Data retention changing behaviour

A new survey shows that data retention laws influence the actual behavior of citizens in Germany. 11% had already abstained from single telecommunication acts, 52% would not use phone or e-mail for confidential contacts.

The problem with surveillance is not primarily that some bored officer might learn about some embarrassing private detail (although this is a problem as well). The fundamental problem with surveillance is that it changes people. People under surveillance behave differently than people who are not monitored – differently than free people.

Unfortunately, this fundamental problem has just been proven in Germany. Since the beginning of this year, communication providers are required to record who communicated with whom and when (but not the content of the communication). This data is stored for six months and available to law enforcement in cases related to certain forms of crime. (link)

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