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LQD: German surveillance revisited

by dvx Mon Dec 1st, 2008 at 03:28:55 AM EST

A little while back I described the efforts of the German government to grant the Federal Police Office sweeping new powers, including the authority to conduct in-home audio and video surveillance and conduct remote computer spying.

Well, at the moment, it ain't gonna happen:

Bundesrat: Streit um BKA-Gesetz | Frankfurter Rundschau - PolitikFederal Assembly: Dispute over BKA Law
Berlin. Der Bundesrat hat das umstrittene Gesetz zur Neuregelung der Befugnisse des Bundeskriminalamtes (BKA) im Anti-Terror-Kampf gestoppt. Die Länderkammer verweigerte dem vom Bundestag beschlossenen BKA-Gesetz in Berlin die erforderliche Zustimmung.
Auch ein rheinland-pfälzischer Antrag auf Anrufung des Vermittlungsausschusses fand keine Mehrheit. Das Gremium kann nun noch von Bundestag und Bundesregierung zu dem Gesetzesvorhaben angerufen werden.
Berlin. The Federal Assembly has stopped the controversial law to redefine the authority of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in the fight against terror. The chamber of the states refused its consent to the BKA statute enacted by the Bundestag.
The proposal of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate to refer the matter to the Mediation Committee also failed to find a majority. The Bundestag and the federal government may still invoke this body.

promoted by afew

Das vom Bundestag mit den Stimmen der schwarz-roten Koalitionsmehrheit beschlossene Gesetz soll dem BKA Kompetenzen zur Terrorabwehr übertragen und unter anderem die Videoüberwachung von Wohnungen und die Online-Durchsuchung privater Computer ermöglichen.The law passed, by the Bundestag with the votes of the SPD/Union coalition majority, aimed to assign the BKA antiterror competencies and enable, among other actions, video surveillance in homes and online searches.
Neben Ländern mit Regierungsbeteiligungen von FDP, Grünen oder Linkspartei hatten auch von Union und SPD regierte Länder wie Sachsen-Anhalt und Mecklenburg-Vorpommern schon vor der Sitzung angekündigt, dem Gesetzesbeschluss nicht zuzustimmen. Damit war die erforderliche Mehrheit von 35 der 69 Bundesratsstimmen nicht mehr zu erreichen.In addition to the states whose governing coalitions include FDP, Greens or the Left Party, states governed by CDU and SPD, such as Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had announced before the session that they would not vote for the bill. This meant that it was no longer possible to reach a majority of 35 of the 69 votes in the Bundesrat.
Vor dem Beschluss des Bundesrates hatte sich noch Bundesinnenminister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) zu Wort gemeldet. Er machte Druck auf die Bundesländer, das umstrittene BKA-Gesetz noch vor Weihnachten zu verabschieden. "Entweder wir kriegen vor Weihnachten ohne große Änderung noch ein Ergebnis oder das Gesetz kommt gar nicht mehr zustande", sagte er dem "Handelsblatt".Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) spoke vote of the Federal Assembly. He strongly urged the states to enact the BKA law before Christmas. "We'll either get a result with no major changes before Christmas or the law won't be enacted," he told the [business daily] Handelsblatt.

Given that next year is an election year, I imagine that the coalition will refrain from bringing in such controversial legislation in 2009. So it looks like this issue is dead for now.

Beyond that is another story, particularly as polls seem to show that the majority of citizens are OK with the expanded surveillance authority <sigh>.

But for now, it's good:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket - get it here!

The government has said it wants to invoke the Mediation Committee. On the other hand, the year is nearly over. Stay tuned...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 07:50:21 AM EST
I updated the Germany index page, the "Occasional Series" diary with the (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to Germany

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 03:49:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

How should the federal/state split be interpreted? Is it only on the federal level that German politicians has lost all memory of why a surveilliance society is bad?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 11:24:55 AM EST
The parties that are out of power on the national level are all opposed to the new powers - and the states in which they are coalition members have a total of 34 votes. So the bill was in deep trouble from the start.

Also, the 2 grand coalition states that opposed the measure were both East German - apparently their memories proved good enough in the end.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 11:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In all of the East German states, it was the SPD that forced the refusal to vote for the BKA law. Indeed Schäuble already blames the SPD.

However, Saxony's and Saxony-Anhalt's SPD interior ministers would agree to an "improved" version, e.g. internet searches not without prior approval by a judge. And it seems the problem is more that they want to keep their state polices in charge and fear the BKA would take too much of their turf.

Meanwhile, Schäuble proposed to change voting rules in the Bundesrat, bbasically he wants to eliminate abstaining... something even CDU colleagues like Hamburg's mayor reject.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 04:13:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, turf war. Good that we can trust something.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 29th, 2008 at 12:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Austria on the other hand online searches just made it into the coalition agreement. Nothing specific as of this moment, but given the cast of characters dominating Austrian politics I have no doubt that the final law will be both atrocious and passed without much resistance.

Die  Netzwerke  des  Terrors  arbeiten  mit  den  modernsten
Kommunikationstechnologien. Daher werden wir  die Methoden  und Werkzeuge  im
Kampf gegen terroristische Gefahren weiter verbessern, etwa durch:
  •  Die bloße Teilnahme an Terrorcamps, im In- oder Ausland, wird strafbar
  •  Online-Durchsuchung ermöglichen *)
by generic on Fri Nov 28th, 2008 at 01:57:45 PM EST

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