New Anti-Terror Plans Too Weak

Einheit der Bundespolizei BFE+
In addition to new special forces units like this one training in Brandenburg, the former justice minister says Germany must untangle its anti-terror bureaucracy.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    This week the Bundestag will debate the nation’s first extensive anti-terror legislation in almost a decade.

  • Facts


    • In the new legislative package, the possibilities for federal police to use hidden investigators would be extended.
    • Up to now they could only be used for criminal prosecution. Under proposed legislation, such surveillance would be extended in the name of heading off terrorist threats.
    • The former justice minister questions this change because it extends criminal law to suspicions, rather than limiting it to legally defined offenses.
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Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the government has subjected its citizens to increasing surveillance without concrete grounds for suspicion. Digital surveillance is the major means to this end, with countless amounts of data being recorded, registered and linked.

Officials say this huge exchange of information is aimed at discovering and preventing terrorist threats.

With great haste in the early years of the new millennium, the various intelligence services became more tightly networked. New agencies such as the Joint Counter Terrorism Center were created, new criminal offenses were enshrined into law, and new databases emerged.

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