The Federal Republic of Germany has grave dangers for the state, its population and its economy, mainly from extremist and hostile forces, to be able to recognize it early and react to it, set up intelligence services: the domestic intelligence service for the protection of the constitution, the foreign intelligence service BND and the military counterintelligence service MAD. The most important tasks of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and the State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution are the collection and evaluation of information about efforts against the liberal basic order, participation in security and the investigation of espionage activities.
Reliability and security check by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution
For the functioning of the economy and the trustworthiness of the company, reliability is just as important as compliance with state, operational and business secrets of vital importance. General personal and social reliability is checked in interviews with people who apply as entrepreneurs, managers or employees. For the verification of reliability in the sense of compliance with the legal system and the exclusion of efforts that are directed against the liberal democratic basic order, reliability and confidentiality checks are required in a legally regulated process with significant involvement of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
This is how § regulates 34 a GewO pass away background check in the security industry . It is described in detail to what extent applicants want to operate a security service company, operations managers and managers of a branch office as well as security employees and which authorities and databases are to be involved. Pass away required reliability is according to § 34 to abdominal muscle. 1 set 4 GewO usually does not apply if the applicant or an individual entrusted with the management of the company or a branch belongs to a prohibited association or an unconstitutional party or pursues efforts against the free democratic basic order or in the last five years pursued or supported.
to determine reliability or unreliability in this sense, the statement of the respective competent state constitutional protection authority must be obtained. This also applies to security staff who are deployed to protect refugee accommodation, large-scale events with restricted access and to protect objects that can pose a particular risk to the general public in the autumn of a criminal attack.
The protection of the Constitution is also involved in the reliability check if the aviation security authority checks the reliability of people, performs certain security-related functions (Section 7 Abdominal muscles.1 sentence 1 No. 1-5 Aviation Security Act) and poses a risk in the event of unreliability for the safety of civil aviation.
The participating authority is also the BfV for security reviews in accordance with the Security Review Act (SÜG). The secrecy protection in the economy serves to carry out all measures that have to be taken to protect classified information (in the gradation of top secret, secret and VS confidential). If a company receives a classified information order from an official body, it is responsible for implementing the necessary security measures. The BMWi conducts the secret protection procedure, informs the company of findings relevant to secret protection and arranges for the protection of the constitution to be involved. The ministry has drawn up a security manual in which both personal and material security is regulated, which includes all technical and organizational measures that are intended to ensure that only those authorized to use classified information have sufficient knowledge of classified information. The commissioned company must recognize the regulations of the security manual in a public law contract. In this process, too, it is absolutely necessary to use the intelligence of the protection of the constitution in order to achieve sufficient protection of confidentiality.
Combating industrial espionage
One of the tasks of the protection of the constitution is the collection and evaluation of information about security-endangering or secret service activities for a foreign power (§ 3 No. 2 BVerfSchG). The industrial espionage that falls under this category threatens the highly innovative German economy to a considerable extent. According to the security authorities, industrial and technology espionage is mainly carried out by Russian and Chinese intelligence services. According to the Federal Data Protection Report 2020 is the focus of cyber espionage attacks through advanced persistent threats, especially with its critical infrastructures. Groupings APT 20 and 29 with connections to Russian intelligence services. With its knowledge of techniques and the entire method operandi of cyber attacks, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution can make contributions to defending against such attacks. This happens both in bilateral discussions with affected companies and through participation in the National Cyber Defense Center.
Are particularly intense According to the intelligence of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, espionage activities of Chinese services. In addition, China has increasingly started to close technological gaps by buying up German medium-sized companies in the field of high technology. Chinese intelligence services are also investigating the knowledge potential of Chinese experts who are active in Germany. Such espionage activities are partly carried out by Chinese government agencies and partly by competing companies in China. According to the intelligence of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, attempts at spying were also directed against German companies, vaccines against Covid 19 to develop.
Preventive economic protection
A central concern of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is the preventive protection of companies against white-collar crime through Evaluation of intelligence findings. According to a report by Bitkom published in August 2021 stated in a survey of over 1. 000 Company start 2021 88%, in the last 12 months of theft , Industrial espionage or sabotage. At 66% of the companies surveyed caused damage during this period. Pass away damage caused by the types of crime mentioned pass away added up according to Bitkom’s calculation in the last 12 months to 223 billion EUR, a huge increase compared to 2019 with 103 billion EUR. 34% of the respondents suspected the origin of the attacks (also) in Eastern Europe, 23% in Russia, 30% in China.
The BfV investigates suspected cases reported by companies and, together with the state authorities, sensitizes companies to the protection of the constitution. It is complained that some companies shy away from contacting the Office for the Protection of the Constitution so as not to damage their online reputation. It is often overlooked that, in contrast to the police, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is not subject to the principle of legality, i.e. the company can outright promise of confidentiality. The BfV is also involved in the economic protection effort coordinated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, together with associations, science and research institutions. BfV, BKA, BND and BSI have joined forces on an information platform and bundled their experience for companies. They publish a special report on economic protection on the economic and political developments in various countries and on cyber threats. And they have developed an introduction to the „basic economic protection“, including requirements, modules, practical recommendations for action and the relationship to the basic IT protection of the BSI. The core target group are small and medium-sized companies. In May / June 2021 you have a „digital roadshow economic protection 2021 „under the motto „Strengthening the resilience of German companies and research institutions nationwide in a networked world“. Together with the ASW Bundesverband, the BfV organizes an annual conference on economic protection.
Overall, the economy should provide the protection of the constitution through details about suspected cases as well as the use of intelligence se and the available specialist knowledge more than before.
Reinhard Rupprecht, MinDir. aD
Photo: Jürgen Fälchle – Fotolia Chinese intelligence services are particularly active in Germany.
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