The ECJ has decided that large parts of the German data retention regulations violate European law.
German data retention violates EU law
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The “general and indiscriminate” retention of traffic and location data is against EU law. This is the verdict of the European Court of Justice, which was announced on Tuesday morning. The court thus determined that the corresponding provisions on data retention in the German Telecommunications Act (TKG) violate Union law. The stored data of individuals could be used to create profiles of their daily life habits or social environment, which constitutes an encroachment on fundamental rights.
The verdict comes as no surprise. The ECJ thus confirms its previous decisions on similar cases.
German data retention has been on hold since July 2017
Telekom Deutschland and Spacenet had opposed a corresponding regulation in the German Telecommunications Act on the storage of user data, which has been in force since July 1, 2017, before German courts. The Federal Administrative Court finally requested a decision from the ECJ. The new German data retention regulations had been on hold for more than five years anyway and were not enforced.
ECJ: Data retention allowed under certain conditions
With the decision of the ECJ, these regulations must now be changed accordingly by the federal government. How quickly such a law will be presented by the federal government is anyone’s guess, because no agreement is likely to be reached within the coalition anytime soon.
In its judgment, the ECJ states that data retention is possible under certain circumstances. The judgment of the ECJ says:
“However, in order to combat serious crime, Member States may, in strict compliance with the principle of proportionality, provide for targeted retention and/or immediate backup of such data, as well as general and indiscriminate storage of IP addresses.”