back to article German government approves plod-spyware law

The German government yesterday passed a controversial 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 …

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Behind the times

This is old hat, the local concils here in the UK have been tapping phones, e-mail and following people around under cover for months just to make sure yuo live in the right house, put the correct rubbish in the bin or clean up after the dog. They use the new anti terrotr laws to do this, can't see how someone walking there dog is a terrorist but thats why i'm not in politics i surpose.

Welcome to the new free world Germany where the only privacy you have is locked in your toilet.

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Trojans?

"but police could send anonymous e-mails containing trojans and hope the suspects infect their own computers."

And this would be legal? Can I do this then and remain within the law?

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Back...

beyond even the cold-war levels of paranoia and state snooping all round.

Anyone who still believes that the "War on Terror" is anything other than a convenient excuse for the governments of once 'free' states to engage in a stranglehold over an increasingly empowered (I hate having to use that word) and globally aware populace is living in cloud cuckoo land.

This decade will be remembered in future histories as the beginning of the second Dark Ages.

<Insert preferred deity> help us all.

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@Paul Buxton

Not unless you are a German plod.

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Linux

Sieg Heil!!!

All these new powers and "anti-terror" laws seem very reminescent of the state of affairs druing the "Rise of the Third Reich".

It supposedly was fortold of the coming of a "Fourth Reich", and maybe we are going to be priveledged enough to see it happen.

I don't know what scares me more, the far right with the Neo-Nazis/BNP/Republican/New Labour or the far left with the Green Party/Green Peace/IFAW.

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Anonymous Coward

EU Directive 2006/24/EC

I think the 6 month retention law would have been a portion of the EU Directive 2006/24/EC being implemented. Nothing the German government can do about they are a rubber stamp authority [of a stamp] nowadays, like the other Eurabia states...

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responses

@Scott

Assuming they don't bug your toilet

@Paul

Only if your name is bill.

Sounds like the same as the UK said, only approved cases, now they just use it if someone sneezes the wrong way or the local council see dollar signs on their head. Hopefully they use it better than we do.

Welcome to a world where you're just a govt money machine. Hand over your wallet at border control

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Pirate

The age-old question...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

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Paris Hilton

@Scott

"Welcome to the new free world Germany where the only privacy you have is locked in your toilet."

Don't talk rubbish!

Oh, and please remember to wash your hands properly next time...

(Paris, because she doesn't keep anything private)

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Linux

Tux ...

Caus, I bet all the Trojans are written for windows :-)

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Alert

What happens?

What if someone were to forward that trojan containing email across germany's border to their lawyer/family/friend etc?

What if someone who gets sent this trojan has their email hacked and the trojan is maliciously spread worldwide?

This sounds like a VERY slippery slope indeed. Will this bring on WWIII. Maybe. I can't see the Russian and Chinese (or insert any countries) military being particularly impressed when they discover that their systems have been infected/monitered by the Germans.

I don't think its worth the risk Herr Fritz.

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Paris Hilton

@ Paul Buxton

Of course you cannot. If you were allowed to do what the state is in the name of $convenient_propaganda, and the state would not successively allocate more rights for itself while reducing yours, how would it still be totalitarian?

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Stasi reborn

I always wondered what was going to happen to all those highly skilled east-Germans when they joined a West where citizens were trusted. Now I know.

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Legal Trojans?

Will the anti-virus vendors be allowed to recognise these or not? Just as there is a market within germany for import games (e.g. the ones that haven't been censored) I can see a new market for imported anti-virus products!

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Anonymous Coward

Sing along

Oh! You better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I'm telling you why:

Wolfgang Schäuble is coming to town!

He's making a list,

He's checking it twice,

He's gonna find out

who's naughty or nice.

Wolfgang Schäuble is coming to town!

He sees you when you're sleeping,

He knows when you're awake.

He knows when you've been bad or good,

So be good for goodness sake!

So...You better watch out,

You better not cry

You better not pout,

I'm telling you why.

Wolfgang Schäuble is coming to town.

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Black Helicopters

Has this thread been Godwined yet?

Regardless: "Government cyberspying, the legislators point out, would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases."

Yuuuuhhhhh-huh.

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Alien

Raving Nutters now looking to Rant in CyberSpace .... Did you ever hear anything so Preposterous

And this is just too Fascist for words of mine, so read about the fanatics' antics here ...... http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174940/william_astore_militarizing_your_cyberspace

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Anonymous Coward

Dieter Kaufmann for Chancellor

Two things:

"Schäuble proposed the introduction of legislation that would allow the German Federal Government to carry out preventive assassinations of what Schäuble labels terrorist suspects, as well as outlawing the use of the Internet and cell phones for people suspected of being terrorist sympathizers.[2]"

So on the one hand, we have a politician who wants to murder people he SUSPECTS of being terrorists.

