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BND mass surveillance: Black-Red only wants to strengthen control
The government factions of the CDU / CSU and SPD see the controversial draft law of the Federal Cabinet for the renewed reform of the powers of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in the core of only one point of improvement: the parliamentary control of the foreign intelligence service should clearly have priority over a new one, however, assigned to the government "Independent Control Council".
According to the executive's initiative, this supervisory authority, with its 62 employees, should keep an eye on the fingers of the BND and make court-like decisions. According to the plan, the council can examine measures for individual and mass surveillance as early as the execution of the order by the head of the secret service, as well as search criteria for strategic telecommunications intelligence.
"Primus inter Pares"
The PKGr chairman, Roderich Kiesewetter, emphasized on Friday at the 1st reading of the planned amendment in the PKGr chairman, Roderich Kiesewetter, that the existing parliamentary control body (PKGr), which currently consists of nine members, must be "primus inter pares", have priority over the council Bundestag. Parliament should at least have a say in the composition of the executive supervisory body. According to the CDU politician, this should also be able to influence the rules of procedure of the council.
A judicial control body is good, but it must "work in close coordination with parliamentary control", added Volker Ullrich (CSU). The SPD sees deficits in the PKGr, explained the social democrat Uli Grötsch. It had to be strengthened and the exchange with the G10 commission, which decides on interception measures in the area of telecommunications secrecy, improved.
False news, disinformation campaigns, terrorism and cyber attacks
The reason for the reform is the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the suspicion-independent mass surveillance of the Federal Intelligence Service in the form of strategic telecommunications intelligence. The Karlsruhe judges declared the data vacuum cleaner used for this purpose unconstitutional. They found that the protection of fundamental rights is not limited to German territory.
"The BND is an essential part of our security architecture," is how Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU) justified the federal government's plan to adhere to the controversial mass surveillance instrument in principle. "In international conflicts we have to decide whether and how to take sides." This is a challenge in the face of false news and disinformation campaigns, for example. There would also be terrorism and cyber attacks against infrastructures or hospitals.
At the height of the time
With the draft, the BND should now itself receive a broad official license to hack, for example, "foreign switching systems, telecommunications infrastructure" or comparable IT systems from providers. The government also wants to authorize the German spies to use the federal Trojan. With the data vacuum cleaner, they should strategically raster through up to 30 percent of all networks worldwide. Braun spoke of "balanced regulations" with which the BND is subject to "clear constitutional boundaries".
Kiesewetter described the paper as a "very good basis" for further parliamentary work. Grötsch, on the other hand, sees this as "not the big hit". At least that way, the specifications from Karlsruhe could be complied with. The BND must be up to date, because "the terrorists are not sleeping". The SPD politician was relieved that with the judgment of the BND, extensive surveillance practices along the space or function carrier theory were off the table. It is "made clear once and for all" that basic rights do not only apply to Germans. His party colleague Thomas Hitschler raised the question of whether the protection of journalists from BND spying was sufficient.
Mass surveillance without cause - "completely without control"
"I consider what you are trying to be risky," said Stephan Thomae (FDP) to the coalition. A "one-to-one implementation" of the announcement of the Federal Constitutional Court, "which is no more", is planned. If even one point remains at "0.9", the next complaint is programmed. "A good horse jumps further if it is led sharply on the reins," advocated the Liberal for greater control of the BND. There is no "advocate general" who would uphold the rights of those affected. A representative is necessary for all secret services.
"Unusual mass surveillance was and is unconstitutional," emphasized André Hahn for the Left. The government tailored the draft so that the BND would be allowed to do "what it has already done". The agents could use state hacking to "penetrate the systems of Google, Facebook or Apple" and record all communications at the De-Cix network node in Frankfurt. A "clear affront for the Karlsruhe judges" is that operations such as "Monkeyshoulder", which the secret service carries out alone or in conjunction with third parties, remain "completely without control".
"The rule of law gold standard for the digital age"
The Green Konstantin von Notz also complained about the "legalization of a practice" which the BND had illegally carried out. Edward Snowden discovered that the secret service had "violated the rights of millions of people at home and abroad for years" in a global surveillance system and "pseudo-legitimized" them with space theory, for example. He now advocated setting a "constitutional gold standard" for the control of the BND by parliament, "which we need for the digital age".
The bureaucratic monster presented was doomed to failure, said Christian Wirth (AfD). The BND is "classically disregarded". It is incomprehensible that "our Basic Law" should apply all over the world. Even if German soldiers were under Taliban fire, eavesdropping would first have to be checked by a control body.
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