Thematic Focus: Police Data Culture

Looking Ahead Through the Data Jungle. Datafication and Prevention – An Introduction
by Benjamin Derin, Christian Meyer and Friederike Wegner

That governments are interested in data is by no means a new insight. But with advancing digitalization, potential uses for information are reaching new levels – and so is their pursuit by the police. The already large administrative appetite for data is now falling upon a more susceptible society that is increasingly adhering to the dogma of prevention and is redefining its understanding of security and risk.

From Card Files to Data Warehouses
by Dirk Burzcyk

The history of automated data processing by the German police began with the INPOL system in the 70s. Since the 90s, the police have regularly presented new plans to modernize their information systems. INPOL-neu was followed by PIAV, and with the current “Polizei 2020” project, the next attempt is being made at replacing the separate “data silos” with a joint data warehouse for all of German police.

Tactical Resource: Smartphone
by Stephanie Schmidt

Equipping German police with smartphones is part of the “Polizei 2020” project and aims at facilitating police officers’ daily work routines. But smartphones are not merely technical devices influencing official day-to-day routine through apps and messengers. As social objects, they suggest actions and communicative practices which discursively duplicate crisis and hazard scenarios.

Data Protection is Turning into an Empty Vessel
Interview with the data protection commissioner of Hamburg

Johannes Caspar unsuccessfully tried to bar the police from storing tens of thousands of facial images after the G20 summit. Matthias Monroy talked to him about the role of data protection in the automation of information systems, police in social media, encryption, and EU cooperation.

Artificial Intelligence in Police Work
by Nina Galla

At least 75 countries are employing artificial intelligence (AI) for police purposes. Pilot projects exist in Germany, as well. In general, AI causes investigations to shift to an earlier point in time due to machine-detected correlations. The problems become apparent when considering how machines learn, how they reach decisions, and how these decisions are dealt with.

A Short History of Automated Facial Recognition
by Roland Meyer

In a concerted action by police and security authorities on the one hand  and commercial enterprises on the other, the development of automated facial recognition has been pressed ahead since the 1960s. Failed attempts and persistently high false-positive quotas have not stopped this storyline. It’s high time for a political discussion.

The SIS – 220 Queries per Second
by Matthias Monroy

Europe’s largest wanted-persons database has been expanded in recent years. The amount of alerts and queries is rising significantly. Currently, additional functions are being gradually implemented, and the group of users whom access is granted is being broadened. Furthermore, the EU “Interoperability” project connects the SIS with other EU databases. Now, “Brexit” is sowing confusion.

Non-Thematic Contributions

The Club de Berne – Out of Control
by Jan Jirát and Lorenz Naegeli

Founded in 1969, the Club de Berne is today considered an official network of the domestic intelligence services of the EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland. New documents show that US agencies are involved, too. In the meantime, this guild of secret intelligence agencies disposes of its own operative platform that comes with a database of personal data. Although the latter may have been granted a legal foundation in national laws, there is still no democratic control.

The IT Security Act 2.0
by Louisa Zech

Once more, the German parliament is to address the protection of IT systems and the data they store. The 2015 reform of the IT Security Act is now to be followed by another. A draft by the Federal Ministry of the Interior from 27 March 2019 is currently undergoing interdepartmental coordination. The plan is characterized by extensive criminalization of activities in early or preparatory stages, as well as a worryingly broad wording of criminal offences.

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