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More Details On the German Government's Use of Malware 58

Posted by timothy
from the viel-glueck-penners dept.
Reader HnT writes with an update on the German government's malware, recently dissected by the CCC: "The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reports details on cases where the government malware was used so far — all of them actually unlawful and in violation of its initial intention to only be used against serious crime and threats of terrorism."
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More Details On the German Government's Use of Malware

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @06:09PM (#37707034) Homepage Journal

    So tempting to take the lid off, play around with it, see what else it can do.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      Yup, it's like the pimply faced kid who pleads to his parents that he wants the internet to help with homework, gets it in his room, the gets busted whacking off to porn.

      Here is my sarcastic impression of The Scream to display how surprised I am that this malware is being abused. \ö/

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @06:12PM (#37707060)
    "Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're *lying*. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible."

    - meringuoid [slashdot.org], Nov 24, 2005.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @07:22PM (#37707808)

      More concisely stated as mission creep [wikipedia.org].

    • by qc_dk (734452)

      I don't know how things work in common law countries like the US, but here in Denmark such statements by lawmakers are very important.
      If a case has to be decided by the supreme court they will not only consider the law in question, but also the interplay of other laws and the protocols from the treatment of the law in parliament. So if a law has been questioned in parliament and the supporters have said it was never meant to be applied that way, the supreme court will take the position that the law as it wa

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought Germans were very careful about not being all Stasi and nazi nowadays. I thought they had very good privacy protections and respect for the people, even from the government?

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Nope, that doesn't work that way.
      The citizens are strictly forbidden to perform any "suspicious activity" - violent games, underage cartoon porn, depiction of svastikas no matter what context and so on. German laws are exceptionally hard there.
      The government uses an and all means to control the citizens and stop them from doing any of that. The police is deadly efficient, ruthless and merciless fighting all the thoughtcrime so that no new Hitler would ever arise from the nation to overthrow the government a

      • by dave420 (699308)
        No. Just no. You are rather misinformed.
        • by SharpFang (651121)

          You mean Germany is not the country that got the new Wolfenstein game censored of all the nazi references?
          You mean it isn't where most Anime shows on TV get cut up without care about plot-essential elements, to remove all controversial content?
          You mean it wasn't Germany where the police set up hundreds of fake TOR nodes to catch people using it by monitoring the activity?

          Oh, or maybe you just didn't catch the deadly irony of the situation, where the monster hunter becomes one of the monsters...?

          • You mean Germany is not the country that got the new Wolfenstein game censored of all the nazi references?

            See, that's the point.
            Your original statement was: 'The citizens are strictly forbidden to perform [...] depiction of svastikas no matter what context'.
            This statement is wrong.
            There are many situations were it is legal to show swastikas: Education, history, even movie and television.

            Often, game publishers self-censor their games to avoid any trouble. Not sure if this was the case here or if the game actually was censored by the authorities.

            You mean it isn't where most Anime shows on TV get cut up without care about plot-essential elements, to remove all controversial content?

            Every country/culture has it's own set of moral standards.
            For us Ger

              • by dave420 (699308)

                Sorry, is that supposed to prove something? I mean apart from your ignorance of Germany, of course, which seems to be the cornerstone of your argument.

                Hint: I live in Germany. I've read the law regarding Swastikas, and I've seen the way they are treated, which is perfectly fine with me - when used correctly, as in not a symbol for people to get behind and wreak devastation and murder upon millions, they are used frequently and without censoring or censuring. I don't watch Anime, like most Germans, so it

                • by SharpFang (651121)

                  I don't watch Anime, like most Germans, so it's not that great a deal.

                  First they came for the communists,
                  and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

                  Continue to praise the Fuehrer. Love the Vaterland and despise these who point out its flaws.
                  History likes to repeat itself.

                  • by dave420 (699308)
                    Awesome logic, sparky. You are a credit to other knee-jerk reactionaries, spouting bullshit about things they don't know, and making ridiculous comparisons which only serve to highlight your complete lack of grasp of a subject. Well done. Bravo.
      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Nope, that doesn't work that way.
        The citizens are strictly forbidden to perform any "suspicious activity" - violent games, underage cartoon porn, depiction of svastikas no matter what context and so on. German laws are exceptionally hard there.
        The government uses an and all means to control the citizens and stop them from doing any of that. The police is deadly efficient, ruthless and merciless fighting all the thoughtcrime so that no new Hitler would ever arise from the nation to overthrow the government and control the minds of the people...

