Copyright infringement: Radio Dreyeckland issues a warning to secret service

Once again, a domestic secret service has used a photo without asking the rights holders for permission. In the Freiburg case, this also discredits journalism. The interference of the agency in the formation of political will is also critical.

The popular Radio Dreyeckland was successful with a warning against the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Without asking for the necessary permission, the domestic secret service had used a picture to illustrate an article and must therefore pay €1,500. This was confirmed to netzpolitik.org by the Berlin lawyer David Werdermann, who represents the Freiburg-based radio station.

The warning was about a picture by freelance journalist Julian Rzepa that Radio Dreyeckland had previously published on its website. It shows a demonstration on the occasion of a house eviction on 11 December 2021 in Freiburg city centre. At www.rdl.de it was clearly marked „all rights reserved“. „Copyright infringement: Radio Dreyeckland issues a warning to secret service“ weiterlesen

Equipment and training: Germany supports police build-up in Croatia

The Croatian police are known for their brutality and human rights violations at the country’s external borders, yet the German governments continues to train them. Number plate scanners, thermal imaging cameras and vehicles could be used for pushbacks in violation of international law.

Croatia has been an official member of the European Union since 2013. Until then, the Western Balkan state has received the usual financial „pre-accession aid“ to get fit for joining the Schengen area. However, the country is still denied full application of the Schengen acquis because of concerns raised by France and the Netherlands about the lack of rule of law. Therefore, internal border controls with neighbouring EU states Slovenia and Hungary continue.

However, one reason for the blockade of full Schengen application by individual EU members could also be Croatia’s function as a bulwark on the so-called „Balkan route“. Many refugees cross the country to reach wealthier EU states and apply for asylum there. Maintaining internal border controls with its northern neighbours could make this unwanted migration more difficult. „Equipment and training: Germany supports police build-up in Croatia“ weiterlesen

Data Protection Commissioner’s audit: Germany’s largest police database contains many illicit records

After ten years, the German Federal Data Protection Commissioner has again inspected the INPOL-Z file at the Federal Criminal Police. There are still considerable problems there; even administrative offenses can lead to storage. In some cases, the auditor waived a formal complaint because the police wanted to delete the data immediately.

For all German federal and state police authorities, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden operates the central INPOL-Z information system. It consists of various files, including the Criminal File Index or Police Records (ED). Many millions of facial images and fingerprints of suspects and asylum seekers are stored there. This makes it the largest police database in the Federal Republic. Customs can also access it.

However, a lot of personal data is stored here illegally. The then Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI), Peter Schaar, had already pointed this out in 2011 after an audit visit to the BKA. Ten years later, his successor Ulrich Kelber has once again signed up for a „consultation and inspection visit“ in Wiesbaden to check whether the „recommendations“ made at the time have been implemented. „Data Protection Commissioner’s audit: Germany’s largest police database contains many illicit records“ weiterlesen

German police and secret service: Transmission of Kurdish association data is illegal

Associations of foreign nationals are kept in a central register in Germany. Members of Kurdish foundations are subject to special surveillance. However, a corresponding decree from 1994 can not be found anymore.

The German Federal Office of Administration (BVA) transmits data on Kurdish associations to the police and secret service without any reason. The background to this is a 1994 decree by then Interior Minister Manfred Kanther (Christian Democrats) to prosecute the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK), which had been forbidden in Germany a year earlier.

However, there is no legal basis for this nearly thirty-year-old practice. This is confirmed by an expert opinion of the Scientific Services in the Bundestag, which was commissioned by Gökay Akbulut, a member of the Left Party. Akbulut commented that this was a „blatant breach of law and politically intolerable“. „German police and secret service: Transmission of Kurdish association data is illegal“ weiterlesen

EU PNR Directive: Germany stored and processed 63 million passengers

Four years ago, the German parliament passed a Passenger Data Act, and since then, more and more travellers have been dragnetted. Federal police and customs take over „follow-up measures“.

German police authorities processed around 212 million passenger data last year. Corrected for double counting, this concerned about 63 million travellers at German commercial airports. The figures come from the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s answer to a parliamentary question.

