Possible Agreement on the German Quick Freeze Procedure: eco Calls for Consistent Repeal of Data Retention

The German traffic light coalition parties have claimed to reach a compromise on investigative measures on the Internet. While politicians have kept citizens and companies waiting for more than a decade since the introduction of illegal data retention, the ‘Quick Freeze’ procedure could now finally establish a legal framework that complies with civil rights. The agreement marks a turning point for the work of investigative authorities and could set new standards in crime prevention. At the same time, eco – Association of the Internet Industry is calling for the consistent repeal of data retention, a factor which eco has always opposed.


Oliver Süme, Chair of the Board at eco, explains: “The current developments regarding the ‘Quick Freeze’ procedure are a step in the right direction, but it is regrettable that the German federal government is not consistently striving to repeal data retention, as we have always called for. If unconstitutional data retention is to continue or be carried on under a rebranded name, this would be disastrous. It is time for the government to assume its responsibility and seriously protect civil rights in the digital realm. We are pressing for a clear and comprehensive repeal of data retention to ensure the privacy of citizens. It is essential that affected companies quickly receive clarity about the planned new regulations and the storage of data in order to avoid legal uncertainty.”

According to our association, the ‘Quick Freeze’ procedure could be an instrument for law enforcement investigators that is legally compliant and effective. In contrast to data retention, it offers a solution that uses the scope of the European Court of Justice, but at the same time respects the privacy of our citizens.

The German coalition agreement strives for targeted law enforcement on the Internet, which should be based on specific grounds – a concept that corresponds to the ‘Quick Freeze’. It remains to be seen whether and how this approach will be legally pursued by the German federal government, especially regarding the specific design of the ‘Quick Freeze’ procedure. From the perspective of the Internet industry, the German federal government should urgently distance itself from any considerations regarding ‘minimum retention periods’.


Background: Already in September of last year, the German Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig declared the legal obligation of telecommunications providers to retain telecommunications traffic data to be contrary to EU law. After the European Court of Justice had already ruled in its long-awaited judgment of 22 September 2022 that the German regulations on data retention are not compatible with EU law, the long-running legal dispute over data retention finally came to an end. eco has been advocating against data retention for many years and, from the very outset, supported SpaceNet AG’s lawsuit, which was filed with the Administrative Court of Cologne in 2016.


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