The end of data retention: Long live the protection of fundamental rights?


  • Nóra Ní Loideáin


  • Anna Buchta
  • Vanessa Franssen
  • Monika Kopcheva
  • Jaroslaw Lotarski
  • Cristina Vela

Organisation: University of Liège

Room: Online 4

Timing: 10:30 - 11:45 on 27 January 2021

The issue of data retention has been at the centre of much legal reflection ever since the Court of Justice invalidated the 2006 Data Retention Directive. While this annulment was very much welcomed by the data protection community and civil society, police and judicial authorities expressed strong concerns about the impact on numerous criminal investiga-tions. After more than six years and several preliminary references to the Court of Justice, legislators and judicial authorities are still in search of clarity, while citizens and businesses remain confronted with a lack of legal certainty. This panel aims to make an intra-disciplinary assessment of the current legal situation, involving different stakeholders, and reflect on future solutions that are "Court-proof" and strike an adequate balance between the protection of private life and personal data, and the need for effective criminal investigations to safeguard fundamental rights.

• Is data retention fundamentally incompatible with the rights to protection of private life and personal data, or should one rather focus on the distinction between data retention and data access? What are acceptable (and better?) alternatives to data retention?
• How to deal with the limitations imposed by the Court of Justice?
• What is the role of the EU legislator in this debate? Is an EU-wide legislative solution necessary? What issues should be covered by such new legal instrument (e.g. the material and personal scope of application – serious crime only new types of service providers, etc.)? How would such legislative initiative relate to other ongoing reforms (e.g. e-evidence and e-privacy)?
• What are the risks of not having a solid legal framework on data retention at national and EU level?


Nóra Ní Loideáin

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London (UK)

Dr Nóra Ní Loideáin is Director of the Information Law & Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. Her research and publications focus on human rights and technology, particularly within the contexts of law enforcement and national security in EU and ECHR law. Her affiliations include: Associate Fellow, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI), and Research Associate, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL), University of Cambridge. Nóra is a member of the UK Home Office Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG), the Board of Trustees for the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII), and an editor of International Data Privacy Law (Oxford University Press).


Anna Buchta


Anna Buchta is Head of the Policy & Consultation Unit at the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). She leads the work on legislative advice to the European Commission, Parliament and Council. She has extensive experience in data protection and privacy regulations, institutional law and litigation before the Court of Justice. She is one of the institutional rapporteurs on EU data protection for the FIDE2020 Conference. Previously, Anna worked at the European Commission and before that, she was a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI, currently CITIP) at KU Leuven. Anna has a master's degree in Law from the University of Warsaw and an LL.M. degree from the KU Leuven.

Vanessa Franssen

University of Liège (BE)

Vanessa Franssen is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology of the University of Liège and an Affiliated Senior Researcher at the KU Leuven. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Luxembourg and member of the Brussels bar. She studied Law and Romance Languages at the KU Leuven and at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University of Paris 1. Previously, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Michigan Law School and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg. She obtained her PhD degree at the KU Leuven. She specialises in cybercrime, EU criminal law, criminal law and criminal procedure. She has specific experience in comparative and interdisciplinary research, particularly involving new technologies and data protection.

Monika Kopcheva

Council of the EU (EU)

Jaroslaw Lotarski

DG Home (EU)

Jarek Lotarski is policy officer in DG Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, dealing with cybercrime issues, e-evidence and data retention. Previously, Jarek worked at the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and before that, he was a lecturer at the University of Sheffield and researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. Jarek has a Ph.D in law from the University of Toulouse.

Cristina Vela

Telefónica (ES)

CRISTINA VELA. Senior Adviser Data & Competition, Telefónica Cristina Vela has over 20 years of experience. In the 90ies, she took actively part in the preparation of the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Europe. Subsequently, she has been involved in all the Reviews of this framework.
Currently she is Senior Adviser Data & Competition for Telefonica where she analyses the interplay between Data Protection and Competition Law. Since more than 10 years, she is also the Chairperson of the Working Group on Data, Privacy, Trust and Security of ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association). This group deals with debates regarding Data Protection, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, eEvidence.