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Germany approves the use of government-developed malware to monitor suspects

By midian182
Feb 25, 2016
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  1. The German government has taken the controversial decision to allow intelligence agencies to use malware for the purpose of monitoring people under suspicion.

    A spokesman for the German interior minister announced on Monday that authorities would be able to use government-developed trojan software to infect a suspect’s computers and mobile devices. The only reason the malware can be deployed, however, is if lives are at risk or the state is threatened. Additionally, a court order will be required to use the software.

    "Basically, we now have the skills in an area where we did not have this kind of skill," said the spokesman. The ministry also pointed out that the program was already endorsed by members of the government in autumn 2015.

    Privacy advocates are not happy about the ruling, with many groups claiming it crosses the line between the need to monitor dangerous individuals and basic privacy rights.

    "We do understand the needs of security officials, but still, in a country under the rule of law, the means don't justify the end," said Konstantin von Notz, deputy head of Germany’s Green party.

    The software must not monitor any activities other than communications, but a spokesman from Germany-based hacker association Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has expressed doubt that this really will be the case. Frank Rieger said that the technical capabilities of the government’s malware needed to be reduced. "It's almost like you're watching people think, if you're reading as they type," he said.

    Germany’s constitutional court ruled in 2008 that the government must respect an individual’s right to confidentiality when it comes to data stored on information technology systems. Monitoring must be limited to a suspect’s communications with the outside world.

    The CCC reverse engineered and analyzed a “lawful interception” malware program used by German police forces back in 2011. The group found that the software could “not only siphon away intimate data but also offers a remote control or backdoor functionality for uploading and executing arbitrary other programs. Significant design and implementation flaws make all of the functionality available to anyone on the internet.”

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,485   +2,038

    If they have any grounds to suspect anyone of serious crimes then I think this kind of thing is all well and good but it's something that has to be carefully controlled.
     
    Uncle Al likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +775

    Agree with that! As long as they go before the appropriate magistrate, plead their case and get a warrant, it should be perfectly fine. That used to be the case here until they invented the FISA court. Hopefully, at some date, it will be abolished and we'll let the Federal courts do the job they were created for!
     
  4. dp67ef

    dp67ef TS Rookie

    It's easy to agree with that, if you don't live in this country. More and more the government cut the civil rights. And we aren't able to do anything against this, cause all this comes with the label: fight terrorism. but we are not 80 million terrorists here
     
  5. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 848   +336

    This is good if it's for real. Not if they are using terrorism as an excuse to monitor citizens which in this age is very likely.
     
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,485   +2,038

    Tough, but something has to be done. They can't have terrorists dictating terms to the rest of the free world and if they happen to stand on a few toes while ensuring it doesn't happen, tough again, they can't please everybody and when dealing with terrorism they can't afford to be Mr Nice Guy.
     
  7. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +17

    When it comes to the invasion of your privacy, the government is never satisfied. The only form of surveillance I could ever endorse is spoofing of a criminal site, requiring an action greater than intent. Many call this entrapment, but it's just as legitimate as being caught speeding. After which, a warrant may be issued for further investigation or arrest. There are too many people with socialistic ideologies trying to infiltrate and use government to lord over people.
     
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,485   +2,038

    Yup. Everybody wants to rule the world.
     
  9. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    I'd rather it go to the government (the people in a democracy) than to the criminals.
     
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,693   +1,880

    If past history is any indicator, a German government can't be controlled. You have to blow up all their weapons and the factories from whence they cometh, kill a huge number of their soldiers, and drive the leader into a bunker to commit suicide.
     
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,693   +1,880

    And what is that, I prithee tell me? Act as the RIAA & MPAA's private police force?
     
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,485   +2,038

    No government in the universe can be trusted but Germany's slogan is such a catchy one... "Arbeit Macht Frei". How can you think they'll do anything wrong? ;)
     
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,485   +2,038

    There's a difference between governments and criminals? Well it's true, you do learn something new everyday.
     
  14. HiImTim

    HiImTim TS Enthusiast Posts: 31   +6

    The next step is that the CIA starts to bundle downloads with adware to make some money :)
     

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