After seven years of uncertainty concerning Germany’s data retention law, the Federal Constitutional Court definitively declared it incompatible with EU legislation on March 30th. The ruling of the First Chamber of the First Senate invalidated the Telecommunications Act and Code of Criminal Procedure’s mandate to store traffic and location data without sufficient cause.
This judgement confirms the European Court of Justice’s decision from September 20th, 2022 which pronounced the German laws pertaining to data retention as ineffectual.
Invalidated rule made retaining all communication data, text messages, IP Addresses and positioning data mandatory for all citizens. Such information is usually collected by tech companies for providing digital services.
Several initiatives have been attempted throughout Europe in order to establish rules for surveillance – including preserving electronic communications or geo-localization for criminal investigations or security purposes. However, Europe’s courts have often struck down such measures due to their infringement on individuals’ right to privacy, as expressed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.