thoughts and observations of a privacy, security and internet researcher, activist, and policy advisor

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Online Campaign against Data Retention started in Germany

The German Working Group against Data Retention (Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung) has started an online campaign against the mandatory storage of all communications data. Through a special web portal, concerned citizens can send electronic open letters to all 448 parliamentarians of the ruling grand coalition and raise their concern and protest against data retention. The letters are also anonymized and published on the portal website. There is no fixed text for the letters, which the senders have to write themselves, so the measure does not count as spam. The working group is only giving advice on how to frame the arguments in the letter on its main website www.stoppt-die-vorratsdatenspeicherung.de.

With this campaign, the working group wants to raise pressure on the German government and make it postpone the implementation of the EU data retention directive until a decision has been made by the European Court of Justice. The Irish government has already challenged the directive in the ECJ, and EDRi member Digital Rights Ireland is currently preparing a lawsuit at the Irish constitutional court as well as the ECJ. German groups are also preparing court challenges, should the grand coalition ignore the protests and enact national legislation for data retention.

Reactions for the online campaign are very good. Within the first two hours after it was reported on the German news ticker heise.de, campaign supporters already had sent 120 individually formulated letters of protest. Within two days the news has spread pretty wide among online media and blogs.

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