The Act on the Reorganisation of Telecommunications Surveillance and Other Covert Investigative Measures and on the Implementation of Directive 2006/24/EC revised not only the so-called data retention but also individual provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO). The applicants in the present proceedings object to the new versions of section 100a (2) and (4) (surveillance of telecommunications) and section 100f of the Code of Criminal Procedure (wiretapping outside the home) by Article 1 no. 7 and no. 11 of the Act on the Reorganisation of Telecommunications Surveillance as well as the
the new provision of section 110 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (inspection of electronic storage media) introduced by Article 1 no. 12 of this Act. The applicants in the proceedings 2 BvR 236/08 also object to the new section 160a of the Code of Criminal Procedure (protection of professional secrets entitled to refuse to give evidence) introduced by Article 1 no. 13a of the Act on the Reorganisation of the Interception of Telecommunications. In addition to their constitutional complaints, they have filed an emergency application requesting the temporary suspension of the retention of telecommunications traffic data for public security purposes in section 111 and section 113a of the Telecommunications Act and the amendments and new introduction of section 100a, paragraph 2 and paragraph 4, section 100f, section 110, paragraph 3 and section 160a of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
After various constitutional complaints had been received by the Federal Constitutional Court, the competent committee has jurisdiction in these proceedings pursuant to section 14 (5) BVerfG. In parallel proceedings, the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court has already issued a temporary injunction on the urgent application to suspend the regulations on the retention of telecommunications traffic data.
In thepresent proceedings, the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court has dismissed the applications for a temporary injunction insofar as the applicants oppose the new provisions in § 100f and § 110.3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO n.F.), because the constitutional complaints filed in the main action are inadmissible from the outset due to the lapse of time and the lack of an appeal.
Insofar as the applicants object to the provisions in § 100a (2) and (4) as well as § 160a of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the applications for a temporary injunction have been rejected. The questions raised in these constitutional complaints require a comprehensive examination in the main proceedings and can be regarded as open in this respect. Therefore, the consequences that would occur if the temporary injunction was not granted but the constitutional complaints were later successful must be weighed against the disadvantages that would arise if the requested temporary injunction was granted but the constitutional complaints were to be denied success. In this respect, the Senate was unable to establish the necessary clear preponderance of the interests that speak in favour of issuing a temporary injunction in the area of measures of intervention in criminal proceedings, even taking into account the effects on the communication behaviour of citizens that cannot be ruled out.
Das Bundesverfassungsgericht hat schon in früheren Entscheidungen die unabweisbaren Bedürfnisse einer wirksamen Strafverfolgung hervorgehoben, das öffentliche Interesse an einer möglichst vollständigen Wahrheitsermittlung im Strafverfahren betont und die wirksame Aufklärung gerade schwerer Straftaten als einen wesentlichen Auftrag eines rechtsstaatlichen Gemeinwesens bezeichnet. Blieben die hier angegriffenen Regelungen des § 100a Abs. 2 und Abs. 4 StPO n.F., die den Katalog der Anlasstaten und den Schutz des Kernbereichs privater Lebensgestaltung bei der Überwachung der Telekommunikation betreffen, in Kraft und hätten die Verfassungsbeschwerden im Hauptsacheverfahren Erfolg, würden zwar möglicherweise Telekommunikationsvorgänge der Antragsteller und anderer Grundrechtsträger überwacht und aufgezeichnet werden, die bei engerer Fassung der Vorschriften nicht erfasst würden. Allerdings könnten dann zur Aufklärung von Straftaten relevante Ermittlungsmaßnahmen nicht durchgeführt werden, wenn der Vollzug der angegriffenen Regelung des § 100a Abs. 2 StPO n.F. vorläufig ausgesetzt und der Vollzug des § 100a Abs. 4 StPO n.F. lediglich noch mit der Maßgabe gestattet würde, dass die Maßnahme nur angeordnet werden darf, soweit auf Grund tatsächlicher Anhaltspunkte anzunehmen ist, dass durch die Überwachung keinerlei Erkenntnisse aus dem Kernbereich privater Lebensgestaltung erfasst werden. Damit entfiele die Möglichkeit, bestimmte Daten und Informationen zur Aufklärung von Straftaten zu nutzen. Dies beträfe auch Straftaten, die der Gesetzgeber durch die Aufnahme in den Katalog des § 100a Abs. 2 StPO als so schwer eingestuft hat, dass sie nach seiner Einschätzung eine Überwachung der Telekommunikation rechtfertigen (vgl. Beschluss des Ersten Senats des Bundesverfassungsgerichts vom 11. März 2008 – 1 BvR 256/08 -, EuGRZ 2008, S. 257 <263>).
The same applies to the provision on the protection of professional secrets entitled to refuse to give evidence (section 160a of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Here, too, the balancing of interests required in the proceedings for a temporary injunction shows that the public interest in effective criminal prosecution outweighs the individual interest. If this provision were to remain in force and if the constitutional complaint were to be successful in the main proceedings, investigative measures against persons entitled to refuse to testify pursuant to section 53 (1) sentence 1 nos. 3 to 3b or no. 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would possibly be ordered according to considerations of proportionality, or knowledge gained from an investigative measure against another person, about whom one of the persons named in section 160a (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO n.F.) would be allowed to refuse to testify, would be used for evidentiary purposes after a proportionality test. This would limit the practical effects and thus also the function of the rights to refuse to testify laid down in § 53.1 sentence 1 nos. 3 to 3b, no. 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In this respect, the public interest in the tasks performed by the professional secrets and the individual interest in the confidentiality of entrusted facts would have to be weighed. If, on the other hand, the challenged provision were to be declared applicable by way of an interim injunction only with the proviso that all persons entitled to refuse to testify named in § 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would be absolutely prohibited from collecting and using evidence, this could lead to the fact that numerous investigative measures would not be allowed to be carried out. This could have the consequence that the investigation of serious criminal offences would not be possible, because individual investigative measures would not be allowed to be taken from the outset or the knowledge gained would not be allowed to be used.
Order of the Federal Constitutional Court of 15 October 2008 - 2 BvR 236/08, 2 BvR 237/08 -
Source: Press release of the Federal Constitutional Court No. 93/2008 of 07 November 2008
Goldberg Attorneys at Law, Wuppertal-Solingen 2008
Attorney at Law Michael Ullrich, LL.M.(Information Law)