The state’s access to personal data of cell phone and internet users for law enforcement and counter-terrorism goes too far. The Federal Constitutional Court today declared several regulations on what is known as inventory data to be unconstitutional.
In 2012, the constitutional court initially largely declared the practice to be legitimate. In view of the increasing importance of electronic means of communication, the authorities “rely on the simplest possible way of being able to assign telecommunication numbers individually”, the judges decided at the time. However, the regulations in the Telecommunications Act went too far in some respects, and they had to be improved.
The now successful plaintiffs had criticized that the police and secret services could access private data more easily and to an even greater extent. A judge would now have to approve passwords for e-mail inboxes or PIN numbers of cell phones, but this can often be avoided. Every internet user can be identified by name at any time via the IP address used. The complaint was intended to ensure that the state was only allowed to use communication data for serious crimes and not for minor offenses.
Further details on today’s decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe (Az. 1 BvR 1873/13 and others) will follow shortly.
- Law-law-gavel: © dianaduda – Fotolia.com