Telecom companies in Germany are being forced to keep records of telephone and Internet data for up to 10 weeks after politicians introduced a new law to help fight crime.
The data retention legislation – which sparked intense debate over possible infringements of individuals’ rights – requires companies to retain information on the timing and duration of telephone calls, as well as online traffic through IP addresses.
However, telecom and internet companies will be banned from storing the content of communications, while email traffic is excluded from the new law.
The debate over the new law set Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives at loggerheads with her Social Democrat junior coalition partner, while opposition parties and critics argued the law violated human rights and would put millions of people under general suspicion.
In 2010, Germany’s Constitutional Court blocked a law to store all data for six months.
Justice minister Heiko Maas has now told parliament: the new legislation is a compromise that would give police an “additional tool” to help fight the most serious crimes.
“It is proportionate because less data will be stored, we will save data for a much shorter period and because access to the data has been made significantly harder,” Mass said.
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