Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law
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Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides

EU criminal law is one of the fastest evolving, but also challenging, policy areas and fields of law. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and advanced analysis of EU criminal law as a structurally and constitutionally unique policy area and field of research. With contributions from leading experts, focusing on their respective fields of research, the book is preoccupied with defining cross-border or ‘Euro-crimes’, while allowing Member States to sanction criminal behaviour through mutual cooperation. It contains a web of institutions, agencies, and external liaisons, which ensure the protection of EU citizens from serious crime, while protecting the fundamental rights of suspects and criminals.
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Chapter 10: The fate of the Data Retention Directive: about mass surveillance and fundamental rights in the EU legal order

Luisa Marin


The chapter explores the fate of the Data Retention Directive, the Digital Rights Ireland case and its implications for mass surveillance and data protection. After the Introduction, setting the issue within the context of Snowden’s revelations, the chapter presents the Data Retention Directive and the domestic resistance it has met; it then moves to highlight the judgment, its reasoning and motivations. The chapter discusses the judgment’s implications both in the perspective of national data retention legislation and in the European perspective: by outlawing generalized mass surveillance the Digital Rights Ireland judgment sets benchmarks having consequences also for other European instruments, from the PNR to the Safe Harbour Scheme (recently invalidated by the Schrems judgment), indicating that the judgment is therefore displaying some extraterritorial consequences. The chapter concludes reflecting on the judgment in the perspective of Kadi, reading it as the Court of Justice’s contribution on European counter-terrorism policies and ‘state of exception’.

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