The German government have passed an anti-terror law that would grant police the power to monitor private residences, telephones and computers.
Instead of tapping phones, they would be able to use video surveillance and even spy software to collect evidence. Physically tampering with suspects' computers would still not be allowed, but police could send anonymous e-mails containing
trojans and hope the suspects infect their own computers.
Government cyberspying, the legislators point out, would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases.
The bill, called a building block for Germany's security architecture by interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble, still needs to be approved by the lower and upper chamber of the German parliament.
The federal law was passed after months of heated debate. The proposed plans would not only widen the anti-terror skills of police and the Federal Crime Office, better known as BKA, it would also reverse recent rulings by Germany's constitutional
court and Federal Supreme Court. A law which permits authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia to spy on computer users was rejected recently and last year the the Supreme Court ruled online police spying was unlawful.
Max Stadler, a security expert with the German Free Democratic Party, warned earlier the plan would weaken the trust of German citizens in government.
Yes Gordon, of course people will
believe this is all about terrorism.
Make the lie big,
make it simple,
keep saying it,
and eventually they will believe it
This supposedly "informal" G6 group usually seem to manage to "policy launder" their decisions via the wider, full membership of the European Union, and then they can pretend that their latest Orwellian control fantasy which
they are inflicting on our freedoms and liberties, has somehow been imposed on them by the EU, and is necessary to meet "international commitments", even though they themselves instigated the original policy.
Written Ministerial Statements Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Home Department G6 and United States Counter-Terrorism Symposium
Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary; Redditch, Labour)
The informal G6 group of Interior Ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom met in Bonn, Germany on 26 and 27 September 2008, along with the United States State Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
This was the third G6 plus US counter-terrorism symposium meeting. I attended on behalf of the United Kingdom.
The symposium was divided into four substantive discussion sessions:
remote searches of computer hard drives;
Is this a further development of what the German government has been attempting recently ?
Presumably this involves intrusive access to remote computers, by means of some sort of spyware, computer virus, trojan horse backdoor etc., or by on the fly deep packet inspection and sniffing of passwords or other security credentials,
Germany's Pirate Party and the Free Democratic Party have declared that they believe the use of state spyware to track criminals was unconstitutional.
According to hackers from the Chaos Computer Club, who hacked the police viruses last weekend, the so-called state-trojans can be used not only as surveillance but to completely control computers remotely. The German constitutional court
has previously declared this unconstitutional.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has now advised the individual German states not to use the software in question.
Sebastian Nerz, chairman of the Pirate Party, who have campaigned for internet freedoms, said, It is absolutely impossible to install a trojan that meets legal requirements. He added that because of the state trojans, a judge would never
be able to tell whether evidence allegedly found on the computer of someone under surveillance had not been altered or fabricated later.
The FDP, junior coalition partner to Merkel's governing coalition, has also joined the growing political furor against police spyware. FDP legal spokesman Marco Buschmann told the Neue Osnabru cker Zeitung, The newly uncovered state-trojan
feeds substantial doubts that the use of spy software is possible under the German constitution.