The Limits of Security

The German Constitutional Court has ruled on an important law regarding privacy. We learn more from

“Germany’s highest court on Tuesday overturned a law that let anti-terror authorities retain data on telephone calls and e-mails, saying it posed a “grave intrusion” to personal privacy rights and must be revised.”

“The Karlsruhe-based Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the law violated Germans’ constitutional right to private correspondence and failed to balance privacy rights against the need to provide security. The law had ordered that all data — except content — from phone calls and e-mail exchanges be retained for six months for possible use by criminal authorities, who could probe who contacted whom, from where and for how long.”

One of the issues that all democracies face is how to balance freedom and security. The German high court has decided that too many freedoms were being sacrificed in the name of security and that citizens needed to be afforded more protections.

Is this the start of a move back towards the protection of personal liberties? It seems clear that the idea that security trumps all else has lost favor, at least on the continent. The real question is whether legislators and executives in Europe’s governments will come to the same conclusions as the courts are coming to…

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