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German Police May Not Break Into a Suspect's PC

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-peeking dept.

Privacy 123

hweimer writes to tell us that a ruling in Germany's Supreme Court has made it illegal for the police to secretly hack into a suspect's computer. While some hailed this as a victory for civil rights, Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble is expected to push for changes in the legal framework to allow police hacking.

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Oh, Germany... (2, Funny)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895638)

...country of freedom and civil rights ;-)

Re:Oh, Germany... (4, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895652)

And you live where, in the Land of the Free?

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Funny)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895676)

No, in the land of chocolate, banks and watches.

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895792)

No, in the land of chocolate, banks and watches.

Japan? :D

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Funny)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897456)

Odd guess.

I would have guessed Switzerland myself.

Re:Oh, Germany... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17902412)

I would have guessed that the post in question is meant to be a joke, dipshit.

(not a funny one, mind you)

Re:Oh, Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17898742)

Germany made right ... ;_;

Re:Oh, Germany... (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896506)

Yes. More free than in the US I'd actually say. There are some things that suck big time about germany, don't get me wrong. Bureaucracy is one of the things that come to mind. That's really bad over here. The weather is constantly so-so, meaning often rainy but without the british poetry associated with it. Another thing that is really depressing compared to other countries is the loads of post-WW2 architecture that is ugly and dominates lots of the cities. This goes on the Nazies account as they pissed everyone on the entire planet off which in turn had to bomb germany into chunky kibbles. Hence: Many a crappy architecture in many parts of town hereabouts. Another thing that really bugs me is the germans and their car crazyness. No matter how many children die in traffic each year, highway speed limit is of limits to everyone and any politician who suggests it automatically does a political harakiri. Germany spend 4,7 billion man-hours in traffic jams each year, but it doesn't stop them from clogging the streets in town with cars whatsoever.

On the upsides we still have above standard social wellfare - allthough that has gotten considerably worse with 'Hartz 4' it would be considered luxurious in the US and other countries. Contrary to popular opinion the germans can actually be very nice and well behaved folks and the general education leven is still pretty high which maintains a basic level of intelligence throughout the country. The 'show your teeth - keep smiling' attitude people know from the US is near to non-existant here and people in germany generally mean what they say. For most of the time anyway. A trait I've come to like. In social structures as in schools there is the ususal back-stabbing and such, but on a much more broader base of tolerance towards other opinions and ways of life. Even though poverty is increasing as we speak the level of wealth is still considerably high and life in germany can be very secure and pleasant. Germany in general respects and defends basic human rights - something like Guantanamo or Death Sentence would be unthinkable in todays germany - and deals relatively fair with it's citizens.

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Interesting)

harmonica (29841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897646)

No matter how many children die in traffic each year, highway speed limit is of limits to everyone and any politician who suggests it automatically does a political harakiri.

Those children usually don't die on the Autobahn, which is the only type of street without a general speed limit. However, these days there are so many exceptions on the Autobahn where speed is limited that it doesn't make much of a difference anymore. You could just as well make 130 km/h mandatory.

Re:Oh, Germany... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17897654)

As a fellow German let me disagree on some points.

bureaucracy: hellish
architecture: does only partially go to the nazis account. Especially in the 70s and in back-then socialist Eastern Germany architecture was very bad - and those architectural crimes had nothing to do with bombings
car craziness: while we are a car crazy bunch over here, traffic death counts are very low compared to other countries (and even on the no-speed-limit Autobahn)
social welfare: yep, pretty fantastic over here. But we pay a heavy toll for it - very high unemployment (and I would argue that even the offical numbers are way too low) and very high taxes.
education: Well I think we're worse than the US and the internatinal PISA-study showed this. This is sad because the public school system in the US seems broken.
human rights: while do not have a Guantanamo I am very sure that given popular vote Germany would bring back the death sentence. Freedom of speech is worse while privacy laws are way better.

Re:Oh, Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17900652)

" Freedom of speech is worse while privacy laws are way better."

Only a German would say something like that about a country where every fucking citizen has to be registered with a local police or otherwise ends up being a fucking criminal.
Privacy my ass.
They do that here in the USA as well ... the difference being they limit this sort of bullshit only to convicted sex offenders and other dangerous criminals.

Yeah ... you are so fucking blind chasing the likes of McDonald and others that you don't see the worst kind of slavery coming from the biggest and worst corporation of them all.
But hey, don't let that fucking local ISP get their hands on your data - that would be a fucking end of the world ..

"I am very sure that given popular vote Germany would bring back the death sentence."

Oh . what a dirty, mindless bunch of losers .. they get to vote but only if the outcome is of the correct kind.

Re:Oh, Germany... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902398)

Only a German would say something like that about a country where every fucking citizen has to be registered with a local police or otherwise ends up being a fucking criminal.

The citizen registry department is not the police.

My take on Germany... (4, Informative)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901408)

I'm an American, but I've been living here in Germany ever since I left the US Army in 1990. Some points I agree with, some seem to be more of a myth, however.

Bureaucracy in Germany is like much of the EU: there are regulations for almost anything. This does, however, have a silver lining as that means less legal battles. The courts aren't as bogged down since there are less "grey areas", so legal insurance is a lot cheaper. Some companies are returning to Germany because of the high cost of legal battles elsewhere.

