Terror warnings in Germany have triggered a new debate on the country’s data protection laws

Der Spiegel reports that little progress has been made on a new draft data retention law, after the German court struck down the implementation of the EU Data Retention directive in March this year. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), has requested a new law allowing for the retention of telecommunications and Internet data for six months. The data, he insists, could provide valuable clues in terror investigations. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), Merkel’s junior coalition partner, has, however, categorically ruled out such legislation. “For the FDP there will be no mass storage of data for months, without good reason,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the southern German daily Augsburger Allgemeine. Her proposal of a law allowing data retention in specific cases, she says, “is the FDP’s compromise proposal.”

In parliament on Thursday, CDU justice expert Günter Krings demanded that a law be passed allowing for the retention of telecommunications and Internet data for a minimum of six months. Currently, he said, such data, particularly as relates to flat rates, is only saved “for a few days,” he said. De Maizière, who has repeatedly spoken in favor of extended data retention, merely said “our position, my position, is well known.”

The regional daily Rheinische Post reported on Friday that de
Maizière recently sent a letter to Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger demanding
that she drop her resistance to the secret surveillance of suspected
terrorists.

“Given the current threat level, I find it indefensible that
investigators are denied the required access to areas of highly
conspiratorial communication among terror suspects,” the letter read,
according to the paper. “I would be very grateful to you were the
Justice Ministry to reconsider its restrictive stance.”

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