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Government divided over phone data law

The Local · 27 Dec 2011, 14:54

Published: 27 Dec 2011 14:54 GMT+01:00

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German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is holding firm to her refusal to allow telecom companies to store IP addresses and phone records indefinitely, despite recent revelations about the state's failures to track down a far-right terrorist group calling itself the National Socialist Underground.

"Just looking at data storage is a completely narrow and false view of the matter," the minister argued on state radio station Deutschlandfunk Tuesday morning. "The mistakes and systemic flaws lie much, much deeper and further back."

The government's main coalition party the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been attempting to increase the police's access to telecom data, but junior coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP), to which Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger belongs, has blocked all proposals that involve storing data for months on end and giving the police free access to it.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger's compromise is to allow the police access to telecom data only in the case of concrete evidence.

"In a case like this, where there is suspicion of far-right extremism, the police could use necessary data," she said. "On the other hand it would of course protect fundamental rights much better than if I just store all the communications data of 82 million people for six months."

Jörg Ziercke, head of the German federal police, warned recently that without giving police more access, it could become impossible to track down criminal networks that are using the internet.

A European Union deadline for Germany to find a compromise runs out on Tuesday, meaning Germany may face penalties from the EU for failure comply with a directive.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:10 December 27, 2011 by raandy
Here we go again , scare tactics to dupe the public.
13:52 December 28, 2011 by CensorThis
I think they have already made the point that this is technologically infeasable. Oh, and it is something a POLICE STATE would do.
20:13 December 29, 2011 by zeddriver
Yes, You to can become the old GDR or the new America after 9/11.

We in America. Failed to heed the warning by Benjamin Franklin 230 or so years ago.

"if one gives up their liberties in exchange for security. They will soon find they have neither liberty nor security."

We in America are subject to having all calls and emails monitored by the NSA. For the time being they are holding true to only escalating cases of suspected terrorism. But that can easily be changed to the NSA calling the local police for overhearing that you might have committed a minor infraction having nothing to do with terrorism. It's what we refer to as a slippery slope. Once you start sliding downhill it's very hard to stop.

So Germany! Be very careful of what you wish for. And keep an eye on your politicians. They will not have any issue with throwing away your freedoms to give themselves more power over you the common citizen.
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