        So good of Orwell to write an instruction manual.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      Yes, which is why there were strict limitations imposed on what any police trojan was allowed to do.

      They just ignored all that because there was no oversight, until just now.

    • German people tend to be very lawful, and they also trust their police much. But they also have, or at least had, a police that could be trusted. However, the recent problems with wiretapping, and the Pirate Party's subsequent success shows that even German patience has an end. Comparing this to nazis and stasi is just rude.

      • by causality (777677) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @07:22PM (#37707806)

        But they also have, or at least had, a police that could be trusted.

        There is no such thing. Good, honest police won't stay that way if you become complacent. Far less power than what they have is enough to bring out the worst in people. Then there's the way that police tend to cover for each other, making otherwise honest cops part of the problem when they look the other way at their collegues' abuses of authority. It is sometimes called the "blue wall of silence". The citizens have a duty to call attention to all abuses and demand that they be remedied. No one else is going to do that. No one else has a stronger interest in seeing that this is done.

        Have you ever heard of an employer that never audits the quality of employees' work in some way? Do they ever say "well you've always been a good employee so we'll stop caring about the work you do now"? The stakes are much, much higher when you are dealing with a branch of government which has a legal monopoly on the use of force.

        I'm tired of all the glorification of cops and their jobs and authority backed by force, in general. There's nothing glamorous or admirable about it. The only reason we even have governments and police is because it's slightly better than not having them. They are both necessary evils.

  • it was always assumed that it was West Germany assimilated East. Instead, it appears that the Stasi [wikipedia.org] lives on, in spirit if not name.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      it was always assumed that it was West Germany assimilated East. Instead, it appears that the Stasi [wikipedia.org] lives on, in spirit if not name.

      It's not exactly your vater's Blinkenlights, is it?

  • What, you have to have like a murder or stabbing or bombing before you take a crime seriously? 120,000 people each defrauded out of 99 Euros isn't serious crime, because no one person was defrauded out of more than 100 Euros?

    I'd like to see the definition of the law, rather than this mentioned-in-passing "violation of its initial intention" If there's going to be technical analysis of the spyware, why isn't there similar analysis of the laws it's claimed to violate?

    • No, they're not.
      • by UglyMike (639031)

        Let's revisit that statement when one of your kids or family members get hooked on hard-drugs or when you or someone close to you comes home to a ransacked house...
        That has a habit of changing one's mind toward crime. It's never really bad AS LONG AS IT HAPPENS TO OTHERS!
        I guess I'm a right-wing bastard because I can only applaud the use cases quoted in the article.
        Now, if they install this on journalist's PC or on the PCs of opposition groups (anti-nuclear, greens, etc) THEN you might have a serious beef w

        • by LoRdTAW (99712)

          I have had my house broken into (and a second failed attempt) and had two close friends develop an addiction, one was hooked on crack/cocaine the other heroin. And I agree with the grandparent poster, they are not serious crimes. Someone directly harming someone through physical violence is serious. You PlayStation getting nicked at first is unsettling but you can replace it and get on with your life as if nothing happened. A dead person cant be replaced and neither can you replace your health.

          And a right w

    • by digitig (1056110)
      Most of the crimes mentioned looked like petty crime, but I wonder what definition the author was using when he insisted that a €10M fraud was still petty crime -- and I wonder where those €10M went.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Considering those large scale fraudsters rarely get a really major punishment I guess we could count that as petty crime. White collar crime pays well.

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      It's not such much that these crimes aren't considered serious it's more that the German constitution is very strict at protecting citizen's privacy, including from the state. The reason for this is of course the Stasi and the Nazi eras, both times when people were rounded up for collective punishment by the state's law enforcement.

      The 'law' being referred to is a ruling by the German constitutional court that interpreted the constitution to explicitly forbid this kind of surveillence in all but the most se

  • by vaene (1981644) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @06:24PM (#37707174)
    Ve haf vays of making your computer talk!
  • Since the actions of the police are not exempt by the BKA law the usual anti-hacking laws should apply. Is someone going to jail?

  • I'm so surprised.

    I think

    I might have a heart attack

    and die

    from that surprise.

  • "We'd never do anything bad with this, we promise. Though you may want to put a piece of tape over your webcam when visiting 'NaughtyBabysitters.com'. It just makes us feel... icky watching you Make popcorn! Yeah, that's it! Popcorn."

  • It would be really cool, if slashdotters would actually link their sources.

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