Germany's proposed anti-cryptography bill: backdoors and hack-backs

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How do they determine that the device is in Germany or otherwise subject to German law? So this means that if I install an app from a German company that I’ll have to worry about a future update actually being from the Germany government?

I wouldn’t trust them to be careful or narrow in targeting, so if it ends up on my phone and disrupt it or opens it to malware exploiting any holes they opened, can I sue the German government in a Canadian court for damages?


The final episode of season 3 of Black Mirror (with the bees) is a nice narrative for the unintended consequences of having back doors in systems. It’s a REALLY bad idea. Considering the NSA’s hacking tools are floating around the internet right now and have already caused major problems at the hands of hackers, uh… yeah, bad fucking idea.


How does the US determine?
Oh, it doesn’t. US law applies world wide.
Sow wind…


Well, you can try.

Good luck enforcing any judgment though. We’re still trying to get the US to pay their congestion charge and parking fines.


The odds of the AfD gaining that kind of political power in the foreseeable future is approximately zero. In fact, Petry’s defection after the election exposed internal AfD dissent that probably means another election would mean a reduction in AfD seats.

The Greens, the “Left” (Democratic Socialists), and the FDP (Liberals) together gained around the same number of seats as the AfD; you might equally well say,

Any powers the current government creates for itself today may be in the hands of literal progressives and moderates before 2018 is out, depending on whether Merkel can form a government or will be forced to call another election.


I wish I thought that were true.

Even if it is, it doesn’t preclude the CDU/CSU taking a leaf out of the Conservative party in the UK’s book and simply adopting the AfD’s positions as their own in an attempt to sweep up the AfD voters.

Whether it’s the AfD or a CDU/CSU with the same policies, what would be the difference?


Brexit was supported by a large number of UK voters, so May et al’s turnaround to embrace it was driven by cynical politics. There is not such attraction in Germany to embrace AfD policies, the numbers just aren’t there. The CSU lost almost as many seats in the last election as the AfD gained, I think any notion of concrete rightward momentum in Germany is overblown.


“What are your security protocols?”

“Protocol #1: Reveal no sensitive data to the government.”

“What else?”

“See Protocol #1.”


No, no, this isn’t STASI 2.0, this time it will be a force for good! Like against terrorist and Nazis.

No, it’s Stasi 3.0
Stasi 2.0 is Facebook.


I spent a saddening afternoon before the election going through the various parties’ election manifestos (yes, I’m quite sad).

There was not a lot to choose between them. Pretty much all of them had much the same line on border controls, increased powers for the police and security services and anti-immigrant measures.

Recent conversations with friends and relatives in Germany (perfectly ordinary people) lead me to the conclusion that there are plenty of people who openly support a great deal of what the AfD said and a much larger number who agree with the sentiments but object to the AfD, who is involved in it and how they say it.

They would like ‘mainstream’ politicians to say very similar things.

Brexit is an expression of wide-spread xenophobia in the UK. Germany is no better. It just has a much higher threshold as far as what most people are prepared to openly espouse.


It’s actually the result of relentless lying by the organs of Rupert Murdoch - who is a xenophobic Australian - and by the media of Paul Dacre, the Barclay Brothers and Desmond. Desmond is actually reported as having marched around in a board meeting making Nazi salutes. Dacre is a somewhat narrow minded Scot. I don’t know enough about the Barclay Brothers to comment other than that I understand people on Sark don’t like them. Then there’s :poop:Farage :poop:.

What I’m saying is that the English and Welsh - because it was them - had to be lied into mainstream xenophobia, whereas Germany was lied into it after WW1 and has had longer at it. Britain had a huge multinational empire at one point, Germany never did. I don’t think the situation is really comparable.


Unfortunately, I am having the same impression. Except that the threshold is rapidly sinking. The numbers are not there but “die Stimmung” (i.e. mood) is. Seemingly rational people spit out the anti-immigrant tough guy rhetoric in a country which is economically booming!

