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German Police Raid Homes of Wikileaks.de Domain Owner 430

Posted by timothy
from the don't-you-oppress-me dept.
BountyX writes "First and foremost, wikileaks.org is back up after downtime due to server load; however, the German government wants to keep the site down. According to their twitter page, police have raided the home of Wikileaks.de domain owner Theodor Reppe (PDF) over internet censorship lists that were leaked two weeks ago. What the Australian government's secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist has to do with Germany is a mystery. This case is a prime example of multiple governments collaborating in support of censorship." Reader iter8 provides a link to coverage on Wikileaks itself, which says that police searched Reppe's homes in both Dresden and Jena, and adds: "According to police, the reason for the search was 'distribution of pornographic material' and 'discovery of evidence.' Wikileaks has published censorship lists for Australia, Thailand, Denmark and other countries. Included on the lists are references to sites alleged to contain pornography, including child pornography. Wikileaks has not published any images from the sites."
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German Police Raid Homes of Wikileaks.de Domain Owner

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  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @07:05AM (#27327207) Homepage Journal
    The BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst ~ foreign new service) ie German CIA are still upset over its secret agents getting exposed in a black flag operation in Kosovo.
    T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom) was exposed revealing over two dozen secret IP address ranges used by the BND.
    The email of a top BND official might have also been listed.
    http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=Bundesnachrichtendienst&fulltext=Search [wikileaks.org] should give slashdot readers some idea as to why Germany is so active around wikileaks.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @07:19AM (#27327323) Homepage Journal
    Ernst Uhrlau, President of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) (German CIA) put out a nice press release that might give a hint
    http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/German_spy_chief_threatens_Wikileaks [wikileaks.org]
    Markus "Mischa" Wolf would be proud ;)
  • by jeti (105266) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @07:32AM (#27327413) Homepage

    But none of these issues were mentioned during the search. The search protocol names "distribution of porn" (AFAIK not a crime) as the reason. It's fairly obvious that the reason for the search are the leaked filter lists of various countries. The home of a German blogger linking to the lists on WikiLeaks has already been searched. So has the home of a person maintaining a website linking to the blog post.
    Several German ministers are keen on introducing mandatory DNS black lists in Germany. It's currently a hot topic.

    Btw, the search was warrantless, citing "Gefahr im Verzug" (an immedeate danger).

  • by aetherworld (970863) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @07:36AM (#27327431) Homepage

    And his laptop and an external HD were taken. Police in Europe (at least in Germany and here in Austria) are allowed to raid your house when they believe there is imminent danger to the security of the state or other citizens ("Gefahr im Verzug"). They don't need a judge's permission/order for this. If they don't find anything, they can just file a simple 2 page report and be done with it.

    This was used in the case of wikileaks.de - the police didn't read his rights to Mr. Reppe and when he insisted the police add a witness name to the report, they didn't do so.

    Basically it's just spreading fear among the people. The problem is, since the blacklists contain links to child pornography pages, you're not allowed to publish the list, as you would also make links to child pornography publicly available. Which is the whole point of the black list:

    The government could just take down the child porn sites. But instead they create filters and blacklists for those pages as well as other websites that might be against their ideals. You're not allowed to check those lists for any illegitimate censorship because then you would also look at child porn. You're also not allowed to distribute them. Voila! They successfully used peoples hatred agains child pornography to censor anything they want.

  • by aetherworld (970863) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:08AM (#27327659) Homepage

    You don't understand. LOOKING at the list is illegal and punishable by up to 15 years of jailtime. The list is classified.

    Worse. Since January 1st, there is a new law which even makes TRYING to acquire the list by ANY means punishable.

  • by c0p0n (770852) <copong@g m a i l . com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:24AM (#27327809)

    Police in Europe (at least in Germany and here in Austria) are allowed to raid your house when they believe there is imminent danger to the security of the state or other citizens ("Gefahr im Verzug"). They don't need a judge's permission/order for this.

    Can't speak for our other euro colleagues, but certainly not in Spain pal.

  • by asdir (1195869) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:33AM (#27327907)

    Police in Europe (at least in Germany and here in Austria) are allowed to raid your house when they believe there is imminent danger to the security of the state or other citizens ("Gefahr im Verzug"). They don't need a judge's permission/order for this. If they don't find anything, they can just file a simple 2 page report and be done with it.

    This was used in the case of wikileaks.de - the police didn't read his rights to Mr. Reppe and when he insisted the police add a witness name to the report, they didn't do so.

    Actually, they did have the permission of a judge, at least according to this: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Hausdurchsuchung-bei-Inhaber-der-Domain-wikileaks-de-Update--/meldung/135147 [heise.de]
    Although you are right that police can enter the domain without judges under certain circumstances, evidence might be forfeit if they did it for the wrong reasons. It is not as easy as you depict it, even if it would apply to our case here (which it does not).
    I too think that the German police has too much power (especially warrants like these are a bit fishy at times, not to mention copyrights, demonstration rights, etc), but we are still a democratic state with a halfway decent judicial system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:43AM (#27327997)

    The raid is politically motivated. Ursula von der Leyen (Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) is on a crusade against child pornography on the internet. She's fast-tracking all sorts of network blocking efforts, from voluntary agreements and contracts between ISPs and the BKA (Germany's FBI) to law initiatives which force all ISPs to block access to an unpublished list of web sites. She presented child pornography to reporters in an attempt to explain and emphasize the need for these measures. People, companies and organizations who have criticized these efforts have been smeared and had their motivations questioned. The organization of ISPs expects that these filters are only the spear head for more censorship obligations and a way to establish the infrastructure with as little opposition as possible.

