Sat, Nov. 10, 2007

New Law Enforcement Rules

CK - Washington.   Against substantial opposition, the federal diet in Berlin passed two statutes to ratify European Union directives regulating wire-tapping and collection of data about communications. In the past, telecommunications companies had been authorized to collect and retain connection data for billing and administrative purposes; now they would be required to collect and retain them for six months--30 months less than had been discussed at the EU level, attorney general Brigitte Zypries notes on November 9, 2007.

In a press release of the same date, she also praises the enhanced scrutiny applied to wire-tapping provisions, searches and seizures as well as privileges in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Strafprozessordung, which apply to journalists, lawyers and physicians and their staff. Many critics see the new rules as more intrusive, however. The new rules permit, in §100a of the Code of Criminal Procedure, StPO, wire-tapping for economic crimes such as corruption and for human rights violations, among others. Wire-tapping would no longer be authorized for lesser crimes such as those punishable with a minimum term of less than five years of imprisonment.

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