German high court rejects police computer hacking in criminal investigations

German high court rejects police computer hacking in criminal investigations

[JURIST] The German Federal Court of Justice [official website, in German] ruled [text, in German] Monday that police in Germany [JURIST news archive] are not permitted to secretly access computer and Internet data stored on suspects' computers without proper authorization. The German high court held that police hacking is illegal because no legal framework currently exists to legitimize the activity. Officials may now press for changes to the German criminal investigation procedure to allow police hacking. Police reportedly employ the practice of hacking into suspects' computers to investigate alleged sex offenders [Deutsche Welle report] and their viewing of Internet child pornography.

In the US, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] has pushed for Internet service providers to retain user records [JURIST report] to aid US Justice Department investigations into child pornography. Deutsche Welle has more.