Fan database of the Bavarian Police: “New dimension of police data collection mania”

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A database managed by the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office is currently causing concern among supporters of Bavarian football clubs. Since January 24, 2020, the collection called “EASy Violence and Sport” has recorded people who are said to have appeared through criminal or administrative offenses.

There are currently 1664 people in the database, according to a response from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior (PDF) to a request from the Greens state parliament members Maximilian Deisenhofer and Katharina Schulze. With “EAsy GS”, the police want to bring together “already existing relevant personal findings” and evaluate them with analysis software in order to be able to identify in advance people who have repeatedly been noticed at sporting events.

The catalog of suspicious items ranges from “acts of violence against people or things”, “joining together to act in a community that disrupts peace, acts of glorification of violence, racist, xenophobic, extremist acts” to “putting up graffiti, smearings or stickers” and “climbing fences and buildings or Entering the playing area “.

The entries are made by “scene-savvy officials”, ie investigators and clerks who are explicitly entrusted with the phenomenon of violence and sport. For the database, personal data from public bodies from all over Germany and outside the scope of the Basic Law are used, according to the answer from the Ministry of the Interior. “This includes information on preliminary investigations that were conducted outside of Bavaria against supporters of Bavarian associations or people residing in Bavaria.”

The Ministry of the Interior lists, among other things, that 556 supporters of 1.FC Nuremberg, 407 of TSV Munich 1860 and 248 of FC Bayern Munich are recorded. The ministry cannot state the reasons why individual persons are recorded. People are not saved “on the basis of a single relevant fact”, but “on the basis of an individual prognosis”. For this, factors such as the status of the person, whether they are accused, affected or otherwise, are decisive.

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The personal data are stored in EAsy GS for as long as this is “necessary to fulfill the police tasks”. Depending on the category, there are storage test periods that range from two to ten years. According to its own statements, the ministry has been exchanging information about the database with the state commissioner for data protection “for a while”. The talks are not yet over.

The fan lawyers’ working group, whose members regularly represent football fans, speaks of a “new dimension of police data collection mania” (PDF). The Bavarian police secretly introduced additional monitoring software for football fans. This goes far beyond the nationwide “Violent Sport” file – also known as the “Hooligan File” – in which 500 people from Bavaria are recorded. Most of the people stored in EAsy GS would not have committed an offense; the people would also not be informed that they had been captured. In addition, they are registered to a large extent based on subjective assessments by police officers.

“You can end up in the data collection if the police think that a person poses a risk of putting stickers or a risk that is not at all defined,” write the fan lawyers. Even if an investigation has been closed, a person should not be deleted from the file if they can clearly prove that they are innocent. “This file significantly encroaches on the right to informational self-determination under Art. 2 Para. 1, 1 Para. 1 GG and is unconstitutional in this form.”

The fan lawyers demand that the file be abolished. The data subjects would also have to be informed immediately if they are entered in EASy GS and receive comprehensive information about the data stored in each case. If you want to get information about an entry yourself, you can do so using an information form.

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