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AFP
December 12, 2020

German top court strikes down plank of anti-terror law

World

AFP
December 12, 2020

KARLSRUHE, Germany: Germany’s top court said on Friday it had struck down a key passage of an anti-terror law on data protection grounds, raising the bar for security services to swap information.

The Federal Constitutional Court said the passage of the measure in question was too vague in granting permission for intelligence on terror suspects to be shared from a central security database.

It stipulated there must be an "overwhelming public interest" and a "sufficient concrete danger" of an attack to justify certain information being passed from one agency to another. The anti-terror law has been controversial since it passed because it blurs the strict dividing line between law enforcement and intelligence established after World War II to stamp out the abuses of the Nazi period.

The 2007 law in question targets Islamic extremists and was updated in 2012 to cover the far-right scene. The same court saw a similar challenge in 2013. It decided at the time that the so-called Anti-Terror Database aimed at keeping track of violent extremists could stand but said lawmakers must bolster its civil rights protections.

The court ordered "transparency" measures to be woven in and said that officials charged with protecting data privacy must be given a clear watchdog role in the operation of the database.