After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière plans to enable the placement of CCTV surveillance in public spaces such as shopping centres, sports facilities and public transport, according to a report by the Ruhr Nachrichten.

The draft law reportedly proposes a change to privacy regulations to state that public safety “must be given special consideration”.
“After the incidents in Munich and Ansbach in the summer of 2016, it has become necessary to give greater weight to security concerns,” the draft law states, according to the newspaper.

In Munich on July 22nd, a teenager attacked the Olympia shopping centre with a gun, killing nine people and injuring 36 others before taking his own life.

Investigators have suggested that the gunman was inspired by Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Breivik.

Two days later, a Syrian asylum seeker set off an explosive device in the northern Bavarian town of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15 others.

Newspaper reports suggest that terror group Isis was involved in the attack.

The attacks were followed by a heated public debate on what measures could be taken to ensure that public safety is better guarded, with increases in surveillance being mooted along with the internal deployment of the military.

But the proposed change to data protection laws has already come in for criticism from opposition politicians.

Konstantin von Notz, deputy leader of the Green Party, accused de Maizière of “unwaveringly” sticking to the build up of CCTV despite the questionable security benefit.

More video surveillance provides “no added security value” but rather poses “new dangers to constitutional rights”, von Notz told Handelsblatt.

Data protection officials in individual German states would have the final say over whether CCTV could be set up in their spheres of authority. The Interior Ministry is reportedly sceptical that they would accept its usage.

The law is to be discussed by the cabinet in November.

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