Government ordered to rewrite German telecom act due to privacy concerns

Germany’s Constitutional Court has told the government to revise the Telecommunications Act by the end of next year as it violates the right of citizens to phone and internet privacy.

The law at present is unconstitutional because authorities have too much access to people’s data and the privacy of Germans should be better protected, the court ruled.

Police investigating crimes or trying to prevent terror attacks are currently allowed to access names, addresses, birth dates and IP addresses. They are not entitled to access data involving connections to other people, the BBC reported.

Two European Pirate party politicians filed a lawsuit in 2013 arguing police were given access to data such as email passwords and PIN numbers in relatively minor investigations.

The existing laws also mean investigators can obtain the data from hospitals and hotels as well as telecoms companies.

The court determined police should only be allowed access to personal data if there was a specific danger or suspicion of a crime.

Privacy matters hit a raw nerve for many Germans because of the control exerted by the old East Germany Stasi intelligence service and the Gestapo state police of the Nazi period.


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