eco Association on Blanket Data Retention: “The German traffic light coalition and ECJ must prevent the ‘transparent human being’ at all costs”

An important milestone for the end of blanket data retention in Germany: On 18 November, Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona, Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), will present his opinion in the legal dispute between SpaceNet AG and the Federal Republic of Germany.

For eco – Association of the Internet Industry, blanket data retention represents a serious encroachment on the rights of citizens and the confidentiality of digital communication. Chair of the eco Board, Oliver Süme, appeals to the ECJ to stop unconditional and comprehensive blanket data retention, as it represents an inadmissible encroachment on fundamental rights. This appeal is also directed at the future German federal government.

eco Chair Süme expects rejection of blanket data retention

“Data protection and privacy of users must also be the top priority in digital communication,” said the eco Chair. “I very much hope that Germany will receive a clear rejection from Luxembourg on the issue of blanket data retention.” Following the ECJ’s consistent case law on equivalent laws in other EU states such as France, Belgium, Sweden and Estonia, this can now also be expected for the legal regulations on blanket data retention in Germany. Süme: “Blanket data retention is an encroachment on fundamental rights of very high quantitative and qualitative intensity, has no proven added value for law enforcement and costs the industry an estimated 600 million Euros, which we could invest in better ways.”

In the view of the eco Chair, the future coalition partners must now also take a clear stance on basic data retention: “Instead of waiting for the announcement from Luxembourg, the new German federal government now has the chance to stand up for the fundamental rights of citizens,” Süme continued. “It is not acceptable that the EU Commission and the German federal government even have plans to expand blanket data retention. The new coalition government or the ECJ must absolutely prevent the ‘transparent human being’ and ensure that blanket data retention is finally buried.”

eco supports SpaceNet AG in blanket data retention legal dispute

The eco Association has supported SpaceNet AG in the legal dispute on blanket data retention from the beginning. Back in 2016, the company sought legal protection against the law at the Cologne Administrative Court and was proven right before the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia. In September 2019, the last instance, the German Federal Administrative Court, submitted the question of the compatibility of the German law with EU law to the ECJ for a decision.

On 13 September this year, the ECJ heard oral arguments on the German regulations on blanket data retention. According to the Advocate General’s opinion, the judgement is expected to be handed down in February 2022.

Technical background information on blanket data protection in Germany is available in the Fact Sheet: What is Traffic Data?

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