Activist files complaint against German ban on anonymous SIM card use

People should have the right to communicate anonymously, says Patrick Breyer, who filed the complaint with his brother

Civil rights activist Patrick Breyer filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights over a German court ruling that identification be required for the purchase of prepaid SIM cards, he said Wednesday.

Breyer, who is a member of the German Pirate Party, and his brother, Jonas, who is a lawyer, filed the complaint because the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that it is not unconstitutional to require identification from people purchasing prepaid SIM cards, they said in a statement. They contend that people should have the right to communicate anonymously.

Complainants in the court case argued that their rights were violated by the storage of their data and the potential for that data to be communicated. Because the Federal Constitutional Court ruled against them, the Court of Human Rights should resolve the question of whether anonymous communication is a right.

Prepaid cards can be registered under a fake name in Germany, can be passed on to others and can be brought into the country from abroad, Jonas Breyer noted in the statement, adding that requiring identification is therefore useless.

Forced identification further "threatens free and uninhibited communication and Internet use, which is vital in our society," Patrick Breyer said in the statement. "Anonymity is essential for press informants, for unwelcome opinions on the Internet, for the confidential exchange of trade secrets, for the coordination of political protests, for psychological, medical and legal advice, as well as self-help groups."

The European Court of Human Rights did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?