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Ministerio Fiscal: Access of Public Authorities to Personal Data Retained by Providers of Electronic Communications Services

Xavier Tracol


Case C-207/16 Ministerio Fiscal, Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Grand Chamber) of 2 October 2018
The Grand Chamber ruled that Article 15(1) of the e-Privacy Directive read in light of Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights must be interpreted as meaning that the access of public authorities to data for the purpose of identifying the owners of SIM cards activated with a stolen mobile telephone, such as the surnames, forenames and, if need be, addresses of the owners, entails interference with their fundamental rights, enshrined in those articles of the Charter. The Grand Chamber however ruled that such interference is not sufficiently serious to entail that access being limited, in the area of prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, to the objective of fighting serious crime.
Articles 83(1) and 267 TFEU, Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Articles 1(1), 1(2), 5(1) and 15(1) of e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC.
‘Dick the Butcher: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.’ William Shakespeare, Henry The Sixth, Part II Act IV, scene II, Line 73

Xavier Tracol, PhD, Senior Legal Officer, Data Protection Service, EUROJUST, The Hague, The Netherlands. For correspondence: <>. The views expressed herein are those of the author in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect those of EUROJUST or the EU in general.


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