Compared to 2020, the numbers have more than doubled. At that time, a good 100 million data records from around 31 million passengers were processed in cross-border civil air traffic. In 2019, one year after the start of the system, the figures were about a third lower. „EU PNR Directive: Germany stored and processed 63 million passengers“ weiterlesen

„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content

Currently, removal requests to hosting providers only have to be voluntarily complied with, but on 7 June, the regulation on mandatory removal of terrorist online content will come into force. It only applies to jihadist propaganda. The German government is only now introducing an implementation law.

Once again, Europol has held a „Referral Action Day“ on the removal of internet content. This time the focus was on the online music service Soundcloud. The EU police agency reported around 1,100 illegal audio files and user profiles with terrorist or extremist content to the provider.

The „Action Day“ covered the week between 5 and 13 May. The activities were led by the Counter-Terrorism Centre, which was set up at Europol by EU interior ministers in 2015. This is also where the Internet Content Reporting Unit (EU IRU) is located, which is responsible for detecting and reporting content. „„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content“ weiterlesen

Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group

Despite Brexit, British police can influence surveillance laws in the EU. The country is also represented in European secret service circles.

Notwithstanding its exit from the European Union, the British police will remain a member of a Standing Heads of Lawful Interception Units based at Europol. The UK is represented there by the National Crime Agency. This was confirmed by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in her answer to a parlamentary question by the pirate Patrick Breyer. The UK is thus the only third country in the group, which otherwise consists exclusively of EU members and the Schengen states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

The working group of the departments on telecommunications surveillance had once been founded as a strategic „5G Expert Group“ on the initiative of the German Federal Criminal Police Office. It was supposed to give the authorities access to the new telephone standard, which was actually tap-proof. After this was successfully pushed through in the European and international standardisation bodies ETSI and 3GPP, the group was given a new name and new tasks in October 2021. It is now to ensure that the needs of law enforcement agencies are taken into account when amending surveillance laws at EU level and in the member states. „Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group“ weiterlesen

Secret German drone defence

The Federal Police secures all German commercial airports against unwanted approaches by small copters. Mobile installations are followed by a stationary platform

Obstructions caused by small drones at German airports remain at the same level as in previous years. In 2021, 98 incidents were reported to Deutsche Flugsicherung. This is according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior in its answer to a parlamentarian question from the Left Party. In 2018, there were 158 incidents, which is the highest figure recorded to date.

Despite this, the government is making great efforts to defend commercial airports against drones. The public is not supposed to know which mobile systems are installed there. The reason given is that knowledge would allow „opponents“ to draw conclusions about the technical capabilities of the police authorities. „Secret German drone defence“ weiterlesen

German ANOM investigations: The mysterious EU third state

The FBI had a crypto-messenger programmed that was fully intercepted. For legal reasons, the US authority received the intercepted communication via detours. Because of „hearsay court orders“, its use in German criminal proceedings is questionable.

Ever since the encrypted messenger service EncroChat was hacked by authorities from France and the Netherlands in March 2020, investigative proceedings have been piling up at law enforcement agencies across Europe. Millions of chat messages have been transmitted via Europol to the relevant authorities in EU member states for follow-up. Almost every day, therefore, there are new raids, arrests or convictions in Germany as well.

Although the hack was presumably carried out by a French secret service and involved mass surveillance without any reason, the German Federal Supreme Court – unlike some regional courts before it – recently allowed the use of EncroChat data as evidence in Germany in principle. This was because the information had been collected by France, i.e. an EU member state, and passed on within the framework of European mutual legal assistance. The countries participating in this set of rules were to be trusted in principle. „German ANOM investigations: The mysterious EU third state“ weiterlesen

Germany: Mobile phones as a tracking bug

With silent SMS, cell site analysis and IMSI catchers, authorities can pinpoint the location of a mobile device to within a few metres.

Last year, the German Federal Criminal Police sent about 68,000 silent SMS in 33 cases (one of which was a danger aversion case), which is a significant increase compared to preceding years. The Federal Police sent around 48,000 silent text messages in 56 criminal proceedings, which is roughly the average of past years. This is stated in the answer to a parliamentary question by the Left Party in the Bundestag. „Germany: Mobile phones as a tracking bug“ weiterlesen