Security: De Maiziere wants high-tech cameras, low-tech bag ban | News | DW | 21.08.2016
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Security: De Maiziere wants high-tech cameras, low-tech bag ban

Germany's interior minister wants new surveillance technology and a ban on backpacks at major events. Thomas de Maiziere says the security measures can be implemented without infringing on civil liberties.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the Sunday edition of the nationwide broadsheet "Bild" that he would like to put facial recognition software into place at transit points to help identify terror suspects.

"Private people have the ability to photograph someone and use facial recognition software to figure out whether they have just seen a celebrity or politician," Maiziere told the "Bild am Sonntag" newspaper. "I would like to implement this facial recognition software at airports and train stations."

Lederhosen-clad visitors at an entrance to Oktoberfest, Archive image from 2011

Security at the Oktoberfest has been tightened in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe

De Maiziere also supports a ban on backpacks at large public events such as the one in place at this year's Oktoberfest. "Every museum visitor has long been accustomed to leaving his bag or backpack at the entrance," de Maiziere told the newspaper. "We must get used to increased security measures such as longer lines, stronger controls and personalized tickets. It's annoying, uncomfortable and costs time, but it's not a limitation on freedom for me. If we were to cancel the Oktoberfest, that would be a limitation on freedom. But not, for example, considering a backpack ban."

The Christian Democrat also addressed criticism of measures sought by CDU state interior ministers, who have called for reviewing dual-citizenship laws, increasing public surveillance and imposing a partial ban on full-body coverings worn by some Muslims. Chancellor Angela Merkel and others have come out against the last measure.

The initial steps for another demand, the domestic deployment of the military, could come in autumn. Despite some Social Democrats' resistance to the "necessary and imperative" measures, de Maiziere said, they must be implemented "as quickly as possible."

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mkg/se (AFP, dpa)

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