Data Retention faces growing opposition in Germany

By EDRi · May 24, 2006

The EU directive on mandatory retention of communications traffic data
went into force as an EU law on 3 May 2006, but its transposition into
national laws seems more uncertain than before. 16 of the 25 member states
of the EU have declared that they will delay the retention of Internet
traffic data for an additional period of 18 months. The recent NSA scandal
in the United States also clarified the dangers of access to the data by
intelligence agencies and led a number of civil liberties groups, among
which EDRi member Netzwerk Neue Medien, to protest against data retention in
Europe. A draft data retention law has already been withdrawn in the House of Representatives in Washington.

In the German Parliament, the Greens have drafted a resolution that would
ask the Government to challenge the legality of the EU directive before
the European Court of Justice and postpone its implementation on the
national level until the court has made a decision. According to the
not yet published text, of which EDRi was able to obtain a copy, the data
retention decision should have been made in the “Third Pillar” of the
European Union structure, as the sole purpose of retention the data is
law enforcement. Therefore, the proper legislative procedure should have
been a framework directive, which gives more power to national Parliaments
and requires an unanimous vote on the EU Council of Ministers. The motion is
so far being supported by 118 parliamentarians from all parties; the vote is
scheduled for 2 June. The period for challenging the directive on these
grounds (§230 of the Treaty on the European Community) will end on 10 July

Even if the directive is transposed into the German law, several groups and
individuals – among which the former German federal minister of the
interior, Gerhart Baum – have announced that they will challenge it before
the Constitutional Court. After several recent decisions by the courts
against overly intrusive surveillance, retention, and data-screening
practices, there is a growing indication that the court will declare the
directive illegal under the human rights provisions of the German

German Parliament: Draft Resolution, “Richtlinie zur
Vorratsdatenspeicherung vom EuGH prüfen lassen” (Reviewing the Directive
on Data Retention by the European Court of Justice) (in German only, 18.05

Press release by EDRi-Member Netzwerk Neue Medien together with AK
Vorratsdatenspeicherung and American snooping scandal shows the
need for revision of opinion in Europe (in German only, 15.05.2006)

ISP snooping plans take backseat (18.05.2006)

Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data, Official Journal of the EU,
(including declarations by EU member state governments
postponing internet data retention) (13.04.2006)

EDRi Data Retention overview page

EDRi Data Retention Wiki

(Contribution by Ralf Bendrath, EDRi member Netzwerk Neue Medien – Germany)