Internal security is a longstanding issue on the political agenda, and governments provide well for it.
Two issues have recently provided challenges to internal security policy. First, extremist right- and left-wing activities are an increasing problem, arising mainly but not exclusively in the federal states of the former East Germany. Second, fighting terrorist and extremist activities has emerged as both a domestic and international phenomenon. Recent events have clearly demonstrated that even small terrorist groups of Islamic fundamentalists are able to paralyze the whole security system for weeks at a time. Today, internal security policy is closely intertwined with EU strategies and policies.
Due to the events of 9/11 and its effects on the subsequent “war on terrorism,” former Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble focused on policies strengthening internal security in order to prevent future terrorist attacks. In 2007, there was a debate on data retention, with policy mandating the storage of all phone and Internet communications for six months. In Germany, the government implemented an EU policy on data retention, but this law was overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court in March 2010.
Another law enables the police forces of the Federal Criminal Police Office to implement preventive measures against terrorism, including monitoring private communications via personal computers or telephones, and observing individuals with video cameras. There has also been some debate over how the military forces could be used domestically to prevent terrorist attacks, an idea that was ultimately dropped.
In 2009, the EU Commission recommended the implementation of body scanners at European airports to increase safety. Most European governments initially refused to use them, but another failed attack would probably lead the scanners to be implemented soon. Generally, the relationship between security and freedom consistently drives heated and controversial discussions. Nonetheless, authorities have so far been successful in preventing major terrorist attacks, at times by detecting conspiracies at an early stage.
Fischer Weltalmanach 2009
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Busch, Andreas, 2010: Kontinuität statt Wandel: Die Innen- und Rechtspolitik der Großen Koalition, in: Christoph Egle/Reimut Zohlnhöfer (eds): Die zweite Große Koalition. Eine Bilanz der Regierung Merkel, 2005-2009, Wiesbaden: VS.