Architecture is improving in Germany, as the butt-ugly buildings get torn down to make way for more modern structures. I would say that most larger cities now have spent a great deal to make their centres attractive pedestrian zones.

Car craziness in Germany is different than in the USA, but not any worse. The SUV remains an exotic animal, and fuel efficiency is playing a larger role. Move into the cities like Munich, and a car becomes a liability due to the lack of parking and the net of public transportation. That said, the sons of my neighbour spend incredible amounts of time washing and cleaning their cars, caring for them more than for their girlfriends. The elder one actually presses his GF into vacuuming the upholstery with him!

Social Welfare in Germany is still better than elsewhere, but it's also seen as a burden. Germans are born worrywarts, and the low birth rate means that the ratio of retirees to wage-earners is like a Sword of Damocles. The reforms currently being enacted are painful, mainly because for the first time social benefits are being cut, not expanded.

Education in Germany has one huge, huge problem, and that is the way it divides pupils at age 10-12. Starting then, children are stuck into one of the three secondary schools: the Gymnasium for future academics, the Realschule for vocational careers, and the Hauptschule for the rest. As a result, those kids that have the misfortune to only attend a Hauptschule will later have an uphill battle to get a decent job, and it's incredibly difficult to switch paths. The Hauptschule has become the school for "losers".

Human Rights, though, is one area where modern Germans are especially proud. Despite what the occasional beer hall pundit might say, only a tiny minority is really for the death penalty. Germans instead see themselves as better than the "barbarian" American justice system mainly because they don't have a death penalty. Human rights activists have more clout and respect in Germany than in any other country I have lived in.

Privacy was after the Nazi regime a sore point with Germans. That's why this case was so important, as it represented the digital equivalent of a secret search warrant. Germans are also leery of video surveillance, and those measure already installed in train stations and other public places have to follow strict rules. Herr Schäuble's populist clamour for new laws is not even supported by the police, as the current laws still allow for snooping in the internet, just not on the suspect's hard drive without his knowledge.

Re:My take on Germany... (2, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901606)

Bureaucracy in Germany is like much of the EU: there are regulations for almost anything. This does, however, have a silver lining as that means less legal battles. The courts aren't as bogged down since there are less "grey areas", so legal insurance is a lot cheaper. Some companies are returning to Germany because of the high cost of legal battles elsewhere.



It also keeps the authorities busy enough that they don't have too much time for making your life really miserable. They have to do all the paperwork, too. :)



Education in Germany has one huge, huge problem, and that is the way it divides pupils at age 10-12. Starting then, children are stuck into one of the three secondary schools: the Gymnasium for future academics, the Realschule for vocational careers, and the Hauptschule for the rest. As a result, those kids that have the misfortune to only attend a Hauptschule will later have an uphill battle to get a decent job, and it's incredibly difficult to switch paths. The Hauptschule has become the school for "losers".



Well, yeah. It is difficult and requires quite a bit of effort, determination, and hard work. It is far from impossible, however.


Having started out in the Hauptschule doesn't keep you from, say, becoming chancellor later in your life.


Re:My take on Germany... (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902454)

I think the educational divison does make sense, not all children are equally fast learners so you either slow down the fast learners or leave the slow learners behind. Obviously it's a bad idea to leave them behind because they won't ever be able to catch up so you have to go with the speed the slowest ones can deal with. Sorting them by their learning speeds beforehand makes the span of speeds in a class smaller and leaves the fast learners less bored. While it's hard to change the branch of education you're in it's not like you get randomly sorted into these branches and most people in a lower branch aren't actually fit for being in a higher one. Often parents ignore the recommendations for a branch because they believe their kid is smarter than the examiners think but as a result the kid has to drop into a lower branch after he can't deal with the demands of a higher branch.

Changing branches only makes sense if you were misevaluated (happens sometimes with very fast learners because they get bored by the standardized speed in elementary school), someone who got properly evaluated shouldn't change branches because, well, he's just not fit for it.

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902368)

Well I think we're worse than the US and the internatinal PISA-study showed this.

I don't put much value into that study. Put a bunch of pupils in front of a test and tell them it doesn't get graded. About half of them (low estimate) won't even attempt to get it right and instead brag about the kind of nonsense they produced. I think I was involved in one of these tests back then and I certainly didn't place the source of the Danube in Turkey because I believed in it.

Autobahn != playground (4, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898102)

I'll mostly aggree about the other points, but I'm not sure what the point about children dying and the highways is. We're not talking in the cities, we're not even talking fast roads as such, we're talking major highways surrounded by at least fences and usually walls (against noise) too in the urban areas. To actually get onto a highway, a kid would have to walk quite a bit from wherever their home is, and climb over / crawl under a fence. I'm not even aware of that ever happening. Even if I might have missed a case somewhere along the road, it's hardly reason to plan traffic around such an unlikely scenario.

Also, if we're talking car-crazy, I'd like to say that at least Germany is designed to at least _allow_ one to not have a car, pretty much anywhere they may live. Compare it to USA suburban areas where in most cases you can't even walk even if you wanted to. Not only there are sidewalks everywhere, there's also good public transportation everywhere, and most places have supermarkets every 1 km or less. (As opposed to concentrating everything in some mall outside the town that's not even practical or in some cases possible to reach without a car.) So if you want to walk or take a bus instead, at least you _can_. I actually have (well paid) co-workers who come by bus, and at least one refuses to have a car and supposedly burned his driver's license as a protest against something or another.

Also the suburbia craze hasn't hit here half as hard as in the USA, where the American dream seems to be that if you're white and even vaguely countable as middle class, you have to move somewhere away from other people in some place reachable only by car. I suppose that not having much of an inner-city crime problem also helps with that. Most of my co-workers (again, well-paid and including some managers) actually like living in a populated place, on account of being more a more social thing. Which again tends to create somewhat less reason for a car exodus daily. Not that there isn't one, but it could be worse, you know?

Traffic congestions are a problem in some places, but then that's a problem in most of the western world. Cars in the 40's were still a luxury, so noone assumed we'd end up having _this_ many when they planned the cities. Short of demolishing half the city again and rebuilding it with wider roads, there's not that horribly much one can do. People aren't going to just give up their cars in Germany, but then again they aren't going to give up their cars in the USA either. And I was just reading a few days ago about Turkey having a traffic problem too, and a proposal to forbid more than one car per family in Istanbul. The Turks weren't happy about that idea, either. So that problem pretty much isn't a Germany-only problem by any kind of reckoning.

Re:Autobahn != playground (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902030)

in turkey, there are actually families in which, despite they are going to the same place from their home for the same appointment, father, mother and daughter can use their seperate cars, go to the appointment (3 km away, and easily reachable by seaside-going tram), park their cars, attend the appointment, then go to their cars, come back to their home, park their cars and get in their home.

this is one of the extreme examples, but you get the idea.

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Interesting)

Khabok (940349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17899190)

Bureaucracy is one of the things that come to mind. That's really bad over here.

US has that too, especially the school system. Our schools are required by law to contract everything to whoever puts in the lowest bid. The result is that nothing ever works, from the lawn sprinklers to the climate control. Our district in particular has something approaching ten thousand clients accessing the internet through 3.0 MBps. I kid you not.

Another thing that is really depressing compared to other countries is the loads of post-WW2 architecture that is ugly and dominates lots of the cities.

Is that really at all significant, compared to the creepy cookie-cutter quality of the suburbs? In my hometown, we've got hundreds of homes, all in the same floor plan, all in beige stucco, all right next to each other.

Another thing that really bugs me is the germans and their car crazyness.

SUVs and fullsize pickups are rapidly creeping up on 50% of our driving population. I hate waiting at a traffic light with nothing to see out my front and rear windows but bumpers. I mean that literally. And I drive a BMW. German car craziness as a symbol is literally smashed into jagged shrapnel by these disgusting American behemoths.

Sounds to me like you've got the same subset of problems, but a longer list of redeeming qualities.

Re:Oh, Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17900820)

"There are some things that suck big time about germany, don't get me wrong."

The verdammten scheiss language, for example. E.g. refusing to speak English to a foreigner who clearly does not speak German well. Then in German, mocking that person for not following certain instructions which do not seem to apply to that person which he calmly explains, in English! I though only French were like that. I was wrong. Snob Germans. For the record, that was on an airport, and I was travelling from my home country to a different country, landing in Germany to board to the airplane going to that country. I evade that country whenever I can. And I do mean what I said here, btw.

Re:Oh, Germany... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896914)

Oh well... according to the quality of life 2007 website the united states citizens are much less free than the citizens of many other countries:

http://www.il-ireland.com/il/qofl07/ [il-ireland.com]

the freedom index of U.S. is 92, while Germany is 100 (still U.S. is 5th in overall quality of life versus 11th of Germany). (if you sort on the freedom list .. U.S. appears worse than many third world countries).

Re:Oh, Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17900724)

Oh well ... it all depends how you define your freedom.

From my personal experience , USA is a much better place if one values freedom over security ( and yeah, even with all that terrorism bullshit USA is far , far behind when it comes to enslaving their citizens in the name of security - most of that recent crap they are trying to implement is a standard and long standing practice in majority of EU)

I finally got my citizenship and it will be cold day in hell before I return to that paradise for lemmings , otherwise known as EU.

A step forward, but... (2, Funny)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895650)

...sadly still doesn't keep certain lawyer's offices from logging hundreds of IPs using hacked P2P programs. Just to ensure a steady flow of money towards them and their "clients"...

Re:A step forward, but... (1)

Locke DieDrake (1053478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896232)

I'd love to see the RIAA and MPAA given the legal right to hack P2p users computers. The net result would be a huge drop in the number of leaches. And a huge increase in the RIAA/MPAA networks randomly ceasing to exist for long periods of time. Someone has to ask the real question at hand. Do the police really want to open that particular door? If so, can they hope to match resources and wits against the worlds hackers? Or are they only interested in hacking into Joe User's desktop? I welcome an effort by a law enforcement agency to break into private computers. I'm willing to bet that the overall result is that the police's network dies. And the so called suspected hacker is more or less untouched. But joe user is in deep shit.

Re:A step forward, but... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901926)

Phh. What we'll see is that within months a fire-and-forget honeypot system will spring into existence that detects any unusual connections and slows them down. P2P will continue and the **AA/police will be caught in a technological battle with the OSS crowd. And I think I know who's better at network security...

Re:A step forward, but... (1)

badspyro (920162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897220)

The german government, as far as I am aware, never actualy hacked a P2P server, they just set up their own and monitored it, which is still leagal, even under the latst decision.

Re:A step forward, but... (1)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901644)

You are right and wrong at the same time, here.

The german government doesn't give a rat's ass about file sharing. The music industry, on the other hand, does. A lot. They hire a lawyer's office which uses a hacked version of Shareaza to monitor the IPs of users that sent them data (the only aspect in file sharing that is illegal). Afterwards they contact the provider to get those users' identity and mass-mailed cease-and-desist letters including a bill to settle this "outside of the court". No hacking of PCs involved.

This is good... (1)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895672)

But can they still ask another country to do it for them?

Re:This is good... (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901436)

No. Or to put it another way, any evidence found that way would be inadmissible in court. Therefore any responsible Staatsanwalt (analogue to American district attorney) would avoid it for fear it would weaken his case.

The only possible solution would be to treat it like an "anonymous tip", but even that would be scrutinised.

Parser error (2, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895688)

No legal framework for secret police hacking exists at this time, decided Germany's Federal Court of Justice Monday in Karlsruhe
Is that:
(secret police) hacking
or
secret (police hacking)

Re:Parser error (4, Informative)

muffel (42979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895772)

It's secret (police hacking). Just like "real world" searches, computers may not be searched secretly. So far.

Re:Parser error (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896028)

Just like "real world" searches, computers may not be searched secretly.

Yeah, thank God for those "This call may be monitored for law enforcement purposes," recordings.

Re:Parser error (1)

surprise_audit (575743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896824)

In related news, there's been a sudden drop in convictions for burglary in Germany. Instead of secretly hacking into a suspect's PC, they could simply have it stolen, "find" it in a raid, clone the disk and get it back to the grateful owner...

Re:Parser error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896884)

Just like "real world" searches, computers may not be searched secretly.
If only we were so lucky over here in the US. Our USA PATRIOT [sic] Act has greatly enhanced law enforcers' ability to perform "sneak-and-peek" searches of physical property.

So, for us, it doesn't make much sense to compare this with "real world" searches. But, then again, you could convincingly argue that the paranoid, xenophobic, instant-guilt-without-trial fantasyland that the US is becoming is no longer part of the "real world."

Re:Parser error (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897328)

It's secret (police hacking). Just like "real world" searches, computers may not be searched secretly. So far.

Oh, they can be secretly searched alright, but only by the M$+CIA, and possibly other organizations like the RIAA+MPAA that have done a backroom deal with M$. TC will help insure that not even governments can see them doing it.

If you're naive enough to think they're not doing it consider the CIA [wikipedia.org] 's annual budget, consider what they've been discovered doing behind closed doors already (conventional spying [wikipedia.org] , Echelon [wikipedia.org] , some printer tracking [eff.org] , passenger tracking [computerworld.com] , ...).

Forget terrorists, foreign organizations and governments should be much more paranoid about being spied upon via their PC's for business and military intelligence than they currently appear to be. It's just too easy.

---

Open source software is everything that closed source software is. Plus the source is available.

Re:Parser error (1)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895822)

Is that:
(secret police) hacking
or
secret (police hacking)
I don't think that the Gestapo [wikipedia.org] has anything to do with this...

That wasn't even funny.

just change the name (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895718)

Germany's Supreme Court has made it illegal for the police to secretly hack into a suspect's computer ... Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble is expected to push for changes in the legal framework to allow police hacking.

Why change the legal framework? Just change the terminology. For example, while it may now be illegal to hack into a "suspect's" computer, they clearly never said anything about someone deemed to be an "enemy combatant". Problem solved. (/sarcasm)

Re:just change the name (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895838)

Eh, that's an American trick. Germans are too hung up on following the rules to try and bend them that way. They'll just get the rules re-written to make all computers not owned by the government be considered public.

Re:just change the name (0, Flamebait)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896706)

Isn't there already an exception allowing police hacking of computers which belong to Jews?

Speaking of changing the name... (2, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896770)

You misspelled "Muslims"... come on, it's the first half of the 21st century, not the first half of the 20th. Get your scapegoats straight!

(Don't worry, by 2050ish it'll be genetically tailored kids, or people with prosthetic something or others. The wheel, it keeps on turning.)

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898382)

Hmm, I don't recall any incidents involving Jews launching attacks against German, killing thousands of civilians in the process. And you conveniently left out the fact that time and time again, the US goes out of its way to make it clear that our enemies are *fanatics who wish all infidels to die*, and that we don't believe they speak for the religion of Islam. Muslims are "scapegoats"?

Sorry, but I don't buy such moral equivalence.

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

eyeye (653962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901342)

Hmm, I don't recall any incidents involving Jews launching attacks against German, killing thousands of civilians in the process.
And muslims did?

Maybe you are thinking of the carpet bombing of civilian areas by the "allies", that would be those christians.

Or hiroshima, oh christians again.

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901774)

So, lemme see if I've got this straight... because a group of (primarily Saudi Arabian) Muslims have killed civilians, it's okay to restrict the civil liberties of Muslims everywhere else? Including natives of one's own country, whose biggest crime was donating to a poorly organized charity?

Call it what you want, but whenever police or security forces start "paying extra attention" based on ethnicity, race, or apparent religion, they've started down an unpleasant road.

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902526)

Hmm, I don't recall any incidents involving Jews launching attacks against German, killing thousands of civilians in the process.

Errr... does Reichstag fire ring a bell?

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17899514)

Still waiting to see pictures of 7 year old jewish children dancing in the streets that 3000+ random strangers of almost all nationalities and religions were killed.
Or reports of jews killing people because we said judaism were violent.

Re:Speaking of changing the name... (1)

eyeye (653962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901330)

Did you miss the bit where they bombed the shit out of Lebanese civilians, bridges, water plants and UN observers? At that time the majority of israelis supported the action too. Does that make all Jews violent and evil?

Re:just change the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17895886)

Why change the legal framework? Just change the terminology. For example, while it may now be illegal to hack into a "suspect's" computer, they clearly never said anything about someone deemed to be an "enemy combatant". Problem solved. (/sarcasm)

Sadly, Schäuble is just the kind of paranoid closet-fascist (seriously, look up the other items on his agenda...) who would use that argumentation. Perhaps we should just deport him to the US, where one more of those wouldn't really matter. Anyway, he must be removed from office. Right now, that court is the last line of defense against his idiocy, because for some "strange" reason, our parliament, or at least the governing parties, is doing exactly jack to that end.

Re:just change the name (3, Informative)

cronotk (896650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896388)

Yeah, that Schäuble really IS absolutely paranoid. He even called the Internet an "university for terrorists" and wants ANY data transfer to be logged.
Maybe he shouldn't have read 1984...

If THAT guy's actions aren't anti-constitutional, then I don't know WHOSE are!
Even those jerks from the NPD (the "nazis") are more freedom-and-democracy-loving!


Re:just change the name (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897364)

Sheesh, you don't get it at all.

You take the person into custody and waterboard them until they confess to whatever crime you decide.

And the public agrees they must be guilty since you wouldn't have arrested them unless they were guilty.

---

Don't get too cocky over there tho- as it gets easier to track things, we grow fearful of smaller and smaller problems and justify larger and larger efforts to prevent them. Your governments are just a hair behind the US. All it will take is a couple bombs and your rights are down the tubes too.

Ironic thing... we lose more to automobiles and cigarettes each year (each month really) than we do to terrorism. In terms of making us give up the american dream, the terrorists have already won. America is subtly fascist in ways that would have made us revolt only 20 years before.

Re:just change the name (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898108)

You forget one important thing: Germany is not GWB's America. ;-)

Sounds fine to me (2, Insightful)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895788)

This sounds right; it should be illegal unless/untill the police get a warrant.

Re:Sounds fine to me (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895918)

That's exactly the reasoning of the Supreme Court's decision. The chapter 102 of the Criminal Court Proceedings (102 StPO) was very clear that for any search the suspect or at least an eyewitness has to be present, and exactly that was the provision of secret spying missing.
So the court likened this to wiretapping the phone or using secret microphones to listen to conversations in the suspect's home ("Großer Lauschangriff"), which both need a warrant.

Re:Sounds fine to me (1)

hweimer (709734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901350)

So the court likened this to wiretapping the phone or using secret microphones to listen to conversations in the suspect's home ("Großer Lauschangriff"), which both need a warrant.

The court clearly said that the wiretapping laws were not applicable as well since they only permit access to live communication but not to e-mail archives from years ago.

Re:Sounds fine to me (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901676)

You are right. So the full decicion was, that it is neither a search (which needs the suspect being present) nor a wiretapping (which only captures live conversations). So the court determined that this has to have a completely new legal base.
A county in Germany (Northrhine-Westphalia) already set up new laws to allow this, but those laws are currently challenged on constitutional grounds.

Re:Sounds fine to me (2, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896018)

> it should be illegal unless/untill the police get a warrant.

Not quite correct. It is also illegal when the police gets a warrant (which they have currently done). The court judged, that hacking into a computer is not covered by the laws of wiretapping (which they are allowed to do secretly with a warrant), but that it is search and seizure. Contrary to wiretapping, search and seizure has to be done in the presence of witnesses of the community (e.g. neighbours). After the search, the suspect has to be delivered a notice about the warrant, a protocol about the search and the confiscated items.

Re:Sounds fine to me (2, Informative)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898340)

Actually, the decision goes further than this: the court decided that a judge cannot issue a search warrant that would allow hacking into a suspects computer. They basically say that since it is a clandestine police operation, it has to follow the much stricter wiretapping rules. According to the German Constitutional Court, this limits wiretapping to crimes that are punishable by at least 5 years of jail. In other words, the police will have a much harder time getting approval for hacking into a suspects computer, than getting a search warrant that lets them go and impound the computer.

German Law (4, Informative)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895816)

I have no understanding of German Law but (in most countries) wouldn't hacking into secretly someone's computer be the same as an illegal search?

I could be wrong, but as I see it tracking someone's activity online is similar to watching someone in a public space which is (somewhat) reasonable; and it could (hypothetically) be argued that any data being sent via the internet was like yelling across the field. Someone's computer (on the other hand) is private property and they have the right to believe that it is a private space (much like your house).

Re:German Law (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895904)

Thats exactly the argument that made the decision of the court.

Re:German Law (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896092)

Someone's computer (on the other hand) is private property and they have the right to believe that it is a private space (much like your house).

An expectation of privacy does not protect against bugs and/or wiretaps if a warrant is obtained.

Re:German Law (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896974)

and they have the right to believe that it is a private space (much like your house).

I suppose people everywhere pretty much have a right to believe whatever they want ... well, maybe not a right enshrined in law but people will tend to believe whatever they want. On the other hand, just because you believe your computer is a private space doesn't mean that it is such a space, and in the modern world it probably isn't. If your government doesn't own your box odds are someone does, and it's a toss-up as to which would be better.

Re:German Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17901450)

German law does allow the admission of illegally gained evidence. There are, of course, formal consequences for the officials involved, however the case is not jeopardized.

The idea behind all this is to basically spy on everyone, then, depending on the outcome, cover up the issue or give the people responsible two weeks paid vacation for their misconduct (which incidentally uncovered something fishy that was going on, so technically these people are heroes and the law needs to be changed to no longer discourage them from properly doing their jobs).

Amazing: no twisted analogies (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895856)

The court looked at various precedents and noticed that what the police were doing was *not* really like any of them, and so needed separate legal authorization and separate thinking-through.

Germany has stricter privacy laws, more passionately enforced, than the UK/US, but this decision is completely compatible with UK/US law that says the scope of a search has to be explicitly defined and minimal. Spyware on a computer fits neither criterion.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896158)

Germany has stricter privacy laws, more passionately enforced, than the UK/US, but this decision is completely compatible with UK/US law that says the scope of a search has to be explicitly defined and minimal. Spyware on a computer fits neither criterion.

For as much shit we give the Germans with the "Zee papers please!" skits they are really on the ball when it comes to personal freedoms over there. From my understanding they recently struck down a law that bans smoking in restaurants and clubs as unconstitutional whereas states in the US and the UK government are banning such practices.

I guess a nation has to go through something really big so that they really respect individual's rights over the collectives.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896590)

For as much shit we give the Germans with the "Zee papers please!" skits

And, one might add, someone who is reminded of "Zee papers please!" when thinking about Germany probably has not much experience in Germany. While it is true that we have ID cards (and everybody has to have a valid ID card, or alternatively a passport), in reality you are hardly ever asked for ID in Germany. There are specific situations where one is asked for ID (eg. when collecting a package from the post office which was deposited there for you), and I was asked maybe 3 times or so for my driving license in the last 15 years in traffic controls, but apart from that I cannot remember any such situation that people seem to think of when they link "Germany" with "Papers please". Probably those people are just watching too many WWII movies... :)

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897016)

Yes, as demonstrated by anti free speech laws and 50% income tax. Definitely respectful of individual freedom!

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17897184)

Yes, as demonstrated by anti free speech laws and 50% income tax. Definitely respectful of individual freedom!

The maximum tax rate is 42%. You pay that for the part of your income that is above 52,000 Euro/year. And that is of course not taking into account the numerous ways to reduce the tax burden. Germany has - unfortunately - one of the most complicated tax laws in the world.

But you are not interested in correct information anyway, I guess...

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (0)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901904)

Oh my, I was off by 8% on half of my data and 100% correct on the other half, that gives us 96% correctness, yet you point out I'm not interested in correct information? CUTE!
Now please go around singing some Nazi song and see if you're not arrested. That's free speech for you.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

DarenN (411219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902494)

So it's ok to eulogise on a regime that murdered millions of innocents, started wars of agression with almost all its neighbours and brought the country to the brink of annihilation? The reason that it was banned in the first place was because of, y'know, the events of 1938 to 1945. What they did wasn't acceptable then and isn't acceptable now, and the Germans, rightly in my opinion, decided that they would have no tolerance for it. If you voted there today, and _everyone_ in the country voted on it, the vast majority would vote to uphold that ban.

As for the income tax, it's not a blanket 42% tax on everyone. Besides, tax laws _everywhere_ are a mess so no-one can really throw stones. And at least in the German federal systems that cash goes to maintain a superb road network and effecient public transport, two things that are a mess in many countries.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17902580)

Now please go around singing some Nazi song and see if you're not arrested. That's free speech for you.



At least you need more than just a single word (like, um, "goddamn") to get you arrested.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

Alphager (957739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897298)

Yes, as demonstrated by anti free speech laws and 50% income tax. Definitely respectful of individual freedom!
Would you kindly point out the anti-"Free Speech"-laws Germany has?

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17897396)

Well this one for example:
http://dejure.org/gesetze/StGB/166.html [dejure.org]

But there are more. I say freedom of speech is better protected in the US than in Germany. But Germany has better privacy rights.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897484)

For example, in the US you can pretend the holacaust didn't happen. It's goofy, but you can say it.
In Germany ( and i think France), it's a crime.

Re:Amazing: no twisted analogies (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898596)

This is a good example, but not as outrageous as some people seem to think. The rationale behind it is essentially the same as for, say, a prohibition against saying "bomb" on a plane. They're both banned because they're both incredibly dangerous things to do, and they're both significantly detrimental to the welfare, liberty, and happiness of absolutely everyone, and probably some other reasons that don't occur to me right now. The reason the prohibition against holocaust denial doesn't exist in most countries is simply because hardly anyone is dumb enough to take it seriously, so it's nowhere near as dangerous in those countries. (It could, of course, be argued that this is also the case now in Germany and France.)

Another issue with this... (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895932)

...is that there could be a form of entrapment if hacking into a personal system became legal for police to do, especially as it becomes a slippery slope, where blocking such searches is tantamount to a crime in and of itself. A technicnally savvy (but innocent) person could note the attack, take steps to block it, and then appear--in the eyes of law enforcement officials who "know" of his guilt--to be trying to avoid justice. One could imagine how this might be used as justification for a warrant to search, seize and confiscate the physical property, and perhaps dig into other private areas of the innocent party's life.

Re:Another issue with this... (2, Informative)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896392)

is that there could be a form of entrapment if hacking into a personal system became legal for police to do, especially as it becomes a slippery slope, where blocking such searches is tantamount to a crime in and of itself.
Entrapment: that word doesn't mean what you think it means. I realize this is different from state-to-state and from country-to-country, but here it is from the Texas Penal Code:

8.06. ENTRAPMENT. (a) It is a defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the conduct charged because he was induced to do so by a law enforcement agent using persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense. Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense does not constitute entrapment.

(b) In this section "law enforcement agent" includes personnel of the state and local law enforcement agencies as well as of the United States and any person acting in accordance with instructions from such agents.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
Entrapment (in this state) requires that the criminal action was induced by a law enforcement officer. When the individual has a choice to commit a crime (or not), there is no entrapment (i.e.: speed trap). Btw, entrapment is not a crime, but a defense to prosecution in a court of law.

The police are allowed to do a whole lot of things that are not allowed by ordinary citizens (i.e.: arrest for misdemeanor crimes, use lethal force to prevent convicts escaping from a penal institution, provide protection for the local courthouse, etc.). If there is a warrant by a court of jurisdiction, then, yes, blocking the "police sniff" would probably be illegal; however, if Citizen Joe knows nothing about this warrant and is simply securing his network, then any offense brought against Citizen Joe about blocking the search warrant will be challenged in the courts.

A police account (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898566)

That's why all my FreeBSD machines have a password-less police user account with a UID of 0. I just keep forgetting to allow root logins per ssh, but that's not my fault, officer.

Has nothing to do with Privacy (5, Funny)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895982)

If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. When will you privacy lunatics grasp that simple point? For once, could we stop and think of all the children this would save? You don't hate children, do you???

Re:Has nothing to do with Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896414)

yeah, pretty much. terrorists too. and big global corporations. and corrupt politicans. and slimeball lawyer Jack Thompson. and religious fundamentalists the world over. and Peyton Manning and the fuckin' Colts defense, and that baby-face suckass Bears quarterback Rex Grossman for losing me my $100 Superbowl bet. Fuck them, fuck them all I tell you!

Re:Has nothing to do with Privacy (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897240)

No, no, no

AC, you have it all wrong. First of all, the problem is these activist judges supporting terrorism. It seems they have them in Germany too. Those darn activist judges don't trust the executive branch. It's just Un-German not to trust your president to have sweeping and uncheckable power to protect the children from terrorists. If you need more help with the concept of activist judges and their affinity for terrorists, tune into Papa Bear Bill O'Reilly and he'll explain all about them, their eternal war on Christmas, and the TB carrying Mexicans that are crossing the border.

Secondly, if any super bowl player is to blame for anything, its Vinatieri for missing my $400 field goal. (numbers 4 and 9) at the half. Although I only lost $20, it would have been nice if he would have made it.

Re:Has nothing to do with Privacy (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17901980)

It's just Un-German not to trust your president to have sweeping and uncheckable power to protect the children from terrorists.

Actually it's just un-German to not expect the chancellor (the president has comparatively little political power) to be a bumbling fool/malevolent wannabe dictator who only got into office to line his/her own pockets with cash. Trust is a mental disorder other nations suffer from. ;)

Re:Has nothing to do with Privacy (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897414)

If you have nothing to lose you have nothing to hide:
If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear:
The Borg Matrix [theborgmatrix.com]

Now why would someone want to do that? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896084)

Putting aside the privacy concerns that I'm sure will be expressed by fellow Slashdotters, I truly don't see the point of the police hacking into a suspects' PC, at least from a forensic perspective. Sure, they might be able to find 'interesting' evidence by doing so, but at the same time, they risk compromising their whole investigation. If they successfully exploited a vulnerability to gain access to the suspects' PC, then what guarantees them (and eventually the judge) that someone else didn't do the same before them and that whatever illegal content/activity was found on the computer was not put their/committed by another hacker?

It seems that they are providing the suspect with plausible deniability for any illegal activity that took place. If I were the police trying to prosecute someone for some digital crime, I would be praying from the bottom of my heart that the computer used to commit the crime was secured according to best practices and free of any malware.

Re:Now why would someone want to do that? (0, Troll)

stuff and such (980278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896956)

Well I always leave my car unlocked at night. Then the police walked by, looked in, and saw drugs and proceeded to search the rest of the car. The drugs must have been put there by someone else for the same reason it was so easy for the police to find them. Sounds like much the same argument to me.

Re:Now why would someone want to do that? (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897398)

Exactly.

I could easily load your car (or your computer) with enough kiddy porn in about 30 seconds to have you put away for the rest of your life. A trivial search would load your cache- a few right click/saves and you are toast.

Yet folks are being convicted regularly on this kind of evidence these days because of a fundamental ignorance of the way computers work that would be obvious for unlocked cars.

Re:Now why would someone want to do that? (1)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898472)

no - it's more like you left your car locked at night as best as you could, and police broke into it silently.

Re:Now why would someone want to do that? (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17899214)

Indeed. Also, it is not very easy to compromise a subject's computer if they are not connected to the internet all the time and take dynamic IP's from their service provider (like most of the people I know). The police will need ISP cooperation which, I hope, required some sort of warrant in any case (i.e before this fine law). How else would you get to the machine the first time?

Oh come on now!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896164)

Police randomly hacking into civilians suspected of a crime is a goose step in the right direction! Hitler would be so proud!

Re:Oh come on now!!! (2, Insightful)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896972)

how come? as soon as the word "german" appears... ...some folks can't help themselves but mentioning "hitler". reminds me of some dogs, a bell and an old russian man.

Re:Oh come on now!!! (1)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897988)

Ah, that must be Vladimir I. Lenin and his troupe of musical capitalist running dogs?

Seriously, I'm from an English speaking country but have lived in Germany for yonks, and you quickly learn what you can get away with in terms of frivolous reference to Mr. H and his All-Singing, All-Dancing Nazi Party. Mind you, things are lightening up a little, the first Hitler comedy [time.com] was recently released in cinemas.

c08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896538)

subscribers. Please Followed. Ob7iously BSD managed to make well-known by the politickers Addresses will said one FreeBSD The political mess sling, return it to

Mmh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17896612)

If the law would have passed, Linux usage would have gone skyrocket. Meh.

I'm going (4, Funny)

stummies (868371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17896854)

Vincent: It breaks down like this: it's legal to buy it, it's legal to own it, and, if you're the proprietor of a software store, it's legal to sell it. It's legal to carry it, but that doesn't really matter 'cause - get a load of this - if you get stopped by the cops in Germany, it's illegal for them to hack your computer. I mean, that's a right the cops in Germany don't have.

Jules: I'm going, that's all there is too it, I'm farking going.

Vincent: Yeah baby, you'd digg it the most.

Unless... (1)

Cygnostik (545583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17897282)

Police hacking is bad, mmkay? Unless they're nailing spammers! Anyone should be able to do anything to track-down and disable spammers. (no, not mailing list operators, but real, serious spammers!) Spam is making people crazy as it is and I fear it won't be long until people start taking things into their own hands on large enough scales to do some damage.

When there's a knocking at your ports at 3am... (2, Interesting)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898212)

...it won't be tall thin men in long leather coats and wide-brimmed floppy hats.

Seriously the politicos were, and still are, advocating what is being called a "federal trojan", i.e. secret, police-controlled spyware. Just how they plan to create such a mythical multi-platform wunder-creature is a mystery to everyone here, or they are assuming all criminals and other potential searchees are using easily-targetted Windows versions attached directly to the net and store all their data in easily-searched formats and locations.

obvious points (3, Interesting)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17898550)

- if the government can legally hack my computer to obtaint evidence, said evidence might have been put on my computer by some (other?) hacker, too. I'm no longer responsible for what is stored here, since any of the contents of my HDD might have been planted^z put there by some 3rd party.

- I'm supposed to help cutting administrative costs, so I should use "E-Government" possibilities (websites, software, forms etc). Tax declarations can in large parts only be made online using some (Windows only) govt software. How could I possibly trust any software / website / form provided by the government if "online searches" were to be legal? How can I visit a public government website without fear of being 0wn3d?

- as German ministers announce - Schäuble, in this case - that whatever is ruled illegal by the courts will "promptly" be put into appropriate new legislation, how am I supposed to trust this government any longer? In their oath of office, German ministers vow "to avert damage from the German people" - I don't see that. I dont't fear terrorists at all, I fear our representatives! List goes on and on, but I'm tired and kinda drunk...

Tubg1rl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17898906)

world wi7l have Volume of NetBSD es3ape them by

If the woman were hotter.... (2, Funny)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17899166)

I would move to Germany. Please fallow this example Japan. Say no to police brutality against computer privacy.

just a matter of months... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17902134)


there _currently_ is no law that allows for the hacking of a suspects computer. prosecutors thought they were allowed to order a covered remote inspection of a suspects computer based on 100a and 100b StPO (Germany). both deal with telecommunication - and the german supreme court just ruled, that data saved on a computer is not part of a telecommunication, so these do not apply.
but just like it is possible to tap phone-lines or to search a house with the appropriate warrant the "hacking" will be most likely made legal in the near future. it might require a judge to issue the warrant, but they usually just sign the appropriate form without even checking for plausibility.

but it proves again, that the german supreme court is not the administrations puppet.

damn - it is really difficult to translate "juristen-deutsch"...
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