The German government intends on scrapping mass data retention. If this goes through, its policy will be in line with European and German constitutional rights on privacy.
The German stance on data retention has been back and forth over the past few years. Now, it seems to be heading strongly in the direction of privacy.
Marco Buschmann, the new Federal Minister of Justice, said that indiscriminate data retention is a violation of fundamental rights. His main aim is to abolish this practice as it stands in Germany.
Currently, policies allow data retention for up to several weeks. Instead, Buschmann will push for a “freeze” method. That way, service providers will have to freeze and hold data only when asked to by law enforcement with just cause.
Providers won’t retain information arbitrarily. Instead, law enforcement will have to ask providers to freeze data when it’s relevant to an investigation.
The existing provisions only exclude email from the weeks-long retention period.
In other words, currently, only email services don’t have to retain user information.
Crime and Commerce
Data retention advocates argue it’s useful for fighting crime. However, companies more often sell data to advertisers. Platforms like Facebook make most of their money from advertising. And advertising is optimized through user information.