German Court Finds Data Retention To Be A Violation Of Privacy

from the retain-this dept

As the US is now pushing for stronger data retention laws to aid law enforcement, it looks like some parts of Europe (who have been on the data retention bandwagon for much longer) are starting to push back in the other direction. A German court has ruled that blanket data protection rules are a privacy violation for individuals (thanks Claes!):

The court is of the opinion that data retention violates the fundamental right to privacy. It is not necessary in a democratic society. The individual does not provoke the interference but can be intimidated by the risks of abuse and the feeling of being under surveillance […] The directive [on data retention] does not respect the principle of proportionality guaranteed in Article 8 ECHR, which is why it is invalid.’ ”

Now is there any chance politicians in the US will recognize this… or will it take a massive privacy breach due to unnecessary data retention laws before politicians wake up to the privacy issue?

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Comments on “German Court Finds Data Retention To Be A Violation Of Privacy”

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10 Comments
Alan Gerow (user link) says:

If there were a data retention security breach in the US, the politicians would blame the Internet companies, pass a dozen new laws & regulations, and force the Internet companies to pay millions of dollars on hardware, security experts, and other garbage to meet these new regulations. This will not increase security and privacy, but will prevent smaller companies from competing anymore, giving regulation-caused decrease in innovation & entrepreneur spirit by pricing people out of entering the market. At this point, you will see the big Internet players getting BEHIND the regulations, so they don’t have to fear a start-up disrupting their space, since they can afford to meet the regulations. It’s been done in industry after industry.

Most politicians don’t care about privacy, because THEY want to know everything they can about you. You might be a terrorist for all they know!

Gus Jenkins says:

“Now is there any chance politicians in the US will recognize this… or will it take a massive privacy breach due to unnecessary data retention laws before politicians wake up to the privacy issue?”

It will take a massive privacy breach due to unnecessary data retention laws before politicians wake up to the privacy issue.

Claes says:

I have some update on this:
The summary in English might actually be slightly misleading. The court case seems to have revolved around EU agricultural subsidies and for some reason the court also tried the lawfulness of data retention. However, while it was part of the court’s motivations it might not have been part of the actual ruling, so it’s not clear whether this has any practical effect beyond telling us that courts might very well rule the data retention to be in violation with human rights if this were the main issue being tried.

So, although it’s correct that the court “is of the opinion that …”, it may not be right to say that the “court ruled that …” in this case. I didn’t know this when I posted it. I still hope people will be able to refer to this opinion of the court in the future and that we get a clear court ruling.

Igor says:

There is such a lack of Constitutionally related privacy that this contradiction exists: If you are a suspect of a crime, the police may take your computer and check it up and down for incriminating data…BUT, they may not UNencrypt any files you have encrypted. So, to be a bit ironic, your data is only really protected if you use data protection…jeez..that sounds like a commercial..

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