"Schäuble was the target of an assassination attempt by 32-year-old Dieter Kaufmann, who took the Smith and Wesson of his father and fired three shots at Schäuble after an election campaign event in Oppenau, injuring a bodyguard and Schäuble's spinal cord and face severely. Schäuble has been paralysed and confined to a wheelchair ever since. The assassin later stated, his shots would have been "self defence" because Germany "is a terror state" but he was declared "mentally ill" by the judges and committed to a clinic because of psychoneurosis."

And on the other hand we have a person who SUSPECTS "Schäuble" is part of the German terror state and therefore should be murdered.

See they're really two peas in a pod, one a fanatical right wing politician who wants everyone locked up, extrajudicial killings, attacks on other countries and so on. The other a fanatic who objects to the way Germany is becoming a terror state and thinks the fix is... well extrajudicial killings.

But one of them won't try to infect my PCs with their malware, so I vote for Kaufmann for Chancellor. He's a slightly less dangerous Nazi than Schäuble.

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Pirate

we had gestapo, we had stasi

now we have schäuble. the big BUTs about this are:

it's only one step closer to their goal: total control over the ordinary mob

they will never ever catch a terrorist this way, they are not that dumb. they just need to boot from a usb stick, use an external hard drive, find an unencrypted wlan somewhere else and give heinrich müller*... sorry, i mean schäuble the finger.

*heinrich müller aka gestapo-müller was the gestapo-boss

... skull because the SS had that on their caps

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Anonymous Coward

Where is the resistance?

Trojans in emails sent out by the police?

What happens if this trojan causes a huge financial lose, who pays for that?

What happens if this trojan shuts off a piece of medical equipment, who is liable for the death?

Have the German police declared war on the German people?

We are here in a surveillance dystopia, the only signs of open rebellion are the speed camera axle grinders.

I suppose most of us have just accepted it, but somehow liberty as a human ideal appears to have been thrown out the window, welcome fellow inmates.

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Hold yer horses

The bill has only been approved by the federal cabinet. The Bundestag still has to decide, if there will be any legal changes.

See http://www.netzeitung.de/politik/deutschland/1040918.html

(Leans back, pats her GELI-encrypted FreeBSD boxes . . . grins)

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@Has this thread been Godwined yet?

The sun on the meadow is summery warm,

The stag in the forest runs free.

But gather together says Wolfgang Schäuble,

Your data belongs to me!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Where is the resistance?

There isn't one, and there can never be one. Why? Because of technology, psychology and the techniques of social/cultural engineering and crowd control. Never before in history have the upper class had access to such widespread automated surveillance nor the ability to predict and control the behaviour of large crowds of people. Now they have it.

What this means is that any attempt to set up a resistance will immediately be infiltrated by special ops agents, spies and moles. Further, the resistance will be discredited as a "terrorist organisation" by agents-provocateurs bombing schools and hospitals and claiming the resistance is responsible. The mass media will perpetuate this view in the eyes of the general public, so that anyone claiming to support it will find themselves dobbed in on the "Terrorist Hotline" in short order. And anyone trying to expose the truth will simply be dismissed as a tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nutjob.

Finally, if the unrest becomes sufficient, an astute government could set up a fake "resistance" to rope in all the freedom-loving types who can then be put on watch-lists or made to disappear. Of course, this "resistance" would never really achieve anything, it would just appear so to anyone interested in joining it. Again, anyone trying to expose this for what it is will also be consigned to the tinfoil-hat brigade.

In a world of lies and deceit, powerlust and greed and opportunism, powered by high technology and advanced psychology, such opposition to the established order has become impossible. So don't look for a hero to save the world. Such a one would be lumped in with Osama bin Laden long before you even get to see his white horse. Your only way of fighting back is to refuse to have any children, as I have done. No progeny of mine will ever be slaves to the New World Order. If everyone in the middle and lower classes did this, if we all went on a massive baby-strike, then it would be the kids of the powermongers who would have to become the new slaves.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

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"would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases"

Thin edge of the wedge people!

Thin edge....

Achtung !!

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Yeah right...

Government cyberspying, the legislators point out, would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases." <-- in other words if we can get away with it we'll do it...

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scary

"Government cyberspying, the legislators point out, would only be conducted in a handful of exceptional cases."

is the most scary phrase I have ever heard it translated means

"do not worry just give us ultimate power we promise we will only use it on REALY bad guys .you are not a bad guy are you?. no so you have nothing to fear do you . just sine the paper and we will make it all safe"

6 mounths l8t they are using it to spy on school kids just in case they ar elieing to get into the same school as there siblings

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Paris Hilton

Germans start new World War - who'd have thunk it.

"This sounds like a VERY slippery slope indeed. Will this bring on WWIII. Maybe. I can't see the Russian and Chinese (or insert any countries) military being particularly impressed when they discover that their systems have been infected/monitered by the Germans."

Oh great, Germany starting yet *another* world war. Lovely. And just when I was starting to think they were okay...

Well at least that lets the U.S. off the hook, as we won't be able to blame WWIII on Bush or oil or Iran or something. See, there's a bright side to everything!

But seriously now... Brian, I agree with what you wrote - you make some excellent points.

- Paris coz she looks suspiciously Teutonic

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Pirate

efficacy?

I cant help wonder if this will work.

For the AV vendors this will be like the holy grail of trojans.

I imagine they will be falling over themselves to capture this from the wild and analyse it just to prove how they are the best anti virus vendor in the world and once the signature of it is out there the stasi may as well just send an email telling the subject they are under surveillance and could they please email any incriminating information back to them.

I just hope the stasi also monitor all German emails for keywords, it would be much good sport registering a few German webmail accounts and sending dodgy emails between them ("Gunther have you received the castor beans" "yes Fritz and we are beginning ricin production immediately" etc etc) to see if you can provoke them into sending you the trojan.

Trojans gotta catch them all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is the resistance?

There is none and there will be none for a good while, but then it will get ugly. I've said it before, people here have been conditioned not to question the system but to willingly accept "authority". Best thing: We tend to be so proud that we—not having the right to bear arms by default, unlike our friends across the pond—are so peaceful and civilized. It will come back and bite us in the ass now, we will have a good bit of trouble defending ourselves.

For relief, read Kaczynski. He says that the system will break down all by itself. Looking at what is happening these days, he might be right. You don't even have to shoot & bomb it into oblivion. Can't say that I want to be here once it starts though. It sounds a bit paranoid and delusional, but my grandparents—war generation—used to have a big stockpile of supplies in their basement. I wonder if I should start one too.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Where is the resistance?

There is heaps of resistance around here, you can be sure of that. More people are starting to get aware of the implications of the new "ant-terror" (yea, like.. whatever) laws and some even react and try to make themselves heard..

Resistance isn't futile ..yet.

The main problem with all those laws in general (although the thought alone of somebody watching my every move, just because I oppose these laws openly and so I might "have something to hide"), but of the unforeseeable consequences they might have!

See, we had at least one mean dictator around here, starting a world war and all, and after the war was over and the new republic was founded, everybody agreed on passing laws which would "forever" prevent this shit happening again. We had really neat seperation of power implemented, some sort of transparency of what government body is doing what, we had defined "custodians for the custodians" and all..

Nowadays with all this "terror threat" scare (meh..) they abolish more and more of those regulations, and that's not a healthy thing for a democracy!

It all might be fine as long as we can trust the government (if only for their incompetency regarding technical issues, like actually developing such a trojan), but it's scary that the government doesn't appear to trust its people anymore!

And who can foresee the future? - What might happen if one day the far left, far right, or some complete whacko as Onkel Wolfgang takes over the government and now has the power to decide who really is one of those dreaded terrorists?

Those smegging laws will hardly ever be taken back. And most bloody politicians don't even understand the implications of what they decide on in parliament.

*sigh*

oh, well: Courage! And some clue for the clueless.. - pretty please?

(Paris, as a hint to "clue, please")

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Black Helicopters

Re: Stasi reborn

"I always wondered what was going to happen to all those highly skilled east-Germans when they joined a West where citizens were trusted. Now I know."

Nope, that assumption is wrong. They were all rendered to the UK as backhaul loads on the US - East Europe secret prison flights. Since then, they have been "helping the authorities" by introducing such stuff to the UK. The 42 days detention malarkey being just a smokescreen to divert attention from whatever else is included in the same bill. [See Spyblog for more details]. Remember that whatever the State wants to do, it will make legal [for examples see US warrantless tapping, Germany in 1930s, Italy in 1930s, Soviet Union for most of its existence, Cambodia during PolPot, etc, etc]

If the Germans want their beloved Stasi back, they will have to join the queue behind all the past British Home Secretaries who have lucrative directorships with firms selling the hardware. They have a commercial interest in keeping the "colleagues" here.

Yes, most of the above is conjecture. If anyone has court standard proof that I got it wrong, would they please publish it here. Derision, including variations on "don't be so stupid" cannot be allowed. This NuLabour government has form on function creep and big statism and cockups. ID Cards anyone? NHS databases? Let alone HMRC CDs and MOD laptops.

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Re: What happens?

>>> This sounds like a VERY slippery slope indeed. Will this bring on WWIII. Maybe. I can't see the Russian and Chinese (or insert any countries) military being particularly impressed when they discover that their systems have been infected/monitered by the Germans.

You SERIOUSLY think that the Americans, Chinese, Russians, French and, yes, British haven't done just that kind of spying for years?

At least Germany is still democratic enough that this brings up a public debate, instead of having it introduced quietly, like in the aforementioned countries.

The British here should also remember that it is them that live in the country with probably the most surveillance cameras per square mile.

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Boffin

What next (no, seriously!)

A current German pioneer monitoring the misuse of data is the Chaos Computer Club, who have sailed close to the legal wind in citizens' interests before. If the new legal framework caused them to become concerned, they might find shelter by contracting for other police work - there are bound to find some safe haven behind an inter-departmental feud.

I don't recall Orwell thinking this scenario through, though no doubt some other Sci-Fi-entist did somewhere.

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Black Helicopters

@Graham Marsden

you were very, so very close. the last sentence is:

all your data are belong to me

Sad part...it probably goes thru the US and the NSA already have it.

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Pirate

Re: Where is the resistance?

Where is the resistance in this country (UK), This has been the policy of Fuerers Blair and Braun to spy on and criminalise the population for the past eleven years yet they still get voted in. It;s two long years until the next General Election. Don't let them get in again or we will be totally oppressed. (One people, One Land, One Leader, Work makes freedom, Forward through Technology. etc, etc).

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Alien

Old Stereotyping allows for Untold Progress in Virgin Fields.

"If the Germans want their beloved Stasi back, they will have to join the queue behind all the past British Home Secretaries who have lucrative directorships with firms selling the hardware. They have a commercial interest in keeping the "colleagues" here." ..... By Jeff Deacon Posted Friday 6th June 2008 10:50 GMT

Jeff,

Anyone can jump the Queue if they Flash the Correct Credentials and Speak the Lingo. And that then allows Cash to Flow to Oil the Wheels. Although nowadays, who you would need to be Courting for the Latest Future Kit, is the Holy Grail of Search, is it not?

"Sad part...it probably goes thru the US and the NSA already have it." ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 6th June 2008 16:57 GMT

What is Real Sad is that they do nothing of Great value with IT, AC. But they do admit that they have a Lack of Intelligence. And Shucks, y'all, that is reinforced daily whenever they use their Own rather than buying in some other which would work Beta and Better for them.

The very Real danger is that they be left Out in the Cold, following a Foreign Lead, because they could not comprehend the Simplest of Messages sent to them, even directly. The Great Game has Changed Fundamentally and QuITe Radically ... or haven't you noticed?

cc Fort Meade/NSA/any Intelligence Service playing the Great Game.

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Sub-Prime Ministerial Dilemmas..... the Result of Dodgy Advice and Poor Leadership ....

.... which is not Leadership at all.

And lest we forget, there are Just Grounds for Exemplarary Punitive Damages against the Government Party of the day, if Terrorist Charges are not brought?*. And given that they are effectively bankrupt even today, and yet permitted to trade their obviously unwelcome spiel, I suppose they would be relying on the British Public to foot the Bill for their Mismanagement.

One does wonder where all the Intelligence has gone, for there is certainly none of it in Government. It makes it all a bit of a joke, B-Movie operation which, if it wasn't hosted and carried by IT and Media would never be missed.

Surely IT and Media can prepare a Better Beta Show for Governments to Administer to rather than think that they can lead...... whenever it is so blatantly obvious that they are not Fit for that Purpose.

* Or is that to be a fascist exception ..... to the Natural Flow of Things too.

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Much to Do for Nothing ..... An Alien Concept to Parasites.

Oops... that should be, of course, Exemplary.

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Flame

@AC - re Dieter Kaufmann

Well - many people think Dieter Kaufmann is a time-traveller from the future.

Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy if he is.

Schäuble is definitely paranoid and belongs into a mental hospital very pronto.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dieter Kaufmann

And on the other hand we have a person who SUSPECTS "Schäuble" is part of the German terror state and therefore should be murdered.

See they're really two peas in a pod, one a fanatical right wing politician who wants everyone locked up, extrajudicial killings, attacks on other countries and so on. The other a fanatic who objects to the way Germany is becoming a terror state and thinks the fix is... well extrajudicial killings.

Is he a fanatic or freedom fighter ?? If some tried to kill Hillier when he first came into power would you call that person a fanatic ??

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