Germany mulls sweeping surveillance bill, crypto backdoors and fingerprinting kids


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/15/stasi-2-0.html


#2

Before anyone is up in arms, the Slashdot article is misleading (surprise …)

E.g. the fingerprinting of children is concerning only the children of asylum seekers (refugees, migrants, etc.), which often have no other way of identification and in many cases are travelling unaccompanied for all sorts of reasons. It is proposed in the face of the rampant attempts to abuse the asylum system. They had the right to fingerprint kids from 11 years up until now, so it is only being extended and not a new power - if the law actually passes, that is. Which is not a given - there is a strong opposition against this even from some of the government.


#3

Sometimes I wonder if politicians will ever learn their lesson when it comes to crypto. Apple will not let them into Messages (see what happened in California), and I suspect Telegram would rather avoid having employees in Germany than submit to backdoor laws.

That said, this is best reported as posturing than as actual bills being submitted to the legislature. Statements from politicians in the warm-up to September’s election.


#4

Yeah, the fingerprinting of children is not because the kids are under suspicion, but because there have been cases of attempted fraud and identity theft. Less a terrorism issue and more an attempt to cut down on attempted abuse of the red tape that surrounds processing asylum requests, but sold as fighting terrorism, as fear sells.


#5

Exactly.

Also the article has no mention of crypto backdoors, only on making the big service providers like FB, Google, etc. to cooperate. Which could be on various levels, not necessarily forcing them to build a backdoor in their systems. E.g. there has been a lot of talk about extremist content not being removed, etc, which is a problem - in the US reposting stuff from something like Dabiq (the ISIS propaganda magazine) could be protected speech, in most EU countries it falls under the extremism, racial discrimination and hate speech laws and such content is commonly being blocked/removed (Not going to argue whether that’s good or bad - that’s another debate entirely. The fact is that the laws are like that).

The “source telecom surveillance” is an euphemism for hacking phones and other devices, thus avoiding the issue of encryption. That is both only legalizing an existing practice and a fairly targeted thing. Nobody is going to hack/trojan all phones in the entire country. It is not ideal but compared to a backdoored/outlawed crypto that puts everyone in danger indiscriminately it is the lesser evil.


#6

Well, it is a part of fighting the terrorism, sadly - there have been two or three cases where the terrorist that struck in Paris and in Brussels have passed themselves as refugees/asylum seekers and their track has been lost because of poor documentation.

Then there has been the recent case of the active duty (!) German soldier that has managed to pass himself for a refugee, including obtaining accommodation in a refugee center and applying for an asylum under a fake identity. He then planted some fake letters with islamist threats and a bomb that has damaged the bus of a German soccer team, with the idea being to frame the migrants/refugees for it. It was a huge scandal.

None of these were children but the common thing was the chaos in the documentation and evidence permitting this to happen.


#7

and fingerprinting kids

Start’em young. Wonder where they got that idea from?


#8

This is being blown way out of proportion. This is the government we are talking about, when has given more power to a government ever worked out badly? Germany in particular has never had a government that seized more control and then did horrible things unless you are one of those idiots that believes history books.

Out of all the problems facing the German, this is by far the most pressing. Some would say the fact that the German economy is imploding with the trade surplus growing to a historic high in recent times, a declining population and emerging markets being better addressed by Asian economies, that Germany has bigger problems to address, problems that affect more German livelihoods and their futures but that is nonsense, all these claims about the German economy from the likes of the World Economy Institute in Hamburg are just off the mark. This is what the Germans should be focusing on.

Regardless of your stance on this I’m sure we can all agree that “History repeats itself” is a pretty interesting phrase.


#9

Somehow I have an inkling what you consider more pressing.


#10


#11

Look, I am not a social scientist, but it seems fucking obvious as fuck that the way to combat terrorism is to remove its support base. By this I mean that authority figures like parents, community leaders, religious leaders etc. should be reaching out to the young people feeling alienated and open to exploitation by terrorist organizations. They need to make a concentrated effort to show that the terrorists actions are actually evil, they aren’t defending the faith they are indiscriminate killers who won’t be rewarded by martyrdom but rather condemned to hell.
Platitudes aren’t enough these leaders need to be actively attacking the terrorist organizations at every opportunity to prevent their youth from being stolen away from them by radicalization.
Having the the government tighten its grip on the people will only breed distrust and discontent to no advantage because technology moves far faster than the grinding gears of bureaucracy.


#12

I figured it was sarcasm.


#13


#14

I hope so. Otherwise it’s some rather ignorant views.


#15

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