The Federal Criminal Police Office can search a database with almost 6 million facial images, the system is now being equipped with artificial intelligence
Last week, the German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer surprisingly moved away from plans to expand facial recognition in public spaces. He had demanded that the use of so-called intelligent video surveillance be anchored in the Federal Police Law. In the current draft of the new law, the topic is now excluded. However, it is questionable whether this really means a renunciation of the technology. The Ministry is of the opinion that § 27 of the Federal Police Act allows the automatic evaluation of camera images anyway. It states that the Federal Police may „use automatic image recording and image capturing devices“. Actually, this meant automatic continuous operation and remote control of video cameras. In the legal literature, it is therefore disputed whether the analysis of images using algorithms or artificial intelligence is covered by this. „German authorities improve face recognition“ weiterlesen
Procedures according to §§ 100 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) to determine the whereabouts and identification of mobile phones in Germany
In addition to telecommunications surveillance (§ 100a StPO) and online searches (§ 100b StPO), German police authorities use technical means within the framework of §§ 100 StPO to determine the location of mobile phones. These include the so-called „silent SMS“, IMSI-Catcher and cell site analysis. Customs and the secret services are also partially authorised to perform these tasks. Six-monthly parliamentary inquiries in the Bundestag document that the number of measures for federal authorities has remained at about the same level in recent years. According to the figures of individual states, the investigative methods under Sections 100 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are in some cases used much more frequently there than by federal authorities. Some measures for the localisation of telephone owners are in a grey area and have led to legal adjustments. A ruling by the Federal Court of Justice last year could be the reason why the figures for „silent SMS“ have suddenly fallen sharply. Some federal states are currently merging into „Joint Competence and Service Centres“ in the field of police telecommunications surveillance (GKDZ), which are being set up in Hamburg and Leipzig/Dresden. It is possible that with these centralised GKDZs, the number of measures for telecommunications surveillance within the framework of §§ 100 StPO will increase further. „The tracking bug in your pocket: Mobile phone surveillance in Germany“ weiterlesen
The blog Netzpolitik.org graphically displays the sending of „Silent SMS“ every six months. This shows the extent to which police forces and secret services use mobile phones as tracking bugs. Because of this „condensation“ of information worthy of protection, the figures for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are classified as „secret“.
German Federal authorities currently use significantly less „Silent SMS“ than in previous years. This is shown by the actual figures, which the Federal Ministry of the Interior (MoI) provides on request every six months. Accordingly, the Federal Police (BPOL) sent 20,152 „Silent SMS“ in the first half of 2019 (second half of 2018: 50,654; first half of 2018: 38,990). There was also a decrease by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). In the first half of 2019 the figure was only 6,302, compared with 21,337 secret text messages previously sent by the authority. „Less „Silent SMS“ from German police, but more secrecy for domestic intelligence“ weiterlesen
The Christchurch attack has promoted discussions on the mandatory removal of online content. At several levels, the German government is involved in global initiatives. However, the German exaggerated requests for deletion find little sympathy.
The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is not very successful in removing terrorist Internet content. With 2,800 files or postings, not even half of all German reports were removed by Internet service providers after an examination. This was written by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to a parlamentarian question.
Thus the BKA is clearly below the quota of 85%, as it is reached by the EU police agency Europol for reports to the companies. Since 2015, Europol has been sending requests for deletion via its „Internet Referral Unit“ (EU IRU). In October last year, the BKA also set up a „national Internet Referral Unit“ and since then has sent more than 6,000 reports to Internet service providers via the Europol channel. „Uploadfilter for crime scene videos: EU governments ensure „crisis response protocol“ for US Internet companies“ weiterlesen
Despite an explicit ban, many countries use Interpol arrest warrants to pursue their opposition. The police organisation therefore wants to examine tens of thousands of alerts issued between 2014 and 2016 more closely. The main focus is on possible asylum seekers.
Article 3 of Interpol’s statutes prohibits any „any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character“. The international warrants for arrest (the so-called „Red Notices“) must not undermine this policy. However, some states have used the Interpol arrest warrants to prosecute government opponents. A special „Notices and Diffusion Task Force“ to deal with this has recently started work. It now consists of seven members from Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Sweden and Ukraine, according to a EU document now published by the British organisation Statewatch. „Misuse of warrants: Interpol wants to clean up“ weiterlesen
Some Member States use the international police organisation to persecute their opposition. 80,000 arrest warrants are therefore being re-examined.
The Interpol police organisation may not use its international arrest warrants for political persecution. Article 3 of the Statutes therefore prohibits „any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character“. Nevertheless, the Interpol channel is used by the 194 member states for politically motivated searches. For this reason, the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), which is responsible for arrest warrants, examines the deployment of „suitable personnel“ in order to check all existing arrest warrants at Interpol for a possible violation of the Interpol statutes. The employees are to be recruited from the state justice administrations. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has already been sending a fully qualified lawyer to a corresponding control commission at Interpol since 1 January. „German government wants to repair Interpol“ weiterlesen
The Hamburg police use the EU arrest warrant and the European Investigation Order to prosecute activists after the G20 summit. The Federal Criminal Police Office assumes the function of a central office.
After the G20 summit, the Hamburg special commission „Black Block“ travelled several times to neighbouring countries for an „exchange of knowledge“. This was announced by the Hamburg Senate at the request of Christiane Schneider, a member of parliament. The Senate did not write which measures and visited authorities were involved. Two weeks ago, the Hamburg police announced the dissolution of the special commission. All criminal investigations into the G20 summit are now being continued by an investigation team based at the Political Department of the Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Hamburg. „The long arm of repression“ weiterlesen
After the detention of critical authors and journalists, Interpol came under criticism. All arrest warrants should be reviewed retroactively for possible political persecution. German authorities promised to check incoming warrants more strictly. Little has happened since then.
In police investigations, the border to political or religious persecution is sometimes blurred. This becomes particularly critical when international warrants come from non-democratic countries. In order not to transform the Interpol authority into an instrument of political persecution, it is therefore strictly forbidden „to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character“. However, this does not prevent some countries from issuing searches or, as in the case of Germany, from playing the game in some cases. „German Criminal Police maintains arrest warrants despite Interpol warning about political persecution“ weiterlesen
The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is expanding its capabilities for biometric face recognition. For this purpose, the performance of the central face recognition system (GES), with which the BKA has been able to search its databases since 2008, is to be reviewed. The Office will then decide whether a new facial recognition system should be procured or whether the existing 2D system should be „upgraded“. The GES searches the electronic police information system at the BKA (known as INPOL), which currently contains over 4 million searchable photographs. The Federal Ministry of the Interior reported 26,879 searches for 2017 (2016: 23,064, 2015: 16,773). Until 2015, the BKA had participated in the „GES-3D“ project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. For the identification of people from photo and video data, ear recognition is also integrated. The aim of this study should be to switch to such a 3D system. „More face recognition at the German Federal Criminal Police“ weiterlesen