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More Details On the German Government's Use of Malware

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the viel-glueck-penners dept.

Government 58

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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Ah, but when you have a new toy (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37707034)

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

Re:Ah, but when you have a new toy (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 3 years ago | (#37707204)

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/

Re:Ah, but when you have a new toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37710008)

YEA!!! but I also used it for homework!!!!

Re:Ah, but when you have a new toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37712328)

So did I; Art 101: Introduction to Pr0n.

Looks like the Former DDR Stasi is still in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707048)

To me, it looks like the Eastern Germany's Stasi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi) is still in place. :(

Re:Looks like the Former DDR Stasi is still in pla (1)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37707198)

Nah, "Gebupo" sounds to ridiculous for anyone to take seriously.

Meringuoid's Law proven once again. (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Meringuoid's Law proven once again. (3, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 3 years ago | (#37707808)

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

Re:Meringuoid's Law proven once again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37711798)

But your comment and this Wikipedia article is an example of why "K.I.S.S." is stupid. It's simpler, yes. But at the cost of most of its meaning. There is such a thing as "too simple". Especially when the original purpose -- to be more efficient -- is itself oversimplified to just "simpler".

In this case, the fact that it's not "just creep that is happening" but intentional an planned in advance, among other nuances, is lost.

Re:Meringuoid's Law proven once again. (1)

qc_dk (734452) | about 3 years ago | (#37711228)

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 was passed was indeed not meant to cover the abusive cases.

How did this happen? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707064)

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?

Re:How did this happen? (2)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#37707172)

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...

why have one hitler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707200)

when the entire govt cane be him right?

Re:How did this happen? (2)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 years ago | (#37707256)

No. Just no. You are rather misinformed.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#37710822)

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...?

Re:How did this happen? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 3 years ago | (#37711062)

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 Germans it sounds stupid to not be allowed to drink alcohol in public, to have to carry booze in a paper bag, to censor every nipple on TV.
On the other hand, we have stronger rules when it comes to violence, nazi symbols and ideologies, child protection.

Just taking one or two examples (and maybe even misrepresenting the facts) isn't enough to build a opinion.
You have to look at the whole picture.

Re:How did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37711474)

For us Germans it sounds stupid to not be allowed to drink alcohol in public

This is why I love Germany. The attitude that beer is a life essential.

Gott segnen Deutschland.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#37711650)

Re:How did this happen? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 years ago | (#37720790)

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's not that great a deal. Also I have the internet, like most Germans (and with better speeds for less money than most places), so I can access any Anime I want to, and the police won't come knocking, as they don't give a shit about that. And you can't track people by running TOR nodes, unless you are talking specifically about an exit node, and even then only when people using it send their personal information through it in cleartext, the same thing that any ISP could do. Big fucking deal. Your arguments have changed greatly since you first made them, which is a good indicator you are most likely so full of shit your ears are sponsored by Charmin.

Aufwiedertschüss, asshole.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#37722662)

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.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 years ago | (#37733902)

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.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37707320)

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.

Re:How did this happen? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707514)

You are basically a goddamn fool.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 3 years ago | (#37707528)

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.

Germans are trusting people (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37707662)

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.

Re:Germans are trusting people (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Germans are trusting people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37711534)

I'm not saying that abuses of power, especially within the police force, don't happen in other countries, but you're clearly looking at this through USA-tinted glasses, no?

Not all police the world over are as nervous and trigger-happy as panicked, adversarial American cops. Most police force's in Europe, and most of the police men and women that work within them are generally "good eggs", who (quite ironically) uphold the American police's "to protect and serve" philosophy far better than the vast majority of their American counterparts.

Re:Germans are trusting people (1)

causality (777677) | about 3 years ago | (#37718746)

I'm not saying that abuses of power, especially within the police force, don't happen in other countries, but you're clearly looking at this through USA-tinted glasses, no? Not all police the world over are as nervous and trigger-happy as panicked, adversarial American cops. Most police force's in Europe, and most of the police men and women that work within them are generally "good eggs", who (quite ironically) uphold the American police's "to protect and serve" philosophy far better than the vast majority of their American counterparts.

American cops weren't always so trigger-happy and didn't always view the citizens as opportunities to increase their arrest counts. It took some time for them to become this way. It took a lot of complacency for them to become this way.

If you don't want to learn from those who live in a country where it started out well and became as you describe, who understand how and why it became that way, so be it. You can just plug up your ears and repeat in a loud voice "IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE EVER".

Re:How did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37708580)

I thought Germans were very careful about not being all Stasi and nazi nowadays.

They are. But for example, every country has strict laws against murder, but murder still happens. The people couldn't keep the government from doing EVERYTHING stupid without being statsi themselves.

I thought they had very good privacy protections and respect for the people, even from the government?

They do, and the process has "worked" in so far as it could work so far. The courts ruled about the limitations of the government, and the government overstepped those bounds, and now they're getting in trouble for it.

I mean, stopping this sort of thing before it came to light would have required The People to be able to label government actions thought crime...

Re:How did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37710966)

What do you expect from a country that makes it ILLEGAL to even discuss the fact that released Red Cross records show how much smaller the "holocaust" really was.
No such thing as freedom of speech.

Re:How did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37711072)

Because these records were forged?

Also, the Holocaust is a very sensible topic here, you understand...

And here... (0)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37707076)

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.

Re:And here... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37707148)

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?

Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough? (1)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#37707112)

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?

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#37707398)

No, they're not.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

UglyMike (639031) | about 3 years ago | (#37711666)

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 with the nazis who put it on there.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 3 years ago | (#37712834)

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 winger would more likely say that the addicts themselves are responsible for their addictions in the first place, not the dealers. And I agree. Dealers don't go around threatening people to do drugs. Yes they might engage in other criminal activity, mostly violence toward other dealers in turf disputes. But that is a separate crime. The best weapon against addiction is education and making sure that people get help for problems they are looking to escape by using drugs. That cant apply to everyone but then again you know that we do not live in a perfect society.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707526)

"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?"

Reminds me of auto insurance companies. They want you to buy the insurance without looking at the car. So you may have a sports car that blue books for $20,000 but in reality you gutted the interior for weight savings and it's all pristine in your garage. Like removing the rear seats, door panels, etc.

You could put it back in before selling the car and easily surpass blue book value. Let's say you could sell it for $21K. But if you get in a wreck with the interior still in your garage, they refuse to acknowledge that and force you to keep it. Then they say your value is really $10K because the interior is gutted. But you just paid for $20,000 worth of coverage for the last 4 years. Not only that, you TOLD them that it was gutted and you still were forced to pay normal price.

THAT is some total bullshit. Same thing here. Pretend it's 1 thing (worth more), then when it's time to pay up, come up with excuses. Also any notification up front is intentionally ignored and you can only check the value when it's time to pay up... not when up front when deciding how much you will be paying each month.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

snowgirl (978879) | about 3 years ago | (#37708804)

... [car analogy] ...

... you lost me...

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 years ago | (#37707826)

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.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37709044)

I wonder what definition the author was using when he insisted that a €10M fraud was still petty crime

The author probably works for one of those European banks were defrauding a mere €10M is a petty crime.

But yeah seriously, Kleinkriminelle does rather seem a poor description for people moving that amount of lucre ... in any language.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 3 years ago | (#37718606)

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.

Re:Thieves and dope peddlers aren't serious enough (1)

timbo234 (833667) | about 3 years ago | (#37710996)

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 serious cases - when there was a direct threat to life or limb or a direct threat to democracy or the state (meaning the rise of another Nazi-like group or similar).

Not here, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707118)

Americans should not worry. The Patriot Act will never be used for anything other than terrorism.

Of course, the definition of terrorism can always change...

Re:Not here, of course (2)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#37707164)

That's right. Jaywalkers, or "street-crossing terrorists" as we now call them, need to be stopped. Shoplifters, also known as "retail terrorists", are also on the rise. And we have all this budget for guns and officers, so why not?

Hmm. Maybe I can get federal health care out of this. Instead of the flu, someone gave me a case of the "stomach terrorists", so the Patriot act should pay to cure me so they don't spread, right? I suppose by the same token the "cure" for stomach terrorists involves a UAV, which I'd rather not experience.

Re:Not here, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37708814)

this is what german terrorists do, putting a bottle of ice tea on the railways:
http://www.berliner-kurier.de/panorama/bahn-attacke-in-berlin-polizei-zeigt-erstmals-gefundenen-brandsatz,7169224,11003890.html

to blow up a cable?!?!...... whatever:
http://www.tagesspiegel.de/mediacenter/fotostrecken/berlin/brandanschlagsserie-auf-die-bahn/4738052.html?p4738052=18#image

so, they're pulling lots of terrorist attacks like this out of their ass right now to justify all this anti-terror shit and to draw away attention from this trojan horse thing.
it's so stupid it makes me ROFL.

A Gestapo by any other name... (4, Funny)

vaene (1981644) | about 3 years ago | (#37707174)

Ve haf vays of making your computer talk!

Re:A Gestapo by any other name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37710416)

And then they installed Siri.

German Gestapo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707218)

They probably just want amateur pornographic images/movies but are just too afraid to find them through other means that might endanger their marriages. So, this could be interpreted as a request of the German police to send them porn. Doing so might help them avoid the need to install malware.

you F4il It?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37707374)

plainly states that Obsessives and the clear she couldn't outreac4 are and mortifying go find something every chance I got

So, are there any heads going to roll? (2)

kreuzotter (13645) | about 3 years ago | (#37708112)

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?

Re:So, are there any heads going to roll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37710804)

No. German police and politicians are above reproach. Worst case (for them), some minor official gets transferred to another post for a few weeks and later ends up right where he was before. Involved politicians on the other hand will simply be promoted to other positions.

Just take Wolfgang Schäuble (lovingly called SSchäuble or Mr. Stasi 2.0) who created many laws as interior minister that heavily restricted civil rights and were sacked by the constitutional court shortly afterwards. He's finance minister now. Or Ursula von der Leyen (censorship Ursula) who "fell upwards" from the family ministry to the labour ministry.

"Consequences" only exist for lowly citizens.

Re:So, are there any heads going to roll? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 3 years ago | (#37718648)

To be fair Schäuble seems to be doing much better as a finance minister, being a real pain in the ass for the big spending plans of his superiors.

What a surprise (1)

Fned (43219) | about 3 years ago | (#37708564)

I'm so surprised.

I think

I might have a heart attack

and die

from that surprise.

You FAAIL iT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37708620)

something done of BSD/OS. A TrOuble. It Clearly become

All cases ycombinator reports seem justified! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37711170)

Narcotics is a serious crime, overdosage kills young people all around the world! In the city state of Singapore, which has the world's lowest crime rate, drug dealers are automatically hanged from the gallows, no excuses! They prosper like there is no world economic crisis, guess why?

Organized crime is also a serious crime by definition. The only reason Switzerland and Germany are much better off than their southern neighbour Italy is their lack of socially pervasive and permeating mafia. When Mussolini fully disrupted the mafia, Italy advanced very rapidly in just a few years and became the world's envy with its progress in aviation and high-speed electrified railway system. Then came the stupid US Army occupiers and reinstalled the godfathers. Today, large scale infrastructure projects are impossible in Italy due to the extra cost resulting from mafia profiting from them. The country is sliding rapidly, do you want Germany to become like that or accept the Bundestrojan?

The use of Bundestrojan versus any organized crime and narcotics dealers is well justified and laudable! Any attempt to impose anglo-saxon tribal origin "thiefs' honour" legal code on roman-napoleonic law based continental european countires must be starkly rebuffled by the EU leadership!

It's cool, it's cool... (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 3 years ago | (#37711592)

"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."

url missing from summary (1)

allo (1728082) | about 3 years ago | (#37722772)

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

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