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    Spiegel (Germany): German High Court Limits Phone and E-Mail Data Storage

    Spiegel reports on an important court ruling concerning privacy in Germany.

    Germany’s highest court on Tuesday overturned a law allowing authorities to retain data on telephone calls and e-mail traffic to help fight terrorism and crime. The Federal Constitution Court ruled that major changes needed to be made to a 2008 law ordering data on calls made from mobile or fixed-line telephones and e-mail traffic to be kept for six months for possible access by law enforcement agencies.

    The judges said the data storage was not secure enough and that it was not sufficiently clear what it would be used for. A record number of almost 35,000 people, including current Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, had originally brought the case to the court. The law stems from a European Union directive.

    The court said all data stored to date must be deleted immediately. It said the law went far beyond the requirements of the EU directive. The storage of data could “cause a diffusely threatening feeling of being under observation that can diminish an unprejudiced perception of one’s basic rights in many areas,” said the president of the court, Hans-Jürgen Papier. […]

    The ruling hasn’t scrapped the law altogether, but has effectively suspended it until massive amendments limiting its scope have been implemented.

    One Response to “Spiegel (Germany): German High Court Limits Phone and E-Mail Data Storage”

    1. Ross Wolf Says:

      Germany’s highest court Tuesday overturned laws that allowed anti-terror authorities to retain data on telephone calls and e-mails, stating it was an intrusion of Citizens’ personal privacy.

      Where Did U.S. Government Put Your NSA-Wiretapped Phone, Fax and Private Email Communications? Neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance could be used by police or introduced into court by U.S. Government to prosecute Citizens and e.g., foreign businesses doing business in America. It appears NSA can share its electronic-domestic-spying with countless U.S. police agencies; including government contracted companies and private individuals that have security clearances to facilitate criminal and civil prosecutions that may include forfeiture of Americans’ property—-to keep part of the assets. Police too easily can take an innocent person’s “wiretapped” hastily written email, fax or phone call out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed. There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations mentioned in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 and the Patriot Act that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture.” Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Government is required only to show “A preponderance of Evidence” to civilly forfeit assets. Rep. Henry Hyde’s bill HR 1658 passed, the “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” and effectively eliminated the “statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture. The statute now runs five years from when police allege they “learned” that an asset became subject to forfeiture. President Obama’s recently signed Executive Order EO 12425 that will allow INTERPOL to act within the United States without being subject to 4th Amendment laws against illegal Search and Seizure. U.S. Police may circumvent Fourth Amendment protections by bringing INTERPOL into a criminal or civil investigation to spy, make arrests and to forfeit assets from persons in the U.S. that may be shared with U.S. police.

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