Court rejects eavesdropping law

3rd March 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 March 2004 , KARLSRUHE - In a victory for legal and civil rights advocates, Germany's supreme court Wednesday ruled unconstitutional a 1998 law which gave authorities wider permission on electronic eavesdropping in private homes. The Federal Constitutional Court did not knock down the entire law, but said that major parts of it, by violating human dignity, are unconstitutional in the way it is applied. The court gave the federal state until 30 June 2005 to make changes in the law, with the court ordering

3 March 2004

KARLSRUHE - In a victory for legal and civil rights advocates, Germany's supreme court Wednesday ruled unconstitutional a 1998 law which gave authorities wider permission on electronic eavesdropping in private homes.

The Federal Constitutional Court did not knock down the entire law, but said that major parts of it, by violating human dignity, are unconstitutional in the way it is applied.

The court gave the federal state until 30 June 2005 to make changes in the law, with the court ordering that there must be clearly stricter restrictions applied to eavesdropping.

The eavesdropping legislation, called the "Grosser Lauschangriff", was passed in the spring of 1998 on a large bipartisan majority in what was argued as a necessary tool in fighting the rise in organised crime in Germany.

But many legal rights and human rights experts at the time warned that move would violate the sanctity of private homes, something guaranteed in the constitution.

The Karlsruhe judges on Wednesday cited this "core area" of privacy as being one of the constitutional guarantee to protect human dignity, a guarantee which the state also may not violate even in the interest of fighting crime.

The judges said that conversations among people in their private homes should be kept out of the reach of crime investigators, with exceptions to be made in cases where there was "concrete evidence" pointing to criminal activity.

 

DPA
Subject: German news

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