Social groups and a number of politicians are calling for what is known as the surveillance accounting system (ÜGR). It should show the sum of all surveillance measures available to the authorities. But the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) does not see any need for this and does not consider a ÜGR to be practically feasible. The federal government explains this in a response to a request from the Bundestag member Anke Domscheit-Berg (Die Linke), which heise is online. Accordingly, the executive already “takes into account” the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) on the proportionality of encroachments on fundamental rights.
In their ruling on data retention in 2010, the Karlsruhe judges urged the legislature to act with “greater restraint” when considering further monitoring measures with a “view of the entirety of the various existing data collections”. The lawyer Alexander Roßnagel, who recently took over the office of the Hessian data protection officer, therefore demanded that the legislature should examine the proportionality of the burdens on civil liberties on the basis of “an overall view of all available state surveillance measures.
BMI: examination is sufficient
The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) argues that the Federal Ministry of the Interior is already “taking into account” when examining new legal powers “which competencies the respective security authority has to collect data and whether readjustment is” actually necessary and proportionate. ” “Laws restricting fundamental rights may only be passed if they are suitable, necessary and appropriate to achieve a legitimate regulatory purpose.”
The government emphasizes that special periodic reporting obligations are often already provided for in existing monitoring laws, which also serve the ongoing evaluation that is already required for essential standards. “The question of unintended side effects and the acceptance of the regulations can also be investigated”. If a ÜGR should be carried out separately from this previous dogmatics and methodology of the proportionality test, it is also unclear how this could be operationalized in the context of a fundamental rights assessment.
Strike against democracy
Domscheit-Berg sees the decision as a “slap in the face of democracy”. The Federal Ministry of the Interior ridiculed “the highest court rulings in Karlsruhe, which have repeatedly conceded surveillance laws from the federal government”. It is completely unacceptable that the executive branch considers it sufficient for it to decide for itself “whether the cumulative surveillance possibly exceeds limits”. What is finally needed is a “comprehensive overview of the necessity and effectiveness of state encroachments on fundamental rights that the police and secret services carry out on a daily basis”.
For the left, “a moratorium on new surveillance laws is indispensable”. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, it is part of the constitutional identity of the Federal Republic of Germany “that the citizens’ exercise of freedom must not be fully recorded and registered”. The reference to evaluations is cheeky, since there was no such thing in the planned IT Security Act 2.0.
The FDP parliamentary group is also calling for a ÜGR “instead of further restrictions on civil rights”. Privacy advocates supported this application in a Hearing in the Bundestag in February; Legal scholars were divided at the time.
Monitoring barometer proposed
The Max Planck Institute for Research into Crime, Security and Law is already working on a concept on behalf of the liberal Friedrich Naumann Foundation to operationalize a ÜGR. In an initial inventory the researchers identified at least 15 categories of mass data stored without cause. Furthermore, there is a large reservoir of personal information for government access in the economy. At the end of the day, a monitoring barometer should make the encroachments on fundamental rights transparent. Previously, the DigitalCourage organization had a List of monitoring measures in Germany published as a collection of materials for a ÜGR.