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German State Confesses To, Downplays Government Spyware 104

First time accepted submitter clickforfreepizza writes with this news on the German 'state trojan' analyzed by the CCC: '[The] Bavarian Interior Minister [confirmed] that state officials had indeed used the software, but argued that the use had been conducted legally. [...] [A] lawyer said his client had had the software in question installed on his computer during a customs check. That software, which could be legally used for monitoring telecommunications, had been altered to allow it to grab screen shots.' The H's sister site reports this case involves nothing like terrorism, but legal substances which 'may become' illegal when exported. (German original) The Bavarian press release (German original) also says the code analyzed by the CCC might be an earlier test version."
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German State Confesses To, Downplays Government Spyware

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  • Digitask (Score:5, Informative)

    by think_nix ( 1467471 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @10:39AM (#37679216)

    Vaguely referenced in the original article the company responsible for programming the trojan is "digitask". They charged neighboring Bavarian state Baden-Württemberg 1,2 million Euros for some components of the software in 2007. From the Spiegel article below also looks like digitask was being commissioned to implement a complete digital "Big Brother" system from certain states. So looks like more German states than just Bavaria are implicated in this.

    source german:,1518,791112,00.html []

    Also another English article from spiegel :,1518,790944,00.html

  • by jeti ( 105266 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @10:43AM (#37679262) Homepage

    The lawyer of one person who had this spyware on his laptop claims that it was installed by customs officers at the Munich airport. Apparently there have also been cases where the police secretly broke into the apartment of a suspect (and claims the break in was covered by a simple search warrant).

    The version analyzed by the CCC only works on Windows (32 bit). It is unclear whether additional versions exist.

  • Re:Digitask (Score:4, Informative)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @10:52AM (#37679358)
    More info [] (in English) on Digitask from Deutsche Welle news
  • by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@gmail ... minus physicist> on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @10:54AM (#37679380)

    Someone else mentioned installing it at the border -- yet another reason for completely wiping the system before and after a border check. There are two known cases where this happened. In another case, they broke into someone's home and installed the software on two computers. None of these cases involved terrorism, or child abuse, for that matter.

    Source (German, obviously):!79701/ []

  • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @11:55AM (#37680156)

    Yes, change it to any Islamic regime and the liberals will have a field day telling you how unfunny it is.

    I just can't believe that *Iranians* would engage in such heavy-handed government repression.

    I just can't believe that *Pakistanis* would engage in such heavy-handed government repression.

    Really? On what do you base this remarkable assertion? Oh..., right; the blathering of right-wing talking heads. If you'd bother to pull your head out of your ass, and look around, you'd find that most of the people you've labeled "liberal", will be soundly against human rights violations such as the one described in TFA.

  • Some background info (Score:5, Informative)

    by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @12:03PM (#37680226) Journal

    The issue is ore complex.

    First of all the german supreme court denied "the police" the right to have such a program in the extend it is used now. Important functionallity, like uploading and installing additional additional components was not allowed. Also a "search warrant" was required to install it.

    In the given cases it seems the police just did what they pleased.
    On top of that the "Police Trojan" is a true backdoor. It allows loading of arbitrary code via the internet. It allows remote control and screenshots, so you easy can remote control type a compromising email, screen shot it and thus forge evidence.
    And on TOP OF THAT they included (forbidden by the supreme court) the option to activate cameras and microphones without the notice of the owner.
    By that they are able to record innocent by standers, or take naked photos of people in the living room etc.
    The outcry is so big that one of the most conservative german news papers (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, FAZ) printed the dissasembled code in the "feature pages" (feuilleton) with comments added by the Hackers from Chaos Computer Club.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas