The Bundesverfassungsgericht has spoken

The German federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has spoken today and completely trashed the law that forced internet providers to log all connections and to keep the log for six months. This law has been criticized a lot for being a step towards a surveillance state.

The law was nullified completely and is officially unconstitutional.

The court also provided a long list of requirements in case that the state wants to create a new, similar law. One of the many limitations is that such data must only be used against serious crimes.

The civil rights aspect is huge; the constitutional court did once again reject the legislation's ambition to spy on the own people. It's bad news (again) that this rejection was just one in a string of rejections. We've got a legislation quality problem here in regard to constitutionality of laws, domestic security and civil rights.

By the way; those who download copyrighted material will cheer. It'll be very difficult to identify them, especially as many German IP adresses are variable (a new one on every login) and their activity is certainly no serious crime.

Sven Ortmann


  1. Great news for all Germans! Unfortunately, we do not even have a constitutional court here in Sweden, so our politicians are busy passing laws very similar to this rejected one, slowly taking away our freedom and integrity.

  2. The note about file sharing and IP address is not correct: The court said that simply matching of IP to name is fine and does not need a court order (but it must involve the prosecutor/police).

    Also be aware that this law is based on EU regluation.

  3. Merowinger; the data has to be deleted.
    Even if there's an ability to match name and IP in the future, it would be much less of use to big music companies than before. They could merely assert that IP XYZ did something, but there's no way to really prove it anymore.
    I do also doubt that the providers still log who had what IP at what time - and many people have dynamic IPs. The providers are as pissed off by the state as by the illegal downloaders - but in the end the latter are their customers.

    There's furthermore no law anymore - the next one will be based on EU the guideline (not "legislation") and the court's judgment.

  4. Recommended reading (in German):


    It is not that I like the IP-name matching, but I do not think it gone. Just Because access to e-mail communication data must be better restricted there is little reason to stop recording IP assignments.

  5. I do not know any law in Germay that forces the providers to log who had which IP address when or other information. In fact, I'm quite sure that they will delete this kind of date in a matter of days at most. No work, no cost, no legal trouble; that's the way to go.

    A district attorney can ask them for the information, but it's not there (and some state attorneys ceased to serve the big music company's lawyers long ago anyway).

    A new law will regulate the logging of internet and other electronic communication connections, maybe in a year.
    I saw the ruling in TV and the speaker was very explicit that the data must only be given for the prosecution serious crimes.

    I'm not sure whether other laws provide a basis for IP-name matching in Germany, but I do strongly suspect that it's not going to happen with dynamic IP addresses this year, at least not if the request has a delay of several days or weeks after logout.