Statewatch article: RefNo# 36352
German court: anti-terror laws partially unconstitutional
Statewatch News Online, April 2016
On 20 April, the German Constitutional Court declared in a landmark decision surveillance powers of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt - BKA) and provisions for information exchange partly unconstitutional.

The powers at stake were introduced in 2008 in order to expand the mandate of the BKA in the field counterterrorism. It authorised among others bugging of homes, online searches of computers and covert interception of communication for the purpose of preempting terrorism. Before, only German state police forces had the mandate of crime prevention. Therefore, critics feared the emergence of a German FBI. Although the constitutional court did not scrap the new powers at all, the judges limited their scope and called for precise regulation, the protection of intimate information, better oversight and more transparency.

Moreover, the judges limit both domestic and international information exchange by the BKA and call for adequate data protection standards in foreign non-EU countries as a prerequisite for data transfers by the BKA. The BKA Act is now to be revised in summer 2018 but is it clear that the decision of the Court is also a message to the intelligence agencies and their information sharing with the NSA and other partners.

See: German court: anti-terror laws partially unconstitutional (DW, link)

See Court Press release: Constitutional Complaints Against the Investigative Powers of the Federal Criminal Police Office for Fighting International Terrorism Partially Successful (link)

And: Decision (link, German)

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