Legal aspects of security in urban spaces (legal framework of digital preparation, observation and accompaniment of demonstrations and parades in the public sphere on the basis of decision-support systems)

Assemblies belong to a constitutionally sensitive field of action. On the one hand, the events and their participants enjoy special constitutional protection via Art. 5 (1) and Art. 8 (1) Grundgesetz. On the other hand, they are associated with increased potential for conflict – whether due to counter demonstrations, contact with the public and frequently divergent opinions among those taking part. Only strategically shrewd and legally secure planning and implementation guarantee the security of both the people taking part and third parties. The aim of the joint partners in the overall project is to develop a decision support system (DSS), both for the preparatory phase as well as for crisis management of events with a high conflict potential. Apart from proposals on the course of a secure demonstration route, the system will be able to calculate the most effective positioning of the police camera units. However, no data collected by the cameras enters the system; therefore, processing of personal data by the system itself does not occur.

Nevertheless, the ability of the police to deploy cameras raises the question of the technology’s constitutional limits and the limits of European law. At the same time, new camera systems such as drones, bodycams and smart cams have are becoming part of the standard repertoire of the security forces in other countries to avert dangers and prosecute crimes. However, since the 1980s, great sensitivity has developed for the threat to fundamental rights from government surveillance in German security law. Along with the requirements of modern data protection law, determined by European law, it is Grundgesetz (GG) that sets limits to state surveillance technology.

The work of the sponsored project at the German Research Institute for Public Administration (FÖV) fits into the overall project as a contribution of legal studies. The project analyses the basic conflict between liberty and security, while preparing and continuously accompanying technical developments. At the end of the project term, a system is to be available that is ready for practical use. The possibility to use it in practice will essentially depend on whether it is legally permissible. Against this background, the partial project is not just an accompanying ancillary aspect of the overall project, but rather an essential core component.

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Prof. Dr. Mario Martini

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 Jonas Ganter

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