Thursday, May 25, 2006

German Constitutional Court outlaws preventive data screening

From EDRI-gram, the German Constitutional Court has outlawed preventive data screening.

"On 22 May the German Constitutional Court has declared illegal under the German Constitution the practice of screening data across several private and public databases in order to find potential terrorists ("sleepers"). Several federal states will now have to change their police laws. The decision does not make data screening ("Rasterfahndung", literally: "grid investigation", usual transliterations: "dragnet investigation" or "data trawl") completely illegal, but binds it to very narrow conditions."

Also from EDRI-gram, it looks as though there could be significant and growing support in Germany for a challenge to the EU data retention directive through the European Court of Justice. The recent controversy in the US over the legality of the President Bush-authorised NSA collection of large quantities of telecommunications data, seems to have galvanised German political and public support for such a challenge.

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