The highly controversial data retention needs to be “revived” as soon as possible. This is what the Justice Ministers of the CDU and CSU are calling for in a joint appeal to federal politics after their legal and political exchange in Prien am Chiemsee, which ended on Friday. As the host, Bavaria’s Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich emphasized: “The fight against child pornography on the Internet shows that a lack of traffic data storage prevents us from investigating crimes and stopping ongoing child abuse.”
The CSU politician Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) called on itto bring the subject during the current EU Council Presidency “on the agenda at European level and to put pressure on the EU Commission. The protection of our children cannot be postponed any longer.”
Justice ministers from several countries put pressure on
Eisenreich’s colleague from Baden-Württemberg, Guido Wolf, defendant: “Unfortunately, it is currently the case that German investigators are unable to investigate evidence from the USA and Canada of criminal offenses in Germany in connection with the sexual abuse of children due to the lack of data retention.” The coveted connection and location information are “often the only investigation approach”.
In addition to Eisenreich and Wolf, the heads of the justice departments in North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein also support the cause. The Justice Ministers’ Conference had already spoken out in favor of a new attempt at data retention in November 2019, and the conference of federal and state interior ministers in mid-June.
ECJ: unjustified data retention incompatible with fundamental rights
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in 2014 and 2016 that data retention without cause was incompatible with the fundamental rights of the community. In this country, the existing relevant law is therefore currently suspended due to judgments by administrative courts and is being re-examined by the Federal Constitutional Court and the ECJ.
In the Federal Council, an initiative launched by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania threatens to fail, according to which the federal government should prepare a new draft law for a “minimum storage requirement” in the “fight against child pornography” and right-wing extremism, despite the outstanding legal clarifications from the highest court. At the request of Baden-Württemberg, the Committee for Women and Youth decided on Wednesday by a large majority of ten to four votes with two abstentions to postpone deliberations on the bill until further notice. It is therefore considered to be done for the time being.
Numbers on suspicious activity that “cannot be traced”
The outstanding “trend-setting court rulings on data retention” should first be awaited, according to the heise online, which is classified as “only for official use” from Baden-Württemberg, Bremen and Rhineland-Palatinate. Only then is it possible to assess whether constant recording of user traces “is even permissible for the entire population for the purpose of prosecuting individual crimes”. Drafting laws in advance does not seem sensible.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has also operated in its application with figures on suspicious activity reports from the Federal Criminal Police Office that “cannot be traced,” criticize the three states. According to the police crime statistics, the clearing-up rate for the dissemination of depictions of child sexual abuse increased to 93.4 percent by 2019. This shows that even without the contested instrument “successes in the prosecution of child pornography would be achieved”. The focus on this even distracts from “more effective ways of better protecting children from sexual violence”.