Data privacy row rages in Germany

German
intelligence agencies have stopped secret Internet monitoring of suspects'
computers.  

German
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble faced massive criticism this week after it
was revealed that German intelligence agencies were secretly snooping on
terrorism suspects via the Internet. Schäuble has ordered a temporary halt
to the practice. 

Intelligence
agencies have monitored suspects' computers via the Internet for two years,
according to members of the Bundestag's interior affairs committee.

Representatives
from all political parties questioned the legality of the practice. Critics say
the secret searches violate Article 13 of the German basic law, which governs
privacy. 

However, a special
law already exists in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia which allows
computers to be searched without their owners' knowledge.

Germany's interior intelligence agency, the
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has been accessing
private data via the Internet since June, 2005. The prior interior minister,
Otto Schily, altered regulations to allow it. According to the Chancellor's
office, a decision by the German Federal Court in January, 2007, which allowed
for online data searches to be prosecuted, does not apply to the Federal
Intelligence Service (
BND).

But politicians argue that Schily's regulations do not provide a sustainable
legal foundation for Internet spying.

Politicians from other
parties have maintained scepticism over the necessity of the program and have
expressed concern that it violates privacy.

Berlin's state interior minister, Ehrhart
Körting, said the practice was not very efficient, because it catches only the
least sophisticated computer users who don't know how to defend against
so-called trojan programs.

(source)

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About IanPJ

Ian Parker-Joseph, former Leader of the Libertarian Party UK, who currently heads PDPS Internet Hosting and the Personal Deed Poll Services company, has been an IT industry professional for over 20 years, providing Business Consulting, Programme and Project Management, specialising in the recovery of Projects that have failed in a process driven world. Ian’s experience is not limited to the UK, and he has successfully delivered projects in the Middle East, Africa, US, Russia, Poland, France and Germany. Working within different cultures, Ian has occupied high profile roles within multi-nationals such as Nortel and Cable & Wireless. These experiences have given Ian an excellent insight into world events, and the way that they can shape our own national future. His extensive overseas experiences have made him all too aware of how the UK interacts with its near neighbours, its place in the Commonwealth, and how our nation fits into the wider world. He is determined to rebuild many of the friendships and commercial relationships with other nations that have been sadly neglected over the years, and would like to see greater energy and food security in these countries, for the benefit of all. Ian is a vocal advocate of small government, individual freedom, low taxation and a minimum of regulation. Ian believes deeply and passionately in freedom and independence in all areas of life, and is now bringing his professional experiences to bear in the world of politics.
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