As widely reported Digital Rights Ireland appear to be preparing legal proceedings against the State in relation to the directive issued by Mary O'Rourke in 2002 to telecommunications providers to keep a record of commuications by individuals for three years, which can then be accessed by Gardai without a warrant if they believe it will help in investigation of criminality. DRI explain
the legal background to the directive
The Minister for Public Enterprise (as she then was) purported to issue those directions under Section 110 (1) of the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983 requiring telecommunications providers to retain that data, being detailed non-anonymous traffic data, and to retain it for a 3 year period, for the purpose of facilitating requests from An Garda Siochana and from the Defense Forces under Sections 98A and 98B of the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983, as inserted by Section 13 of the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (regulation) Act 1993.
Have a look at the rest of the legal brief on the DRI blog
This is going to be an interesting one. DRI are going to have to show not only a breach of privacy rights (which shouldn't be too difficult) but also that the breach is disproportionate to the objective sought to be achieved. This might be somewhat more difficult. To latch on to the mobile phone issue, my understanding is not phone calls or text messages are to be recorded, but that the fact that a call was made/received, by whom, from whom, when and where (physically). If evidence of such a nature could in fact help in the investigation of a crime then can't the State make a relatively convincing argument that the surveillance is limited (because conversations aren't being recorded) and that it is proportionate to the desired objective? I don't necessarily agree, but it's an argument that wil undoubtedly be made.
My understanding is that the proceedings are going to be largely on data rentention grounds, which is not my area of expertise or even interest despite a seemingly endless year of IT and data protection law sometime in the last century (TJ
of course is the real expert here), but the case will certainly be interesting if it proceeds.