Observing crowd-­sourced surveillance through the eyes of the German Basic Law

Dr. Saskia Hufnagel, Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security Griffith University


Observing crowd-­‐sourced surveillance through the eyes of the German Basic Law


Article  2 and 1 of the German Basic Law (the German Constitution) guarantee  the right to privacy  for all persons within the German jurisdiction. Personal data is further protected by Article 8 of the Basic Law. In the past 80 years, the right to privacy in the German context has undergone several major shifts. In this time-­‐span Germany  evolved  from  an unjust  surveillance  regime  to  one  of  the  most privacy  protecting systems of the world. While the former East Germany had to experience major state intrusions into privacy until German  unification,  the  development  in  the  West  experienced  periods  of  regression,  particularly triggered by terrorism events during the 1970s and 1980s, and some would claim even quite recently with the 2011 changes to telecommunications interception laws. Notwithstanding these  legal exceptions, the high  level  of  privacy  protection  in  Germany  is  very  apparent  in  the  EU  context  as  many  EU  security initiatives have been significantly slowed down by German privacy concerns. However, even in the German system evidence based on crowd-­‐sourced surveillance could under certain circumstances be admissible. As there  is  no  clear case-­‐law  on  this  issue  yet,  this  presentation examines  the  possibilities  to  use  crowd-­sourced  surveillance  afforded by  German  legislation  and  analyses  related cases  on  the  admissibility  of evidence  sourced  from,  for  example,  private  home  surveillance  cameras,  traffic  cameras,  and  private mobile phones.


Saskia Hufnagel is a Research Fellow within the 'Vulnerable Infrastructures' Project at CEPS.

Her PhD studies were completed at ANU on the topic ‘Comparison of EU and Australian cross-­‐border law enforcement strategies’. She was previously employed as Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra and taught various courses in the field of comparative, criminal and EU law at the ANU College of Law and the ANU Centre for European Studies. Within the 'Vulnerable Infrastructures' Project her work focuses on comparing legal frameworks in Australia and the EU, particularly in the field of mass gatherings, maritime and aviation security.

She conducts further research in the field of EU and Australian police cooperation and the policing of art crime. Her publications include  ‘Cross-­‐border police  co-­‐operation: Traversing domestic and international frontiers’  (2011)  and  she  co-­‐edited  'Cross-­‐border  Law  Enforcement  -­‐  Regional  Law  Enforcement Cooperation -­‐ European, Australian and Asia-­‐Pacific Perspectives' (2011) Routledge.   Saskia is  a qualified German legal professional and accredited specialist in criminal law.