Tracking corona infections: German Luca app in a downfall

Five Länder no longer renew their contracts with culture4life, the company’s new business model could also run into turbulence

So far, 13 German federal states have used the Luca app to warn of Corona infections, but at least five governments want to do without it in the future. Most recently, Berlin announced that it would no longer extend its contract with the manufacturer culture4life GmbH. Previously, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Bremen dropped out. According to Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Brandenburg is also planning to end its use.

The Luca app is used in restaurants, cafés, shops, but also public institutions. Hosts and organisers can create a QR code that visitors can then scan with the app and leave their personal data. Conversely, it is possible for the host to read a QR code stored on the mobile phone at the entrance control. The service also works without an app via an internet browser. „Tracking corona infections: German Luca app in a downfall“ weiterlesen

Berlin-Kreuzberg: Social Democrats want to set up police station in left-wing scene district

Against the opposition of their own party, the Berlin SPD interior senate wants to station police permanently at Berlin’s „Kotti“. However, the senate fears a „partly anti-police scene“. Therefore, the new building will be protected by permanent patrols and more video surveillance.

The interior senate led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin wants to set up a new police station at Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg that will operate 24/7. It is to „significantly increase the presence and visibility of the police in the left-wing scene district“, explained Interior Senator Iris Spranger on Monday after a closed meeting of the Berlin Senate. This would also strengthen a „sense of security“. The entire square has been considered a „crime-ridden area“ (kbO) since 1996. Police are allowed to check identity papers and search people and things there without suspicion of a crime.

The „Kotti“ is a large street intersection with an underground transfer station in the middle of the former postal delivery area „36“. All around, restaurants and shops have settled, the blocks of houses built in the 1970s by „Deutsche Wohnen AG“ were only recently bought up by the state-owned Gewobag Wohnungsbau-Aktiengesellschaft after successful struggles by the „I love Kotti“ campaign. With about 70 per cent, the Kotti has the highest percentage of people with a migration history in Berlin. „Berlin-Kreuzberg: Social Democrats want to set up police station in left-wing scene district“ weiterlesen

„Thin blue line“: German police trainer warns against radicalisation

Police sometimes see themselves as the last „blue line“ against chaos and crime. Various police stations also tweet about this self-image, which is popular among right-wing officers. Websites where police employees  also participate sell patches, mugs and shirts with the problematic symbolism.

Several German police forces published tweets about the so-called „thin blue line“ over Christmas or referred to it in a positive way. The police in Kiel made the start after an action on Christmas Eve. All windows of the middle floor of the three-storey police station near the main railway station were illuminated in dark blue. A photo published on the internet names the night shift as the originator.

The Christmas greeting with the blue line appeared on the private website „Polizist=Mensch“ (translates to „Policeman=Human Being“). After being asked about it on Twitter, the Schleswig-Holstein State Police backed the action. The night shift had wanted to make clear that the police were also available „around the clock for everyone“ during the Christmas holidays. „„Thin blue line“: German police trainer warns against radicalisation“ weiterlesen

New CILIP website collects fatal police shootings

A striking number of people are killed by police in their own homes, and in many cases the victims were in a psychologically exceptional situation. A new website prepares information on police shootings from 1976 in a novel form.

Written with the software developer, data scientist and data analyst Johannes Filter

The greatest risk of being fatally shot by police in Germany has been in the federal states of Hamburg and Hesse since 1976. Overall, Berlin is the deadliest city with 28 victims (10 of them in West Berlin). Most frequently affected are 25-year-old men, the most dangerous month is December. There is also an accumulation on individual weekdays, with Thursdays and the sixth day of the month predominating. Fewer people die from police firearms use at weekends, where the involvement of special units in fatal operations is also significantly lower.

The conclusions are drawn from annual statistics of the magazine CILIP, which we are now re-sorting and visualising. Since 1976, CILIP has been counting fatal police shootings and comparing them with other information. On behalf of the Standing Conference of the Ministers and Senators of the Interior of the Länder (IMK), the German Police College (DHPol) compiles annual statistics on the use of firearms, which are completed in the spring or summer of the following year at the latest and published on request. „New CILIP website collects fatal police shootings“ weiterlesen

Crossings to the UK: EU police to install hidden cameras on French and Belgian beaches

With several police actions, the riparians of the English Channel want to prevent unwanted crossings of migrants. German authorities plan internet campaigns against the sale of inflatable boats and engines. After Brexit, the UK is taking part in these measures funded by the Council of the EU.

Up to 27,000 people may have crossed the English Channel into Britain without passport checks this year alone, tripling their numbers from last year. Crossings in rubber dinghies sometimes take place several times a day and usually very early in the morning, with popular departure points being the French coasts of Bray-Dunes and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.

