Portugal's Constitutional Court judges have decided to block a legislation that would have allowed intelligence agencies in the country to have access to private communications metadata in a ruling issued late Thursday. The decision was due to the proposed bill's violation of article 34 of the country's constitution, which forbids access to private records unless it is part of an ongoing criminal investigation, reported Fox News.
A planned oversight committee is also prohibited from having the same level of control over data-gathering activities as a criminal court judge. Overall, only one judge voted in favor of the law, while six judges voted against it.
The proposed law had unprecedented support during its conception, with the three main parties in the Parliament voting for its implementation, stating that it was needed to help protect against acts of terror and international organized crime, according to The Blaze.
Portugal's president, however, asked the Constitutional Court to analyze and examine the proposed law after civil liberties groups voiced reservations and alarm over the law's scope. Additionally, the National Commission for Data Protection gave warnings that the legislation would give intelligence services full freedom to go through individuals' private information.
Surveillance laws have been reexamined by several countries recently, among them being the U.S, which has taken significant steps in relinquishing data gained from mass surveillance, as previously reported by HNGN.