A Nelson-esque “Ha Ha” if you thought that other EC countries might be havens where the seemingly outdated Euro-values (justice, tolerance, protection under the law, presumption of innocence, free speech) are still observed.
The government of Germany (that’s the combined former East & West Germanies. Remember East Germany? That’s the one with the Stasi and a population that was so avid for freedom 20 years ago) has approved what the Register calls a Plod-spyware law.
This handy law will give the German government the “anti-terror” powers to monitor private homes, phones and computers. Don’t you just love the TWAT? Any government in the world can now take any powers they fancy just by invoking its name.
Instead of tapping phones, they would be able to use video surveillance and even spy software to collect evidence. Physically tampering with suspects’ computers would still not be allowed, but police could send anonymous e-mails containing trojans and hope the suspects infect their own computers (from the Register story)
Wow, government spam that carries malware! Did I put enough exclamation marks there? Here are more!!!!!!!
These powers will only be used in exceptional cases, yada, yada, usw. Oh yeah?
There have been already been several recent scandals about over-the-top surveillance in Germany (Lidl, Deutsche Telecom, usw) Although, unlike the UK, at least the Germans don’t yet seem to lose personal data on a biblical scale. But, if the Lidl surveillance is any guide, they see information on the dates of surveillees’ menstruation as worth gathering
I’ve never understood how we’re supposed to find a needle in a haystack, by chucking in more hay. So many of these measures simply add dead-ends and wild goose chases to an already massive monitoring system. How are we going to catch anybody with real malicious plans? (XanderG)
If a government REALLY cares about preventing terrorism, it is blatantly illogical to collect massive amounts of information on the general public. It’s well nigh inconceivable how much information is flying around in a noughts-and-ones format.
For instance, almost every person I passed in a half-hour walk was having a mobile phone conversation – including three dog-walkers and two cyclists. (Cycling, in traffic, ffs. Unselfish people, trying to cull themselves for the good of the gene pool) Pretty well every house in my low-income street has a relatively-fast broadband connection. There are enough traffic cameras and public CCTV installations in a 500 yard radius to provide a year’s 24-hour broadcast reality tv on every known channel.
Scale this level of data traffic up to the population of the UK and Germany. Unless half the population is engaged in monitoring this hurricane of electronic noise – using the most advanced pattern recognition and cryptographic algorithms known to science – anyone who is gathering this data might as well not bother.
Well not if they care about detecting real social threats anyway. It might come in very handy for finding people who are spoofing their address to get their kid into a school slightly out of their area. Or it might catch someone who hasn’t paid their car tax or is claiming invalidity benefit while working (as the threatening TV and billboard ads keep telling us).
It might not seem to make sense but I have finally figured it out, with the help of the Matrix and the Church of Scientology.
Clearly, the earth is threatened by a monstrous alien intelligence that eats human data. It can only be kept at bay by feeding it gargantuan stores of bytes. Earth rulers are doing us a favour by collecting all our data and recycling it as xenofood to stuff in the gaping maw of the evil extraterrestrial overlord Zarg. They can’t tell us the truth because there would be a global panic.
A question for the lawyers out there – Sending malware in spam may not be a crime if the German police are doing it. But would installing this malware become a crime if the recipient of a German-police email were to forward the spam to, say, a member of the German government? The government of another country? A major corporation? At what point?