As do many other countries, Germany struggles to find the right balance between privacy and cybersecurity.
It is a balancing act on many fronts. The German government has suggested a mandatory (bulk) data retention law (Vorratsdatenspeicherung) that will require companies to store traffic data for certain time periods in case this information is needed for the prosecution of potential terrorist activity or other serious crime. These sensitive data sets must be stored in Germany. Many Germans believe that the bulk collection of their traffic data (calls, cell tower location data, and email connection data) infringes with their fundamental privacy rights. Even if this measure passes muster in Parliament this fall, it will almost certainly be challenged in the courts—with uncertain outcome.
Of Counsel Axel Spies authored this commentary for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS).
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