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Police data protection: how free is the long arm of the law?

The most important information about data protection at the police in brief

  • The police also have to Observe data protection when collecting, storing, processing and using personal data.
  • In principle, it is allowed to save all information that relevant for the exercise of their sovereign tasks are (purpose limitation).
  • Those affected can also contact the police make use of their right to information. However, the information obligation on the part of the authorities does not apply in every case.

Data protection vs. baton: how much freedom does the police have when collecting data?

Reports, personal checks, arrests, protocols, fingerprints - the police officers in Germany collect countless personal or personally identifiable data on a daily basis. By extensive directories you can also quickly find out about queries about people (e.g. owner queries).

One of the most important police databases is that common information system INPOL, which is coordinated and maintained by the Federal Criminal Police Office. DNA profiles, fingerprints, criminal files, detention and wanted files - The police need this data, but must also protect it particularly against misuse.

The collection and processing of a large number of personal data by the police makes data protection particularly important. On the one hand sensitive information must not fall into the wrong handsOn the other hand, not all data may be stored and processed as desired.

What now applies to the police with regard to data protection?

What personal data can the police collect?

The collection of information in INPOL is extensive and concerned not only convicted criminals or convicted traffic offenders. Suspects, witnesses, escorts, victims, missing persons - the group of people affected is large. It also contains information on individual criminal offenses.

In addition to INPOL, the individual federal states and institutions also have own data collections, for which the data protection, which the police must protect, can be based on the respective national law.

In principle, the police, BKA, Customs & Co. are authorized to collect this data as long as it is relevant to police work (Principle of earmarking). This includes not only general personal and address data, but also, as already mentioned, DNA profiles, fingerprints, photos, contacts, family connections, health data, passport information, movement profiles and much more. m. What is relevant in individual cases can hardly be determined in a general way.

Does data protection provide the police with fixed deletion periods?

Are data not relevant anymore, these should no longer be archived or even deleted. Fixed specifications too Deletion periods are not specified to the police according to data protection. Instead, those responsible are encouraged to to check the data records for their topicality and relevance at regular intervals. The deadlines here usually amount to:

  • 2 years in children
  • 5 years for adolescents and
  • 10 years for adults

These Deadlines begin usually with the day on which the last entry of relevant information about the data subject was made. If the check reveals that the requirements for storing personal data are no longer met, these data records must be deleted.

Grant requests for information to the police in accordance with data protection

According to data protection, data subjects whose personal data is stored and used have different rights. One of the most important: the right to information. You can also to the police assert.

According to data protection is the police obliged to provide information to those affected if

  • they submit a corresponding application and
  • there are no important reasons preventing the provision of the information.

In the information given by the police are according to data protection provide the following information:

  1. Information about the individually stored personal data and their origin
  2. Recipients of the data
  3. Purpose of storage

By exercising this right of information to the police, those affected can check whether the information stored is actually relevant or, if necessary, should have already been deleted. That gives them back some control over their own data.

However, the police are not obliged to provide information in every case. Endangered this z. B. the legitimate interests of third parties, ongoing investigations or public safety and order, the police do not have to take into account the right of the data subject to information and can refuse to report.
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Police data protection: how free is the long arm of the law?
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