Technologies of repression and the compelling necessity to politicise them
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
From the moment on that the police developed as a force out of the military during the 19th century, its specific technical equipment has played a central role. At the end of the 1960’s, informational and violent techniques in the fight against crime, the pacification of riots and criminal prosecution, became technologies that fundamentally transformed the police force. In view of the technologically refined interventions, the control mechanisms of law and representative democracy are failing. Now the time has come to redefine human rights in a more differentiated manner in order to grasp and communicate the increasingly sublime violations of rights.
INPOL-new: Informationalising every day police work
by Heiner Busch
After more than 10 years of planning and development and after a far-reaching failure of the original plans and a modest new start, the first stage of the new common information system of the German police went online in August 2003. Together with the journal and reports systems that were introduced at the regional level, INPOL-new will lead to a far-reaching computerisation, also of everyday police work.
Digital radio also costs money
by Stephan Stolle
Digital radio is not only tap-proof but also allows for direct access to police databases. Since the 1990’s, the EU has been working on common standards for digital radio. However, since France decided in a solo effort to go for the Tetrapol-Standard developed by Matra, the EU-wide harmony is over. There will also be no German nation-wide digital radio system in the near future as at the end of 2002, the regional and federal finance ministers have put a halt to the 9 thousand million Euro project.
by Detlef Nogala
Forensic DNA-analysis, often delusively called ‚genetic fingerprinting‘, has reached a status within police practice, that has lead to political initiatives arguing for a broadened use of this technology. The article discusses the technical development of forensic DNA-analysis and DNA-databases with view to recent criminological and political reasoning. It points out that there is a strong tendency to register more delinquent populations in order to get more ‚hits‘. Civil libertarian arguments seem to be in the defensive.
Biometrics Boom after 11 September 2001
by Jonathan P. Aus
Since 11 September 2001, the US and the EU are driving the systematic collection and exchange of biometric data forward. In the area of biometric travel documents and border controls, transatlantically agreed standards are now within reach. The US are currently developing a system called US-VISIT, the EU wants to fit the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Schengen Information System (SIS) with biometric data after it already introduced such a system with Eurodac one year ago.
Automatic number plate reading
by Daniel Boos
The use of Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) systems began in the UK in the 1990’s. Meanwhile the technology has spread to the continent. ANPR systems „read“ the video camera transmitted picture of a number plate, transform it into text form and thereby enable further processing, that is the comparison with a database or the creation of movement patterns.
„Non-lethal“ weapons for wars and internal operations
by Olaf Arndt and David Artichouk
In May 2003, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology organised a conference for manufacturers and users of so called non-lethal weapons. The conference showed that the allegedly harmless weapons could be the future for military operations in the „War against Terrorism“ as well as for special police units. There seem to be no limits to the repressive imagination here.
Mutual assistance and extradition agreements with the USA
by Hartmut Wächtler
Soft formulations and far-reaching abandonment of legal protection and data protection possibilities characterise the most recent agreements which the EU has made with the US: the agreement on exchange of personal data with Europol as well as the Conventions on mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition. The bilateral agreement on mutual assistance between Germany and the US also fails to provide real barriers that would prevent a cooperation with the US military tribunals.
Bad times for civil liberties in the USA
by Clemens Arzt
The USA are fighting their „War against Terrorism“ internally as well. The USA Patriot Act is an extensive an untransparent law. It creates new criminal offences (terrorism definition). It blurs the separation of criminal prosecution and secret services which was introduced after the Watergate Scandal. In particular, it has introduced powers to arrest migrants without proper proceedings.
Playing down the surveillance of telecommunications
by Norbert Pütter
By order of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Freiburg Max-Planck-Institute drew up a report on surveillance of telecommunications in Germany. The report increases public knowledge and confirms known facts, but instead of providing a critique guided by constitutional rights, it legitimises the existing practise of surveillance, which was positively received by the minister of justice.