Privacy rights enshrined in Germany’s Constitution extend to foreigners living abroad and cover their online data, the country’s highest court ruled on Tuesday, ordering Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to overhaul a law governing the foreign intelligence agency.
The decision by the Constitutional Court found that parts of a 2016 law governing the country’s foreign intelligence agency, known by its German abbreviation BND, in part violated the universal right to privacy in communication. The ruling ordered the law to be rewritten to clarify the motivation for spying on individuals abroad, but it stopped short of banning the practice outright.
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BND: Court curbs German spy agency’s bugging abroad
Germany’s highest court has ruled that laws allowing the country’s BND foreign intelligence service to spy on foreigners’ telecommunications outside Germany breach fundamental rights.
The Constitutional Court case was brought by foreign journalists, who say the ruling is a win for press freedom.
The BND will no longer be able to monitor the emails or other data of foreigners abroad, without good reason.
Currently some of that data is passed on to other countries’ spy agencies.
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