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The German federal government has presented plans for telecommunications data retention, a scheme for storing data about each and every telephone or internet connection. It is planned to retain communication data of the whole population, not - as was previously the case - of criminal suspects only.

For better law enforcement, it will be made possible to trace who has been in contact with whom by telephone, mobile phone or email. In the case of mobile phones, the whereabouts of both the caller and the receiver of the call will also be known. Internet usage shall be traceable from 2008.

Telecommunications data retention

  • violates the human right of privacy.
  • is in conflict with article 10 of the German constitution (Fernmeldegeheimnis).
  • impairs professional activities that require confidentiality, e.g. for doctors, priests, lawyers or journalists.
  • violates the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence.
  • is easily circumvented by criminals.
  • is expensive and puts a burden on industry and consumers.

"I am afraid of terrorist attacks. Does the government not have the duty to protect me?"

It is one of the duties of our government to implement security measures that protect us from threats such as crime and terrorism. However, security must not be pursued for its own sake. Security measures serve to protect the constitutional liberties of our democratic state.

Treating more than 80 million German citizens as criminal suspects and recording their communication behaviour does not serve to protect our consitutional rights -- it undermines them.

Telecommunications data retention opens the door to a surveillance state. At first, the data was to be used only for the prosecution of serious crimes. Now, the secret services and even the music industry will be allowed access to the data. Many other parties are just waiting to gain access to the data. Even people that have nothing to hide must be afraid of misuse of their private data, of mistakes in the data analysis and of the distress caused by being wrongly accused of a serious crime.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." --- Benjamin Franklin

"It is an obviously disproportionate intervention in our civil liberties to record the communication and movement habits of the whole population, in order to raise the detection rate by a microscopic 0.006%." --- Patrick Breyer, Lawyer

"Ms Zypries wants data about our telephone calls, movements and internet access to be collected as a precaution, in case we become criminals." --- Ralf Bendrath, Political Scientist

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In a joint declaration, 41 organisations reject the draft bill for telecommications data retention proposed by SPD, CDU and CSU:


  • Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung
  • Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger e.V. (BDZV)
  • Chaos Computer Club e.V. (CCC)
  • Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di
  • Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte e.V.
  • Deutsche Vereinigung für Datenschutz (DVD) e.V.
  • Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV)
  • Deutscher Presserat
  • eco Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft e.V.
  • Evangelische Konferenz für Telefonseelsorge und Offene Tür e.V.
  • Förderverein für eine Freie Informationelle Infrastruktur e.V. (FFII Deutschland)
  • Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e.V. (FIfF)
  • Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherung e.V. (GDD)
  • Gustav Heinemann-Initiative (GHI)
  • Humanistische Union e.V.
  • Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte (ILMR)
  • Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e.V.
  • Netzwerk Neue Medien e.V.
  • netzwerk recherche e.V.
  • Neue Richtervereinigung e.V. (NRV)
  • no abuse in internet e.V. (naiin)
  • Organisationsbüro der Strafverteidigervereinigungen
  • Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein e.V. (RAV)
  • STOP1984
  • Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger (VDZ)
  • Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. (vzbv)
  • Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ)

Further signatories:

  • Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologinnen und Psychologen e.V. (BDP)
  • Bund demokratischer Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler (BdWi)
  • Bundeskoordination Internationalismus (BUKO)
  • Bundesverband deutscher Pressesprecher e.V. (BdP)
  • Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft e.V. (BVDW)
  • Bundesverband Frauenberatungsstellen und Frauennotrufe (bff)
  • Bundesverband junger Autorinnen und Autoren (BVjA)
  • Berufsverband unabhängiger Handwerkerinnen und Handwerker e.V. (BUH)
  • Deutscher Anwaltverein e.V. (DAV)
  • Deutscher Fachjournalisten-Verband (DFJV)
  • FREELENS e.V. - Verband der Fotojournalisten
  • Initiative Bayerischer Strafverteidigerinnen und Strafverteidiger e.V.
  • Reporter ohne Grenzen e.V
  • Verband der Internet-Cafes Deutschland e.V. (VICD)
  • Verein zur Förderung der Suchmaschinen-Technologie und des freien Wissenszugangs e.V. (SuMa-eV)
  • Verein zur Förderung des öffentlichen bewegten und unbewegten Datenverkehrs e.V. (FoeBuD)
  • Verein zur Politischen Jugendpartizipation e.V. (VPJ)

Joint statement on the draft bill on telecommunications data retention

The text of the joint statement appears in Common_Declaration.

Help the German working group for the prevention of telecommunications data retention:

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