Germany Weighs Civil Liberties Against Security

New world order prompts government, society to reevaluate
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2007 4:23 PM CDT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves her hand as she arrives to report on the EU Summit at the plenary room at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, June 27, 2007. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Sensing a growing threat from Islamic terrorists, Germany's top security official is pushing for new measures to monitor suspects and deal with attacks, the Times reports. But the interior minister's moves have ignited a firestorm of controversy in a country overly familiar with authoritarian rule. Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed limited support for the ideas.

Wolfgang Schauble not only wants the government  to conduct secret online computer searches and detain terrorist suspects; he's promoting a law to allow security forces to shoot down a plane commandeered by hijackers. Critics say the country should not overreact to recent terrorist events in Europe. Germany is considered especially vulnerable to attack because of its military presence in Afghanistan. (Read more Germany stories.)