Under protest from the opposition, the CDU and Greens in Hesse want to push a controversial package of laws through the state parliament this week.
No Trojan, just the Hessian state emblem animal Photo: dpa
Tumultuous scenes, mutual insults, reprimands from the presidium. After a turbulent debate in the state parliament on Tuesday evening, Hesse’s governing parties, the CDU and the Greens, cleared the way for the controversial package of laws that would allow Hesse’s state police to hack into smartphones and computers using state Trojans. In the future, the Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution will be allowed to spy on private homes, even without a court order if there is imminent danger.
The governing coalition wants to use its majority to push the package through in the last plenary week before the summer break. In an unusual alliance, the SPD, Left Party and FDP are still trying to stop the changes to the law. At least a hearing of those affected and experts was imperative after the governing parties had made twenty last-minute changes, some of them substantial, to the controversial package of laws, demanded SPD interior politician Nancy Faeser in the second reading on Tuesday. In vain.
Black-Green had initially wanted to regulate the use of state Trojans and the spying on smartphones in the Constitutional Protection Act. After fierce criticism from constitutionalists, data protectionists and the Green state assembly, the governing parties moved the regulations to the police law at short notice. The Left Party and the Liberals called the unusual alliance a "low point of parliamentarianism.
FDP politician Wolfgang Greilich demonstratively held up a brochure from the last legislative period to the Greens, in which they had vehemently warned against the use of Trojans and against hacking into smartphones. He accused the state parliamentary Greens of "self-denial and duplicity". Hermann Schauss, a member of the Left Party, accused the Greens of using lies to trivialize the encroachment on fundamental rights and earned himself a reprimand from the state parliament presidium. It went unpunished that he had described the Green competition as a "neo-liberal party of the pecking order".
Reproach is lost in the tumult
Interrupted again and again by heckling, the Green faction leader Jurgen Frommrich argued for the "good compromise" that he had reached in long negotiations with the CDU. He said that the police, not the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, would now receive the necessary instruments.
It is not about mass surveillance but about preventing the most serious crimes, the Green said. He reminded of the "double judge’s prerogative". A judge’s decision is required to start spying on computers and smartphones; in the end, a judge decides whether the results thus obtained may be used in the proceedings.
State Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) spoke of a "modern framework for our security authorities. His accusation that the opposition was exhausting itself in "party-political sandbox games" was lost in the general tumult.
The third reading of the bill, requested by the SPD for Thursday, is merely a formality. FDP man Greilich called it pointless because the CDU and the Greens had proven to be unteachable. The political debate will continue elsewhere, he said, alluding to the state election campaign. On 28. A new state parliament will be elected in Hesse in October. According to current opinion polls, Black-Green would lose its majority in the state parliament.