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The Green Position Data Protection

Towards a comprehensive data protection system

Full protection of personal data: a guiding principle of Green policy

Alliance 90/The Greens are strong advocates for the comprehensive protection of citizens' personal data. This also applies to the use of the Internet. Blogging, tweeting, podcasting and surfing: the new digital age creates new and innovative opportunities and enhances individual rights to communication and information. We want to make proactive use of these new potentials. What we do not want, however, is government intrusion and associated control of the Internet. People have a right to expect the state not to intrude into their lives, as the German Federal Constitutional Court has confirmed. And yet never before have so much data been collected, stored and transferred. More and more often, personal data are being misused for the purpose of surveillance or profiling. Citizens have a right to know which personal details are being stored and transferred and by whom, when this takes place, and for what purpose. It is for citizens themselves – not employers, Internet service providers, health insurers and certainly not the state – to determine who should have access to their data and what should be done with it.

The recent scandals involving Telekom and Bahn AG, when these companies were found to have grossly violated privacy rules, and Lidl's systematic video surveillance of its workers, including the most intimate areas of their lives, show that a comprehensive system of data protection for employees is long overdue. We want to impose limits on uncontrolled international data exchange between public authorities and indeed by private agencies. Comprehensive video surveillance in the workplace and the use of full-body scanners at airports also violate our principle that privacy matters.

Germany's data protection law must be completely overhauled. Far more stringent rules must be imposed, also on private companies:

  • Data protection must be enshrined in the German constitution, the Basic Law, as a binding obligation for both public and private agencies. As regards the issue of the security of modern information technology from state control, too, the guiding principle must be that the core area of protective personal rights is inviolable. The right to freedom of information must also be established in the constitution. The constitution of the federal state of Brandenburg can serve as a model here.
  • We are opposed to data retention and are in favour of a free Internet culture without blocks on website access being imposed by security agencies.
  • People using social networks must be better informed about the risks of revealing personal details. It must be possible to track one's own data, stop them from being passed on, and insist on their deletion.
  • We demand an end to the storage of flight and ferry passengers' data within the EU. Another European information system, alongside the Schengen Information System and the Visa Information System, will not enhance Europe's security.
  • We have been campaigning for some time for the introduction of a legally protected quality seal. This Data Protection Audit will give consumers comprehensive and reliable information to assist their purchase decisions (cf. Bundestag Printed Paper 16/1499).
  • There must be an option to bring class action lawsuits and test cases in future, so that interest groups can defend citizens' rights before the courts in cases relating to the misuse of personal data.
  • We are working for comprehensive legislation to strengthen data protection in the workplace and thus improve employees' legal position.
  • Personal data should only be passed on with the express consent of the persons concerned (opt-in rule). This should not result in any financial disadvantages for them. Effective regulations on liability for the illegal transfer of data and breaches of data security are required. More stringent financial penalties should be imposed on anyone who deploys underhand methods and deceit, and the persons responsible must provide redress for the consequences of their misconduct.
  • We want a general ban on credit scoring based on place of residence. The Grand Coalition expressly permitted the use of this technique, known as geoscoring, in its last amendment of the Federal Data Protection Act. As a consequence, people living in deprived areas may find it difficult to obtain reasonable credit terms, resulting in general and unwarranted discrimination.