German Internet Industry Group Attacks Data Retention in Court

  • ECO business group supports suit by access providor SpaceNet
  • Group estimates rules will cost industry 600 million euros

SpaceNet AG, a German Internet provider for businesses, is suing to block the country’s new data retention law, claiming it violates European rules and unfairly burdens companies with the cost of enforcement.

The suit was filed last month at a Cologne administrative court with the support of ECO – Association of the German Internet Industry, officials from the company and the group told reporters Monday in Berlin. They argue that the law isn’t constitutional and violates a ruling by Europe’s top court.

The European Union’s top judges in 2014 struck down rules drafted in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Madrid that required phone and Internet providers to store details of connections on their networks for use in law enforcement investigations. Four years earlier, Germany’s constitutional court overturned a national law that implemented the rules.

Germany’s interior ministry didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

Last year, Germany passed a law with new data-retention rules, and companies will be required to store the data at the beginning of next year. SpaceNet has asked the Cologne court the issue an interim ruling stopping the rules while the case is pending.

German Internet providers face costs of as much as 600 million euros ($683 million) to store the data as required by the law, ECO said.

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