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Police collect data from corona infected people via an emergency clause

In Lower Saxony, the dispute about the transfer of data from the health authorities about people who have contracted the new corona virus and are therefore subject to a quarantine obligation is entering the next round. The State Data Protection Commissioner Barbara Thiel declared the practice on Friday to be disproportionate and unlawful. The law enforcement officers now also want to refer to an emergency clause in order to still get to the lists.

"The transmission of the quarantine status data from the lower health authorities to the police" is not only based on paragraph 41 of the recently reformed Lower Saxony Police Act and rules of the Infection Protection Act, it says in a government memoreleased by "Freedom Foo" civil rights activists. This is about preventing danger. Furthermore, according to the document, the "justification for the authority that orders the quarantine" and report the status to the law enforcement officers, but also "the justifying emergency" under paragraph 34 of the Criminal Code (Criminal Code).

It says: "Anyone who commits an act in a present, otherwise unavoidable danger to life, limb, freedom, honor, property or another legal property in order to avert the danger from himself or another is not acting unlawfully." The prerequisite is that "when the conflicting interests, in particular the legal interests concerned and the degree of the dangers threatening them, are weighed, the protected interest outweighs the impaired one". The act must also generally be an "appropriate means".

The authors of the letter do not see this clause as just covering a tyrant murder for a long time. The reasoning behind their approach is that the secrets of the patient and the doctor are "the only means of protecting significantly higher interests". The purpose of the police officers' own protection, in order to prevent the further spread of the Corona virus within their own ranks, was "clearly to be rated higher than" data protection.

"In our view, it is more than questionable whether the naming of such a justification can be admissible on a sober basis," the Freedom Foo supporters point out. "It seems the police are using this emergency clause to issue a license to commit crimes." The document served to justify the resumption or continued operation of the controversial data transfers vis-à-vis the state parliament.

The press office of the State Data Protection Authority did not answer a request from heise online about how the clause should be assessed during the course of the Monday afternoon. Netzpolitik.org had previously reported, Thiel officially prohibited the Lower Saxony health authorities on Friday from supplying the police with lists of people infected with coronavirus. The cabinet departments were also informed of this. Among other things, the data is subject to medical confidentiality. Anyone who transmits them without authorization is punishable.

According to the report, the Ministry of Social Affairs, in coordination with the interior ministry, had made the passing of lists binding last week. Thiel denied the claim that she had been involved in the process. Their veto has brought little, the sensitive health information is still flowing according to the Interior Ministry. It had previously become known that the police also received lists of coronavirus infections in other federal states. Bremen's health senator Claudia Bernhard (left) tweeted about itthat the data were "wrongly" passed on and "all were deleted again".

"What is happening here is a tragedy in several acts," criticizes Thomas Ganskow, chairman of the Lower Saxony Pirate Party. Here again it was shown that "the possibilities of data protection in this country are very limited". The data protection officer is authorized to issue instructions to the authorities, but not to the government. And she cares "a wet rubbish about sensitive data to hide your own failure in protecting your own police officers".


(olb)

. (tagsToTranslate) Coronavirus (t) data protection (t) health authorities (t) infected (t) Lower Saxony (t) quarantine