Abstract

In Digital Rights Ireland, the Court of Justice invalidated the 2006 Data Retention Directive, which required private providers to retain for a considerable period electronic communication metadata for law enforcement purposes.In this landmark ruling, the EU judiciary introduced a strict scrutiny test for EU legislative acts that interfere seriously with important rights protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights—in this case, the rights to privacy and data protection—and applied a rigorous assessment of the proportionality of the measure under the Charter, criticising numerous aspects of the Directive.This article presents and analyses the judgment, discussing its implications for constitutional review and constitutionalism in the European Union, and the substantive and procedural constraints that it imposes on EU and national data retention schemes.It concludes by reflecting on the ruling’s impact on European integration and data related policies.