Funeral marches for privacy in Germany

The On January 1, 2008 the new German telecommunications data retention act came into force. One day before, civil rights activists handed in the biggest complaint of unconstitutionality of all times to stop the law. At the same time, funeral marches are held all over Germany to remind of the “death of privacy”, the first in Hamburg on new year’s eve.

Let’s have a look on the lately published 2007 International Privacy Ranking ((2007 International Privacy Ranking)) to see how necessary these protests are. Germany fell from last year’s rank #1 to rank #7 in the EU – one of the reasons given is the newly introduced telecommunications data retention.

To prevent the law from being taken into action, the “Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung” has, together with dozens of civil rights groups, filed a class action at the federal constitutional court in Karlsruhe. With more than 30.000 having signed a mandate, this is by far the most successful action of this kind in Germany. On December 31, eight first complainants handed in the 150-pages notice of appeal written by a volunteering Berlin-based barrister Meinhard Starostik. Because the received mandates still have not been fully evaluated yet, the mass of complaints will be sent in later.
Together with the complaint of unconstitutionality, an immediate suspension of the law was requested on the grounds of “apparent unconstitutionality” ((Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung | Constitutional complaint filed against German Telecomms Data Retention Act)).

Furthermore, the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung tries to make the new law’s dangers public. Therefore, it focuses on the “death of privacy” through the total surveillance of telecommunication.

In a nationwide protest action, funeral obsequies are held in several cities with a coffin touring the republic, “containing” the privacy. Following funeral marches in Hamburg ((Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung | Funeral March Through Hamburg Due To Lost Privacy)), Kassel and Frankfurt, further rallies will be held in Ulm (05. 01.) and Munich (06. 01.), with the latter being a bigger demonstration under the motto “Freedom is what counts”. This name reminds of an event with minister of the interior Wolfgang Schäuble, named “Security is what counts”. Last year, another rally by the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung was held in Munich, with more than 2000 people demonstrating against the data retention act which was passed shortly after ((Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung | Thousands of people participated in nationwide protests against data retention)).

Freedom is what counts

What can I do?

Two more demonstrations will be held as funeral marches with the “federal coffin”. You are invited to attend:

Ulm | January 5
What time? 15:00 Uhr
Where? Hirschstraße

Munich | January 6
What time? 12:30 Uhr
Where? Alte Kongresshalle, Theresienhöhe 15

The attendees are invited to be dressed in black clothes, as the rallies will be held as funeral marches.

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