Germany’s Constitutional Court objects to terrorism data mining

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Powers given to German authorities in 2015 to systematically sift through anti-terrorism data went too far, according to the country’s Constitutional Court.

Judges found that the part of the Counter-Terrorism Database Act designed to gather data for police and intelligence services was disproportionate and incompatible with the constitution.

They declared this part of the law void.

The database was set up in 2007 and is overseen by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

Police and intelligence officers at federal and state level can access it.

It is intended to speed up the sharing of data, particularly for investigations into suspected terrorism.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that the controversial act was largely constitutional, but ordered certain clauses to be reworked.

The latest finding is based on a complaint regarding a new paragraph entered during the reform process, which allows for “extended project-related data use.”

For the first time, it allowed authorities to search across several data fields in order to gain new insights, including with the use of incomplete data.

But the top court said such broad searches should only be permitted once “a suspicion based on specific facts” already exists.

As was the case in the first ruling, the complainant was a retired judge.

The court found that the act partially violated his fundamental right to informational self-determination. (dpa/NAN)

– Dec. 11, 2020 @ 13:51 GMT |

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