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Germany not so worried about Gestapo wiretaps now

There are several examples of sacrificing liberty for
security in a G7 country in the article below.
Also the justification of "getting in line with other countries"
is used for allowing civilian SIGINT practices previously banned.

Thursday January 8 11:32 AM EST 

Germany to Restore Surveillance

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - German political leaders agreed Thursday to allow
police to bug
apartments of suspected criminals, restoring a crime-fighting tool banned
since abuses by the secret police
in the Nazi era. 

Leaders from Chancellor Helmut Kohl's center-right coalition and the
opposition Social Democrats
(SPD) said they had reached a deal allowing police to plant microphones in
private homes of suspected
criminals for the first time since 1945. 

Both houses of parliament are now expected to quickly pass the long-debated
measure, which police
have argued was needed to better fight organized crime and bring the
country in line with other nations
that allow electronic surveillance. 

Germany, which reacted to the Gestapo's abuses with some of the Western
world's most extensive civil
liberties laws, has long resisted any relaxation in constitutional
protections that have kept police out of
private homes. 

Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said the agreement would give police the
necessary tool to fight
organized crime. 

"This is a decisive step toward more effectively fighting crime," Kanther
said. "We can now keep
surveillance on suspected gangster apartments and we will be able to better
fight money laundering." 

The opposition SPD, which controls the upper house of parliament, the
Bundesrat, said it would support
the measure after the government agreed to partial exemptions for some
professional groups such as
priests, attorneys and journalists. 

Police will be required to obtain advance court permission for any

Previously, police were only given rare exemptions to the constitutional
law protecting the private home.
They were allowed to use listening devices or electronic surveillance only
with court permission if there
was concrete evidence that a serious crime was about to take place. 

Now authorities will have the power to use eavesdropping methods far more
extensively and will also for
the first time be able to bug apartments after a crime has been committed
to obtain evidence. 

Germany's post-war constitution barred police from electronic surveillance,
telephone taps and
intercepting mail. The bans on telephone taps and mail intercepts were
relaxed in the 1970s amid a wave
of left-wing guerrilla attacks. 
      David Honig                   Orbit Technology
     [email protected]                  Intaanetto Jigyoubu

	"How do you know you are not being deceived?" 
	---A Compendium of Analytic TradeCraft Notes, 
	Directorate of Intelligence, CIA