Germany is one of the countries that have rejected the Data retention regulation of the EU. They had it for a while and now it is ruled as conflicting with the constitution and the Human rights.
So they are fighting it and are probably the only ones who know what this is about. Thanks to people like this
(You can literary follow his life for 6 months).
These data are collected in the US and everywhere. The smartphone would not work otherwise - it constantly has to connect to the nearest tower. The problem occurs when the data are saved for a long time for the police or the government to trace your whereabouts.
That is what the EU data retention is. The saving of our electronic lives - and lets face it: Life is electronic, from the moment you turn on your phone or sit down in your car (GPS).
But I think you are right: The Americans tend to take their freedom issues somewhat more serious than (stupid) Europeans.
That is why I was so negatively surprised by the whole wikileaks issue, where the government clearly went for censorship and retaliation - towards a press institution.
This data retention is extremely dangerous and scary stuff.