Telecom data cannot be retained - German high court

20:32, March 02, 2010      

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Germany's highest court on Tuesday cited constitutional rights in overturning a controversial data retention regulation.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled the law allowing authorities to retain phone and e-mail communications for up to six months had failed to sufficiently balance the need for personal privacy against that for providing security.

"The disputed instructions neither provided a sufficient level of data security, nor sufficiently limited the possible uses of the data," the court said.

Nearly 35,000 Germans appealed to the court to overturn the regulation, which came into effect in 2008 and requires all telecommunications firms in Germany to retain for security authorities phone conversations, e-mails and internet logs.

The regulation stemmed from a 2006 European Union anti-terrorism directive requiring telecommunications firms to retain data in case they were needed for criminal investigation.

The German court upheld the EU directive, saying the problem lay instead with how the German parliament chose to interpret it, leading some local analysts to believe the way is open for an amended version of the law.

Source:Xinhua
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