In the latest EDRI-gram, Annika Kremer (Working Group on Data Retention), and Ralf Bendrath (EDRi member Netzwerk Neue Medien – Germany) have a great summary of last year’s privacy issues in Germany.
The year of 2008 can be marked as the year where privacy moved high on the public agenda in Germany. On 1st of January, the law on data retention went into effect, which made Germany drop from number one to seven in the country ranking published by Privacy International. At the same day, a constitutional challenge was submitted at the supreme court. The German working group on data retention and its allies managed to have more than 34,000 people participate in this case – the largest constitutional complaint ever seen in German history. […]
In February we saw the constitutional court decision on secret online searches of peoples’ hard drives (the “federal trojan”). The court limited the use of this tool for cases where there are “factual indications of a concrete danger” in a specific case for the life, body and freedom of persons or for the foundations of the state or the existence of humans, government agencies may use these measures after approval by a judge. The decision was widely considered a landmark ruling, because it also constituted a new “basic right to the confidentiality and integrity of information-technological systems” as part of the general personality rights in the German constitution.
In March, the Chaos Computer Club published the fingerprint of the federal minister for the interior, Wolfgang Schäuble. This sparked high public attention and made frontpage news, and proved that biometric athentication as introduced in the German passport and identity card is not safe at all.
There were many other privacy events in Germany in 2008, and you should read the full story by Kremer and Bendrath.