EU: 25 organisations call on MEPs to protect journalists, doctors, lawyers, social services in e-evidence rules

A coalition of 25 organisations has called on the European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) to ensure that forthcoming legislation on "e-evidence" contains protections for journalists, doctors, lawyers and others - in particular by requiring that cross-border orders for electronic data always require judicial approval.

"Together with a coalition of 25 organisations and companies, EDRi urges members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) to include strong procedural safeguards in the so called “E-Evidence Regulation”. The group asks Parliamentarians to ensure the Regulation respects people’s fundamental rights and includes provisions against inappropriate or abusive cross-border requests for personal data. Signatories include professional associations, media organisations, civil society groups, social services organisations and technology companies.

The signatories emphasise that the European Production or Preservation Orders introduced by the E-Evidence Regulation should always require the explicit validation of a judicial authority from the Member State in which the online service provider is based and, where that is a different country, from the Member State in which the person whose data is being requested is a resident. Only then can the Regulation guarantee the protection of affected individuals against the risk of abusive data access requests and provide the legal certainty necessary for companies — both now and in the future.

The letter comes as LIBE Committee members are relaunching negotiations on the Committee’s E-Evidence Report drafted by Rapporteur Birgit Sippel. Our demand for the respect of basic human rights and due process principles is of utmost importance at a time where some Member States suffer a serious degradation of the rule of law and democratic principles. What is more, countries such as Poland and Hungary have used the Covid-19 pandemic in order to introduce emergency measures that violate European values and risk compromising the EU’s judicial cooperation principles as a whole."

Source: EDRi with 25 organisations urge Parliament to protect journalists, doctors, lawyers, social services (EDRi, link)

See: Letter (link to pdf):

"At a time in which respect for the rule of law and media freedom are increasingly challenged in several EUMember States, the LIBE position on E-Evidence must ensure the proper protection of fundamental rights incross-border law enforcement and act as a counterweight to the highly problematic ‘direct cooperation’ proposals by the European Commission and the Council.

We therefore urge you to join forces across political groups and together ensure that the relevant authority in the executing Member State and, where applicable, in the affected State is required to review a production or preservation order based on their own national legal framework, and subsequently validate or reject the order before an online service provider can execute it."

 

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