Monthly Event Reports
February 2023 | Police use of surveillance software ruled unconstitutional
The use of Palantir surveillance software by police in Hesse and Hamburg was ruled unconstitutional. The system relied on data from intelligence agencies, allowing police in Hesse and Hamburg to process personal data to prevent crime, and was contested by the German Society for Civil Rights, who brought the case to the court. The group claimed that the software used people's data to provide leads and could also create errors, as well as prompt risk of police discrimination. A court statement defined the provisions as violation of the right to informational self-determination. As a result, the state of Hesse has until 30 September to modify the provisions, while in Hamburg the legislation was nullified as the technology was not in use yet. The court ruling aligned with the request from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency to test artificial intelligence algorithms used in predictive policing to avoid discrimination biases.
January 2023 | Climate activists protest the demolition of Lützerath
The agreement between the German Government and the RWE energy company to expand the open-cast mine in Lützerath sparked protests of around 35,000 people, including the Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who was arrested on 17 January. The activists allege that the village demolition will result in an increase in harmful gas emissions. Following the court order for eviction, police began clearing protesters, evicting the last one on 17 January. The police intervention led to clashes, and the activists denounced the excessive use of violence by the police. The police and federal Interior Minister Nancy Faesar have instead accused the activists of using violence.