• Germany edition
 
State police gain power to cut mobile network
Photo: DPA

State police gain power to cut mobile network

Published: 18 Dec 2012 12:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Dec 2012 12:50 GMT+01:00

The new law would mean police did not have to be granted permission from a court to shut down wireless communications if they were faced with threats such as a mobile-operated bomb, hostage situation or shooting spree, the daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Saxony-Anhalt would be the first German state to allow this and critics are concerned that police might use their new power to switch off networks during mass demonstrations - something state Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht firmly denied.

He said that the state's governing coalition of Christian and Social Democrats sat down and agreed on a range of different situations in which shutting off mobile connectivity might be needed. “Demonstrations were absolutely not on the list,” he told the paper.

“Networks would only be shut down or interrupted if a situation seemed to pose a direct, serious threat to the state or country, or the life and limb, or freedom, of citizens,” said the draft.

It added that all mobile phone providers would have to make themselves able to be shut off. Turning them back on would be down to the police.

Rüdiger Erben, deputy chairman of the state's Social Democratic parliamentary group, said redrafting the law was important because it was introduced in 1991 when far fewer people had mobiles.

In Berlin, police may only shut down communications networks without the permission of a court if they think there could be a bomb with a mobile-operated detonator. In Thuringia and Lower Saxony, a judge has to be present if police flip the off switch.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:27 December 18, 2012 by trevzns
What do most german citizens expect? They have rights to freedom of commutation and unrestricted freedom of speech?

Germany as a member of the United World Justice League of superheroes and gate keepers of democracy make rules up and govern as they please.
13:36 December 18, 2012 by grinners
The police need more control.

A perfect solution indeed. We should all rally behind Mr Stahlknecht and Mr Erben and praise them for their work.

He really is making a difference and saving lives!
14:16 December 18, 2012 by lucksi
if there was a bomb with a mobile-operated detonator; then that would be the only case something like this should ever be used. Of what good would it be if a mass shooting is taking place to shut of cell phones?

Also, if there was a bomb with a mobile-operated detonator, don't we already have the technology to jam phones on small scale? If we have that, then there is no need for that law at all.
16:21 December 18, 2012 by catjones
Leave it to the germans to outsmart the criminals, aka The Law of Unintended Consequences.
16:54 December 18, 2012 by freechoice
great shutdown the phones, and nobody can call the emergency vehicles. more people will be left dying on the streets. anal thinking again by the local authorities.
18:56 December 18, 2012 by zeddriver
Europeans crack me up. you want a nanny state that takes care of you from cradle to grave. But when the nanny state starts acting like a nanny. Everyone is shocked.
20:02 December 18, 2012 by Englishted
Gema and this welcome to censorship central.
21:41 December 18, 2012 by Tonne
That's right, zeddriver, we like the state to look after us and we are shocked when the state fails to protect us. It's an old world thing.

When elementary schoolchildren are gunned down by a citizen with an assault rifle because the state puts the right to bear arms above the right to life, we are shocked.
23:15 December 18, 2012 by zeddriver
Little slow on the up take Tonne. The nanny state has said it can and will cut off your cell network as it sees fit. And the fans of the nanny state don't like it. If Europeans like the nanny state so much. Why would they question this.

To answer your little diversion. Do you understand how the constitution even works? The founding fathers gave Americans the right to have guns to protect our selves from THEM. Yes. From the very government they started. So there you go Mr. Einstein. The STATE gave the Americans the right to have guns and thought that it was so important. That they codified it into the bill of rights. Which they purposely made difficult to change. But believe it or not. The constitution can and has been changed several times. All it takes is for congress to conviene a constitutional convention proposing a change. Then a super majority of the states then vote to accept or deny said change.
08:13 December 19, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
At least in California, police already have this power (though they'd have to explain themselves afterwards). Google Bill SB 1160 and find the law passed just in August where it can be done " for messages counseling, aiding, abetting, or encouraging treason or resistance to lawful authority".

I can see where it might be needed and I can see where it could be abused - the same as any other police power.
Today's headlines
North braces for storms and floods
Cars waiting to be loaded onto the ferry at Bremerhaven, Lower Saxony, were caught in flooding on Wendnesday. Photo: DPA

North braces for storms and floods

UPDATE: The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. The news followed a night of accidents caused by heavy winds in southern Germany. READ  

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Sonneborn in the EU Parliament. Photo: DPA

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train

Martin Sonneborn can’t believe his luck. The German comedian, leader of the political party “Die Partei”, managed to get elected to the European Parliament in May, and has found himself overwhelmed with fresh material. READ  

The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after securing a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,491
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd