Mandatory data retention was harmonised in the EU in 2006 through Directive 2006/24/EC (Data Retention Directive). After the invalidation of the Data Retention Directive in 2014 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Article 15(1) of Directive 2002/58/EC (the e-Privacy Directive) provided the legal basis for data retention for law enforcement purposes and general and indiscriminate preventive retention in the field of national security limited in time. In this context, Member States either maintained, repealed or amended their national laws. The Data Retention Directive has not yet been adequately replaced.
This panorama, in terms of Metadata of Communications, produces a clear impact with damaging effects on:
- The accomplishment of the various Law Enforcement Agencies’ mission;
- The respective international cooperation;
- The strong investment that has been made in the development of technological means for obtaining evidence to combat transnational and organised crime.
In the last meeting of Chiefs of Police at Europol, in October 2022, the Portuguese Polícia Judiciária made a presentation on the CJEU jurisprudence regarding Metadata, which was very well received. It was then sealed the commitment to organise, in the first quarter of 2023, in Lisbon, an international conference on the subject, addressed to the criminal police bodies of the Member States, other Schengen States and the United Kingdom.
The Metadata Law Enforcement Conference, which will take place at the headquarters of Polícia Judiciária in Lisbon, on 29th and 30th March, aims essentially at the following objectives:
- Reflection on the current context of retention and operational use of communications metadata and the consequences of restricting their use;
- Reflection on means of obtaining evidence and new investigative tools and techniques, namely on encrypted communications between suspects and digital investigation in closed environments;
- Analysis of the impact of such matters on two key aspects that potentially affect all Member States:
- International police cooperation
- The significant investment the Commission has been making in the technological development of law enforcement agencies in the fight against organised crime and terrorism.
Metadata Law Enforcemente Conference highlights