Germany amends law on data storage, wire-tapping

10th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The German parliament approved a law on Friday requiring telecommunications providers to retain all customer communication data for a period of six months. From January 1, law enforcement bodies will be able to gain access to stored communications covering telephone calls, text messages and faxes if they obtain a court order. Access to emails and other internet data will be permissible from 2009. The amended telecommunications law also allows authorities to monitor the telep

9 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The German parliament approved a law on Friday requiring telecommunications providers to retain all customer communication data for a period of six months.

From January 1, law enforcement bodies will be able to gain access to stored communications covering telephone calls, text messages and faxes if they obtain a court order. Access to emails and other internet data will be permissible from 2009.

The amended telecommunications law also allows authorities to monitor the telephone conversations of lawyers, doctors and journalists in the course of investigations into serious crimes.

Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, who presented the legislation, said it would not turn Germany into a "big brother" state but would help it combat crime and terrorism more effectively.

She said the law was in line with European Union directives. Telephone numbers, cellphone locations and the times and dates of calls would be stored but not the content of conversations, she said.

Opposition politicians condemned the measure and said they would file a complaint with the constitutional court. The Greens and Left parties spoke of "a sad day for democracy."

The doctors' association Marburger Bund and the German journalists' association DJV said they would take steps to see if the law conformed to the constitution.

The International Press Institute (IPI) also expressed its concern over the amendment, which it said "contains serious threats to press freedom" and treated journalists as "second-class professionals."

The global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries said the law gave investigating magistrates the right to require journalists to divulge their communications if doing so was "in the interests of the prosecution."

"Sources are less likely to share controversial information if journalists are unable to shield them. The fight against terrorism cannot serve as a blanket justification for legislation with possibly dire consequences for investigative journalism and press freedom in general," the IPI said.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article