FECL 38 (October 1995):


A working group led by the BKA (Federal Office of Criminal Investigation) has presented a first overview on the current reorganisation of INPOL, the computerised Police Information System.


An important innovation planned by the working group is the stronger emphasis on direct links between police computers at the Lšnder level and the various European information systems concerned with policing. However, the original concept of a central federal computer is not being abandoned.

An instrumental change will take place with the introduction of a new architecture of the INPOL system. The current structure of the system is based on a core of data enabling no more than the identification of a person. These core data are accessible to all users of the system. Supplementary information is accessible only to certain categories of officers. Under the new architecture developed by the working group, the new core of the system will be made of five separate categories of data, namely on persons, institutions, objectives, objects and indications. Hitherto, these selection criteria have been used only in the PIOS-registers, special information registers for the search for terrorists. This architecture enables the "generation of suspicion" based on the comparison of apparently non-suspicious data registered in the five core categories. The separation of data that should be retreived only for particular purposes and by competent officers is to be ensured by special "security software". However, experts of FifF, an organisation of critical computer scientists in Germany, are doubtful about the technical feasibility of this separation of sensitive data.

According to their magazine, Fiff-Kommunikation, the planned "security software" is a "courageous intention".

In the view of FifF-Kommunikation, the reorganisation of INPOL is further proof that special techniques of criminal investigation whose introduction was originally justified as an exceptional means to fight terrorism, are gradually being extended to data processing in everyday policing.


Source: FifF-Kommunikation 3/95 (September). Contact: FifF, Reuterstr. 44, D-53113 Bonn; Tel: +49/228 219548, Fax: +49/228 214924; E-mail: fiff-ko@informatik.uni-bonn.de