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Submission + - Constitutional Court abolishes German snooping law

Robert writes: The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in Karlsruhe has quashed a state law of North Rhine Westphalia, which essentially allowed the secret services to snoop around on citizens' computers. The law is considered an important test case for a possible federal law of similar aim. Several people, including politicians, lawyers and journalists, had filed suit on the grounds that the law was generally imprecise, its scope too broad and it was thus violating the basic rights of privacy and "Informationelle Selbstbestimmung", a construct in German law saying that wherever possible people should be able to control the data companies (and authorities) store about them.

The Constitutional Court quashed the law, and phrased high requirements for such a law in general with regard to peoples' rights and due process. Furthermore, a new basic right has been derived, which explicitly states that everybody has the right to use their computers and networks without anyone snooping around. Although this decision has made a federal snooping law very difficult, the possibility was not denied outright, however. Thus, everybode involved claims victory at the moment.

Coverage of the case can be found on Golem and Heise (both in German) as well as BBC.
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Constitutional Court abolishes German snooping law

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