Home International German cabinet passes bill to widen police counter-terror power

German cabinet passes bill to widen police counter-terror power


Berlin : The German government here Wednesday approved a controversial bill which would widen the anti-terror competency of police and the Federal Crime Office (BKA).

Addressing a news conference in Berlin, German interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hailed the bill as a “necessity to confront one of the security policy challenges”, namely terrorism.

The threat to the country has made it necessary to transfer counter-terror competency to the BKA, he said.

The minister added that the government created the “necessary competency for the BKA in the fight against international terrorism.

“Schaeuble labeled the bill “an important component in the security architecture” of Germany.

The legal draft has yet to be passed by the lower and upper chamber of the German Parliament.

The bill allows law enforcement officials to spy out the homes and computers of terror suspects.

Last February, Germany’s constitutional court restricted online police searches, ruling against a law which permits authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia to snoop on computer users.

The constitutional court argued in its decision that “the basic right on ensuring confidentiality and integrity of information technology systems” had to be made possible.

The court added that online police searches are only permitted when there are concrete dangers to the lives of people or the existence of the state.

The German government has repeatedly called for online searches in its war against terrorism, organize crimes, child pornography, neo-Nazi propaganda and other types of crimes.

German lawyer and journalists group have continuously rejected online police snooping.

Last year, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) ruled that based on the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), online police spying was illegal.

The court argued that the StPO had no provisions to allow the authorities to perform secret online snooping.