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POLICE

BMW snags €1-billion contract to equip US police cars

German luxury carmaker BMW said Monday it had won a contract worth at least €1 billion ($1.35 billion) to make diesel motors and transmissions for high-tech US police cars.

BMW snags €1-billion contract to equip US police cars
Photo: DPA

The deal, signed with Carbon Motors Corporation, includes the delivery of “more than 240,000” six-cylinder engines, transmissions and exhaust systems, a statement said.

It estimated the contract’s value in the “billions of euros” over a time frame that was not specified.

The German powertrains would help US police forces reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 40 percent, BMW sales director Ian Robertson was quoted as saying.

Carbon Motors was founded in 2003 by a former Ford executive to produce one model, the E7, which it plans to sell as a police crusier.

No roll-out date has been set so far for the vehicle, which is also to feature advanced video surveillance equipment, warning lights and ballistic protection.

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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