Tuesday, November 03, 2009

German Constitutional Court 1983: Mass surveillance is incompatible with a free and democratic society

Thanks to Douwe Korff via FIPR for this extract from the German Constitutional Court's famous 1983 Census-judgment:
“A social and legal order in which the citizen can no longer know who knows what and when about him and in which situation, is incompatible with the right to informational self-determination. A person who wonders whether unusual behaviour is noted each time and thereafter always kept on record, used or disseminated, will try not to come to attention in this way. A person who assumes, for instance, that participation in a meeting or citizen initiative is officially recorded, and may create risks for him, may well decide not to use the relevant fundamental rights ([as guaranteed in] Articles 8 and 9 of the Constitution). This would not only limit the possibilities for personal development of the individual, but also the common good, because self-determination is an essential prerequisite for a free and democratic society that is based on the capacity and solidarity of its citizens.”

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