Tue, Apr. 12, 2005

GPS Surveillance of Suspects

CK - Washington.   Today, the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe called GPS-based satellite surveillance of suspects by investigative services constitutional. In the matter 2 BvR 581/01, police had used a GPS system, and the intelligence so gathered was used in the criminal conviction of the petitioner.

The court found broad statutory language in the definition of monitoring and surveillance equipment sufficient. The language, §100(c)(I)(1)(b)StPO, is designed to allow the adoption of emerging technologies that may not have existed when the statute was drafted. The court noted that the prosecution needs to be vigilant in protecting suspects from invasive surveillance techniques that would impair their human rights.

Links to the press release and decision of April 12, 2005.

Software Service Contracts Terminable

JN - Marl.   Most business software solutions require servicing to keep pace with new developments and changing demands. However, purchasers may not forever rely on the support from software developers, the Koblenz appellate court, Oberlandesgericht, ruled in the matter 1 U 1009/04. The case before the Court affects a typical situation: A software producer sold software to a builder and signed a service contract with a right to termination and notice of three months before the end of each year. When the software company gave its notice of termination, the builder refused to pay outstanding bills, arguing that the termination was invalid.

The court did not accept the builder's argument and affirmed that the contract had been terminated. There was generally no legal basis to deny a party the right of termination, the Court held. A termination may be invalid only in exceptional cases, such as if it is foreseeable that particular maintenance work will be necessary to keep the software operational. As an example the Court gave the currency changeover to the Euro 4 years ago.

Reports in German are found at dpms, Spiegel and Heise.

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