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Data Retention in Bulgaria

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Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (ISDP,volume 45)


The Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC was initially transposed into the Bulgarian legal order in 2008 through a regulation enacted by the Minister of Interior and the President of the State Agency of Information Technologies and Communications. The regulation introduced a 12-month long retention period for electronic communication and allowed a unit in the Ministry of Interior direct access to the data. In December 2008, the Supreme Administrative Court held that the regulation violated Articles 32 and 34 of the Bulgarian Constitution and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The later amendments to the data protection legislation were found in contravention of the Constitution by the Constitutional Court in 2015. The Parliament passed new provisions in line with the Constitutional Court judgment shortening the retention period to six months. Subsequently, in 2016 and 2018, the new laws on anti-terrorism and anti-corruption tend to shift the balance back to security, rather than privacy.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-57189-4_5
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  1. 1.

    Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC.

  2. 2.

    Regulation No. 40 of 7 January 2008 on the categories of data and the mechanism of retention and transmission of data by enterprises providing public electronic communication services for the purposes of national security and the detection of crimes.

  3. 3.

    An NGO created in 1996 with the mission to facilitate general access to government-held information. As the protection of personal data is the other side of the coin, the organisation also works in that field.

  4. 4.

    Judgment of the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court, 11 December 2008, No. 13627.

  5. 5.

    See the Judgment of the SAC in Bulgarian language at:

  6. 6.

    Under Article 93 § 1, item 7 of the Criminal Code “serious crimes” are those offences punishable with more than five years imprisonment.

  7. 7.

    Article 250c, §§ 1–3 of the ECA. Regional courts are the courts of first instance. The previous legal regime under 2009 ECA amendments provided that the higher level “district courts” are in charge.

  8. 8.

    Article 250d, § 4 of the ECA.

  9. 9.

    SEGA Daily, Службите са следили незаконно 40 000 души, 20 March 2009. Available at:

  10. 10.

    The matter was discussed in an article in Dnevnik daily written by Pavlina Jeleva:

  11. 11.

    The guidelines were not publicly available but provided on information request to Dnevnik daily which disclosed the said content in the article referred to above.

  12. 12.

    See Article 159 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

  13. 13.

    The information contained in the 2011 report of the Sub-committee was commented in an article published on the online media Praven Svjat at:

  14. 14.

    Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, 8 April 2014, case No. C-293/12 and case No. C-594/12.

  15. 15.

    Judgment of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria, 12 March 2015, No. 2 on case No. 8/2014.

  16. 16.

    Articles 250a–250e, 251, and 251a of the Electronic Communications Act.

  17. 17.

    Electronic Communications Act, amended, published in State Gazette No. 24 of 2015.

  18. 18.

    Published in State Gazette No. 103 of 27 December 2016.

  19. 19.

    Published in State Gazette No. 7 of 19 January 2018.

  20. 20.

    Article 251b, § 2.

  21. 21.

    For example, the 2011 report was published in the periodic issue of the Supreme Bar Council:

  22. 22.


  23. 23.

    See also:

  24. 24.

    See application No. 4326/2018 registered by the European Court of Human Rights—Girginova v. Bulgaria.

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Correspondence to Alexander Kashumov .

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Kashumov, A. (2021). Data Retention in Bulgaria. In: Zubik, M., Podkowik, J., Rybski, R. (eds) European Constitutional Courts towards Data Retention Laws. Law, Governance and Technology Series(), vol 45. Springer, Cham.

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