FECL 32 (March 1995):

"DRAG NET" SEARCH IN CARINTHIA

In the late 70s and the 80s, German anti-terrorism experts developed to methods of search involving the use of computers, known as Rasterfahndung (search by screening) and Schleppnetzfahndung ("drag net" search). At regular intervals, police checked all movements of persons in a designed area. All data on persons and vehicles were electronically stored and matched with data from earlier operations. The declared purpose was to learn about lifestyle and movements of people and, in a second stage, detect particular persons whose way of life differed from average people's according to the patterns established by the police computers.

Meanwhile, the use of these methods of search has spread to other countries.

Recently, the police of the Land of Carinthia stopped thousands of commuters on their way to work in the regional capital of Klagenfurt. The operation was ordered by the Federal Interior Ministry. According to unnamed sources in the Interior Ministry, similar checks are to be carried out in coming weeks, "at any time of the day or the night". Police investigators say that the search operations aim at finding the perpetrators of a series of bomb attacks that occurred in Austria between 1993 and early 1995 (see FECL No. 31).

In an attempt to meet mounting criticism against security authorities' dealing with the bomb attacks, Interior Minister Löschnak recently demanded more powers for the police in the interest of increased public security.

 

Sources: Kärntner Tageszeitung, 16.3.95; our sources.