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Metadata Law Enforcement Conference

Role of Polícia Judiciária

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.

On the first day, 29 March 2023, we will have presentations from several countries focus on Metadata of Communications retention and use, their experience and the solutions they have developed in the meantime, given the legal limitations and the need to find effective solutions. At the end of the day, a dinner is scheduled, aiming to increase proximity and alignment of positions in this context.

On the second day, 30 March 2023 in the morning, there will be presentations on innovative solutions in the means for evidence gathering, followed by debate. Finally, the conference will be closed, at the end of that morning, with a formal session to present the text of the joint declaration, which will reflect the alignment of law enforcement agencies on the subject.  It is intended that a declaration of commitment will be signed there by designated representatives.

Polícia Judiciária has made preliminary contacts with its counterparts, between October and nowadays, and the enthusiasm among the chiefs of police has been reinforced. Invitations were extended to the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs and the Commissioner for Justice, as well as to the Executive Director of Europol, the Secretary General of Interpol, the EU Commission (DGHome) and the Council of Europe.

In this context, a save the date was disseminated via Europol Liaison Offices on 22/12/2022 and a formal invitation was sent directly to law enforcement agencies on 23/01/2023.

In a word, PJ launches this initiative to o bring together law enforcement agencies from the countries of the European Union, Schengen States, and the United Kingdom for a joint reflection, grounded in expert knowledge and field experience of all, giving a quality contribution to enable constructive solutions at the legislative, executive and judicial levels. We have already confirmed the presence of 30 international law enforcement agencies from 26 countries.