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    Deutsche Welle (Germany): German court checks anti-terror data retention laws

    Deutsche Welle reports that Germany’s highest court is considering the legality of a data-retention law:

    Germany’s highest court has begun an examination of the country’s anti-terror data retention law, to see if it complies with the constitution. The rules will be assessed, and perhaps altered, in the coming months.

    As verbal debate on the issue got underway at Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Monday, the judges aired concerns that the criteria regarding whose data could be retained was too vague.

    The law, which was passed in 2006 and implemented in 2007, allows for police and Germany’s intelligence agencies to collect and save information on terror suspects and those thought to be supporting them into a terror suspect database. Supporters of the law say it is an important tool in combating Islamist extremism in Germany.

    “Supporters of violence – couldn’t that also mean someone who participates in a sit-in?” wondered Judge Johannes Masing, who will eventually write the court’s final verdict, on Tuesday. He also said the clause allowing “supporters of supporters” to be monitored was also vague, giving the example of a person who donated to a kindergarten at a Muslim school as someone who could fall under this category. […]

    The complaint against the database, brought by a former judge from the constitutional court, claims that it is not specific enough and that it is nearly impossible for a person to know if their actions may trigger German security forces to add their information to the “terror databank.”

    Thirty-eight agencies have access to the information, which includes information such as a person’s full name, birth date, place of residence, religious preference, and bank and telecommunication accounts.

    In this way, people who unknowingly come into contact with a terror suspect could have their information stored in the database.

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