This is correct

as is this

But unfortunately 2+2 doesn’t seem to make 4 in 2017. Die Linke are almost as bad on immigration as AfD (I also spent too much time listening to candidates and reading up on policies) the Greens are internally too split to offer a serious alternative. And the right-wing neoliberal opportunists seem to be winning the long game in the SPD. The democratic system in Germany is being tested. Not to the same extent as in the UK but it is being tested.

The most depressing bit is how extraordinarily misinformed Germans are on the EU–and how easily they dump everything that they dislike at the EUs feet. I watched this same process happening in the UK when we were living there. And let me tell you it’s f***ing depressing to watch it in Germany now.

Anecdote: Trying to buy garlic at Lidl. I couldn’t figure out where said garlic originated from (yes, I am a garlic snob!) It had Italian writing but didn’t look like Italian garlic. Asked shop assistant for help. She figured out Italian importer / Chinese garlic and added spitefully because EU. At which point I had to ask and ask again what she was on about.

Apparently Lidl is selling Chinese garlic bcs EU? Ha? And people feel so confident about such BS that they just spit it out in the middle of work. I explained to her that Lidl selling Chinese garlic has nothing to do with EU. and everything to do with Lidl profit margins and that I can buy perfectly fine Italian garlic in Italy which is also in the EU. She was not having it…Chinese garlic bcs EU…

I give up. But I do hope the CSU sinks into a very very deep Alpine lake never to re-emerge again before I do…


The thing is, even in booms there are people who are left behind and want someone to blame. All it takes is for a charismatic orator to point them in the same direction. The people who are left behind tend to be low in intelligence, and lack the social skills to compensate for that. Once upon a time we put them into armies to provide cannon fodder. Now, they can’t get into the Army.

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I thought Facebook was NSA - Family Edition.


“Stores” are country-specific. Apple and google can put an update on the German store and that will apply to all devices which use that specific store (but not to devices using the French or Swiss or US “store”). No special mechanism is needed beyond what is already in place.

On android and ios, you are forced to get your update from the vendor. If the vendor themselves pushes a trojan, you get it. The trojan will be signed with the vendor’s cryptographic keys and your device will accept it as legit.

You can never update your device and apps. That is not really an option.
You can, on some android devices, install a google-free distribution. Few people do that: you don’t have the “store”, hence no commercial apps.

Basically, if you have a modern “device” and the vendor is legally forced to srew you, you are screwed. That is a direct consequence of the app “store” system.

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On the bright side, it seems like the English-speaking world doesn’t have a monopoly on stupidity!


Certainly none of that helped/helps.

Regardless of why they are the way they are, plenty of people (in the South East at least, I can’t speak as to the rest of the UK apart from a very small corner of Yorkshire) are outright xenophobic.

With the usual amusing/depressing exceptions for anyone they actually know reasonably well.

As for the Barclay brothers, it’s worth reading up on them if you fancy a giggle at their sub-Bond villain antics.

Don’t mention that to Cameroon or to Namibia and the remnants of the Hereros.

Germany also had WWII which until recently at least seemed to mean that most right-wing xenophobia was kept firmly undercover. That seems to be rapidly changing.

I agree the situations are not directly comparable in most respects but the basic calculation of “We are the traditional centre right party. We are losing votes to a party that is further to right and lots of our core voters are telling us they like what the further right party is saying. How can we fix this? How about adopting most of the policies of this new party? That will undercut their support and keep our base happy” is the same.

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The operative words here are “huge multinational”. The German colonial empire was the third largest, true if you don’t count the US as an empire, but very small compared to the British one*. And although in the early years parts of it were much better managed than much of the British Empire, it never achieved the same integration and it was short lived (really only about 30 years). Germany’s relations with Turkey were much more significant in the long run.

I would say myself that UKIP support roughly nailed it: 17% xenophobic enough to support UKIP in national elections, 35% sufficiently so to support UKIP for a laugh in EU elections.

*In 1913 the British Empire covered, apparently, about a quarter of the land area of the Earth and a quarter of the world’s population. The German area was less than 10% of that.

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