Germany Urges Doctors To Break Confidentiality Due To Terror Fears

The German government has proposed weakening doctor-patient confidentiality laws and has encouraged doctors to report any patients who may show signs of preparing to commit an act of terrorism.

German Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced Wednesday that the German government would be looking into loosening doctor-patient confidentiality laws in order to allow doctors to alert authorities if they suspect their patient of preparing to commit a terror attack.

The measure is part of a new series of policies designed to better allow authorities to keep track of potential terror suspects long before they are able to carry out attacks, reports Wiener Zeitung.

Mr. de Maizière also put forth a number of other proposals to protect the German people from future acts of terror. The new security measures will include a streamlining of the deportation process for migrants who have committed crimes in Germany.

Currently, most migrants who are deported come from the Western Balkans region, though North Africans have been responsible for large amounts of criminality.  Very few migrants from the Maghreb have been deported due to prohibitive costs and an unwillingness by North African nations to accept the migrants back into their home countries.

The security package also includes calls for more CCTV and surveillance in public areas across the country, and a new Cyber Defence Centre which would allow the retention of data collected by security services to be used in investigations against terror suspects. The internet has been a critical tool for groups like Islamic State who often use encrypted chat programs on mobile phones like “telegram” that allow them to privately speak to each other and plan attacks.

The Interior Minister also wants to see an increase in police personnel of 15,000 until 2020 at the federal and state levels. Dual citizenship may also be dropped as Mr. de Maizière argued that it is an obstacle in the path to integration into German society.

Radical Islamic preachers will also be expelled from Germany and foreign funding of radical mosques will be abolished. Taking a page from the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) platform, the package calls for the ban of the full-face Islamic veil and a stripping of German citizenship for anyone who chooses to fight in a terrorist group, like Islamic State, overseas.

The security package proposal has been welcomed by the union of police officers and its chief Rainer Wendt who said: “These plans are all basically in the right direction.”

Speaking on the loosening of patient confidentiality laws, Mr. Wendt commented: “The medical profession has information that can help the security agencies to identify perpetrators,” adding: “It is therefore correct to speak with the medical profession about a softening of secrecy.”


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