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Germany licks lips, eyes new data gulp with revised retention law

Wrong in 2006, 2010 and 2014, but it's now fine

Once a fierce opponent of data retention, Germany’s back in slurping mode. The Federal Cabinet yesterday approved a new draft law that would force telcos to store call and email records for 10 weeks.

Germany and Sweden challenged the Europe-wide 2006 Data Retention Directive, and in 2010 a German court ruled it illegal. Last year, the European Court of Justice followed suit and demolished the directive altogether.

Now the government is using security as a justification for increased snooping ability, along with many others across the EU. As well as metadata – including phone number called, call duration and IP addresses – mobile phone location data will also be stored for four weeks.

In an effort to appease privacy advocates and the opposition parties, there are some limits on what investigators can do. They must get a judge's consent before rifling through personal metadata and the individual must be notified, for example.

“Special” people, such as pastoral counsellors, lawyers, medical doctors, pharmacists, journalists and anonymous counselling services are also exempt from the proposed law.

But watch this space, because this bill won’t pass without a fight and could well end up before Germany's constitutional court. ®

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