Two weeks before the Bundestag elections, thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin on Saturday against surveillance measures by the state and industry. While the police of under 10.000 participants, the organizers counted more than 20.000 people.
Under the motto "Freedom not fear", they protested above all against the retention of telephone and e-mail data, against secret online searches of computers by the state and against the collection of personal data by companies. An alliance of 160 organizations had called for the demonstration.The chairman of the service sector union ver.di, Frank Bsirske, criticized at a rally what he sees as increasing "spying" on workers, trade unionists and journalists. "We need a responsible approach to information and communication technologies," he said. The state must "set a good example". The overriding goal must be "data economy and the preservation of informational self-determination," said the ver.di boss. Among other things, he spoke out in favor of an employee data protection law "that also deserves this name".At the same time as the Berlin demonstration, actions under the slogan "Freedom not Fear" were also planned in numerous other cities around the world, such as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm and Buenos Aires. The data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, warned against "total control" of the population to track down criminals such as "child pornographers" and terrorists on the Internet. Instead of restricting freedom of information and opinion, law enforcement must therefore become more professional, he said. The planned unlimited exchange of data between police forces within the EU and the uniform tax identification number were also criticized.The vice president of the International League for Human Rights, Rolf Gossner, spoke of "political fear-mongering" and an "attack on civil rights". "A rampant anti-terrorism campaign is giving us a dramatic restriction of civil liberties," Gossner said. Currently, Germany is experiencing a "militarization of internal security," he said, referring to the increasing networking of police and intelligence services favored by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble (CDU) and the discussion about Bundeswehr missions at home.