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German Court Abolishes German Snooping Law 201

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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  • Re:Crazy World (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:20PM (#22577956)
    But don't you find it crazy that

    1. The government is asking you what religion you are on your tax forms at all, and that they will be the instrument of collection for the "official" churches of Germany.

    2. That if you are a Catholic, but don't want to pay the tax, you have to lie to the government and say you aren't. In which case you are "removed" from the church and can't have a church wedding.

    3. That you have to tell the government when you move (police station, town hall, whatever) ?

    4. Assigned an official religion by the state, based on what you parent were/are ? This in itself might be the worst of all of it!
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:4, Interesting)

    by doktor-hladnjak ( 650513 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:51PM (#22578422)
    Germany has a different political history than countries like the US and France, which ended up with strict church/state separation by way of revolutions involving ideas of the Enlightenment.

    Perhaps the strangest thing about religion in the US vs. Germany, is that while Germany has little church/state separation, religion plays a much smaller role in public life than it does in the US. You have to wonder if state support of religion just makes the citizenry more clearly see that churches are just a non-democratic power structure dictating rules (of a moral nature) and collecting taxes (tithing).
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alinabi ( 464689 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @07:06PM (#22580758)

    That's for closed primaries if you want to vote in them and anyway, you don't have to answer.
    I know that, but that is exactly the problem. Lets say you are politically engaged and you are a member of party X and, naturally, you want to vote in party X primaries. Then you must check the box, but once you do that, come election day (the real one, not primary), the official at the polling station knows your political affiliation, which in turn means that he/she knows how you are going to vote with 90% probability (or more). So much for secret ballots. I find that to be far more sinister than being asked if I believe in Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
  • Re:Crazy World (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nicknack ( 123089 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @08:06PM (#22581532)
    some more tips to keep your ID secret :)
    - don't have a bank account - pay in cache (ask your employer to give you some)
    - don't file taxes
    - don't renew your drivers license
    - don't travel far
    - don't register your handguns

    on the other hand: you can just as well not register at a town, when you move somewhere in germany. if you don't, and later on decide you do need an identity afterall, they'll ask you to pay a fine of around 30 euros.

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