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Germany Debates Stolen Data Law

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

According to legal experts from both the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a law must be drawn up in order to prohibit the purchase of stolen tax data discs.

Given the increasing number of discs offered to the state, containing the names of suspected tax evaders, the CDU’s legal expert Siegfried Kauder has called for a bill to be drafted, preventing the purchase of tax data. Kauder is adamant that there should be legal guidelines in place, which clearly stipulate that German tax authorities are acting unlawfully if they elect to purchase such data from criminals.

Kauder has received support from the FDP’s parliamentary legal spokesman, Christian Ahrendt. Determined that German tax authorities should no longer conclude deals with criminals, Ahrendt highlighted the need to establish clear legal guidelines as to what is and is not permitted.

The announcements prompted criticism from the CDU’s Deputy Party Leader Günter Krings. Krings has denied plans to introduce such a law, reiterating that the decision regarding the purchase of tax data is merely a matter for the federal states concerned. Consequently, there is no such need for the government to take legal action, he added.

The German government recently announced its intention to press ahead with the purchase of the tax data disc offered to federal state Baden-Württemberg, following Baden-Württemberg’s decision not to pay for the information. The government is to liaise closely with the state.

In stark contrast, North Rhine-Westphalia opted to purchase its disc. The expected tax revenue from the purchase is thought to far exceed the purchase price of EUR2.5m.