Feeds

German government approves plod-spyware law

Uncharted territory

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.