Secret Service Access to Metadata in Portugal: The Making of a Constitutional Trilogy?

Last August, the Portuguese Legislative Assembly approved a law that regulates secret service access to telecommunications and internet data (i.e., the identification, localization, and traffic of users of electronic communications services in the following situations: national defense; prevention of sabotage; espionage; terrorism; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; highly organized crime). Consequently, access is restricted and subject to certain conditions, including judicial control. The legislation in question constitutes the second attempt by Parliament to regulate this matter. The first law was declared to be unconstitutional by the Portuguese Constitutional Court. This second attempt seeks to resolve the constitutional questions that were raised in that decision. However, a constitutional challenge against the new law has been filed. Therefore, a third law or a constitutional amendment may be needed in order to balance the fundamental rights to privacy and security.