|Communications data retention puts human lives at risk! (8 Oct 2010)
According to a report
published by German civil liberties activists today, the registration
of every telecommunication puts the protection of children and human
lives at risk. Traceability of anonymous calls to crisis lines
frustrates their work in persuading potential perpetrators not to commit
violent crimes. The activists report that anonymous German crisis lines
were, for example, able to avert a school shooting and an honour
killing - had these calls been traceable, the potential perpetrators
would probably never have contacted the crisis lines in the first place.
Giving specific examples, the report paints a dire picture of the consequences of the registration of every phone call and Internet connection in Germany: This "data retention" policy is reported to have advantaged corruption, endangered scientific research, caused unemployment, made political critics go underground, promoted the abuse of personal data and frustrated the prosecution of crime. Earlier this year, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany declared unconstitutional und void the law requiring the recording of who communicated with whom via various electronic communications systems (data retention), thus ending the practise in Germany.
According to today's report, the German police actually cleared a greater share of crime before the law came into effect. Even if one investigation or another was facilitated by collecting all call details, the policy is said to have frustrated many other investigations and put human lives at risk. All in all, a blanket and indiscriminate recording of details on every phone call, e-mail and Internet connection is found to be "useless for the prosecution of crime and totally disproportionate". European Union law is reported to allow Member States to deviate from a 2006 EU directive on data retention.