Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 2:43pm

    So everyone in Germany should ask their ISP to delete their logs. That is, after downloading as much music as they can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Julian, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 2:50pm

    No, you write a nice letter to the ISP that they shoudl better not dare to log any of your activities, then you start downloading.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 3:32pm

    Script it!

    I would quite literally write a script that would send my request every single day.

    I have no need of my ISP keeping records if my activities. I don't do anything illegal online. Can anyone explain to me how I could possibly benefit from having my ISP track my activities online?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Script it!

    I think you left your tin foil hat over here sir.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Script it!

    Perhaps I did.

    but you forgot to address the underlying concern. Whats the advantage to me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    krached, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 5:49pm


    I wonder if this could be extended to telephone call logs? Or credit card purchases?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    GreenDragon, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2006 @ 11:59pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Riley, Nov 8th, 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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