Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble Declassifies Anti-Terrorism Files (March 30, 2007)
After “suitcase bombers” planted explosive devices on regional trains in Cologne’s central station in July 2006, Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and members of the Conference of Interior Ministers of the Federal States agreed to set up a joint anti-terrorism database for the federal government and the federal states. The Act on Joint Databases, which was passed on December 2, 2006, provided the necessary legal framework for this initiative. By May of 2007, the database contained approximately 15,000 data sets on 13,000 people. The database project involves thirty-eight federal and state authorities, including the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Federal Intelligence Service, the Federal Police Force, the Military Intelligence Service, the Customs Criminal Investigation Office, as well as regional authorities for the protection of the constitution and regional offices of criminal investigation. Data privacy advocates have criticized the preventive nature of the database as well as the possible inclusion of innocent citizens. They have also warned that it undermines the separation between the police and the secret services. This photograph was taken at the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin on March 30, 2007. It shows Schäuble (CDU) declassifying the controversial anti-terrorism files, which combine information gathered by the police and the secret services. Photo: Wolfgang Kumm.