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Access to the Case Materials in Pre-Trial Stages
Critical Questions of Article 7 of Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information in criminal proceedings
The right of access to the case materials (Art. 7 of Directive 2012/13/EU) is crucial to enable an effective defence and ensure equality of arms in criminal proceedings. However, when it comes to the pre-trial stages of criminal proceedings, Art. 7 of Directive 2012/13/EU is not clear about the timing of access, the scope of access, and about the possible derogations from providing access to suspects and their counsel.
This article outlines the questions that, in our opinion, should most urgently be posed to the CJEU concerning the interpretation of Art. 7 in the context of pre-trial proceedings, e.g.: What are the documents that are “essential for challenging effectively” the lawfulness of arrest and detention under Art. 7(1)? Do the grounds for derogation under Art. 7(4) apply to Art. 7(1)? How should the derogation grounds under Art. 7(4) be understood? Do Art. 7(2) and (3) apply at the pre-trial stages ... Read more
Editorial Guest Editorial eucrim 4/2018
Dear Readers, Police work and the administration of justice in general would be impossible without the exchange of personal information. As a member of the Italian judiciary, I can personally attest to this. At the same time, when applying and enforcing the law, judges and the police must themselves operate within the law, including the law of data protection. Until last year, there was no general EU standard on how data should be processed for judicial and law enforcement purposes. The new “Police Directive” (Directive (EU) 2016/680) now fills that void. Though not directly applicable, like its more glamorous counterpart... Read more
The European Commission’s Proposal on Cross-Border Access to E-Evidence
Overview and Critical Remarks
With human activity becoming more and more dependent on digital technologies, criminal investigations increasingly depend on digital evidence. Yet the gathering of this type of evidence is far from straightforward. Besides technological challenges, one of the major obstacles that law enforcement authorities encounter is the fact that the data they need is often stored abroad or by a foreign service provider. At the international level, this results in the need to resort to mutual legal assistance and, at the EU level, to the European Investigation Order. Even the length of the procedure when resorting to the EIO is far too slow, because relevant data can be lost in the meantime. This article discusses the initiative of the European Commission to establish a European legal framework regarding direct requests for electronic evidence sent by law enforcement authorities in the EU to service providers in another EU Member State (the "e-evidence initiative"). ... Read more
This article seeks to demystify the recently enacted Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, enacted in March 2018 by the U.S. government in an effort to address challenges faced by law enforcement in accessing data located across borders. It explains the two parts of the act, dealing with: (i) U.S. access to data located outside the United States; and (ii) foreign government access to data held by U.S. companies within the United States. As the article highlights, the CLOUD Act offers a model for both responding to law enforcement needs and setting – and raising – baseline privacy protections. In that regard, it is a step in the right direction, although there is much more work to be done.Read more
The European Commission’s Proposal for a Regulation on Preventing the Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online
In September 2018, the European Commission presented a draft Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The proposal builds on EU-level initiatives to foster the voluntary cooperation of service providers in stopping the dissemination of terrorist content online, and it echoes ongoing national developments which go a step further in imposing obligations – underpinned by considerable fines – on service providers. This article describes the main features of the proposal and highlights some of the policy challenges, legal questions, and technological concerns it is likely to face on the road to adoption.Read more
Although the significance of electronic evidence for criminal investigations of any type of criminal offence has been steadily growing for years, respective legal frameworks in all EU Member States are only fragmented – if they exist at all. There is an urgent need for comprehensive legislation that takes into account the various grades of data sensitivity. For various reasons, the common distinction between subscriber data, traffic data, and content data is not suitable for this purpose. Instead, a new classification is necessary.
The article analyzes the relevant backgrounds and provides an overview of the current issues. More importantly, it proposes a new classification with five categories of electronic data. The key criterion for determining the sensitivity of a dataset − the data subject’s reasonable expectation of confidentiality – allows a distinction as follows: (1) data of core significance for private life, (2) secret data, (3) shared confidential data, (4) data of ... Read more