100 x CILIP: Civil liberties in the shadow of police

by Wolf-Dieter Narr
In March 1978, Bürgerrechte & Polizei/CILIP published its first issue. Since then, the journal has pursued a double agenda: it did and still does aim at providing an information service and to focus on a broad set of issues: structural data on police developments in Germany and Europe; including legal developments, personal data, deployed weapons, problems with the control of police and opportunities to create public awareness around these themes. On the other hand, this information service sought to support the work of critical civil society groups with well-analysed and convincing data.

Violence – Police – Violence
by Norbert Pütter
Without violence, there is no monopoly on violence. Without violence there is no state. Without a state, there is no police. The relation between the modern state and its ability to enforce its will onto its subjects/citizens is insoluble. The development of the political system into parliamentary democracy has not changed this fact: the democratic-parliamentary legal order still has to be enforced – in cases of emergency with violence, and with the police. However much we have got (and had to get) used to the idea that the police institution is allegedly necessary, it should also be clear that its institutional logic stands in the way of a democratic society.

Do(n’t) panic? Police surveillance and a civil liberties critique
Interview by Eric Töpfer
Legal regulation and data protection were always behind the information technology revolution in policing since the first mainframe computers started their operation at the Federal Criminal Police Office in the early 70s. What has changed, which problems result from these developments, and what are the chances to contain the risks? These issues are discussed by data protection activists Markus Dengel, Sönke Hilbrans and Constanze Kurz.

Law, civil liberties and internal security
Interview by Fredrik Roggan
For more than three decades the Federal Republic of Germany has witnessed the continuous extension of its police and secret service remits. In the wake of the proactive approach to policing, an array of increasingly vague legal definitions replaced clearly defined legal norms. We asked three critical jurists: How do they assess the quality of the „security law” and what drives the law makers?

Protest and Police: a small history of protest
Interview by Martin Beck, Matthias Monroy and Heiner Busch
The history of the Federal Republic of Germany is also the history of protest. Its form has changed, together with the police’s approach of policing demonstrations. We investigate this history together with four activists from three generations of protest. The issues, amongst others, are: demonstration bans, novel police tactics and arms, arrests, the police’s public relations work and, of course, the changing forms of protest.

The new European police cooperation – an appraisal
by Heiner Busch
The founding of TREVI in 1976 marked the beginning of new police cooperation in Europe. When looking back to these first years one has to concede that the current forms and methods of cooperation were unimaginable then. This applies to the extent and the forms of information exchange and it applies especially to the operational cooperation and physical border crossing by the police. The fact that sovereign states could tolerate or even request from a neighbouring state the deployment of riot police squads with executive powers on their own territories was an unthinkable scenario at the time.

Case for a new civil liberties discourse on secret services
by Mark Holzberger and Albrecht Mauer
The call to abolish the secret service or at least the demand to uphold the constitutional separation of security services and the police are part of the long-standing repertoire of the German Left and civil liberties organisations. The law of separation of intelligence services and executive police powers is a legacy of the Western allies which at the time of the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany was intended to prevent the creation of a new Gestapo. In the face of the current „networked security” – that is the merging of police and intelligence agencies – such demands appear slightly old-fashioned now. Secondly, they have been politically unsuccessful, and thirdly, hardly enforceable in the European context. Fourthly and finally, the question arises whether in the face of the terrorist threat, secret methods might be necessary to a certain degree. An open discussion on secret services and the police and the possibilities to limit their powers is therefore necessary.

Abolish secret services – a reply
by Heiner Busch and Norbert Pütter
A state’s security policy builds its foundation on the circumstance that new threats are to be found everywhere. Secret services, however, have yet to prove that they could have averted them. On the other hand, it is clear that they themselves have the potential to threaten the foundations of democracy. Because they are „secret”, it is unknown how often and in which circumstances they trigger that potential. It is impossible to control the secret services systematically; at the same time, they are the instrument at any given government’s disposal that is the most difficult to control by democratic means. There is no alternative to their abolition, without replacement.