eco Board Member Klaus Landefeld on the German Coalition Agreement: “A surveillance overview bill must not just be lip service”

According to the coalition agreement, the SPD, Bündnis 90/The Greens and the FDP want to draw up a surveillance overview bill by the end of 2023 at the latest, with which security laws are to be evaluated in terms of their practical and legal implications as well as their effectiveness.

eco – Association of the Internet Industry warmly welcomes this initiative. With the planned surveillance overview bill, the future German federal government will strengthen the civil liberties of citizens and create an important basis for more transparency of state surveillance powers.

Landefeld: Evaluation by the end of 2023 is too far off

According to Klaus Landefeld, Vice-Chair of the Board at the eco Association, the means of evaluating the security laws must now be quickly concretised so that the planned surveillance overview bill is completed well before the end of 2023.

Landefeld: It’s good that the traffic light parties have launched the surveillance overview bill. Now it is a matter of setting out a concrete roadmap, covering which of the numerous security laws at federal and state level will be included and evaluated in the surveillance overview bill; how it will be investigated; and on what data footing that will take place. The new German federal government must provide answers to these questions as quickly as possible.

“While I already observe many good ideas, the mapping out of state surveillance powers must be directly translated from theory into practice. The surveillance overview bill and the evaluation of the security architecture must lay the foundation for the adaptation of German security laws. The surveillance overview bill must not remain as just lip service over the next four years. These plans must be implemented quickly.

When it comes to the timetable, I had hoped for more from the future German federal government: If the evaluation is indeed not available until the end of 2023, there will be hardly any time left in this legislative term to actually implement constitutionally required adjustments to the German Federal Intelligence Service Act (BND), the G10 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (BKA).

eco’s stipulation: Don’t only evaluate massive surveillance infringements, but also set a time limit

In addition to an evaluation, Landefeld is also clearly in favour of a time limit for future security laws that infringe the fundamental rights of citizens to a rather severe degree. This should, for example, cover the use of so-called State Trojans by intelligence services. Landefeld: “If the German federal government also introduces a time limit for security laws with particularly intensive infringements on fundamental rights, it will allow for a steady, ongoing debate about civil liberties in the German Bundestag. Such political discourse would strengthen trust in digital communication.”

Landefeld also welcomes the fact that, according to the coalition agreement, the traffic light party wants to amend the Federal Police Act, removing the authority for source telecommunication surveillance and online state searches. The eco Association had already called for this in its Internet Policy Agenda.

Association calls for a clear announcement on ending data retention

The Association of the Internet Industry is now calling for a clear announcement on the issue of data retention, given that ECJ Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona has recently declared the German regulations on data retention to be incompatible with EU law. “Regardless of the ECJ ruling, which is only expected in a few months, the new German federal government should now clearly stand up for fundamental rights and bring blanket data retention to a close,” Landefeld continued. “Here I would have hoped for a clear political decision against data retention from the traffic light coalition. Regrettably, the coalition partners did not seize this opportunity, at least not in the coalition agreement.”

eco Board Member Klaus Landefeld on the German Coalition Agreement: “A surveillance overview bill must not just be lip service”