Nov 28, 2010

Exclusive: Wikileaks Document Outlines Concerns over German Libertarian Party's Support for Data Privacy and Individual Liberty

The recent Wikileaks diplomatic document dump contains a cable from shortly before Germany's 2009 general election, articulating worries among US diplomats that the German Free Democratic Party's strong support for individual data privacy and protections against unreasonable search and seizure might hinder the efforts of the American national security state.  Ironically, the author of the leaked cable scoffs at claims by FDP officials that the US government lacks effective data protection measures.

Germany's Free Democratic Party, or FDP, is the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition between the CDU/CSU and FDP.  The party's chairman is Guido Westerwelle, who is currently serving as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in Merkel's cabinet.  In Germany's 2009 general election, the FDP garnered almost 15% of the vote and now holds 93 seats in the German parliament.  The FDP is usually referred to as a classical liberal, or libertarian, party for its strong defenses of economic liberalism and civil liberties.

The cable frames the FDP's support for citizens' privacy rights and individual liberties as a hindrance to US security strategy, and states that, if it were to join a ruling coalition in Germany, the party would scrutinize any proposals that would require sharing or accessing of information concerning private individuals.  The cable faults the party's "limited government viewpoint" for its opposition to data-sharing measures that would infringe on the privacy rights of individuals. 

In a most ironic turn, the leaked cable scoffs at FDP Parliamentarian Gisela Piltz, who cautioned against data-sharing operations with the US government on the grounds that the US government as a whole lacks effective data protection measures even as it accumulates massive amounts of data on innocent citizens.

Update:  See also TPID's follow-up post on a series of cables from 2009-2010 dealing with the FDP and data privacy:  Liberty vs. Security, the FDP and Data Privacy Policy.

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