Merkel suffers unexpected rebuff on terrorism bill

29th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The bill reforms the federal police and includes powers to break into personal computers during preventive inquiries into terrorism and other serious crimes.

Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government suffered a shocking setback on Friday, with the upper chamber of parliament refusing to pass a bill that would authorize police to use computer viruses to hunt terrorists.

The legislation had already been passed by the Bundestag lower chamber, where Merkel's coalition holds a majority position, and was expected to sail through to the upper chamber, where 16 state governments are represented.

The bill reforms the federal police and includes powers to break into personal computers during preventive inquiries into terrorism and other serious crimes.

The police have been studying whether they could either enter premises to plant monitoring devices in computers or send viruses to computers via the internet to allow investigators to covertly read the hard disks.

Critics also claimed the bill would impinge on the vow of silence from journalists, lawyers and doctors.

Most of the states are controlled by Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or their allies and her control of the Bundesrat has been fundamental in her authority since she became chancellor in 2005.

But several states, where the CDU rules in coalition with smaller parties, abstained on Friday when the bill was submitted for a vote. A second resolution, which referred the bill back to a committee of both chambers, also failed. Objection to the bill was echoed among civil liberties groups.

DPA/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article