|AK Vorrat: Planned registration of all air travel is unconstitutional (14.01.2008)|
+++ Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung (German Working Group on Data Retention): With the planned state-driven registration of all air travel the next anti-constitutional data retention lies right ahead. If the German federal government accepts the EU-proposal, we will file constitutional complaint to the German Federal Constitutional Court. +++
According to the EU-Commission the data of air travelers can be used to check for "a range of criteria and behavioural patterns in order to create a risk profile". This way "passengers with a elevated risk potential can be filtered out". In the USA practices like these have lead to many innocent people facing problems at customs clearance, having their entry denied or even interrogation or imprisonment. 
"With the registration of millions of innocent tourists or business travelers the next violation of the constitution is imminent", jurist Patrick Breyer of the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung warns. "The Federal Constitutional Court clearly forbid such a way of mass data collection - no matter what the timeframe or affected persons may be. If the federal government repeats to disregard the constitution, we will have to defend ourselves again by issuing constitutional complaint.
In contrast to the data retention the registration and collection of all air travel data is planned to be pushed using a so called framework decision. The Federal Constitutional Court has decided that EU-framework decisions - unlike EG-regulations - have no superiority to German law and can be "audited by the German jurisdiction to any extend".  A framework decision can only be decided unanimously - so with the help of the German federal government. In the Bundestag (German parliament) SPD, CDU and CSU have the opportunity to issue a dismissive statement, which the government is bound to. The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Hungary have already expressed their denial of this procedure while the German federal government supported the plan. 
The Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung appeals to the Bundesrat and Bundestag to prohibit the federal government its' approval of this anti-constitutional plan. Since there is no indication that a single punishable act - let alone terrorist attacks - could not be prevented by already available data the proposal already was useless in the first place. It would waste millions of Euros, that are badly needed in other places, for instance to revert the radical cuts in funding for projects of violence prevention and personal cutbacks of 10.000 at the police service we saw in the last few years.  According to the EU-Commission the collection of air travelers data would cost 600 million euros of tax payer money in its first year, 73 million euros per year after that. Meanwhile this would cost the airlines 18 million euros in the first year and 7 million euros every following year. In the end the citizens would have to bear the costs through higher taxes or higher prices for air tickets.
"The federal government promises security, but all it delivers are secured revenues for the surveillance industry", Ricardo Cristof Remmert-Fontes of the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung criticizes and adds: "In a free society surveillance of every individuals travel movements is just as out of place as the surveillance of an individuals telecommunication behaviour."
References (some references in German):
 Tens of thousands wrongly listed as terror suspects:
Innocent cardiac German detained in the USA:
 Jugdement of the German Federal Constitutional Court over the EU-Contract:
 Impact Assessment, Page 38:
 Job losses at the police force:
Summary of the impact assessment:
Complete impact assessment (English):
Comment by the European data protection commissioner (English):
Comment by the independent data protection commissioner of the German State of Schleswig-Holstein:
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