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Germany

Planned census raises hackles over privacy issues in Germany

Germany has planned a census for 2011 but is taking a slightly unconventional approach. Not only is just 10 percent of the population going to be involved, but the data collected is to be stored in a controversial way.

A woman with a barcode on her forehead

Many Germans don't want their data stored for so long

Four German citizens have filed a constitutional complaint with the German Constitutional Court over a census scheduled to take place in May 2011. The plaintiffs claim the proposed method of collecting census information doesn't conform to data protection and security standards.

Ten percent of the German population is scheduled to participate in the census. The information gathered would then be stored for four years with a corresponding personal index number.

In addition to the official complaint, the plaintiffs have collected 13,000 signatures against plan to index participants in the census.

The decision now before the German Constitutional Court in Kahrlsruhe is whether this method of data collection violates a person's right to data protection. A previous decision in 1983 did not allow a similar type of data collection.

In parliament, the Left party and the Green party have lent their support to the constitutional complaint.

Author: Matt Zuvela (AFP, dpa, apn)
Editor: Sean Sinico

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