    It should be noted that German law does not unconditionally forbid use of evidence which has been gathered in an illegal way, e.g. in an illegal raid. The right against unlawful search and seizure is weighed against the seriousness of the crime proven by the evidence.

  • by siri_kan (1051998) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:53AM (#27328109)
    I am no grammar Nazi , but please use Gandhi and NOT Ghandi
  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:11AM (#27328339) Journal

    You mean I'll get bumped up to a higher priority? It's possible. But it's like being arrested for something. Before it happens, you're worried about getting caught for any little thing and possibly getting a record. But once that's actually happened to you and you've been through it, you're no longer afraid of being arrested for its own sake, afraid of being judged or labelled, but only because of estimated consequences which you weigh up for yourself. The emotional 'omg - I'll be accused of something' side of things is gone. This is particularly the case if you were hassled falsely or otherwise don't feel what you did was wrong. Going on a government watch list is the same - there might be different degrees of consequence but once the initial "we might add you to the list" threat is gone, it loses a lot of its power over you. I now accept that I'm probably on a list somewhere (not through actions, but through speaking my mind and membership of a few human rights organizations) and my behaviour has gone from a vague unease that something I might do could make me look suspicious to a feeling of what the Hell, they already said they don't trust me.

    Have you seen these hysterical new posters for the UK police "anti-terrorism" campaign. It's hard to believe that those producing them think they'll have any actual anti-terrorism effect and that it isn't just a deliberate attempt to promote fear and distrust amongst people. Honestly - telling people to inspect their neighbour's rubbish for bomb-making materials? You could not make it up! When "lists" get too pervasive and warnings get so dumb,the concern about being labelled a suspect loses its power to control you because pretty much everyone you know and associate with is in the same boat. At this rate the only people not on the list will be the police themselves, at which point it becomes society vs. authority again and history takes its usual course.

    I'm just waiting for the first "Terrorist Pride" march.
  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:26AM (#27328535) Journal
    Bugger! Mistyped a tag. The UK government's parody-defying "anti-terrorism" posters are here. [police.uk]

    Honestly - an Anti-Terrorism hotline? Are they so swamped with calls that they need to filter them off from regular police calls?
  • by xouumalperxe (815707) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:32AM (#27328609)

    There's a difference between "Hey, look! I got kiddie porn, check it out here [example.com]", and "Look, these guys are censoring these sites: a, b, c, d. Seems that b is kiddie porn, c is hate speech and terrorist incitement, we're not quite sure a and d are anything except inconvenient".

  • Re:I have to ask (Score:4, Informative)

    by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:43AM (#27328769)

    From a secret 3 letter agency point of view, it's no secret that the US and German governments share a limited amount of intelligence - google abounds with info on it, so you can bet your backside that anything leaked from either of those governments to wikileaks is going to come under scrutiny at some level. Australia is part of the big 5 (UKUSA), so if I were a betting kind of person I would lay good odds that Australia also has one or two agreements in place with Germany as well, thus the raid.

    If the CIA finds any of their secret stuff on wikileaks, what they do about it will depend on the classification and severity of damage that would occur if they did nothing. Has it happened before? I have no idea, but not many people will be talking about it if it did.

    The problem with leaking this particular Australian blacklist is that it will reveal to a few key people exactly how certain things got on that list in the first place. A pretty big heads up if you're at the centre of one of these child porn rings (or other criminal activities that can be deduced from the list)

    Leaking certain types of secret isn't so bad it would seem, but leaking single source secrets, or slipping up with the source or methodology, that might get you a free visit from ASIS and a gun if you live outside the country, or ASIO if you're living locally.

    All of that said, it wasn't me!

  • by zsau (266209) <(slashdot) (at) (thecartographers.net)> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:59AM (#27329011) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't slashdot automatically show the domain name of links for you? I thought did that for everyone to help us avoid goatse and similar.

  • by Olotila (919437) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:18AM (#27329265)
    I've never donated to any organisation just because they exist and do what they do. Until now. My 10e might not be much, but it sure felt good giving it to Wikileaks.
  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @11:03AM (#27329823) Journal

    Wait attempting to acquire/read, let alone posting, of CLASSIFIED documentation is illegal?

    This case was in Germany. But since you seem to be in the USA, here's some information on a landmark case about publishing leaked classified information:

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB48/ [gwu.edu]

    Summary: The New York Times and Washington Post published the so-called "Pentagon Papers", illegally leaked to them by Daniel Ellsberg. The government sought and obtained an injunction against further publication, but the Supreme Court overturned the injunction 6-3.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:35PM (#27331143)
    If wikileaks leaked the identities of all CIA agents, they'd probably at high risk of extraordinary rendition. even if the CIA didn't officially endorse their abduction a CIA agent or two could always take matters into their own hands. and that, of course, is assuming that Sweden didn't intervene officially. after all, the CIA and Swedish intelligence could be collaborating and leaking all CIA agents could jeopardize some of Sweden's own interests.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:07PM (#27331707)

    No, it isn't. There is an exemption in the german penal code for "lawful public or professional purposes" for posessing child pornography (roughly translated). If you understand german, you can have a look at This page [dejure.org]; the "subsection" ("Absatz") i am talking about is (5).

  • by Repton (60818) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @06:40PM (#27336153) Homepage

    Don't forget the American logo: Terrorist Buster! [cia.gov]

  • by jambox (1015589) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:55AM (#27339681)
    Yeah exactly. They don't care as long as it's on the other side of the border. It could all be shutdown, but it would cost too much money. Hell, they could probably wipe out 90% of malaria and malnutrition for £100bn, and save 5,000 lives per day. But do they?

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