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German Court Abolishes German Snooping Law 201

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the a-few-governmental-officials-with-good-sense-left dept.
Robert writes to mention that Germany's highest court has imposed limitations on the amount of spying governmental bodies can do on a suspect's computer. The ruling comes in response to a state law on North Rhine Westphalia that had allowed secret services to peer into a citizen's computer. "Court President Hans-Juergen Papier said that using such software contravened rights enshrined in Germany's constitution, adding that the decision would serve as a precedent across the country. The ruling emphasized that cyber spying by the authorities would have to receive the permission of a judge. The German government has described cyber spying as a vital tool in fighting terrorism."
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German Court Abolishes German Snooping Law

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  • Crazy World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tritonman (998572) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:59PM (#22577636)
    What a crazy world where Germany knows more about freedom than America.
  • Why?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by F-3582 (996772) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:01PM (#22577676)
    Why has a Supreme Court to tell politicians that their laws are against the constitution? Wasn't that obvious in the first place?

    Besides, this is not the first law being overturned for human rights reasons. The German Secretary of Defense had passed a law to grant the military the right to shoot down a high-jacked aeroplane full of civilians.

    It seems like our politicians have forgotten how our last dictator (aka unser Führer) became as powerful as he did: By passing laws to abolish human rights under the coat of stabilizing the country. Only did he have the Supreme Court on HIS side.
  • by themushroom (197365) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:09PM (#22577778) Homepage
    Germany had a mad dictator at one time stomping on personal freedoms, and the country learned from that about how democracy and freedom should work. The country has pledged never to let that crap happen again.

    America will pick that lesson up in, oh, about eleven months or so if we're lucky. You don't know what you've got until it's gone.
  • Well, actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:11PM (#22577822)
    ... that means they kinda legalized it (with said limitations) for all states, when it was illegal (in all states but NRW) before this ruling. The police searching the home of suspects is "limited" by pretty much the same rules (permission by a judge etc.) - and is generally permitted everytime the state attorney asks nicely. The judges often don't even really read the request before signing it off.

    Plus: in case of raiding your appartment, you instantly know the Police have been there (they have to do it in your presence, or in the presence of an independent witness, plus your appartment is in obvious disarray) - while you have no idea that said trojan (yes, that's what even the government calls it) has been installed on your Computer.

    Surveillance state, here we come!
  • by Yokaze (70883) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#22577868)
    > The ruling emphasized that cyber spying by the authorities would have to receive the permission of a judge.

    I'd say, that is a given. More importantly, the ruling states that such measures are only allowed, if there is a concrete and imminent threat of life or the foundations of the state.
  • Re:Why?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter Trepan (572016) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:17PM (#22577920)

    Why has a Supreme Court to tell politicians that their laws are against the constitution?

    For the same reason we need policemen to remind thieves that larceny is illegal.

  • Re:Crazy World (Score:1, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:23PM (#22577984)
    He was really angry when he went back for a visit with his kids and a restaurant wouldn't let him eat there if he brought them in.

    What kind of restraunt? Probably a high class one. Personally, if I'm dropping a significant amount of cash per plate, I don't want to have to listen to someone else's screaming brats.

    I wish there were more restraunts here that excluded children, as they can ruin an otherwise good experience.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:30PM (#22578074) Homepage
    You don't register with the police, but with the state. Yes, for some reason they want to know where you live, so as to know where you have to pay taxes, are allowed to vote etc. I guess the IRS also has your adress?
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles AT dantian DOT org> on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:39PM (#22578218)
    Both are partially true, but misleadingly set up. You do have to register a change of address, but you don't have to go in to the police station in person to do so;

    And I guess German practice (which I think is pretty common in Europe) evens out with the US practice of no registration if you consider that in turn you are not asked for your social security number at every corner.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave1791 (315728) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:46PM (#22578342)
    "I wish there were more restraunts here that excluded children, as they can ruin an otherwise good experience."

    Since my kids will be the ones paying for your pension, I'll call that a fair trade. You can wish they would shut up or go away now and in a few decades, they can wish you would take up smoking and mountain climbing.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave1791 (315728) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:50PM (#22578396)
    That's for closed primaries if you want to vote in them and anyway, you don't have to answer.
  • My take on this. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erlehmann (1045500) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:58PM (#22578556)
    Whenever a law is found unconstitutional, each and every politician who voted for it should have his right revoked to be part of the parliament and never be able to be a candidate in any election again.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:02PM (#22578646) Journal
    That you have to tell the government when you move

    Find me a government that doesn't want to know where you live.

    Oh sure, in the US you don't, assuming that you don't drive, don't have a government ID, don't vote, are unemployed (and not receiving benefits), don't own a house, and are not a male between the ages of 18 and 26.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Non-Huffable Kitten (1142561) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:17PM (#22578866)
    You are harping on about principles and formalities that are non-issues except in theory, while in practice germany is a rather reasonable country regarding freedom of religion and other individual freedoms (IMO).
  • by vorlich (972710) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:52PM (#22579470) Homepage Journal
    Scottish Bavarian ... I have mentioned on a number of occasions that the constitution of the Bundesrepublik is very similar to the US constitution but at least 27 pages longer and offering even greater protection to the rights of the individual.

    Now the millstones of the German legal system grind exceedingly slower than those of the UK or the US and rights are commonly regarded as having greater weight post court ruling (for anthropological reasons that are too long to repeat) but grind they do and once the grinding is done, the constitution rules.

    The Germans are a people who are really good at learning from past mistakes (the foundation of their superb engineering skills) and the constitution is modelled as the absolute antithesis to lawlessness of that brief reign of the National Socialists.

    As for the church tax (Kirchensteuer) contrary to the propaganda of amongst others, the Scientologists, that is a relic of the historical development of the Principalities post Holy Roman Empire when the Princes were responsible for the care and maintenance of the Catholic Church - which was the state religion until Martin Luther's protestant revolution. You can opt out of the tax by completing a form at the Rathaus - there is no need to lie.

    When viewed properly from the wide angled lens of history, Germany is an example of a nation that evolved into a very liberal and tolerant society of highly cultured citizens (sometimes to the point of affectatiousness it is true - but you know every family has its oddballs) and every level of society is affected by this native tolerance. So when you read other posts here that mention Adolf, police states, restriction of the rights of the individual - take it from a native Auslander - it is merely the stereotypical FUD we often see here.

    I know, humour gets you more mod points but sometimes even I have to be serious.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:57PM (#22579546) Journal
    Just because the US does it doesn't make it OK.
  • See, it works! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by telso (924323) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @06:50PM (#22580496)
    America had a mad dictator [wikipedia.org] at one time stomping on personal freedoms, and the country learned from that about how democracy and freedom should work. The country has pledged never to let that crap happen again.

    There, fixed that for you.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) * on Thursday February 28, 2008 @01:15AM (#22584494) Homepage Journal

    Why is yours or anyone else's business if I or someone else chooses to have children? Thats a fully personal choice and no one outside of the two people deciding should have any say-so. People need to mind their own business.

    Why? Because every human uses a fraction of this planet's finite resources. Every human born into America today will likely be personally responsible for 20 tons of trash to be added to the waste stream, will be responsible for the consumption of thousands of barrels of oil and dump most of it into the atmosphere (the rest will head into landfills as non-degradable plastics), and eat many tons of food and produce as many tons of sewage. They'll demand more land for more housing, or crowd more people into the finite spaces of our cities.

    Having a kid is the most environmentally irresponsible act a human can perform, but I won't argue that some procreation is required. Having two, three, or more is selfish, wasteful, and does not improve our society. Screw this personal choice bullcrap -- society is made worse by people having more unsustainable children, we are not better off. Since people can't seem to voluntarily limit themselves to a sustainable level of reproduction, society is going to have to step in sooner or later. China's already hit that wall and the results have been exceedingly unpleasant for everyone during the transition.

    Can you imagine what it's going to be like when America recognizes it's crossed the point of unsustainability? In nature, the uncompetitive die of starvation, and overcrowded colonies typically die off due to disease. Imagine that game played out with human beings and tell me just how many kids you should put onto that chess board.

    [ Here's a fun game for those of you playing the home edition: Can you tell the bitter old guy who was just at Tony Roma's with his wife and had a young couple with a pair of noisy children seated right next to them in an otherwise empty restaurant? Stupid idiot hostess. ]

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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