Decision on Inventory Data Disclosure in the German Federal Council (Bundesrat): eco Association Warns Against Uncontrolled Data and Password Disclosure

  • eco Association criticises procedure and warns against hasty decision in the Bundesrat
  • The Federal Coalition’s Repair Act brings no improvement 
  • Password disclosure means profound invasion of privacy

Berlin, 11 February 2020 – At the 1000th session of the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) on Friday, the new regulations on inventory data disclosure will also be on the agenda. eco – Association of the Internet Industry warns against a hasty decision by the Bundesrat and the far-reaching consequences for privacy should the new regulations on inventory data disclosure come into force.

“The planned new regulations on inventory data disclosure allow access to very sensitive data – the legislator should by no means make hasty decisions here,” says eco’s Vice-Chair Klaus Landefeld. He criticises the procedure used so far by the CDU/CSU and SPD to push the controversial law through the Bundestag, for example to pave the way for the Law to Combat Right-Wing Extremism and Hate Crime.

From Landefeld’s point of view, the so-called Repair Act does not live up to its informal name: “In its current form, the law does not deserve the name ‘Repair Act’, because it simply does not repair the crucial points, and even creates a need for new improvements.” The law does not take into account the decisive requirements set by the German Federal Constitutional Court in its decision in July 2020. The judges in Karlsruhe had declared the Telecommunications Act and several specialised federal laws on inventory data disclosure unconstitutional, in part because they violate the fundamental right to informational self-determination and telecommunications secrecy.

Furthermore, the Association of the Internet Industry sharply criticises the fact that providers of telecommunication and telemedia services are to be equally obliged to make all internal company data available in order to provide information on passwords and other access data to investigating and prosecuting authorities. Landefeld: “The disclosure of passwords enables access to online accounts and thus to the digital identity of users.” This includes communication content such as emails, photos stored in the cloud, and documents, as well as chat and SMS messages, Landefeld continues. “If security authorities can then suddenly view all data, for example intimate photos, without major hurdles, a much larger number of people will be affected by this profound invasion of privacy.”

In a Key points paper (German language) the Association of the Internet Industry points out this and other central problem areas. Previously eco published a detailed Statement on the draft bill of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (German language).

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