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Politicians call for 'geotagging' laws ahead of data summit

The Local · 20 Sep 2010, 11:05

Published: 20 Sep 2010 11:05 GMT+02:00

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“The rights of users and those whose data is being dragged along with them must be simply and clearly strengthened,” Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk, adding that geographical data services such as Google Street View are only a small aspect of the problem.

The government must conduct talks with service providers to find out how they gather their data in order to better protect the rights of those involved, she added.

“How to define exactly what personal data is and which details should not be used should also be discussed,” the pro-business Free Democrat said, explaining that she hoped to create a law to allow user anonymity.

In addition to a user’s right to data disclosure from the service provider, they should also be able to have information deleted and file complaints, she told daily Passauer Neue Presse in another interview on Monday.

Each day people leave behind countless digital traces which, while likely harmless on their own, could be gathered to create questionable personal profiles, she said.

Meanwhile telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom encouraged clear legal guidelines for internet service providers.

“We are all in agreement that data security and trust are extremely important topics,” head of the company’s T-Systems division, Reinhard Clemens, told daily Der Tagesspiegel. “I hope that government policy works more quickly and strictly so that we have some clarity and transparency.”

Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner, who will also attend the summit in Berlin, agreed that new data protection laws on geotagging, which adds locational information to photos and online applications, were necessary.

“A voluntary agreement in the industry is not sufficient in my opinion,” she said.

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Germany’s data protection commissioner Peter Schaar said he hoped the summit would yield solid results.

“It can’t just remain about talking,” he told news agency DPA. “There must also be conclusions.“


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:56 September 20, 2010 by moistvelvet
Before getting all crusade like on data protection, how about the government actually look at how to protect customers from the communications industy. A regulating body with some teeth would be a start, I find it outrageous that a comms company can demand money from you without giving you any service. 4 months I was without telephone/internet and Freenet demanded payment for a sefice they failed to provide, I went to the offical governing body and all they said was for me to seek legal advice myself. What is the point of a government watchdog if it has no teeth. In the UK Freenet would have been swiftly dealt with by Offcom for non-compliance... so before these self-gratifying politicians start on a crusade of data protection in the name of the citizen, how about start with the basics of the comms industry and put the customer first and support them.

If the battle of David and Goliath were in Germany, David would have one hand tied behind his back by German red tape.
13:39 September 20, 2010 by Kayak
Germany is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the rest of the world and this is an example of it.

Digital modes are not analogue modes. Moving from one to the other changes the way we use information.

If you don't want your new camera to record the location of the photograph that you are about to take then switch the "record picture location" option to OFF.

Those Germans that can hold a thought - please, any thought - just need to be well advised by their government appointed consumer representative.

How hard can it be?
14:07 September 20, 2010 by catjones
Wake me after the decision is made. Yawn.
19:20 September 20, 2010 by Gretl
Phone companies! After having a provision in my contract that the contract is severable upon receipt of military orders, and providing that and my new address in the US for my final bill, I continued to get bills for 9 months. The total never changed, they just couldn't managed to turn off the paper billing.
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