|Constitutional complaint filed against German Telecomms Data Retention Act (2007-12-31)
A constitutional complaint directed against the recently executed data retention law and initiated by the German privacy group Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung (Working group on data retention) was filed with the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany today. It is the first time in German history that such a move is backed by about 30,000 complainants. At the same time, Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung is publishing guidelines and recommendations for safeguarding individuals against the obligatory logging of all telecommunications effective as of 2008.Following the execution of the law by Federal President Horst Köhler, Berlin-based barrister Meinhard Starostik filed a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe this Monday, December 31st. In his 150-pages notice of appeal he also requests an immediate suspension of the law on the grounds of "apparent unconstitutionality".
The appeal is substantiated by the fear that general data retention might severely disrupt free communication in Germany by treating each and any citizen as a potential delinquent. According to the complaint, the pervasive logging of communication patterns without reasonable suspicion resembled a serious encroachment upon the basic values of constitutional legality. On the other hand, it would compromise the working basis of professionals such as journalists and criminal prosecutors as well as that of charitable services like crisis lines - all of which relied greatly on the anonymity of both whistle-blowers and people in need. In the future, sensitive contacts and communication would either have to be conducted in person and face-to-face or would have to be abandoned altogether. Free and open communication as the basic and essential prerequisite of any democratic political system would be lost.
For more information please see our German press release (http://www.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/content/blogcategory/27/79/lang,de/) and our press center (http://wiki.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/Press_center).
About Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung
Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung is a German association of civil rights and privacy activists as well as regular Internet users that runs a campaign against the complete logging of all telecommunications.
 Joint statement of 45 German NGOs: http://www.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/content/view/80/100/lang,en/
 The complaint filed with the German Federal Constitutional court (in German): http://wiki.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/
Reports by news agencies