Private Life, Personal Data Protection and the Role of Service Providers: The EU e-Evidence Proposal

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Table of Contents: I. A new framework for the collection of electronic evidence in cross-border cases. – II. Preliminary considerations. – III. Privacy at risk? – IV. Towards a re-allocation of protective functions? – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: In April 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for the collection of electronic evidence in criminal matters (the so-called e-Evidence Proposal). This proposal pursues the ambition to create an EU-wide legal framework for the collection of electronic evidence in the field of criminal procedure and establishes a new criminal justice paradigm at the EU level: direct cooperation between judicial authorities and service providers. This new type of cross-border cooperation raises important issues, two of which will be addressed in this Article. The first issue concerns the impact of this new criminal justice paradigm on the right to protection of personal data and the right to respect for private life. This Article will provide an assessment of the options presented by the EU institutions (Commission, Council and European Parliament) to safeguard these rights. The second issue relates to the role of private actors, i.e., service providers. This Article will discuss the protective functions assigned to service providers in the Commission’s proposal and highlight some of the problematic aspects related to it.

Keywords: electronic evidence – cross-border access to electronic evidence – fundamental rights – law enforcement – data protection – private life.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 441-472
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/477

* PhD Candidate (FRESH Grantee), University of Liège,


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