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Data Retention in Germany adopted

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On November 9th, around noon, the German Parliament has adopted the law on data retention (VDS: Vorratsdatenspeicherung) with a lower limit of 6 monthes of retention. This legislation requires all connection metadata to be saved for 6 monthes before they may get deleted.

During the vote, which was held around noon, the parliament was an astonishingly empty place. This legislation, which has been widely regarded as a step towards a surveillance state, did not even raise enough interest among the parliamentarians to cause a significant majority of them to vote on the issue.

According to the German federal police, there is «no alternative» to the data retention policy. The same argument could be applied to death row, rendering the argument questionable.

Members of the social democrat party stated in interviews that they voted in favor of the proposal because the Constitutional Court is going to take it out anyway. This however is not the way the Parliament is supposed to act. It leaves the legislative decisions to the judicative branch, which is not the way democracy designed it to be.

Everyone who has talked to his local parliamentarian in Germany should now have a word with him about why he did not appear in Parliament or why he voted in favor of the proposal (if so): have a look at the voting list for the German data retention law.

Not all is lost

But there is still a way to influence the legislation even after it has been passed. The Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung has a press release on their preparation of legal action against the law. According to the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung, the legislation is in disagreement with the German constitution and thus cannot be adopted as it has been presented right now.

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