The International Herald Tribune reports that the German government has drafted a law to expand police powers to monitor individuals’ homes, Internet use, and phone calls. This comes in the midst of a privacy scandal concerning one of the country’s phone providers. Once again, the reason for the expansion is terrorism. “The threat to our country has made it necessary to give the [Federal Crime Office] such rights to counter threats,” said Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The law must be passed by the German Parliament.
The broad expansion of police powers comes as the German government is investigating a privacy scandal concerning phone company Deutsche Telekom (which I previously blogged about). The company recently admitted that it secretly combed through millions of its own business records to review the calls made by some of its executives. Millions of angry customers reportedly canceled their Deutsche Telekom phone services. For more on the privacy and civil liberty protections in the country, see the Germany chapter in “Privacy and Human Rights 2006” from EPIC & Privacy International.