Germany, ISPs, Data Protection and Anti Terror Laws

Under euro wide anti-terror laws ISPs and Telecomm providers are required to retain connection data for a minimum of six months *. 

 By “connection data” I mean records of, e.g. what number called what number, or what email accounts have been communicating, and not the actual content of the communications. 

However, it is reported that the German constitutional court has ruled that this requirement to retain connection data is incompatible with the country’s fundamental law, and has ordered the immediate destruction of all current connection data held by ISPs etc. 

Now I am not qualified to talk about German law.  However, in some ways this is not a huge surprise because Germany is the birthplace of modern data protection law (laws preventing misuse of data about individuals).  From memory, and just to prove I was listening in Law School, the first dp laws were enacted in the state of Hess in the mid seventies.

Why is Germany so hot on dp?  I suspect this may be (at least in part) a reaction to what happened in WWII.

Now I am not the biggest fan of dp law – I have in the past described it as anti-business.  However, if you think about how personal data was used (misused) by the Nazis in WWII in order to persecute people on ethnic, religious, political and/or sexual grounds then dp laws make a lot more sense.

* – At time of posting the wikipedia entry is not entirely up to date about the UK law in this area.  The requirement to keep connection data is now statutory in the UK and is for 12 months.

ps – I am not the Brodies dp guru, so if you have any detailed questions about dp I am going to pass them to Eleanor.

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