German Supreme Court Says ISPs Should Delete Logs When Asked

from the the-struggle-continues dept

As the ongoing battle continues between those fighting for better privacy protection from ISPs against those who want more data retention, it looks like the German Supreme Court has sided with the privacy side. The debate is one that’s gone on for a few years (more in Europe than in the US, though we’ve been trying to catch up lately). Certain government officials want ISPs to store log file data for a very long period of time — much longer than is needed for any business purpose. The idea is so that the government can request that data for investigations. However, there are tremendous costs involved in keeping and mining all that data — and, one of the side effects is that it’s much easier for what should be private information to get into the hands of others, even without a subpoena. That’s exactly what someone in Germany claimed when his IP info was turned over to the police. He noted that there was no business reason the ISP should have kept the info, and for the sake of his privacy it should be deleted. The German Supreme Court has agreed, saying that, if someone asks, ISPs should be obligated to destroy log info. However, as the article notes, with data retention laws getting stronger every day, this privacy exemption will likely be removed soon enough anyway.

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Comments on “German Supreme Court Says ISPs Should Delete Logs When Asked”

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GreenDragon says:

Basic rights to privacy

The German Supreme Court is on the right track here. People have a basic right privacy in regard to their surfing habits.

I think someone should develop a simple encryption scheme, built into e-mail clients and IM conversations as a default.

The idea that everything you look at or say on line should be kept in a database forever is seriously worrisome.

Times change and so do the political winds. It is incomprehensible to think that what today’s 15 year old says or does online could be held against them 40 years from now.

The solution is simple…encryption built into every communication application as a default.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Basic rights to privacy

Explain to me where this :basic right to privacy” comes from. Playing the devil’s advocate, since when does using someone else’s medium (the Telco’s communications line) ensure you have any privacy? The internet is considered more and more of a “public place”, much like a library. You don’t expect no one to look at you or surveillance cameras to track you while at a park, library, or store, so why should you have the same rights online?

Just curious. You state opinions as if they were facts.

Riley says:

Basic rights to privacy

I think that’s what the German courts are saying; people DO have a basic right to privacy. That’s their opinion, and after a high court finds there is a right to privacy, that’s the threshold where the opinion can be stated as fact. Comparing internet surveillance to surveillance cameras in a park or library, in my opinion, is not a very good example. Having a conversation with someone in a park enables you to keep track of who is within hearing distance of you. The same is not true for internet conversations; most people do not possess the capability of monitoring who is listening in on their conversation. I believe it is not fair to the individual. Lastly, I believe government entities forcing telcos to record data any longer than they deem necessary for business use, without a proper and timely subpoena, is wrong. The government isn’t paying for the physical data storage nor the wages of the SysAdmins who are responsible for maintaining it. If they think it’s so important, why don’t they present their case, see if they can convince the voters of the need for something like this, then see if they can get enough votes to fund a SAN of this magnitude with taxpayers money? How would that look – a democratic country where the government continuously records their citizens every move? Jerks.

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