Thank you very much for your invitation. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend, but this letter is intended to serve as a kind of welcoming address.
My heartfelt congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the BigBrotherAwards!
With your dedication for civil rights and data protection you have been pioneers in the last years, before many others discovered these issues. Civil society must shake up politics. We need to be made aware that protections to the private sphere are essential for the quality of our democratic system.
The affairs around informers in large German companies have created awareness, and so has the groundbreaking ruling by the Consitutional Court on remote searches of people’s devices. This is by no means limited to the relationship of the citizen to the state. The basic right that the ruling created, protecting the integrity and confidentiality of IT systems, will have consequences in all fields of law. This fact has been underestimated so far. It will have to be taken into account in the new data protection legislation, which the new legislature will finally have to create. There will have to be an all-round modernisation, as it has been discussed for many years. This reform has become a victim of the 9/11 attacks. In the aftermath, protections for privacy were eroded and not extended. With our complaints to the Constitutional Courts – currently against the laws on telecommunications data retention and on the Federal Criminal Police Office – we have continued to fight back against freedom restrictions. And we have had our share of success.
The German Constitution has turned 60. That is not just a reason to celebrate, it also compels us to highlight threats to our basic rights, which is what you have been doing so successfully with activities including the BigBrotherAwards.
Freedom is worth fighting for!