Could the country known for protecting personal privacy soon allow spying on its children? If Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann gets his way, a new privacy standard would go into effect that opens these doors, and it will all be in the name of terror prevention.
In a meeting of German interior ministers on Tuesday, Herrmann defended his stance among colleagues who have mostly criticized his earlier pushes to loosen the privacy standards. He has argued that cases in which children become radicalized and brainwashed into carrying out terrorism is on the rise and that current German law requires authorities to look the other way.
Herrmann reiterated that surveillance of minors would not be an open door policy. Instead, the spying would only be allowed in extreme cases where the safety of the public is of concern.
Burkhard Lischka, spokesman for the SPD Bundestag party, fought back by saying, “Children aren’t criminals, but victims,” and while they can in some cases carry out violent attacks, they need “education, care and lower profile prevention programs”.
While Herrmann’s proposals have been mostly contested, there are a few politicians who support his surveillance initiative. “Unfortunately, we are finding more and more children becoming radicalized and a danger to our country,” CSU politician Stephan Mayer said in defense of surveillance. “Such young children need to be offered adequate prevention plans so that they can withdraw from the harmful ideology.”
It will be a tough fight for the minority of politicians in support of Herrmann’s proposed surveillance measure, but for now it looks like the few still have some fight left in them to carry on.