Mon, Jan. 22, 2007

Diet Targets Privacy

CK - Washington.   On January 18, 2007, the Berlin parliament approved a draft statute, Telemediengesetz, to replace current statutes governing Internet and media activities. Among provisions supposedly beneficial to consumers are rehashed privacy-invasive identification requirements that govern those active on the Internet. The old rules have been interpreted by some to cover not only Internet vendors but anybody who with some frequency publishes on the Internet. From that angle, anonymity is illegal.

The federal legislators claim to enhance privacy protections but that intent is only reflected for those who do not actively use the Internet. Everybody else will be required to publish even more confidential data on the Internet than required under the old law. In addition, data protection in relation to the government would shrink.

Another objective of the ill-conceived statute is a reduction in SPAM. As written, the rules are set to fail when Internet users must release comprehensive information to the sharks. Settings fines for SPAM is more likely to increase abuse in the cease-and-desist business. That will affect good-faith communications by local senders who can be easily sued. The rules do nothing about true SPAM in massive quantities from difficult-to-identify sources.

The Dr. Bahr blog has a number of additional observations, in German, and links to various drafts. Bahr critizes the relaxation of data protection standards and special privileges for owners of copyrights.

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