Feeds

German government approves plod-spyware law

Uncharted territory

Security for virtualized datacentres

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 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.

Privacy and civil liberties groups are strongly opposed. They point at a recent scandal at Deutsche Telecom, which illegally monitored phone call records to see if it could stop leaking information to journalists. Sebastian Edathy, chairman of the Bundestag's domestic affairs committee, yesterday told Deutsche Welle that "we don't want a spy state." He believes the proposed measures are "uncharted territory in the law".

Max Stadler, a security expert with the German Free Democratic Party, warned earlier the plan would weaken the trust of German citizens in government.

Earlier this year Schäuble also approved legislation making it a duty for phone companies to retain billing records for six months. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.