EU court rules on using phone subscribers' personal data

The European Union's top court has ruled that a telephone subscriber's consent to having personal data published also covers its use in other member countries of the 28-nation bloc.

The European Court of Justice ruled Wednesday on a case in which a Belgian company, European Directory Assistance, asked companies that assign phone numbers to subscribers in the Netherlands to give it data related to their subscribers.

The Dutch companies refused on the grounds that they weren't required to provide the data to a company in another EU country.

A Dutch court referred questions to the EU court, which found that passing some data to another company intending to publish a public directory without obtaining renewed consent "is not capable of substantively impairing the right to protection of personal data."