Thursday, December 22, 2016

When Laws Are Obsolete

I was reading a German news piece this week and the word "anachronistic" came up.  It's one of those words that I was unfamiliar with and admit it's way outside of my vocabulary.

The meaning?  It's when you've built a custom, or a law.....that has many different pieces, from different periods of time.  So the law, on a consistent basis....doesn't fit well.

This came up because some cops got around to discussing the newest problem they are facing.

German cops will find an individual who they'd like to put a wire-tap on them.  So they start a legal process to have the judge involved and he'll review their requirement.  At some point, the cops will then discover that the suspect has two, three, four, and perhaps even five cellphones.

So you would think...one single wire-tap request would be sufficient for this one single guy.  Well....no.

The German law in place requires a wire-tap form/approval on a one-phone to one-guy case.  So if he had three phones, you'd have to present the three documents to the judge and explain the situation.

It is in essence....extra paperwork.  You'd think that judges would be demanding an upgrade or fix to this because of the modern era.  But they haven't said much. For cops, it's more paperwork, and unnecessary.

1 comment:

Bruce Twomey said...

Nice write-up. Then again, I enjoy reading most of your stories. Keep it up in 2017. Your folksy, unguarded way of writing is engaging.

As to "When Laws Are Obsolete" - maybe the larger question should be - "What's obsolete - the law or the form?". Maybe the form can have one place to enter a name and 15 boxes for 15 phone numbers. When it comes to individual rights, privacy and due process under the law it doesn't get any better than Germany. I've lived there. I've live here. I always feel safer in Germany when I visit (even on the Autobahn ;-) The loss of a life in a crime or act of terror is always tragic. But, is the unjust imprisonment (or execution) of many somehow less tragic? The Germans learned a terrible lesson from '33 to '45. Every government - SPD, CDU or coalition government - since May 23, 1949 has known the danger when governments starts encroaching into the lives of people. As Ben Franklin ably put it - "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Fear will cost you your liberty.

By the way, thanks for using "state run/public TV" instead of "state run TV". With all the regional senders, in Laender run by different parties and coalitions, operated by independent boards, it's a stretch to call ARD, ZDF, WDR, etc "state run TV". I grew up watching those stations. Some of the best programming in the world if you want an education. Sure, it's not 24x7 sports, or 24x7 business, or 24x7 reality shows. It's plain good TV and I wish we had it here; might help more people deal with the realities of a modern world. If I could stream ZDF and ARD live I'd be watching it (almost) daily.

Looking forward to more good stories in 2017.