The PSD presented, on Wednesday, a bill aimed at modifying the law on metadata.
During a press conference, the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, Paulo Mota Pinto, explained that three important changes will be introduced in Law 32/2008, which concerns the retention of data from telecommunications operators. The purpose of the proposals is, he explained, to correct the unconstitutionalities pointed out by the Constitutional Court (TC). “This bill purges, in our opinion, the unconstitutionalities that have been detected”, he defended himself, explaining that “there was no prior agreement [com o PS]. We felt it was our duty to take this step and introduce this bill. »
According to Paulo Mota Pinto, “this case demonstrates how negligent inertia there was on the part of the legislator, namely the government, who knew from judgments of the Luxembourg Court of Justice that this not only could but would happen “, therefore, “the government has been warned”.
Faced with this, what the Social Democrats propose is in the first place to prohibit “the circulation and transfer of data outside Portugal and the European Union”. The diploma presented yesterday, he added, also provides for a reduction in the shelf life. That is, the time during which the data can be stored.
According to the bill presented by the PSD, this period should be extended to 12 weeks – contrary to what the law currently provides for, which provides for one year -, Paulo Mota Pinto recalling that in Germany, this period is currently ten weeks . Finally, the other major change provided for in the PSD bill concerns the notification of the “person concerned of any transmission” from the moment when “this communication is not likely to compromise the criminal investigation or to constitute a risk for the physical integrity or the life of third parties,” the document reads.
The expectation, underlined Paulo Mota Pinto, is that “the law will apply immediately to pending cases”, while trying “that some of them can still be saved”.
In the diploma presented by the PSD, it is also established, in a transitional rule, that in the case of “cases pending and in which the indictment has already been made at the time of the entry into force of this law” , the use of metadata that has been stored for more than 12 weeks. However, the duration cannot exceed one year.
During the press conference, Paulo Mota Pinto also said that this question “reflects the advisability, if not the necessity, of discussing the question of metadata within the broader framework of a constitutional revision”. According to the parliamentary leader, the PSD proposes this in the draft revision of the Basic Law that it has prepared, where the transfer of data “to the information services of the Republic” is safeguarded. “We believe that the evolution of jurisprudence over the past 25 years must be taken into account and considered in the context of a constitutional review,” he concluded.
Marcelo admits ‘problematic’ constitutional revision
After Paulo Mota Pinto’s announcement of the PSD’s legislative initiative, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa spoke on the same subject.
According to the President of the Republic, the initiative of the TC on this law could give rise to a constitutional revision. “As a review opens a month ago for all parties to present their plans, which can cover anything,” he said.
“The court decided not to comment on the past effects and, in this sense, it questions the application of the law in recent years. If he upholds the same decision, there are several clues as to the type of review by the courts. or not. If it doesn’t pass, after the changes, the idea of having a revision of the Constitution can start to approach, which is problematic,” he said.
The PS talks about political maneuvering
Through parliamentary leader Eurico Brilhante Dias, the PS reacted to the presentation of the PSD proposal, which it described as “hasty” and a “political maneuver”.
“The PS is very surprised by the very hasty and misplaced initiative that the PSD announced today regarding the metadata law. It is hasty because it does not respect the initiative of the public prosecutor who requested the nullity of the judgment of the TC and because it does not take into account the effort that is also made by the judicial entities and the Ministry of Justice in terms of the impact of the decision [do TC]“, Supported the leader of the PS bench.
Still according to Eurico Brilhante Dias, the PSD project presents a set of rules “of dubious constitutionality”. “Politics must be done seriously and the seriousness of these issues means that we are watching the TC shutdown, waiting for the results of the initiatives of the prosecution and, finally, that it is perceived that the legislative initiatives that we present do indeed solve the problem within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic”, he suggested.