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H.K. v Prokuratuur: On Balancing Crime Investigation and Data Protection (C-746/18 H.K. v Prokuratuur, Opinion of AG Pirtuzzella)

Ioannis Revolidis


Case C-746/18 H.K. v Prokuratuur, Opinion of Advocate General Pirtuzzella of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 21 January 2020
The assessment of the degree of interference with fundamental rights that is associated with the competent national authorities’ access to the retained personal data is the result of a detailed examination of the specific circumstances of each case. Shall personal data that reveal one’s personal circumstances be necessary for crime investigations, the interference with the rights to data protection and data privacy must be considered to be ‘serious’ within the meaning of the Court’s case-law and thus can be justified, in areas of prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, only by the objective of combating crime which must also be considered as ‘serious‘. In assessing the seriousness of the interference caused to the rights of privacy and data protection, enshrined in Articles 7 and 8, respectively, of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the EU, by the access of public authorities to retained personal data, account shall be taken not only to the amount of data accessed, but also to the duration of the time period for which access is granted. The access of State authorities to retained data must be subject to prior review by a court or an independent authority. This requirement is not met, when the authority reviewing the request for access is, practically, the same with the authority asking access to retained data or is highly likely that it will take part to court proceedings related to the requested data.

Dr Ioannis Revolidis, IT/IP Law Lawyer, Visiting Lecturer Frederick University Cyprus, Visiting Lecturer Leibniz Universität Hannover, Visiting Lecturer Jacobs University Bremen. For correspondence: <>.


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