Germany′s Politicians Wary About Video Surveillance in Homes | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 20.04.2008
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Germany's Politicians Wary About Video Surveillance in Homes

The German government plans to further tighten controversial anti-terror laws. Social Democrats and opposition politicians are concerned.

A policewoman looks at video monitors showing street activity

Investigators may have an eye on innocent people's activities in private if the law passes

Opposition is growing against the government's plans to expand Germany's anti-terror legislation. Top Social Democratic legal expert Klaus-Uwe Benneter called the bill a "collection of barbarities out of all the states' police legislation," in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper over the weekend.

"The last word has not yet been spoken," he warned, saying that the bill would be closely scrutinized.

The amended anti-terror legislation would allow the Federal Crime Office (BKA) to plant bugs and video cameras and secretly record activities not merely in the homes of terror suspects, but also in those of people they associate with.

Some politicians are worried that innocent and unsuspicious people will end up being targeted and their civil rights abused.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a Christian Democrat, and Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, a Social Democrat, have agreed on the bill, known as the BKA law. A cabinet decision is expected this summer.

Constitutional or no?

Zypries defended the plans on Sunday, April 20.

"We looked very carefully at the rules in the BKA law, it was in line with the constitution," she said in an interview with Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Schaeuble and Zypries

Schaeuble and Zypries are in agreement over the bill

However, opposition politicians expressed skepticism.

The Free Democratic Party's domestic affairs expert, Max Stadler, said employing hidden cameras in private homes was "constitutionally very questionable."

Top Green party parliamentarian Renate Kuenast told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that the bill posed a threat to people's civil rights.

The Left party domestic expert, Petra Pau, was also critical: "Anyone who wants to know and control everything, has departed from the foundation of the Constitution."

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