A small inquiry by Niklas Schrader, a member of the Berlin Left Party, shows that the work of the association is being noticed by authorities. The question revealed that after a search of the collective's offices, the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation had passed on the results of the investigation to the Counter-Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Department.
In order to check whether the Office for the Protection of the Constitution also already had Peng! on its radar, the collective submitted a request for information - without success. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution rejected the request on the grounds that only natural persons are entitled to information. An association is however a legal entity.
INTELLIGENCE SERVICES USE LOOPHOLE TO MONITOR ORGANIZATIONS
It is legally permissible for intelligence agencies to monitor civil society organizations and analyze their data. However, according to the argumentation of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, associations are not entitled to receive information. This means that they lack the necessary legal protection. With our objection, we argue that the right to informational self-determination can and must also be applied to legal entities. Only in this way can the work of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution meet the minimum requirements for transparency and civil society organizations be sufficiently protected by law.
A lack of a right to information offers intelligence services a dangerous loophole. If intelligence services can monitor organizations without control, civil society's room for maneuver is restricted: People are not only deterred from coming together to exercise their fundamental rights. The financial survival of many associations also depends directly on the judgment of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, since it is often asked for an assessment before granting funding.
With our joint objection, we are fighting to ensure that associations can also assert their right to informational self-determination and that civil society is legally protected. If the Office for the Protection of the Constitution continues to refuse to release the data on the artists' collective, the GFF together with Peng! will file a lawsuit .