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BK OGer BE: no cri­mi­nal lia­bi­li­ty for secret­ly atta­ching a GPS tracker

The Appeals Cham­ber of the Hig­her Court of the Can­ton of Ber­ne has rejec­ted a non-accep­tance decis­i­on of the Office of the Att­or­ney Gene­ral with legal­ly bin­ding reso­lu­ti­on dated Decem­ber 29, 2017 (PDF) essen­ti­al­ly dismissed.

To judge was the secret­ly atta­ching a GPS tracker on a car; the tracker was dis­co­ver­ed by chan­ce. The com­plainant suspec­ted (which was neither con­firm­ed nor refu­ted in the pro­ce­e­dings) that an insu­rance com­pa­ny had atta­ched the tracker.

Accor­ding to the Board of Appeal’s assess­ment, the non-admis­si­on was justified:

    • Art. 179quater StGB was not appli­ca­ble becau­se a GPS tracker no “recor­ding device within the mea­ning of Art. 179quater StGB. Moreo­ver, dri­ving a car is an ever­y­day acti­vi­ty in a public area that can be obser­ved by the naked eye, so that the­re is no vio­la­ti­on of the pri­va­te sphere.
    • Data requi­ring spe­cial pro­tec­tion in the sen­se of Art. 179novies StGB were not invol­ved, and neither was a per­so­na­li­ty pro­fi­le: no “direct­ly per­so­nal infor­ma­ti­on” can be deri­ved from the recor­ding of a vehic­le by GPS; in par­ti­cu­lar, no con­clu­si­ons can be drawn about who dro­ve the vehic­le or whe­re the per­son ulti­m­ate­ly goes, sin­ce he or she con­ti­nues on foot after par­king the vehic­le; it is certain,

that the mere Recor­ding a move­ment pro­fi­le of a vehic­le (and not of the com­plainant per­so­nal­ly!) no con­clu­si­on on a per­so­na­li­ty pro­fi­le allows.

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