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German asylum data could have been information source for foreign intelligence

The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf) is facing a headache after a significant security breach was discovered.

Published: November 29, 2017, 8:52 am

    Berlin

    Apparently more than 5 000 Bamf employees have access to the internal system “Maris”, in which more than two million asylum files are stored electronically.

    At the same time, it is difficult to understand which employees are accessing what kind of information from where, reported Die Welt and the Nürnberger Nachrichten (NN).

    Basically, anyone with access rights can see the name, file number or place of residence of the persons in question. An employee is visible on the system only if he or she changes a file. If only reading files, the process will be saved on the respective computer and deleted after three months.

    Experts speak of an “gateway” for foreign intelligence services, which could obtain information about dissidents relatively easily and undetected.

    Both media outlets revealed that several Turkish asylum seekers learned shortly after filing their asylum application in Germany that they had been defamed by the media in their homeland. It is quite possible that information could have been forwarded to Ankara.

    When asked if this had happened, the responsible Federal Ministry of Interior answered evasively. The authority nevertheless pointed out that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to protect asylum seekers from reprisals.

    The Bamf announced that from the spring of next year reading access will be granted only on the respective computer, but also centrally stored on a server.

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