Court Decision Pleases Some, Rattles Others
PRIVACY LAW—GERMANYMarch 4, 2010
Germany's Federal Constitutional Court this week overturned a law requiring the retention of certain communications data and ordered the immediate destruction of stored e-mail, telephone and text message data. Police and security experts are reacting with "shock and alarm," while civil libertarians are celebrating, reports the Financial Times. Other EU states are reacting to the decision as well. The law required six-month retention of phone and e-mail data for use in counterterrorism efforts. It was unpopular with Germans; 35,000 had appealed for it to be overturned and Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar had also spoken out against it. The court said that such retention violated Germans' constitutional rights and failed to balance privacy rights against the need to provide security.