Germany will make telcos share customer data with the police

Despite two previous laws having been ruled unconstitutional, data retention is back in Germany

Even as the European Union attempts to tighten privacy laws, law-enforcement interests have won a battle in Germany: a new law forces communications service providers there to once again make data about their customers' communications available to police.

On Friday morning, the German parliament approved a law requiring ISPs and mobile and fixed telecommunications operators to retain communications metadata for up to ten weeks.

The country has had an on-again, off-again affair with telecommunications data retention, first introducing a law requiring it in 2008 to comply with a European Union directive.

The German Federal Constitutional Court overturned that law in March 2010 after finding it conflicted with Germany's privacy laws, prompting the European Commission to take the country to court in May 2012 to enforce the directive.

In April 2014, it was the turn of the EU's highest court, the Court of Justice of the EU, to overturn the directive itself on the grounds that it, too, interfered with fundamental privacy rights.

The CJEU has also just overturned the so-called Safe Harbor agreement between the Commission and U.S. authorities on the transfer of private personal data to the U.S. because the agreement did not provide Europeans with sufficient privacy protection from U.S. law enforcement.

The CJEU's and the Constitutional Court's previous decisions didn't discourage German lawmakers from reintroducing the requirement for service providers to conserve the connection data of all their customers, though.

There's a ten-week limit for information about who called whom and when, which IP addresses were attributed to whom and when, and who sent SMS text messages to whom. A four-week limit applies to the location from which an SMS was sent. The content of communications is not stored, and email is exempt from the law.

The German parliament plans to review the law once there is sufficient statistical information about its effectiveness in reducing crime.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags surveillance

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?