Police use Corona guest lists for investigations

If you want to eat in a restaurant, you must provide your contact details for the health department in the event of a corona infection. But the police also use these lists – although the regulation does not provide for this.

The Bavarian police use guest data from restaurants to investigate. So far, police officers in the Free State have used such data in at least ten cases, according to a survey by the German Press Agency among the ten Bavarian police headquarters and the State Criminal Police Office.

Actually, the contact details of the guests should only be used to track infection chains in the wake of the corona pandemic. But in Upper and Middle Franconia such data was also used for investigations into attempted homicides, as spokesmen for the two praesidia announced.

A spokesman for the police headquarters in Augsburg made it legally possible to access guest data. Even if the data should only be used for the actual purpose, a “change of purpose” is possible for the investigation of criminal offenses. The Code of Criminal Procedure provides for “investigations of any kind”, which also applies to the evaluation and use of a “Corona guest list”.

Thomas Geppert, head of the Dehoga restaurants association, is now calling for clear guidelines for the use of personal data, reports the BR. Registration when visiting the restaurant was only intended for notification by the health department in the event of a corona infection. That was promised.

Thomas Petri, Bavarian State Commissioner for Data Protection, is also critical of the use, as the BR further reports. The regulation for infection control measures states that the data may not be passed on to other authorities, but only to the responsible health authorities. The use for police investigations is therefore contrary to the criminal law. It is therefore important to have a nationwide regulation, “a federal law”.

Also criticism of Lower Saxony authorities

Already in April there had been criticism of the procedure in Lower Saxony. At that time, the contact details of people in quarantine had been forwarded to the police. As the NDR reported, the authorities justified the procedure by saying that the police had to ensure that the quarantine was observed. After the quarantine had expired, however, the data would have to be deleted.

Even then, the data protection officer in Lower Saxony, Barbara Thiel, had criticized the handling. “This is a legal basis that we consider to be far too general, because this is about health data, which requires a special legal basis,” she is quoted by the NDR.

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