Landtag Wirtschaft und Verkehr

Femernbelt fixed link: Protest against “Big Brother” traffic surveillance in Germany

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Piyush BhargavaA German politician has filed a complaint with the Danish data protection authority (Datatilsynet) concerning the Danish femernbelt fixed-link law. According to the member of Schleswig-Holsteins state parliament Patrick Breyer, the proposed cctv recording of tunnel users and number plate readings are “unnecessary and disproportionate”:

The abandoned EU border inspections should not be replaced by registering and monitoring car drivers indiscriminately. For the pirate party, blanket mass surveillance of innocent travellers is not acceptable. Law-abiding drivers have a right to private travel. Many tunnels in Germany are being operated safely without surveillance. When, where and with whom we travel is nobody else’s business.

I have asked the German and the Danish data protection authorities to prevent Femern A/S from any indiscriminate CCTV surveillance or number plate readings. The German constitutional court has cleary ruled indiscriminate number plate readings unconstitutional. I am examining whether legal steps can be taken against the blanket provisions in the Danish fixed-link law which violated fundamental data protection principles such as data minimisation and necessity. Denmark and Germany need to find an agreement on protecting tunnel users from surveillance.

According to par 43 pp. of the fixed-link law, the operator Femern A/S can make and transfer cctv recordings of drivers, scan number plates and collect information on number plate holders.

Complete letter to Datatilsynet:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Fehmernbelt
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2015 11:22:02 +0200

Dear Sir or Madam,

as a member of Schleswig-Holstein’s Parliament (Landtag) I am concerned about provisions in the statute no. 575 on the construction and operation of the fixed femernbelt link regarding the processing of personal data.

According to par 43 pp. of the law, the operator Femern A/S can make and transfer cctv recordings of drivers, scan number plates, collect information on number plate holders. None of these provisions specify the precise purpose for which the data can be collected, and none of the provisions specifies the processing and erasure of the data once collected. Also I cannot see that the necessity of such processing has been demonstrated. Numerous tunnels in Germany are being operated without such surveillance.

I would be interested to learn your position on these problems and whether you would be willing to discuss this matter with Femern A/S and your German counterpart DPA, the ULD in Kiel.

Yours sincerely
Patrick Breyer

Photo: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Piyush Bhargava

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