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Deus ex machina

Political activism used to look like this: One side, mostly right-wing, conservative, business-friendly and infatuated with internal security, had an idea such as unauthorized data retention, network blocking, or just anger because of cheeky statements on the Internet, which therefore led to one or the other Art should be censored while the industry's data were being blamed. We - and I can count myself among them - demonstrated in front of the gates of the BND in Bad Aibling, wrote articles about the side effects of TTIP and the excesses of the NSA scandal. We support initiatives such as the CCC or Digital Courage and donate when offices were walled or successful lawsuits were conducted against surveillance. We explained why the Prostitution Protection Act is insane in terms of data protection law, that the French leave terrorists unmolested despite total surveillance, and why video surveillance has been shown to be of little use, even in London.

Privacy advocates see themselves as having a reputation that is just as good as baby seal advocates, and they also do a lot to ensure that the other side gets roughly the reputation of a baby seal killer, and I have no regrets. Data is becoming immensely important to all of us, and if we still laugh at the stupid targeting of advertising, we may soon find ourselves in front of a network in which an alleged bug in an algorithm decides whether we should include a site like the G20 documentary Can link Twitter or not. After pressure from ministers, anonymous corporations decide who remains visible or who becomes invisible. We are in a major transformation, and if we don't scream today, they might shut us up tomorrow. We are the good guys, and it shouldn't really be the case that there are citizens' initiatives against our concerns. But they do exist. One is designed from the environment of the Berlin CDU. It's about more video surveillance in public spaces.

And as usual in such cases, the initiative acts with spectacular and outrageous individual cases - as von der Leyen did with the network blocks: subway pushing is the new child porn. The problem is that these individual cases on the videos in their entirety are quite suitable to impair the feeling of security in Berlin's means of transport: video investigations brought the police on the trail of the Bulgarian and currently Russian subway kicker, and set the Syrian migrants, who set a homeless man on fire, pressured to surrender. There are video recordings from the shop in which a Turkish criminal tried to sell the cell phone that he took from a victim of robbery. Recently, after the publication of video images, six Syrians were identified who beat two men at the Janowitz Bridge. There are five video recordings of the Iranian who pushed a woman in front of an incoming subway and killed her with it. There are recordings of the mentally ill Kosovar who caused a massacre in the Düsseldorf train station with an ax. In Munich, the video of attacks by Afghans in the subway caused outrage. A video recording from a tram also played an important role in the investigation of the alleged murderer of the Freiburg student.

Similar to the riots at the G20 summit in Hamburg, it is difficult to argue against the power of videos. The videos show violence that is unbearable for most viewers and a banality of evil that, like terror, is directed against random victims. It doesn't matter what the victim did or who it is - it's just in the wrong place at the wrong time, like a car in a street, roaming the Autonomous and throwing incendiary devices, the classic argument against video surveillance that it is the perpetrators The crime obviously does not care whether it is filmed, can no longer work here: Anyone who has a spark of decency has to admit that the offenses are wrong, and the state must ensure punishment and prevention.

And of course there are several approaches. With regard to data retention, we argue that it does not make it easier for the police to fish out individual cases from the sea of ​​data to be monitored that are really dangerous and that can also be monitored by other means - as long as things do not go as in the Amri case . We say there is no point in controlling ordinary people when it comes to individual terrorists. We are admitting that there is a massive problem in parallel societies, and we do not run the risk of helping those who are threatened for reasons of data protection. Our argument here is one that favors targeted controls instead of general surveillance with a high potential for abuse by the authorities.

The cases in the subways are different: Most of the thugs that are visible on videos, or perpetrators who are dealers in Berlin, but also in other cities in the public space, steal handbags and for the introduction of "crime-laden places" are more likely to be petty and casual criminals. Most of them are young men with a migration background, and after the facts have been clarified, the population learns further unsightly details: For example, that the perpetrators have a significant criminal history. And psychological specialists often came across who, in the case of the Iranian and Russian subway pushers or the Kosovar ax-bat, were of the opinion that, despite their previous history, the persons concerned should not be put in a closed department.

So what to do To monitor people in public space more closely because of their origin would be “racial profiling”, of course illegal, and is aggressively fought by the Berlin Senate because of discrimination. Anyone who seriously tries to pin the poor security situation in public places to migrants could expect a storm of indignation and would also receive little help: the political failure in integration that contributes to such cases is a consequence of everyone's politics Parties, and the structures of neglect, thrive among all coalitions. If someone who was previously responsible, such as the popular former mayor Christian Ude from Munich, criticizes such conditions, even the most friendly media turn away in the past. A debate about migration as a cause of violent crime would be possible on the basis of the crime statistics, but that is exactly what the mostly left-wing data protectionists do not want under any circumstances.

Other solutions such as the expulsion of intensive offenders, the deportation of asylum-seeking migrants for the slightest violation of the law with drugs or sexual offenses, and the consistent implementation of the possibilities of the law in court could possibly help to contain the problem. The border controls that used to be common without the freedom of movement to settle in the EU would also be measures that could partially address such developments at their roots: On the other hand, there is, of course, the correct wish not to hold groups responsible for the acts of individuals. Thanks to the black-paid Ukrainian woman, the liberal bourgeoisie experiences on average a completely different and clean image of Eastern Europe when they park their SUV in the underground car park and enter the 5-room old apartment in Kreuzberg after it was just in Tegel against deportations demonstrated. Debates about cuddle justice, failure of the authorities and questionable experts are answered in these circles with references to the Mollath case or the objection that there is a social responsibility for criminals who have become this way here. Also unforgotten is a Green party council, which obviously does not want to burden countries of origin with the sex offenders who have traveled to Germany.

This is followed by the hint that violent crime will decrease in the long term, draconian punishments will not help people return to society, and the poor black African only deals because he has no other option - anyone who disagrees is with the AfD or worse again. However, this debate does not prevent petty criminals from kicking others down the stairs to the laughter of his friends, and after the citizen has been explained long and broadly what does not work and must not be done under any circumstances, he sees here: The videos are running to arrests. At least the offenders are identified and convicted. If you can't do anything beforehand, you can at least hope afterwards that the next appraiser won't let the next criminal get away easily because he was already conspicuous and less likely to be guilty. Politics and parties cannot stop the developments, the authorities are incapable, psychologists let threats go, the police are constantly attacked when they take action against violent criminals, and deportations are unlikely. Video surveillance does not stop a criminal, it only suppresses the problems, it is not much better than the non-solutions to appeasement offered to citizens for reasons of laziness, incompetence and ideology. But they are an instrument that can be objectively discussed and safely endorsed.

It is a placebo for the citizens, and it is administered because those who approve it would rather make a small concession than lead a big debate about how things are getting out of hand in German metropolises. Like electronic shackles and endangerment cards, it does not solve any deeper problems that data protectors like to point out in order to protect their core issue. But pointing out these problems doesn't solve them either. That is only put forward before it is explained in the further debate why there is little else that can be done. The video cameras will keep some citizens feeling safer for a while while everything else goes on. In view of the shocking images, only the privacy advocates seem like unworldly weirdos who at the same time refuse to come up with better ideas. And that is why circles close to the CDU, who had been responsible for politics for years, win with a citizens' initiative against arguments that are just as fundamentally correct as they are useless in view of the reality in the cities.

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Video surveillance: privacy activists have to die one death

From Don Alphonso

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