Lives put at risk by communications data retention
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Deutsch: Vorratsdatenspeicherung gefährdet Menschenleben
A report published on 8 October 2010 by German civil liberties activists reveals that human lives are put at risk by the retention of all telecommunication data.
According to the report, the data retention policy has endangered scientific research, caused unemployment, encouraged corruption, promoted the abuse of personal data and hindered the prosecution of crime.
The report gives examples of cases when the registration of communication data failed to help the police in stopping criminals and how criminals might have used more discreet ways of communicating and internet cafes to disguise the origin and destination of messages.
Crisis lines have also been hindered in their work to persuade potential perpetrators not to commit violent crimes by the traceability of anonymous calls.
Already a 2009 study showed that the communications data retention law had resulted in 12.8% of those surveyed already using an anonymisation service, 6.4% moving to a service provider that didn't store data and 5.1% using internet cafés, The report also revealed that journalists had lost their sources for fear of being traced.
The legislation also opened the door to abuse. In 2006, a T-Mobile co-worker sold a database containing the personal data of 17 million customers, including private addresses and secret numbers of politicians, ministers, an ex-federal president, industrial leaders, billionaires and religious leaders.
"Even if one investigation was facilitated by collecting all call details, the policy has frustrated many other investigations and put human lives at risk," stated the Working Group on Data Retention adding: "Blanket and indiscriminate recording of details on every phone call, e-mail and internet connection was useless for the prosecution of crime and totally disproportionate."
In June 2010, more than 100 organisations (including EDRi) from 23 European countries sent a letter to EU Commissioners Malmström, Reding and Kroes asking for the data retention law to be repealed and be replaced by "a system of expedited preservation and targeted collection of traffic data".
Communications data retention puts human lives at risk! (8.10.2010)
Data retention boosts crime, says civil liberties group (8.10.2010)
Liberties Groups' Report (only in German, 13.10.2010)
Civil society calls for an end to compulsory telecommunications data
EDRi-gram: German civil society calls for a definitive end to telecom data