Internet Law

German law: ISPs can store IP address for 7 days

In 2011, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice ruled that internet service providers are permitted to store IP addresses for up to 7 days. A court in Frankfurt has now followed the ruling.

German law: ISPs can store IP address for 7 days © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

German law: ISPs can store IP address for 7 days © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

The facts

In this case, a customer paid a flat-rate subscription fee for broadband internet access. The customer complained that his internet service provided had saved his dynamic IP address for up to 80 days.

He requested from the provider, Deutsche Telekom, that his data be deleted, but they refused. In retaliation, the customer brought a court claim.

Store IP address for 7 days

In a leading judgment handed down in 2011, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that internet service providers may store IP addresses for up to 7 days for the purposes of invoicing or for curing technical defects (§§ 97(1); 100(1) German Telecommunications Act respectively).

Deleting IP addresses

Accordingly, the Frankfurt court clarified that logged IP addresses must be deleted after 7 days (Az. 13 U 105/07). The judges also noted that the time frame of 7 days is justified and should not be shortened, as it gives ISPs time to react to spam e-mails or denial of service attacks or other technical problems.

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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