Investigators monitored around 17,700 connections of suspects

WhatsApp kann nur über den Umweg der Quellen-TKÜ abgehört werden WhatsApp kann nur über den Umweg der Quellen-TKÜ abgehört werden

WhatsApp can only be eavesdropped on via the source TKÜ Photo: Nick Ansell / dpa

In the course of criminal investigations in Germany 2020 Slightly fewer telephone and Internet connections were monitored than in the previous year. The number of monitored connections increased by 2.7 percent to 17. 778 dropped, the Federal Office of Justice announced on Monday in Bonn

. The number of investigations in which courts ordered such monitoring remained at 2960 almost the same.

Most of the procedures were therefore in Bavaria (1278), followed by Hesse (731) and Baden-Württemberg (98). In Brandenburg (80), in Saarland (47) and in Bremen (45) few ran.

Focus on drug trafficking

There are significantly more monitored connections than processes, since several connections can often be monitored in a running process. By far the most common cases involved violations of the Narcotics Act. In this category 8117 connections were tapped. To investigate fraud and computer fraud 2020 connections were monitored, in connection with gang theft 1681 and in Connection with murder and manslaughter 1599 Connections.


The authority also presented figures for source telecommunications surveillance (source TKÜ) and for online searches. The source TKÜ is used to monitor ongoing communication, for example via encrypted messengers such as WhatsApp or Signal. An online search, on the other hand, allows all communication content stored on a device to be read out. Both methods, colloquially referred to as “state trojans,” require investigators to hack the target device and install surveillance software. They are therefore linked to comparatively high legal hurdles.

However, even if judges order such a measure, the police cannot always successfully access the devices. According to the figures now published, the source TKÜ in the year 2020 90 Arranged times, but only 13 times it was actually carried out.

What is striking about the numbers is that the authorities in Brandenburg 73 reported court orders, representing about three-quarters of all orders for the entire year. However, they were only implemented four times. When asked by SPIEGEL, the Federal Office could not say whether this was possibly a false statement, which is now being checked. In the previous year, the published figures had to be subsequently corrected downwards.


There were online searches 2020 according to the information, only eight, with a total of 23 Orders.Against the state Trojans or against the Law permitting their use, there are several constitutional complaints.

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