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Germany Goes Data Crazy

5:50 PM -- Could Germany become a cash cow for U.S. storage vendors?

A number of vendors have cited a spending downturn during the current earnings season, which was followed by major layoffs at storage bellwether IBM. (See Overland Struggles With 'Softness', Sun Slips on Storage, Isilon: The Honeymoon's Over, and LSI Promises Better.)

But across the Atlantic, the German government is courting controversy with new legislation that just might put the smile back on the faces of some of these same vendors. In a nutshell, the government is looking to enact tough new data retention laws as part of the country's fight against terrorism and organized crime.

In an extension of Germany's existing data retention laws for telephone companies, the government is now looking to implement stringent legislation for how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) handle emails. If the law is successful, ISPs will have to save email addresses, user names, and the dates and times of emails, according to reports.

The move has apparently provoked howls of criticism in the German media, although the draft bill could prove manna from heaven for storage vendors scouting new market opportunities. (See Vendors Crank Up Email Security.) Just how far this goes is anyone's guess -- some blogs have suggested that the German government is also planning to undertake data mining in private databases, as well as developing new databases for citizens' biometric data.

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