New calls for computer online searches by German authorities

By EDRi · May 9, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The German authorities seem to have a higher desire to push for a legal
basis of the online searches of personal computers in Germany, despite the
Federal Supreme Court decision in February 2007 that, according to the
German Code of Criminal Procedure, decided that online police snooping was

Wolfgang Schäuble, The German Federal Minister of the Interior, has asked
again to adopt stricter security rules that are essential in the fight
against terror. Schäuble said that terrorists were beginning to set their
sights on Germany and “These days the Internet is the place where terrorists
from all over the world arrange to meet”. This is why it is essential to
make the online searches of computers a legal possibility for the German law

The online searches of computers by the secret services have been a reality
in Germany since 2005, following an order to do so by then-Interior Minister
Otto Schily. The statement was admitted by the Chancellor’s Office that did
not reveal the number of searches. The German Government stated that it did
not see any breach of the privacy of telecommunications in these actions.

Gisela Piltz, spokesperson for home affairs from the FDP in the Bundestag,
who forced the government to admit the searches, said that “the cat is out
of the bag”.

The Social Democratic Party has accused Mr. Schäuble of engaging in a
“hypocritical debate” and the new approach is like “a recipe for asking for

The German Supreme Court president, Hans-Jürgen Papier, told the Frankfurt
Press Club that the politicians were going too far in asking for greater
security and they were forgetting that the state is also obliged of ensuring
civil rights.

Minister of the Interior renews call for legal online PC search option

German government admits it is already conducting online searches

EDRI-gram: Online police searches found illegal in Germany (14.02.2007)

EDRI-gram: Proposal of computers online searching in Germany (20.12.2006)