By Guest author

The German intelligence service BND illegally collected and stored mass surveillance data and has to delete those data immediately. This is one of the conclusions of a classified report of the German Federal Data Protection Commissioner that German digital rights blog Netzpolitik.org published. In her report, the Commissioner criticises serious legal violations and a massive restriction of her supervision authority.

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When Edward Snowden in May 2013 exposed the global system of mass surveillance by secret services, including by the German foreign intelligence agency BND, the German government tried to avoid scrutiny and declared the case closed. Only one public authority held out: Then-Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar sent his staff on an inspection visit to the joint BND/NSA-station in southern Germany. The visit resulted in an elaborate “situation report”, but it’s classified “top secret” and only accessible for few people.

Additionally, the new Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff produced a legal analysis of the findings and sent it to the Federal Intelligence Service coordinator in the German Chancellery and former BND president Gerhard Schindler. This analysis is still classified “secret” and Netzpolitik.org’s freedom of information request has been denied. However, Netzpolitik.org received this legal analysis and have published the full text of the document (in German).

This report is embarrassing for BND and Chancellery: On 60 pages, the highest German Data Protection Commissioner lists 18 severe legal violations and files 12 formal complaints. Such a complaint under the German Data Protection Act is the Commissioner’s most severe legal instrument – forcing the authorities to issue a statement in response. This is the first time that a German authority has received this many complaints at once. Usually, the Commissioner files a similar amount of complaints in an entire year – to all federal authorities combined.

You can read Netzpolitik.org’s full analysis of the text here: https://netzpolitik.org/2016/secret-report-german-federal-intelligence-service-bnd-violates-laws-by-the-dozen/

Secret Report: German Federal Intelligence Service BND Violates Laws And Constitution By The Dozen (only in German, 01.09.2016)
https://netzpolitik.org/2016/geheimer-pruefbericht-der-bnd-bricht-dutzendfach-gesetz-und-verfassung-allein-in-bad-aibling/#Sachstandsbericht

Secret Report: German Federal Intelligence Service BND Violates Laws And Constitution By The Dozen (02.09.2016)
https://netzpolitik.org/2016/secret-report-german-federal-intelligence-service-bnd-violates-laws-by-the-dozen/

(Contribution by Andre Meister, Netzpolitik.org, Germany)

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