Police Software in Hessen and Hamburg: eco Association Welcomes Ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court

eco – Association of the Internet Industry welcomes the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court regarding software data analysis undertaken by the police in Hessen and Hamburg. The court has declared the regulations on automated data analysis for the preventive combatting of criminal offences that have applied in both federal states to be unconstitutional. The legislators must now revise the situation.

Klaus Landefeld, eco Board Member for Infrastructure & Networks and a plaintiff in the case, has the following to say:

“The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court makes it clear how problematic state law regulations can be when they keep expanding the powers of the police. This is a worrying trend that applies not only at the state, but also at the federal level. The continuous expansion of preventive police powers in the police laws clearly violates the fundamental rights of all citizens.

“What I consider to be highly problematic is the preventive application for combatting criminal offences. Databases are linked and analysed in an automated manner. This also affects completely non-involved citizens who become the subject of investigations. With the analysis software used, the police can completely screen people and their environment. It is right that the Federal Constitutional Court has demanded clear limits for the powers of the police authorities in the preventive combatting of criminal offences.

“At the time, the legislative procedures were introduced in a knee-jerk fashion. Especially with respect to data protection and civil rights, what would have been needed was an in-depth discussion in the legislative process. The issues raised by the appeal on the protection of the constitution could and should have been discussed within the framework of a proper legislative procedure. The problematic regulations and the lack of constitutionality had already been explicitly pointed out in the preliminary stages. This has now been acknowledged by the Federal Constitutional Court. As one of the complainants who filed a constitutional complaint against the Hessen Police Act and the Hessen Constitutional Protection Act, I am particularly pleased with the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court.”



eco Board Member Klaus Landefeld on the German Coalition Agreement: “A surveillance overview bill must not just be lip service”