Missing Link: Telecommunications surveillance, the police competence center and data protection


The Joint Competence and Service Center (GKDZ) for police telecommunications surveillance (TKÜ) is established in Saxony. It is an institution under public law (AöR). In addition to Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Brandenburg and Berlin are also involved. The GKDZ was criticized from the start. Controversial issues were or are economy, information policy, data protection and rule of law control and a possible causal connection with the change of the Saxon police law. By contrast, Ulf Lehmann, CEO of the GKDZ, and Markus Pannwitz, Head of Legal and Administration, emphasize that the state data protection authorities were involved in the creation of the legal basis of the GKDZ from the beginning and that their statements have been incorporated into the State Treaty. But the Saxons in particular have not distinguished themselves with data protection: How should such a center work here of all places?

What is missing: In the fast-paced world of technology, there is often time to rearrange the many news and backgrounds. At the weekend we want to take them, follow the side paths away from the current, try different perspectives and make nuances audible.

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Its exact name is "Joint competence and service center of the police forces of the states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia in the field of police telecommunications surveillance as a legal institution under public law". The GKDZ is called "surveillance center east". Here, the stationary police telecommunications surveillance is to be carried out for the five sponsoring countries in a separate data center, and administrative, advisory and training tasks are to be taken on.

So far, the business processes around a TKÜ, for example in Saxony, are as follows: An investigator – employee of a law enforcement agency (police or public prosecutor) – makes an application to the TKÜ. Prosecutors and the court check the legality. This is possible on two bases: according to the nationwide code of criminal procedure according to the catalog of offenses §§ 100a ff. StPO, which is the core task, or according to the Police Act of Saxony. This was only changed in Saxony at the beginning of the year, and since then there has been a law on police enforcement services for the state police (SächsPVDG) and a law on police authorities (SächsPBG) for municipalities and districts in the Free State of Saxony.

In its 107 paragraphs, the SächsPVDG contains the implementation of EU data protection law and how Saxon State Ministry of the Interior writes, "modernized intervention tools". Since then, TKÜ is no longer just about law enforcement, but also about security, i.e. prevention. In individual cases and subject to a judicial reservation, the police may request traffic and usage data from a person concerned from the telecommunications provider and online platforms and eavesdrop on the content of conversations.

If the judge orders the TKÜ measures, the LKA requests the telecommunication provider to provide the TKÜ data. The provider transfers the data to the LKA. This provides the data in the data center for evaluation by the investigator. So far, like in the other LKÄ, the Saxon LKA has a data center with its own IT system for processing received telecommunication data.

The following also applies: An investigator from one of the five sponsoring countries applies for a TKÜ, the public prosecutor and the court in the respective country check the legality on the basis of the StPO or the police law of the respective federal state, a judge orders the TKÜ measure. These business processes remain in the respective federal state, as does the police case processing for security and law enforcement purposes.