German Data Retention Act Put On Hold

von Hans Sebastian Helmschrott

German Data Retention Act Put On Hold

The German Data Retention Act, which was due to come into force on 1. July 2017, was put on hold last week by the Federal Network Agency, and will not come into force before autumn this year, if at all. The Act, designed to provide law enforcement agencies with electronic data to combat criminal offences, intends to obligate telecommunication and internet providers to retain call detail records (CDRs), for instance the phone numbers, the date and time of calls and messages, the content of messages, and—for mobile phone calls—the locations of all participants of the communication. The reason for the postponement is a successful injunctive relief of a telecommunication provider against the act, stating that the law might violate the European Data Protection Directive. Although the injunctive relief technically only protects the successful claimant, the German Federal Network Agency decided to put the law on hold for anyone for the time being, until a final decision is made by the court granting the relief. There is a likelihood that the law will scraped in full, and companies should be prepared for both outcomes. 

The decision is good news for any telecommunication provider having to invest in its infrastructure to accommodate the regulation, but is a blow for companies which developed and offered specific data retention services for supporting companies in fulfilling compliance with the regulation.

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