Debate reignited

After the terrorist attack in Germany, which was thwarted by security authorities, the discussion about the online searches demanded by Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble (CDU) has flared up once again. Schauble renewed his demand for secret searches of computers this evening. SPD faction leader Peter Struck, on the other hand, sees himself confirmed in his rejection of online searches. Bavaria's Interior Minister Gunther Beckstein (CSU), on the other hand, is calling for the rapid introduction of covert online searches.

Struck affirmed: "The success of the investigative authorities shows that such terrorist activities can be stifled in the early stages, without the further instruments massively demanded by Schauble, such as online searches. It remains with our position: There will be now with the SPD no authority for online searches."First of all, a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court on this ie should be awaited. In light of the Karlsruhe decision, it will be examined "under which constitutional conditions online searches are possible or not". He announced that, together with Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD), he would hold "a final discussion on the ie of online searches" with Schauble, CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Volker Kauder and CSU state group leader Peter Ramsauer in the coming week. He will make clear the SPD's rejectionist stance in the process.Beckstein, on the other hand, expects the special conference of federal and state interior ministers proposed by Schauble to pass a resolution on online searches this week. One of the arrested terror suspects had been meeting with a partner in Munich. "We could have gained additional knowledge with the possibility of online searches."The legal policy spokesman for the Left Party, Wolfgang Neskovic, stressed that the successful thwarting of attacks in the Sauerland region indicates that conventional surveillance methods are sufficient for preventing terrorist attacks.Brandenburg's Interior Minister Jorg Schonbohm (CDU) sharply criticized the rejectionist stance of Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) on online searches. "The refusal attitude of Ms. Zypries is unacceptable," said Schonbohm.Bavaria's Justice Minister Beate Merk (CSU) attributes the concentration of Islamists in the Ulm/Neu-Ulm area to the special legal situation of the twin city with its membership of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria. It is possible that extremists believe that they are less easily controlled by police authorities, she said. He says there is already a longer tradition of Islamist activity in the region. One of the three arrested suspected terrorists had been living in Ulm for several years. The alleged ringleader is said to have belonged to the Ulm-based "Islamic Information Center" association.In the debate about online searches, the chairman of the Interior Committee in the Bundestag, Sebastian Edathy (SPD), warned against actionism. "I advise against quick fixes," said the SPD politician. He said there needs to be a very close look at "whether this significant intrusion into privacy is appropriate, proportionate and purposeful. Edathy said the current arrests are proof "that we have a functioning security architecture in Germany": "The security authorities have been successful, so to speak, with conventional methods – even without online searches."The terrorism expert of the Berlin-based Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Guido Steinberg, sees the origin of the three arrested terror suspects as an indication of a growing threat. "What concerns me is where the perpetrators come from," he said. "They are two German converts and a Turk with ties to the Jihad Union. This is something we've never had before." The terrorism expert warned against overestimating online searches: "Traditional work by undercover agents and close contacts in the militant scene are much more important than technical surveillance measures."

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