Federal COURT: Investigators may use silent SMS

Secret services use so-called silent SMS to locate mobile phones from offenders. According to the Federal Supreme Court, their use is compatible with the Basic Law.

Federal COURT: Investigators may use silent SMS

In prosecution of suspected offenders, secret services may use so-called silent SMS. Dasentschied The Federal Supreme Court (BGH) in a written veröffentlichtenBeschluss. In so-called silent SMS, a text message is sent to one-handed, but it is not displayed re so that user does not notice anything. Neverless, device establishes a radio connection to NächstgelegenenMobilfunksendemasten. This allows investigators to locate device undetected and create motion profiles.

In case of a dispute, an official of KurdischenArbeiterpartei PKK, banned in Germany, had sued. Investigators had used technique against him. Later, Berlin Chamber Court sentenced him to a custodial sentence of two years and four months for membership in a Ausländischenterroristischen association.

With his Revisionvor to BGH, plaintiff made numerous procedural obstacles. Under Anderemargumentierte He, for silent SMS, re is no legal basis. Demwidersprach BGH. Thus, in case of a being communicable offence of "significant importance", Criminal Procedure Code allows locating EinesMobilfunkgeräts "with technical means". At introduction of DerVorschrift in year 2002, silent SMS had not yet existed, but legislator had taken account of technical progress with formulation "technical means" and kept provision with Thatonlyone for new locating methods open .

Inviolability of apartment is not touched

According to BGHwerde with silent SMS also does not touch inviolability guaranteed by Basic Law of apartment. It is possible that DasMobilfunkgerät will be located in apartment. But that's a coincidence. A deliberate intervention in privacy of apartment was not silent SMS, were judges of Karlsruhe.

The German authorities increasingly use silent SMS. For example, Federal Office for Protection of Constitution in second half of 2017 has sent around 180,000 of such clandestine messages to mobile phones from suspects.

Corrective Note: Silent SMS can be used against suspects, not only against offenders. We have corrected this in text.

Updated Date: 28 July 2018, 12:00

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