of May 29, 2016 (the “Law”) requiring telecommunications providers to keep electronic communications data in large quantities.

The decision of the Constitutional Court follows a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) of October 6, 2020 (in French) on preliminary questions related to the compatibility of the data retention framework with EU law. According to the ECJ, EU law prohibits EU member states from enacting regulations that require preventive general and indiscriminate storage of traffic and location data, except in special circumstances (e.g. in the event of a serious threat to national security) .

The Constitutional Court found that while the retention of communications data is permitted under certain circumstances, the law does not meet any of the exceptions described by the ECJ, and therefore repealed the provisions of the law that required such data retention.

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