Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 09, 2011

German Government Trojan Will Help The Pirates

Under certain circumstance and with the agreement of a judge the German police can wiretap private phone calls. With regards to wiretapping voice-over-Internet connection a big public policy discussions lasted over several years. In the end the German constitutional court finally allowed for wiretap capabilities for voice-over-internet connection like through Skype and the use of special police software smuggled onto a suspects personal computer for such purpose.

But the court sharply distinguished between the capability to listen in to phone communication and the capability to sniff through general content of a personal computer. It demanded that tools which provide the police with the first capability should not have the capability to do any other things. To do the second was a big no-no for the court and it judged such would be illegal as it would severe the basic human right to privacy.

So what did the police do? It, of course one might say, broke the law.

As the Chaos Computer Club, a 25 year old hacker organization which promotes privacy, found, the "Federal Trojan" software the police uses for sniffing into Skype calls allows full manipulation of the hosting PC. The software can install additional programs and it can upload, download and manipulate files.

"This refutes the claim that an effective separation of just wiretapping internet telephony and a full-blown trojan is possible in practice – or even desired," commented a CCC speaker. "Our analysis revealed once again that law enforcement agencies will overstep their authority if not watched carefully. In this case functions clearly intended for breaking the law were implemented in this malware: they were meant for uploading and executing arbitrary code on the targeted system."

Even worse, the software is written on an amateur level, uses unsecured communication methods and, once installed, leaves the computer open to be manipulated by anyone on the Internet.

A scandal will now ensue and is likely to have political consequences. Someone, likely the head of the German Federal Police, will have to step down.

Politically this will help the German Pirate Party to win further political support. To the astonishment of the established parties the Pirates, pro-privacy and contra unreasonable copyright laws, captured 8.9% of the votes in the recent city/state elections in Berlin. They have the potential to top 10% in the next federal elections.

Vettel wins world-championship, the hawkish German federal "terror, terror" police will likely be decapitated and the content/copyright mafia will see more political resistance. What a nice Sunday.

Posted by b on October 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

Comments

Yarr!

M of A - Fighting the Evil Empire - The Pirate Way

In the end taking on Intellectual Enclosure and the mounting surveillance society is, well, quite a daunting task. And lets not forget that we are anyway running in to some really hard walls with our global gluttony of energy (for example oil) and other resources (fish, farmland, forests) while spewing out our rest products and destroying what we can not eat (climate for example). Having an open, democratic society is however a prerequisition for getting solutions that does not include a neofeudal genocidal nightmare.

And perhaps most importantly it feels good to fight back.

Should have added: the long-term advantage of organisation is that you can do something when the surveilliance state messes up.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 10, 2011 3:50:36 PM | 1

Still waiting for askod to be elected Pirate King, and enacting the MAPWA

Posted by: catlady | Oct 10, 2011 4:58:59 PM | 2

and this story got exactly one day of coverage on German media. it has disappeared from the newscasts completely. as if it never happened.

I guess I am surprised they talked about it at all.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 12, 2011 12:43:30 AM | 3

catlady,
so am I. :)

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 13, 2011 8:52:01 AM | 4

and this story got exactly one day of coverage on German media. it has disappeared from the newscasts completely. as if it never happened.

According to Google news "only" 3000+ stories withe "Bundestrojaner" in the last 24 hours ...

Posted by: b | Oct 13, 2011 9:39:44 AM | 5

Just idle curiosity, b, but what's with the Pirate Party?

I was half-watching the news the other night (since this thread appeared on MoA) and there was mention of a Pirate Party in an EU country other than Germany. I forget which EU country it was but it definitely was not Germany.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 15, 2011 8:53:38 AM | 6

Citi bank customers LOCKED inside and then ARRESTED for trying to clost their accounts

Group of Citi Bank customers attempt to close accounts as a form of protest- 2 dozen are locked inside bank until police arrive, 5 cops take down woman

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 15, 2011 11:22:17 PM | 7

opps, that was suppose to be in the Occupy Wall Street thread, sorry...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 16, 2011 5:14:07 PM | 8

opps, that was suppose to be in the Occupy Wall Street thread, sorry...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 16, 2011 5:14:07 PM | 9

Hoarsewhisperer, perhaps Sweden? We got ourselfs a pirate MEP (member of the european parliament) in 2009. There are also a bunch more european pirate parties, but most has not been able to grab seats yet.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 17, 2011 8:58:34 AM | 10

Thanks, a.s.k.o.d.
It was probably Sweden. I've googled Pirate Parties and found a Wiki entry on them. I'm not sure how I feel about their aims re copyright but patent laws (as abused by the USA) are overdue for reform.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 17, 2011 11:07:48 AM | 11

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