Germany high court rules foreign internet user privacy protected by constitution
May 20, 2020
The First Senate of the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that Germany’s Constitution protects the privacy of internet users living outside the country. The court decided that the Federal Intelligence Service, or the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), is bound by the Constitution when surveilling foreigners’ telecommunications and that the statutory basis for their current process of collecting and analyzing such data is unconstitutional.
The journalists who filed the complaints “report on human rights violations in conflict zones and in authoritarian states.” They argued that the 2016 amendment to the act, which conferred power to the BND to collect foreign correspondence, was unconstitutional.
A press release summarizing the 122-page judgment stated that the statutory provisions allowing this kind of surveillance were unconstitutional because:
[T]he surveillance is not restricted to sufficiently specific purposes and thereby structured in a way that allows for oversight and control. … Regarding the transfer of data, the shortcomings include the lack of limitation sufficiently weighty legal interests and of sufficient thresholds as requirements for data transfers. The court ordered that the unconstitutional parts of the law be rewritten by 2021.
Vermont legislators propose environmental protection amendment to state constitution
February 24, 2020
Senators in Vermont have proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee a right to a clean environment.
The bill was sponsored by 15 senators and, if passed by the House, would go into effect in November 2022. Additionally, the amendment would have to go through a public vote that would require a majority to pass.
This amendment comes in the wake of President Donald Trump’s continuous rollbacks on federal environmental protections. A report from New York University has highlighted that the moves by the Trump administration have severely limited environmental protection:
Because the administration’s anti-climate actions have taken place over time, and through a number of separate judicial and rulemaking processes, the full implications of its actions have been difficult to discern. This Special Report pulls together key strands in this story and reveals the remarkable picture of an administration that is nearing the final stages of giving a pass to the largest climate polluters in the United States. If the administration is successful, our nation’s ability to fight climate change will be set back for years.
Vermont has passed several other proposed amendments to its constitution in the last year, one removing references of slavery and preventing slavery and indentured servitude of any kind, and one ensuring a right to reproductive liberty.
Federal court holds that Uber drivers are independent contractors
April 12, 2018
[JURIST] A federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website] on Thursday has found [opinion, PDF] that Uber limousine drivers are independent contractors and not employees for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) [materials] and similar Pennsylvania state laws. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Indiana approves bill to allow DACA recipients to obtain professional licenses
March 15, 2018
[JURIST] Indiana’s House approved a bill [SB 419 materials] Wednesday that lifts prohibitions that kept those previously protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [JURIST news archive] program from obtaining professional licenses for dozens of occupations including cosmetology and nursing. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Belgium court rules against Facebook in privacy case
February 19, 2018
[JURIST] The Belgian Court of First Instance ruled against Facebook [corporate website] Friday, stating that the company is in violation of Belgium’s privacy laws by placing tracking codes, commonly referred to as “cookies,” on third-party websites.
The court found in favor of the Commission for the Protection of Privacy (CPP) [official website], Belgium’s privacy watchdog, which issued a statement [press release, in French] outlining the decision and the requirements that have been imposed on Facebook: Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Romania: little progress in corruption prevention in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors
Source: Council of Europe
January 19, 2018
In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body (GRECO) concludes that Romania has made very limited progress to implement its recommendations to prevent and combat corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. (report in French and Romanian) Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Israel legislature passes amendment requiring majority vote to cede land
January 2, 2017
[JURIST] Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, passed a constitutional amendment [text, in Hebrew] Tuesday regarding status of land in the city of Jerusalem, now requiring a large majority vote of the Knesset to cede any land in Jerusalem to a foreign party.
The amendment was passed by a vote of 64 to 51 with one abstaining vote.
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