Thursday, September 04, 2008

Whistleblower Prompts Review of German Data Protection Laws

Joel Hruska writes on ARS Technica:

Germany's Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, vowed today to tighten the laws governing how data on German consumers can be gathered, sold, and traded. Schäuble's declaration comes after a call center whistleblower, Detlef Tiegel, handed a CD containing the banking details of some 17,000 German citizens over to the authorities. The information in question had been obtained (possibly purchased) by the unidentified company that employed Tiegel. The initial 17,000 records were only a fraction of the roughly 1.5 million records Tiegel claimed he could produce.

German officials took the man's claims seriously enough to open their own investigation, and were dismayed when they were able to purchase 6 million records of personally identifiable information (PII) for a paltry €850 (~$1,220). Minister Schäuble called a meeting today in Berlin to address the situation and share his concerns with multiple ministers within the German government. Attendees included data protection commissioner Peter Schaar, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, Economy Minister Michael Glos, and Consumer Affairs Minister Horst Seehofer. Representatives from several German states were also in attendance.

More here.


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