New Rules for SIGINT Collection in Germany: A Look at the Recent Reform
Those following the Section 702 reauthorization debate may be interested in Germany’s recent intelligence reforms. One aspect of particular interest—which I also focus on in a new paper—is new limits on the collection of data from non-nationals outside of Germany, enforced in part by a new judicial oversight mechanism.
Context: Germany’s recent intelligence reform process
In December 2016, the most significant intelligence legislation in recent German history was finally put on the books. It followed a year of secret negotiations and a brief legislative process to codify new rules about the authorization, practice, and oversight of foreign data collection by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency. Unlike most other countries, German intelligence law now contains specific restrictions on the collection of foreigners’ data. Foreigners will not be notified about surveillance measures, and therefore the restrictions I describe in further detail below are not procedural. However, the new law sets an additional international standard in requiring a panel of judges to authorize most foreign intelligence collection on a non-targeted basis. Read full article