|Federal government supports opposition against "voluntary data retention" (25 Nov 2008)
The German government has declared its support of the opposition
against a European Parliament proposal which would allow
telecommunications providers to collect traffic and location data for
"security purposes" over an unlimited period of time.
In late October 11 civil liberties, journalists, lawyers and consumer protection organisations warned federal minister of economic affairs Michael Glos that the European Parliament's amendment 181 to the "telecom package" would create unmanageable data dumps and thus "expose sensitive data on our communications and movements to risks of abuse." In reply, the German ministry of economic affairs now says it shares "many of your fundamental concerns, in particular regarding the great extent of the provision." It says Germany is pushing for rejection of the amendment in the Council but has not found a majority for its position so far. The European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx writes that he is preparing an opinion on the issue and finds the arguments from Germany "very valuable".
Meanwhile the German Conference of the Federal and the Länder Data Protection Commissioners has released a position paper denouncing the European Parliament's proposal as an "inacceptable blanket provision unlimited in time and indefinite in content". The current rules which only allow for a targeted processing of data on a case by case basis where necessary for the elimination of malfunctions and the prevention of abuse should be preserved, the Commissioners say.
"We hope very much that the European Parliament will heed the multitude of warnings and drop its amendment", explains Patrick Breyer from the German Working Group on Data Retention. "The never-ending surveillance scandal at Deutsche Telekom shows that only deleted data is safe data. The blanket provision that is now to be introduced on the initiative of a US corporation would constitute an irresponsible threat to the safety and confidentiality of our telecommunications contacts and Internet use."
About Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung:
Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung ("German Working Group on Data Retention") 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. Home page: http://www.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de