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The Green Position Home Affairs

Home affairs policy concerns the internal constitution of the state. As a party firmly committed to civil rights and freedoms, we believe it is about achieving a balance that takes equal account of individuals’ and society’s rights to freedom and security. As part of the “Red-Green” coalition government, comprising the SPD and the Greens, we made every effort to prevent excessive surveillance by the police and the intelligence services, with some success.

The Grand Coalition which then took office dealt a body-blow to civil rights and freedoms; this occurred on an unprecedented scale and conflicted with the aim of a balanced home affairs policy. Despite its fulsome assertions, the FDP – one of the governing parties since autumn 2009 – has done nothing to change this situation. None of the security laws has been modified – not even the Federal Criminal Police Office Act (BKA-Gesetz), which turns the Federal Criminal Police Office into what is, in effect, a German FBI. The CDU/CSU and its Interior Minister even have plans to revive the data retention legislation that was overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court. By contrast, our home affairs policy is guided by the need to defend and expand civil rights. We Greens stand for a domestic security policy which is proportionate to Germany’s needs. We oppose a data retention regime that places citizens under general suspicion, and we are in favour of a fundamental reform of firearms law to prohibit people from keeping weapons in their homes.

A key focus of green home affairs policy is strengthening democracy: we want more participation and co-decision rights for citizens, and more transparency and a greater focus on dialogue in politics and government. We want to establish elements of direct democracy in federal politics as well.

The modernisation and expansion of data protection are a further area in which major remedial work is required in home affairs policy. The scandals that have occurred in recent years have highlighted the substantial need for action here. We Greens want data protection to be enshrined in the German constitution, the Basic Law, in order to protect citizens’ basic rights. We want a reform of the outdated Federal Data Protection Act so that it is fit for purpose for the 21st century. We are demanding the establishment, as soon as possible, of a Foundation for Data Protection and the introduction, on the basis of legislation, of an independently verified data protection seal of quality at federal level. We are also campaigning for separate data protection legislation for employees which is worthy of the name. For example, video surveillance in the workplace must be strictly restricted by law and should not be misused to carry out permanent checks on employees. Needless checking of personal data when there are no suspicious circumstances must be prohibited. Tailor-made data protection rules are also needed for social networks.