Germany taken to court for failing to implement data retention

A German Pirate Party representative says the move is 'absolutely ridiculous'

European authorities have taken Germany to court for failing to implement the E.U. Data Retention Directive.

The European Commission announced on Thursday that it wants the European Court of Justice to impose a fine of just over €315,000 (US$391,866) a day. The news comes after Germany failed to respond to a warning in March.

The Data Retention Directive requires telephone companies and ISPs to store huge amounts of telecommunications information, including data about email, phone calls and text messages, for law enforcement purposes.

The directive was originally adopted in Germany in 2008, but was annulled by the German Constitutional Court amid privacy concerns in 2010. Since then, the European Commission has pushed for it to be reinstated, while German data-protection commissioners refuse, describing it as an invasion of privacy.

The decision to take Germany to court is "absolutely ridiculous," said German member of the European Parliament Christian Engstrom, of the Pirate Party. "They have made a preliminary evaluation of the Data Retention Directive and found with lots and lots of problems with it. I think this shows that Commissioner Malmstrom is driven only by prestige and common sense is not in her vocabulary."

However, the Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom claimed that none of the German court's conclusions preclude full transposition of the directive in a way that complies with the national constitution. Meanwhile, privacy activists said that the Commission has not shown that blanket retention of data is necessary. A German study found that data retention had only helped in 0.002 percent of criminal cases.

The Commission also reiterated that the so-called "quick freeze" method of data preservation, which is currently being discussed in Germany, would not suffice. Germany's Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, proposed the idea in March: instead of storing all users' data for six months, data could be stored only after a court order based on probable cause. Then, with further judicial oversight, that data could be "unfrozen" and be given to investigators and law enforcement.

On Thursday the Commission also formally closed proceedings against Austria, which has now fully implemented the directive, but is still seeking a lump sum payment from Sweden, which it believes unduly delayed introducing the required measures into national law.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?