Online Police searches adopted also in Austria
(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)
Austrian authorities have announced that the police will start from 2008 to use online searches as an investigation tool in order to keep up with the use of new technologies for terrorist and serious crimes. Austria is joining in this way Germany and Switzerland that are working in the same direction, despite serious privacy concerns.
In an interview to the radio station Ö1, Austrian Minister of Internal Affairs, Günther Platte, and the Minister of Justice, Maria Berger, announced this new measure that was proposed to be discussed in the Government meeting. The two politicians explained that the measure will be used only in connection with terrorist cases or other serious crimes, where a punishment of at least 10 years imprisonment is foreseen.
The decision adopted by the Government meeting on 18 October 2007 still waits for legal and technical clarifications on how the decision will be applied and its implementation is not expected to start earlier than late 2008.
The online searches will need a judge's warrant and will be overseen by the Ministry for Home Affairs' legal protection officer. Minister of Justice Maria Berger said that online searches will only be carried out under exceptional circumstances and that this measure was needed in order to keep up with the terrorist's use of the Internet resources and as a response to the growing number of electronic crimes worldwide.
According with the new decision the Austrian police will be able to bug the hard disks of PCs by sending Trojan horses to them via the email, but also planting the Trojan horses into the PCs of targeted users after penetrating into their apartments.
As reported by EDRI-gram, online searches of computers by the secret services have been a reality in Germany since 2005, following an order of Interior Minister Otto Schily. The German Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe ruled, on 5 February 2007, that, according to the German Code of Criminal Procedure, online police snooping was illegal. Since then the German authorities have shown a higher desire to push for a legal basis of the online searches of personal computers in Germany.
Switzerland decided also in June 2007 to allow secret online searches from federal police authority.
Coalition agrees on online searches (only in German, 17.10.2007)
Austria plans to start conducting secret online searches in 2008
Swiss government decides on secret online searches (only in German,
EDRI-gram: New calls for computer online searches by German authorities
EDRI-gram: Online police searches found illegal in Germany (14.02.2007)