G20 riots: Police ignore extinguishing order of the data protector

The police Hamburg continues to use a biometric reference database in search of rioters around the G20 summit in July 2017 in the Hanseatic city. The State Data Protection Commissioner Johannes Caspar had ordered in late 2018 that the IT system must be deleted, in which the investigators have saved the faces of thousands of citizens. Nevertheless, prosecutors have since researched 92 cases in the biometric database and have not at least put pertinent measures on hold.

The numbers come from a now published Response of the Senate on a request of the left-wing fraction of the Hamburgische B├╝rgerschaft. Accordingly, 72 of the new searches involved known suspects, 19 were directed against strangers. All in all, the responsible special commission "Black Block" carried out 782 searches in the controversial system "Facial Analysis Software" (GAS). According to the Senate, access to the sensitive database is otherwise only available to the responsible administrators.

The Senate can not say how many suspected persons have so far been transferred by means of automated technology to the corresponding "Investigation Group 181". This would require a manual review of all manual and investigative files with around 800 cases, which was "not possible in the time available to answer a parliamentary question".

Caspar had already classified the controversial investigation action as illegal over a year ago and called on the local police to delete the "unlawful biometric data" and to stop the use of the automated face recognition software Videmo 360. His later arrangement, he justified mainly with the fact that the automated capture "different and without an event" happened. It affects masses of people who are not suspicious.

The city authorities of Hamburg complained in January against the request of Caspar, as they want to use the specially purchased analysis program permanently. The administrative court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on 23 October. At the same time, the Senate wants to be on the safe side before a ruling: even though the data protection official has used the comparatively sharp mean of the order only once, according to the Draft of the black-green state government be completely withdrawn from the administration for a reform of the police law. He could only give warnings or complaints to those who often go unnoticed.

Caspar himself showed up in a first opinion Surprised about the project: the legal situation already states that the police until the final court decision on the action for annulment is not bound by the instruction. So far, the law enforcement officers have had no problem ignoring his criticism and prohibition order. The Data Protection Officer considers that this is legally permissible as long as the legal proceedings are ongoing, as this would be a long-term violation of the rights and freedoms of those affected.

The initiative also sees Sebastian Golla, research associate at the University of Mainz for data protection law as critical. He referred to inconsistencies with European law, which required effective remedy for data protection supervision. The bill points in the opposite direction. The internal expert of the Greens in the citizenry, Antje M├Âller, already described the Senate's submission to heise online as a compromise on several points. In their view, it would be desirable for the DPO to have "consistent powers over all state legislations". This seems legally but apparently hardly possible. The coalition will continue to discuss the issue after the hearings.


. (TagsToTranslate) Biometrics (t) Privacy (t) Tracing (t) Hamburg (t) Police