Surveillance society tug-of-war in Berlin: a small but significant victory


If you need any evidence of how far Germany has come since the end of World War II, and how far by comparison Canada has sunk, look no further than this interesting little report in the Berliner Tagesspiegel (“Daily Mirror”):

Berlin police president Dieter Glietsch wants police agents to go on videotaping the participants of peaceful demonstrations, despite a court verdict.

He will appeal the court decision, he said on the RBB evening newscast on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a panel of judges declared the filming of peaceful protesters to be a violation of the protesters’ rights. The police may only make videos in the event that a protest turns violent or results in vandalism. The judges based their decision on the contention that such measures would constitute an attack on freedom of assembly, as well as the right to informational self-determination.

Should his appeal fail, Glietsch plans to urge the Berlin House of Representatives to pass a by-law to allow the police to film peaceful demonstrations.

Translation mine.

This fight isn’t over yet. But the fact that the court has ruled in favor of protesters over police indicates something important: The Germans have pulled ahead of Canada in allowing peaceful assembly over the clamor of the police/surveillance sector.

Granted that police are all alike, here and there–this one insists he’ll get the law remade in his own favor. But still, the court has ruled in favor of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

Viewed in light of what happened at the G20 summit in Toronto two months ago, this should tell you something, nicht wahr?

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