German government proposes extended tracking of Internet users

By EDRi · December 5, 2012

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Deutsch: [Deutsche Regierung plant ausufernde Überwachung der Internetuser |]

The German government is proposing an amendment to the Telecommunication
Act that would allow law enforcement and intelligence agencies to
extensively identify Internet users, without any court order or
reasonable suspicion of a crime.

The proposed amendment comes as a result of the German Federal
Constitutional Court having decided in January 2012 that the rules
governing the inquiry of telecommunication data from providers were
unconstitutional. The Court found the provisions within the
Telecommunication Act granting authorities the right to access such
data, as unconstitutional and required additional specific provisions
within the relevant specific laws, such as the code of criminal procedure.

According to the draft amendment produced by the government, prosecution
authorities as well as security and secret services may inquire certain
personal data (such as name, address or bank information of customers)
collected by telecommunications and Internet providers. Explicit
provisions allow the use of a dynamic IP address for the identification
of its holder. The amendment also includes a qualified legal basis for
inquiry rights of the respective authorities against providers. The
identification of IP addresses is not to be limited to a case-by-case
basis. Providers are to install electronic data handover interfaces. The
government is also planning to grant access to e-mail account passwords
as well as to voicebox and mobile phone PIN codes without clearly
defining the preconditions to such access. Several civil rights groups
expressed concern regarding the draft amendment considering it
poses a serious threat to civil liberties.

“In the face of the fact that this has the quality of a breach of the
privacy of telecommunication, the present draft of a revised disclosure
of inventory data contains only insufficient provisions to guarantee the
basic rights. It is especially problematic that it lacks the necessity
of an injunction issued by a court or a state prosecutor. There has to
be a qualified legal basis which fulfils the requirements of the
principle of proportionality,” says Henning Lesch, Head of Law &
Regulation of eco Association.

Revision of Telecommunications Act Constitutional? (2.11.2012)

New German draft on state authorities’ rights to inquiry
telecommunications data from providers (11.2012)

German government to legalize extensive tracking of Internet users
German version,de

Draft Amendment (only in German, 19.09.2012)