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Lawmakers Back Computerized IDs for West Germans

March 01, 1986|From Reuters

BONN — The Bundestag, West Germany's lower house of Parliament, passed a law Friday introducing computer-readable identity documents for West Germans that opposition politicians have charged could lead to increased surveillance of innocent citizens.

The legislation provides for new identity cards and passports, which will store personal data that a computer can read. They will be introduced next year.

The law now goes to the Bundesrat, the upper house, where the government's majority makes its passage into law virtually certain.

A deputy of the opposition Social Democrats, Alfred Emmerich, said he fears that "over the years (details of) almost every citizen will be recorded in computers."

Interior Minister Friedrich Zimmermann said so many safeguards against possible abuse by the authorities had already been written into the new law that the police would find it difficult to use it.

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