Data retention, a controversial issue

A sudden shift in the position of the Social Democrats on data retention has made Germany’s centre-right alliance optimistic about reaching an agreement over a new national law.

A compromise is possible, said Wolfgang Bosbach, the chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee (Christian Democratic Union).

“As we are no longer bound to the requirements of an EU Directive, we have our own scope of design,” Bosbach told the Passauer Neue Presse.

The fact that data analysis may only occur under a judicial resolution is quite clear, and was negotiated as such from the beginning, Bosbach said, referring to the SPD’s demands.

Implementation of the EU Directive was negotiated to include a minimum retention period of six months, he indicated. However, Bosbach explained, this does not mean that a shorter retention period cannot also be set.

Stephan Mayer, the Internal affairs spokesman from the Bundestag’s centre-right alliance, was certain “that a good solution can be reached with the SPD”. There are constructive talks, he said.

Optimism from the centre-right, which consists of the CDU, and its smaller Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), was preceded by a surprising move from SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel this week.

Gabriel, who also serves as Germany’s Economic Affairs and Energy Minister, spoke in favour of data retention, an issue which remains controversial within his party.

“I am convinced that we need this,” the Social Democrat said on the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.

“Data retention is not a panacea. It will not help us prevent all crimes at every opportunity,” Gabriel stated in the interview. But through faster detection of crimes, it can help prevent further offenses, he explained.

Gabriel called on Germany’s Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (CDU) and Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) to develop a legislative proposal which is in conformity with the constitution.

In recent years, both a German law on data retention and an EU Directive were overruled in the German Constitutional Court, and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) respectively.

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Source: Euractiv

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