Court orders that German police used software to combat crime.
A German court ruled Thursday that automated data analysis by police to prevent crime in certain German states was illegal. This ruling is a victory for Palantir Technologies, which is backed by the CIA.
A statement by the constitutional court stated that provisions regulating the use technology in Hesse or Hamburg are against the right to informational self determination under the German constitution.
Since 2017, Hesse, central German state headquarters to Frankfurt, has used data analysis to analyze thousands of data points annually. This includes to target an underground network that was plotting to overthrow December’s national government.
The deadline for the state to revise its provisions was Sept. 30, while Hamburg legislation was null.
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The court stated that “Given the broad language of the powers in both the data as well as the methods involved, the grounds of interference fall far short the constitutionally required threshold for an identifiable danger”
Stephan Harbarth, the court president, said that states have the option of “creating the legal basis for further processing stored data files in accordance with a constitution”.
According to its website, Palantir Technologies, a U.S. company that makes software for data analysis used by intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies all over the globe.
Jan Hiesserich (Palantir’s strategy chief for Europe), stated that the company provides software to process data and not the data.
He stated, “Which data are relevant for investigation within this context? It is determined solely by our customers in compliance with relevant legal provisions.”
Palantir software was accused of using innocent people’s data in order to make suspicions. It could also produce errors that could expose people to police discrimination.
(Reporting by Rachel More, Ursula Knapp; Editing done by Miranda Murray and Bernadettebaum)