German bill limits online privacy
It seems that, regarding online privacy, Europe no longer walks on steady ground. And the threat doesn’t come from outside enemies as you might think, but within its borders, from the same authorities that were supposed to protect it. The first country that made this dangerous and controversial step was UK with highly criticized IP Bill that will allow Police and government agencies to access private date of its citizens any time they see fit. And now is Germany’s turn. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere proposed a bill that will limit the right of the German citizens to protect their online privacy.
What the Bill does
The law would limit citizens’ right to know what data regarding themselves or their online activity is gathered and stored by public institutions and private companies. This means that companies will not be under any obligation to disclose information about the user’s personal data they managed to collect if doing so jeopardizes its “business purposes.”
It goes without saying that this law represents also a serious threat from hackers or online criminals of any kind. Without any protection against gathering personal and private data, who’s to say who the hacker is or what data breaches are being made? The law also restricts the Power of the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s office, making it near-impossible to investigate any online crimes.
The German Bill is under heavy criticism
At this moment the law is only a draft. This means that it still up for improvements. German citizens and the German union for data protection (DVD) have condemned the draft law as a total disaster. DVD chairman Frank Spaeing described the bill as a “data protection prevention law” and called on the Justice and Consumer Affairs Ministry, the Economics Ministry, and the Science and Research Ministry to intervene on behalf of people’s civil rights.
There was also criticism from the Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s office (BfDI). Commissioner Andrea Vosshoff – also a member of de Maiziere’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) – said the plan would make “control by the BfDI in many sensitive areas, for instance health insurance companies, job centers, or other social service operators, almost impossible, and is not acceptable.”
VPN – the efficient online bodyguard
Of course, for German citizens it always remains the option to take the matter into their own hands and protect their privacy by themselves. If they choose to do that, the best option is to use a VPN service, that will secure their internet connection either they’re using a public or a private network. That means that all data traveling between the protected device and the server is encrypted.
This way, nobody else besides the intended user can see it. Of course it doesn’t do anything about the reckless way of treating online privacy by some of the German politicians but, if anything, it keeps them safe.Protect your privacy