On March 2, 2010, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the mass storage of telephone and Internet data for law enforcement purposes is unlawful in its current form.

Since 2008, the challenged law has required telecom companies to retain data from telephone, email and Internet traffic, as well as mobile phone location data, for six months.  This information may be retrieved for law enforcement and safety purposes.  Constitutional claims were brought before the Court by nearly 35,000 citizens, representing the largest mass claim proceeding in German history. 


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In December 2009, the German data protection authorities (“DPAs”) for the private sector published a resolution on data protection compliance for website audience measurement.  The resolution was adopted at the Düsseldorfer Kreis meeting on November 26-27, 2009.

Many website operators analyze users’ surfing behavior for advertising and market research purposes, or to adapt their websites to suit consumer preferences. To create user profiles, website operators often use software or other services that are offered by third party service providers (sometimes free of charge).


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In SACEM v. Cyrille Saminadin (Cour de Cassation, chambre criminelle, 13 janvier 2009), the SACEM (a representative body of authors, composers, and music editors) asked one of its agents to carry out an investigation and to collect evidence of copyright infringements on a peer-to-peer network. After selecting a peer-to-peer network, the agent manually typed in the title of a song belonging to one of the rights holders and searched for all available files corresponding to this title. The agent then randomly selected one of these files and saved all the information relating to it (IP address, country of origin, name of the internet service provider, etc.) onto a CD-ROM as evidence for use in filing a complaint. The question raised in this case was whether such activity constitutes data processing requiring the prior authorization of the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL).


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