Feeds

German court curbs data collection law

34,000 class action suit pays off

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe today has curbed Germany's wide-reaching data collection law even further, by stating that the data can only be collected and saved in case of real danger to citizens. The Court decided in response to a class action suit filed by 34,000 Germans.

The data collection law, which politicians said would help prevent terrorist attacks, went into effect in January 2008. It gave federal government broad access to stored telephone and internet data, including email addresses, for at least six months.

The bill, part of an EU directive formulated in response to bomb attacks in Madrid and London, immediately sparked controversy among free-market liberals, privacy advocates and civil rights groups, which criticised its scope. In Hamburg, demonstaters staged a mock funeral marking The Death of Privacy.

In December 2007, 34,000 opponents filed the class action suit, the biggest of its kind in Germany.

March saw the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe issue an injunction against the law, saying it needed further review. Authorities would only be allowed to access it under extreme circumstances, and with a warrant. Also, the law could only be used for serious crime investigations such as murder, theft, child pornography, money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and fraud.

Using the saved data for prosecuting individuals who illegally downloaded music and movies was ruled out completely.

The ruling was seen as a serious blow to tighter security measures by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

The ruling today finally puts an end to crossing the limits of constitutionality on citizen rights, critics say. Data can only be collected when the stability or security of Germany or another country need to be defended and "life, limb, and freedom of German citizens" need to be protected. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.