German minister wants access to computers

5th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 April 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has confirmed plans to seek a change to the constitution to allow the state secret access to the computers of private individuals, in an interview published Thursday. "Under certain conditions it must be possible for the Federal Criminal Police Office to search computers in secret," Schaeuble told the Handelsblatt newspaper. Schaeuble's attempts to gain greater powers for police and other state authorities, including storing the finge

5 April 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has confirmed plans to seek a change to the constitution to allow the state secret access to the computers of private individuals, in an interview published Thursday.

"Under certain conditions it must be possible for the Federal Criminal Police Office to search computers in secret," Schaeuble told the Handelsblatt newspaper.

Schaeuble's attempts to gain greater powers for police and other state authorities, including storing the fingerprints of all Germans, have run into opposition within the ruling broad-based coalition.

The interior minister noted a recent federal court ruling that there was no legal basis for secret scanning of computers online.

"Now we have to create a legal basis, so that this instrument is available, at least to counter serious threats," he said.

"Terrorists do not use carrier pigeons to communicate," Schaeuble said, adding the current controversy in Germany had been blown up out of all proportion.

Criminals were communicating with each other online and finding instructions on how to make bombs on the internet, Schaeuble said.

"This is always a race between the police and the criminals. We do not want the latter to be better equipped than the security authorities."

Schaeuble described criticism of his plans on civil liberties grounds as "naive."

The most serious attacks on individual rights were an assault on the person and identity theft, and his task was to guarantee security, he said.

"The overwhelming majority of the people see this the same way," Schaeuble said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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