Germany’s rules for storing subscriber data violate EU laws – DW – 09-2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

According to the European Court, established in Germany the rules for the storage of personal data are contrary to the law European Union. The general and arbitrary storage of telecommunications data of internet users and telephone subscribers, in particular about their connections and their location, violates European law, the highest EU court in Luxembourg said on Tuesday, September 20.

An exception to this is when there is a serious threat to national security. In addition, it is allowed to store IP addresses, says the European Court of Justice.

As the judges note, a dataset of calls, IP communications, and the location of cell phone owners can draw very accurate conclusions about their privacyfor example, their daily habits and social environment. This, in turn, makes it possible to create a profile of these people, which is an interference with citizens’ fundamental rights, the Luxembourg court emphasized.

Controversial provision in German law

Specifically, the lawsuit referred to the legal proceedings of the German Federal Network Agency with the internet provider SpaceNet and the telecommunications group Deutsche Telekom. The companies have tried to challenge the authorities’ demands to keep certain data in case the authorities need it, in particular information about the time and participants of telephone calls and their duration. However, the content of communication links is not required by the German authorities to be stored.

The Bundesverfassungsgericht suspended the order in 2017 a few days after its entry into force due to a decision by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster. This court ruled in favor of SpaceNet’s claim, stating that the company may not retain telecommunications data.

In Germany, the necessity and acceptability of so-called backup storage has been discussed for years. Security policymakers see this process as an important tool in the fight against organized crime, child pornography and terrorism. In turn, human rights defenders and consumer rights advocates declare unacceptable interference in private life.

Also see:

How a German hacker wanted to irritate politicians

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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