How is Privacy perceived in German Police Law?

Rethinking Counterterrorist Policy in North-Rhine Westphalia


  • Jonas Bradtke



surveillance, privacy, counterterrorism, security, Germany


By December 2018, Germany’s biggest state, North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) introduced its revised police law (PolG NRW). The PolG NRW enables previously forbidden surveillance practices to combat terrorism in Germany. Discussion surrounding the PolG NRW revolved around surveillance practices enabled through the law. By using a privacy taxonomy, developed by Daniel J. Solove (2010) this thesis has categorised, analysed and evaluated six sections of the PolG NRW with regards to infringements upon privacy. This thesis (1) identifies potentially harmful activities for personal privacy within the PolG NRW and (2) chases back shortcomings to an incomplete understanding of privacy. Thereby, this thesis suggests that future policy crafting must consider processes that follow the collection of information as potentially harmful activities. By limiting privacy risks to information gathering, activities that belong to information processing and distribution remain largely unregulated, putting the individual at serious risk.


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Figure 1. A taxonomy of privacy. Adapted from ‘Understanding Privacy’, by Solove, 2010, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.