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German draft law would allow use of facial recognition for public surveillance


Germany’s latest draft law could infringe on the public’s data privacy rights if it is passed, according to a report from the nation’s union for data protection report cited by Digital Trends.

Under the proposed legislation, the German government would no longer be required to inform citizens about the kind of data collected on them if such a revelation “disadvantages the well-being” of the country or might “seriously endanger” business activities.

Additionally, the law would allow the government to use facial recognition software as part of its public video surveillance, and prevent data protection commissioners from conducting both follow-up checks following legal or medical data hacks and authorizing security agencies over these kinds of breaches.

The law is also intended to strengthen the more strict European Union privacy rules that are set to go into effect in 2018.

The German union for data protection states that the draft version does not adhere to current EU laws and rather looks to enforce “unconstitutional” regulations.

“The limitation of data protection controls in the medical field, which was a focal point of the [data protection] authorities up until now, is simply a disaster,” Thilo Weichert, former data protection commissioner for Schleswig-Holstein and a current union board member, said.

The union called the public’s right to know what information is being collected on them is the “Magna Carta of data protection.”

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