We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

German court strikes down telecoms data laws
Pic: Shutterstock

17 Jul 2020 / data law Print

German court strikes down telecoms data laws

Germany’s constitutional court has ruled that a number of laws governing the collection of users’ mobile phone and internet data in the country are unconstitutional as they violate the right to privacy.

The laws set out the way in which German security agencies can gather information on customers - such as access names, addresses, birth dates and IP addresses - from telecoms companies.The laws were challenged by privacy campaigners.


The ruling comes a day after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the Privacy Shield agreement on the transfer of data from the EU to the US was invalid.

The court said that, in principle, providing information on subscriber data was allowed under German constitutional law, but it added that the German authorities must create “a proportionate legal basis” for both the transfer of data by telecoms firms and retrieval of such data by the authorities.


It ruled that laws on the transfer and retrieval on data would have to put limits on how such data could be used, as well as provide adequate protection for people under the law.

The court said that, for the country’s security or intelligence agencies to use such powers, there needed to be “a specific danger in the individual case, and an initial suspicion of criminal conduct in the context of the investigation and prosecution of offences”.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland