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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Germany Joins US in Domestic Cyberspying ... Spying Trojans Bots Hacks Part of US Domestic Spying

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News > Security

German government to create 'police' Trojans?

Anne Broache of CNET News.com
September 03, 2007

The German government wants to create Trojans that will spy on suspected criminals.



In the name of nabbing terrorists, the German government is floating a plan that would permit authorities to plant spyware on suspects' hard drives through e-mail messages appearing to stem from official sources, according to various news reports out of Berlin this week.

The proposal, which has not yet been made public but was leaked in part to some German news outlets, is reportedly the brainchild of Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Use of spyware by US Police is hardly a new idea. Recent cases in the United States have revealed agents with the FBI and the DEA have installed spyware -- in both cases, with a court's permission -- as part of investigations.

He's pushing for its inclusion in a broader security law under consideration by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government. The spyware provision is a response to a federal court decision earlier this year that frowned upon secret remote searches of computers, according to a recent report by the Associated Press.

But left-wing party members and civil liberties advocates are railing against the idea as a potential invasion of citizens' privacy, according to AP and Agence-France Presse reports. One Left Party Parliament member told AFP she also feared the policy would make citizens fearful to open e-mails from government sources.

Advocates of the plan, for their part, have tried to assuage fears about abuse of the technique. They have told reporters they would use the so-called "Trojan horse" spyware in a targeted way and would do so only with court approval.

Use of spyware by US Police is hardly a new idea. Recent cases in the United States have revealed agents with the FBI and the DEA have installed spyware -- in both cases, with a court's permission -- as part of investigations.

It was not clear how the German software would operate, although the news reports indicate the goal is to snoop on a suspect's hard drive data and Internet activity. An FBI tool called CIPAV, for example, can immediately report back to the government a computer's Internet Protocol address, Ethernet MAC address, "other variables, and certain registry-type information." Then, for the next 60 days, it will record Internet Protocol addresses visited but not the contents of the communications.

The widespread availability of spyware-detection software could arguably make it more difficult for any government to hide such a scheme from a tech-savvy suspect.

In a recent CNET News.com survey of 13 leading anti-malware vendors, not one acknowledged cooperating unofficially with government agencies -- at least US ones--to mask the presence of police spyware. Some, however, indicated they may keep quiet if ordered by a court to do so.

The issue is whether as it happens in the USA (because it IS happening), are FISA laws, civil liberties, habeas corpus and other 4th amendment protections being observed by our government? Remember that with all the domestic spying that's been done so far, reports indicate few if any 'terrorists' have been apprehended using those (illegal) domestic snooping, prying methods.

In the same vein, if they're nailing actual domestic and foreign criminals, scammers, phishers, thieves, pederasts, predators, rapists, swindlers, psychopaths, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, presidents, vice presidents, former attorneys general -- you know, seriously dangerous criminals -- while following the letter and spirit of the law ... then law enforcement and the citizenry can be immensely well-served by technology that has been used so successfully by criminals (like those emails appealing to stupid people for their help in prying loose millions of dollars) against innocent (and greedy but stupid) victims.


Source: http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/security/soa/German-government-to-create-police-Trojans-/0,130061744,339281681,00.htm

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