Feeds

Justice minister tries to further delay snoop silo laws in Germany

Opposes Coalition's position on EU data retention directive - report

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Germany might further delay its implementation of the Data Retention Directive despite facing potential financial penalties of more than €300,000 for each day it fails to transpose it into national law, according to media reports.

The Cabinet plans to revisit the topic at a 22 January meeting in an attempt to avoid fines, and is in agreement about its implementation, but German justice minister Heiko Mass (interview in German) has said that he wants to wait for the CJEU to rule in the case before deciding what action to take.

According to a report by the EU Observer, the judgment of the CJEU is expected within the next few months.

The country previously implemented the 2006 Directive, but a court in the country ruled in 2010 that it was incompatible with fundamental German laws. That action prompted the European Commission to initiate legal action against Germany over its failure to put in place alternative new national legislation to implement the EU laws.

The Commission referred Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in May 2012 and has asked the Court to impose a fine of €315,036.54 for each day Germany fails to implement the Directive.

Under the Directive telecoms and other electronic communications firms are required to retain identifying details of phone calls and emails, such as the traffic and location, to help the police detect and investigate serious crimes. The details exclude the content of those communications.

The Directive was established in 2006 to make it a requirement for telecoms and other electronic communications companies to retain the personal data for a period determined by national governments of between six months and two years. The Commission decided to regulate following terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.

However, a challenge against the legitimacy of the Directive has been separately brought before the CJEU by digital rights campaigners in Ireland. They claim that the Directive is incompatible with fundamental EU rights.

In December a legal adviser to the CJEU offered his non-binding opinion on the case. Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón recommended that the CJEU rule that the Directive be deemed to be incompatible with the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. Cruz Villalón said that there are insufficient safeguards written into the Directive to ensure privacy rights are respected.

He said that it is possible, under the framework, "to create a both faithful and exhaustive map of a large portion of a person’s conduct strictly forming part of his private life, or even a complete and accurate picture of his private identity" and that therefore there is a risk that data collected could be used for "unlawful purposes which are potentially detrimental to privacy or, more broadly, fraudulent or even malicious".

The Advocate General said that the Directive should have set out controls around the access to data and how that data is used and further found that an upper limit of two years on the length of time telecoms and other electronic communications companies could be obliged to retain data under the framework was not proportionate. The maximum time that member states should be allowed to force telecoms and other electronic communications companies to hold onto data collected should be less than one year, he advised.

Cruz Villalón said that the aims of the Directive were "perfectly legitimate", according to the CJEU's statement, and said that the laws, although invalid, should stand until replacement provisions are adopted.

Copyright © 2013, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.