Britain and France had already concluded several agreements on joint migration control. The government in London recently paid 63 million Euros for the expansion of French patrols, the further doubling of police forces deployed there, comprehensive surveillance technology also in the air as well as floating barriers at port facilities and estuaries. In light of the accident with 27 deaths this Wednesday, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is demanding even more efforts from French President Emmanuel Macron.

„Crossings to the UK: EU police to install hidden cameras on French and Belgian beaches“ weiterlesen

Undercover operations: UK special court sentences police for sexual relations

In at least 27 cases, British police officers have deceived women and entered into intimate relationships with them in undercover missions. According to a verdict handed down yesterday, the police force in charge also interfered with the physical integrity, privacy and political activities of those involved.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in London ruled yesterday on the use of undercover officers against left-wing movements. The Metropolitan Police violated a „formidable list“ of basic human rights. The case was brought by Kate Wilson, a British citizen who alleges sexual abuse and won justice after a ten-year legal battle. „This has been a long and emotional journey, and I am happy to receive this ruling today“, the now 41-year-old activist commented to a campaign group. Her lawyers described the decision as a landmark.

In a separate hearing, the IPT will decide on further remedies, including compensation for the plaintiff and payment of court costs and legal fees. In another court, Wilson and other women had sued for damages because undercover officers entered into relationships with them that lasted up to nine years. The police had publicly apologised for this after pressure from the women concerned, and seven women finally received compensation. „Undercover operations: UK special court sentences police for sexual relations“ weiterlesen

German police use drone to combat social benefit fraud

Along with Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the pioneers in the use of police drones. Now an unmanned aircraft is being used to track organised fraudulent benefits to the disfavor of the job centre

The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has procured a drone in order to convict „groups of offenders with a gang structure“ in the case of fraudulent social benefits. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in its answer to a parlamentarian question. The device, which was financed by the EU Internal Security Fund, is intended for the prosecution of „social benefit fraud by EU citizens“ in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Federal Ministry does not want to disclose which device it is and which company received the order for reasons of „public weal“. Otherwise, the addressees of the measure could protect themselves against it, writes Hans-Georg Engelke, the state secretary in charge. „German police use drone to combat social benefit fraud“ weiterlesen

Germany: Trojans for all

The German Bundestag passed new wiretapping laws for secret services and the Federal Police

In future, German secret services will be able to remotely access private computers or telephones with spy software. They will be allowed to intercept not only ongoing but also „inactive“ communications, i.e. to read out data stored on the devices. This was decided in the Bundestag today with the votes of the ruling coalition of Conservatives (CDU/ CSU) and Socialdemocrats (SPD). The vote was on a „Law on the Adaptation of Legislation on the Protection of the Constitution“, which is intended to facilitate the „reconnaissance of serious threats to our democratic constitutional state“. „Germany: Trojans for all“ weiterlesen

Facial recognition at German police authorities increased by more than a third

Millions of faces, fingerprints and palm prints are stored in German police databases. Law enforcement agencies are also processing more and more biometric data at the EU level.

The comparison of photographs by German police authorities has again increased sharply in the past year. This is shown by statistics based on information provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in a parliamentary interpellation. According to this, a total of 76,535 queries were made in the facial recognition system of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in 2020. The year before, there were still around 54,000 queries, so the increase is more than a third (2018: 41,000, 2017: 27,000). According to the statistics, most of the searches come from the criminal investigation offices, which is also where the greatest increase was recorded.

Since 2009, the BKA has made it possible for the state criminal investigation offices and the Federal Police to identify unknown persons with the help of the central police information system (INPOL-Z). In the database, the BKA stores photographs mainly from the identification service. The „Z“ stands for „central file“, which is kept by the BKA but filled by all police authorities. „Facial recognition at German police authorities increased by more than a third“ weiterlesen

Police in Germany launch large-scale drone project

North Rhine-Westphalia will equip the police with a total of 106 quadrocopters from 2021. They will also be used for the „pursuit of offenders“.

In Germany, more and more police authorities use quadrocopters, mainly to monitor the scene of violent crimes or after traffic accidents. The surveillance of political assemblies does occur, but these missions are still rare. Saxony first acquired small drones over ten years ago and flew them at football matches and demonstrations. In Lower Saxony, a quadrocopter once flew during a nuclear waste transport. In Freiburg, a special operations team recently brought quadrocopters to a house eviction.

Other missions took place this year during the first lockdown in spring. Police in Hesse and Bavaria launched quadrocopters to patrol Corona restrictions in parks, and they are also said to have been used on the island of Rügen. However, it is not known whether any footage was collected and processed in these operations. In North Rhine-Westphalia, drones with loudspeakers flew over green spaces to instruct the public. „Police in Germany launch large-scale drone project“ weiterlesen