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Telekom accused of not helping police to prevent suicide

The Local · 27 Feb 2010, 12:27

Published: 27 Feb 2010 12:27 GMT+01:00

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A report in Der Spiegel this weekend said the Telekom workers refused to give private details of the man to police when they were trying to trace him on February 4, after being alerted by someone else on the forum.

Three hours later, by the time the police had elicited the information from another provider, and gone to the man’s home in Greven, North Rhine Wesphalia, he was dead.

The police told the magazine that usually in such cases it only takes about 20 minutes between asking an internet provider for the crucial information, and officers entering a house.

The magazine said Telekom was the only internet provider with which such difficulties regularly occur.

Telekom justifies its attitude with a lack of legal certainty on the matter, but the police point to a decision of a court in Münster which said that internet providers are duty-bound to provide information in such cases.

Story continues below…

Telekom will not comment on the latest case. The two workers are expected to be charged with failing to lend assistance.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:39 February 27, 2010 by Frenemy
Not that it would have mattered.

1) This sort of thing is not monitored in real-time, so by the time any threats/warning indicators or other useful intelligence was identified as such, it would no longer be actionable.

2) The most they could have given the police would be account info, IP addresses, and log-on/log-off times. (and knowing German bureaucracy, it would still be being "processed by the relevant authorities" when the guy offed him self"...)
18:07 February 27, 2010 by Bushdiver
Who cares! If someone wants to off himself then so be it. No need to punish anyone else for this idiots actions.
20:09 February 27, 2010 by wood artist
Frenemy, as I read this, it wasn't about whether they could monitor the data stream. What I got was that someone else (a friend?) spotted the message and then called the police. The police apparently called Telekom to find out more and see if the guy was okay...and they declined. It would be like asking Facebook for your ID and information so they could do a simple welfare check.

From the story it seems the people at Telekom declined to help them.

I'm not sure how that plays out in German law, but the request seems pretty reasonable to me. I agree that the Münster ruling might not be exactly the same if that guy was threatening others, but it's pretty similar.

I guess we'll learn more as this goes through the courts.

03:15 February 28, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
No comment, 'nuf said.
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